© 2016 by Custom Tile & Marble, Inc. -  Web site created by:  Monica Blanco

 

FAQs

MARBLE

Is marble suitable for a kitchen countertop?

No, marble is not a good choice for a kitchen countertop. Although it can be sealed, it is not as dense as granite and therefore it is more porous and susceptible to being stained in a highly used area like a kitchen. It is much softer and it will chip and crack under frequent use.
 

What is the difference between granite and marble?

The main difference between granite and marble is that granite is a highly dense material composed deep inside the earth’s core while marble is formed from sediments under the seabed. Both solidify into stone after millions of years but the mineral composition of the two stones makes marble and granite react different to various chemicals and household cleaners.
 

Can I seal marble?

Just like granite, marble is sealed after the fabrication process; unfortunately due to its porous nature sealing marble is insufficient for everyday kitchen use.
 

Where can I use marble?

Marble can be used in a number of various applications like fireplace surrounds, tabletops, saddles, and shelves. Ideally it can be applied to a number of projects in the bath area like Jacuzzi surrounds, vanities, floor, and shower paneling. 
 

Is marble really appropriate to use in living areas?

Yes. Since ancient times, marble has been used in all areas of the Grecian home; from furnishings to floors. These Greek marbles have proven as durable as materials traditionally considered to be sturdier with the added benefit of creating a warm welcoming atmosphere. 
 

How do I deal with sink and stove cutouts?

With the new water jet technology we have the ability to cut any sink or surface unit cutout with computer aided design files. Undermount sinks (sinks that are mounted under that countertop so as not to show any rim) are fully cut out, then the inside of the hole is polished. The countertop is then flipped over and fitted with special grommets for your plumber to fasten the sink. Self rimming cutouts are cut 6" into each corner leaving some of the straight section to be cut in the field.

 
 

GRANITE

Can I cut on my Granite countertop?

Only if you want to ruin your good knives. Granite is harder than your knife blades and will dull them very quickly, if you use the countertop as a cutting surface. Always cut and chop on a wooden or plastic cutting board.
 

Can my granite top be damaged?

Like any solid surface, high impact blows can harm granite. Because of its crystalline structure, it can chip if subjected to sharp hard objects. Unsealed, granite can absorb stains such as oil, which can ultimately cause dark spots or discoloration. Heat from pots and pans or burning liquids will not affect granite under normal circumstances.
 

My sample of granite has pits on the surface, will I have these on my kitchen counters?

Granite, which is crystalline in structure, always has tiny pits – spaces between the various mineral crystals. You don’t see them on a larger piece because the overall appearance is polished and mirror-like. Granite sometimes has natural fissures as well, which may look like cracks, but are not structural defects and are a naturally occurring result of the immense heat and pressure which formed the granite eons ago. These characteristics are part of the natural beauty of stone and will not impair the function or durability of the material. A product of nature cannot be expected to look manmade.
 

How do I clean my granite tops?

POLISHED GRANITE is a very durable stone. It is also much harder than marble. Granite has been used in the past in the commercial industry. Some of the obvious applications have been panels on the outside of buildings, walls, and floors of "high-traffic" areas. Granite will withstand almost any element it comes up against including heat and cold. Granite itself is approximately 95-98% stain resistant but, we use a silicone impregnator on all our natural stone products. This will insure lasting life and beauty. Polished granite should receive the same cleaning care as polished marble, using a mild phosphate-free, biodegradable liquid dish-soap, soap flakes or powder which contains no aromatics. Followed by a thorough rinsing and drying with cotton-flannel or chamois.
 

Does granite stain?

In general, no. All stone, however, is porous to some extent, but Granite has very little porosity. Most colors will never show any moisture. A few colors may show some moisture if exposed for a period of time. For example, a puddle of water left on the counter for 30 minutes for some colors, may show a dark spot when the water is wiped away. This spot will then dry up and no evidence will show. Only a few colors demonstrate this trait.  We recommend granite be sealed by the fabricator, however some customers prefer to apply a stone sealer (available at tile and granite shops) after the granite is installed.
 

Can I set hot pot on my granite countertop?

Granite is formed by extreme heat and pressure combined beneath the earths crust. It can not be affected by heat from a cook top or frying pan. A lit flame placed under the granite will have no melting effect and will not leave any burned or scarred marks. 
 

Can granite chip?

