Q: What is Granite?

Granite is natural stone composed of several minerals tightly packed together. The main components include Feldspar and Quartz (both very hard) with a mix of other minerals including Biotite and Muscovite (soft mica). Feldspar and Quartz, both major components of granite, are harder than steel. That’s why granite is used as a building material by many. Biotite and Muscovite, the minor components of granite, give it that glittery appearance. They are also much softer and are frequently associated with pitting and fissures.

Q: Why is granite so popular?

The elegance of granite countertops adds value to homes. Heat, scratch, and stain resistant, granite even outlasts the life of the home its installed in. Very little maintenance is required. Because of abundant supply, it’s more affordable than many people think.

Q: Where does granite come from?

Granite is naturally formed all over the world, but major quarries are found in Brazil, India, Italy, Africa, Norway, Finland, and China. Most granite slabs used for kitchen countertops in the USA come from Brazil, where we get a lot of the slabs we use, and India.

Q: Is granite high maintenance?

Quite the opposite. Granite countertops require very little maintenance. Clean them with a mild soap and warm water. Read our maintenance guide for more information.

Q: Does heat damage granite?

Granite withstands very high temperatures. Placing hot pans or kettles won’t cause any damage to the stone’s color or stability. Using trivets is a good idea whenever possible and are an absolute MUST under crockpots which sit on granite for an extended length of time. Long periods of concentrated heat can cause granite to crack.

Q: Can knives scratch granite?

Knives can’t scratch true granite. The only thing harder is diamond. For example, diamond is scored 10 on the MOH’s hardness scale and granite is scored 7. Diamond blades are the only thing that can cleanly cut through granite. Other natural stones frequently called granites like Gneiss and Schist do not have a MOH score of 7, and those may be scratched by knives as can areas of softer minerals in granite. So always use a cutting board.

Q: Is granite expensive?

The abundant supply of natural granite along with modern technology make counter prices for entry level granite very affordable.

Q: Can granite be repaired?

Yes, in most cases chips and cracks can be repaired by a granite fabricator.

Q: Does granite harbor bacteria?

No, the Center for Disease Control has not found evidence to suggest bacteria grows in or on granite.

Q: Does granite emit harmful radiation?

Granite has been tested for Radon emissions and found to emit very insignificant levels. It’s been found to be safe for use in homes without any harmful effects.

You can read a more detailed report on this at the website of the Marble Institute of America.
Q: What is the thickness of the granite used for countertops?

We use 1 1⁄4” granite which is sturdy enough to be placed directly on the cabinets.<br />

Q: What are the pits in the granite?

It’s not uncommon to see some small pits on the surface of granite. These pits are formed during the polishing process, when some of the weaker components of granite, like Biotite, flake off from the surface. This happens at the granite processing plants in different countries where the granite is quarried and polished. The pits themselves don’t make it less durable or inferior for use in countertops, but the look and feel of the pits may bother some people. We can’t fill the pits because no compound can adequately or permanently fill these spaces without visually affecting the surface of the stone. The best practice is to discuss imperfections