In only cases of sever abuse with a hammer or impact tool. A chip can be filled with a granite dust and epoxy mixture.
 

Do granite seams show?

Because granite is a natural material and is mined from the quarry in blocks usually no more than 10’ long, you will most likely end up with seams. Also, because granite is sold in rectangular pieces, you may want to use seams to reduce your costs, such as in an ’L’ shaped corner. The visibility of seams will depend on the granularity, color and pattern. A small, uniform grain (such as Uba Tuba) will not be as apparent as a larger varied grain (such as Peacock Green). A dark color (Platinum) will be less apparent than a light color (Imperial White). A dramatic pattern with swaths of color (Kinawa, Paradiso) will show more seams than a uniform pattern (Dakota Mahogany). Most customers have found that the beauty of natural granite outweighs the concern of seams. 
 

How are seams made?

Seams are done where the two pieces of stone are put together. The seams are joined with epoxy that is mixed with the color that matches the stone. Then the joined area is smoothened, leaving only a very thin line visible.
 

Does granite stain or burn?

No. You can’t burn it with ordinary use. Granite does not stain. The only caveat is that a few colors may absorb some moisture with prolonged contact. Usually, no evidence remains when the liquid is removed and the granite dries, but could be a problem with dark pigmented liquids. Although granite has a sealer applied at the fabricator, a stone sealer is recommended for all granite after installation. 
 

Can granite crack?

No, not with the ordinary use. Granite is most susceptible to cracks during shipping and installation. Normal use will not overstress this durable material. 
 

Can granite cantilever?

You can cantilever granite up to 14" with sufficient support on the fixed end and with a large enough piece. Never cantilever unsupported granite where it might receive excessive stress like someone sitting on a counter or stepping on a counter to change a light bulb. You must have support underneath for these situations.

 

What is the appropriate thickness for a granite countertop?

A countertop should be an inch and a quarter thick for structural reasons. 
 

Does granite have any pits or fissures?

Yes granite has natural pits and fissures that are part of the stones natural structure. Some types of granite have more of such characteristics than other types, and pits can be minimized by applying sealer to the surface of the counter. 
 

Can granite be repaired?

It is very hard to damage granite. If any damage occurs it can be sealed with a mixture of epoxy and ground up chips of granite. 
 

What do I need to consider when buying a granite countertop?

Granite is a natural stone. It is very hard and durable, heat and scratch resistant as well as easy to maintain; in all sense it’s the material of the future.  Aside from the practical aspect, granite is very versatile in the design field. It comes in various colors and structural compositions.  All stones are not exactly the same, each lot will have unique characteristics attributed to the specific granite. 
 

How is Granite formed? 

Granite is an igneous rock of visible crystalline formation and texture. It is composed primarily of feldspar, quartz, and mica. It starts off as liquid magma deep within the earth’s core where it is cooled and compressed over millions of years under tons of pressure. It is the quarried, cut and polished. After that process it can be applied in various ways like kitchen countertops, vanity tops, fireplace surrounds as well as Jacuzzi surrounds and other custom designs
 

How do I deal with sink and stove cutouts?

With our water jet technology we have the ability to cut any sink or surface unit cutout with computer aided design files. Undermounted sinks (sinks that are mounted under that countertop so as not to show any rim) are fully cut out, then the inside of the hole is polished. The countertop is then flipped over and reinforced with metal rods for extra support. Self rimming cutouts are cut 6" into each corner leaving some of the straight section to be cut in the field to facilitate safe shipping. 

 

GETTING STARTED WITH GRANITE AND MARBLE

 

What do I need to consider when buying marble or granite?

Because it is a natural stone, marble -and more recently granite- has been blessed with a remarkable natural beauty that has captivated humans throughout the ages. Inherent in such natural products is a certain lack of predictability that sophisticated architects and designers celebrate. Consumers who are less acquainted with the material expect the marble ordered to be identical to the picture or sample they were shown. Although sample stones are intended to be representative of the quarry’s product, the material quarried at one time may differ slightly in color and veining from the sample. Moreover, even a single marble or granite slab will possess a certain amount of color variation from one end to the other. Interior designers and architects have come to view this tendency of natural stone as an advantage. Slight irregularities can be pleasing, introducing an element of the natural into human-designed spaces, whether residential or commercial. 
 

What’s the difference between marble and granite?

Although both are stones and both are quarried from the earth, granite and marble (and marble’s relatives – limestone, onyx and travertine) are very different from each other. Granite is formed deep in the earth’s mantle at extremely high temperatures, and is a very hard, resistant stone made of crystallized minerals. The marble family – limestone, travertine, marble, onyx – starts out as sediment – animal skeletons and shells, plant matter, silt – at the bottom of bodies of water. After millions of years this solidifies (lithifies) into stone. Because its main component is calcium, it can be affected by acids such as vinegar and citrus beverages. 
 

Should I use marble or granite for my kitchen countertops?

Although typical application of marble is for the bathroom vanity tops, Jacuzzi tops and fireplaces, it is possible to use it in the kitchen. However, due to the fact that it is easy to scratch and is affected by acidic substances, such as vinegars, ketchups etc, we don’t usually recommend it. Moreover the high-gloss of the marble countertop can be partially lost as many chemicals etch its surface. Granite in turn is considered the second hardest stone, its polish is not subject to etching by household acids, or scratching by knives and pots and pans under normal use. It is also not affected by typical kitchen heat such as hot pans. 
 

Is it necessary to seal stone?

Since mineral surfaces are quite porous they absorb liquids, which may result in discoloring and staining. Although there are many commercial grade products available on the market which may bring the stone to its to its original luster, taking simple precautions and regular maintenance can save a lot of trouble and cost. All marble and granite tops are sealed immediately after they are installed. The impregnating substance penetrates the stone clogging most of its pores making its quite impervious to alcohol, juices, soft drinks, cosmetics, cleaners, coffee, food and even oil. With course of time, depending on how heavily the tops are used, the sealer gets washed out. The clear indication of this happening would be the fact that the liquids are easily absorbed into the stone leaving temporary (if promptly wiped off) stains. You should seal your marble every six months and your granite every year, at least. 
 

What is the best way to clean marble and other stones?

The old rule of thumb is never to use anything you wouldn’t use on your hands. Never use powdered cleansers or abrasive pads to clean your stone. Even "soft scrub" type cleaners contain pumice, which is powdered volcanic stone, and might damage your stone countertops or floors. Never use any product which is acidic; this includes substances like ammonia or many common liquid cleaners such as Windex. You should always use sealers and cleaning products designed specifically for natural stone. 

 

Ceramic Tile - Grout Care:

Grout is the material used to fill the spaces between the individual tiles. Grout comes in many colors. While color is important to the final finished look of the tile installation, it has little effect on the functionality of the grout. The purpose of grout is, simply, to fill the joint between the tiles and becomes a permanent, integral component of the finished installation.

 

Penetrating/Impregnating Sealer:

Most tile installations use cementitious grouts. This type of grout should be sealed after installation to prevent the color from staining. The grout should be sealed with a penetrating/impregnating sealer (often called grout sealers) which does not contain silicone, as silicone can shorten the useful life of the sealer. Epoxy grouts, conversely, are chemically cured and acid resistant and, as a result, do not require a sealer. The application of a good quality penetrating/impregnating sealer into the grout joints of a cementitious grout will not change the natural color of the grout, but will prevent the penetration of moisture, simplify maintenance, and help prevent staining or discoloration. Only the grout needs to be sealed, not glazed floor or wall tiles. Grout can be sealed seventy-two hours after installation.  There are different grades of penetrating/impregnating sealers, therefore the useful life and price will differ between a low quality and high quality sealer. You may need to reapply the sealer on an annual basis depending on the sealer quality, traffic patterns, and maintenance routine. Some sealers have multiple year warranties for useful life. Refer to the manufacturer warranty, technical & product information for specific details on product installation, useful life, and product applications (including any warnings) before use.

 

Grout Maintenance:

Neither sealing the grout nor using a 100% Epoxy Grout will guarantee against surface build-up or discoloration of the grout. Grout needs to be cleaned on a periodic basis to remove any surface build-up. Routine grout cleaning can be done with a daily concentrated household or commercial cleaner depending on the application. When heavy duty grout cleaning is required, you will need to use a professional strength Tile & Grout Cleaner that is capable of removing grease, soap scum, body oil, mildew stains, algae, and synthetic or acrylic waxes from the grout joints. This type of product can be purchased from most Home Centers.

As recommended by Daltile Tile & Stone

For more information, visit: www.JohnBridge.com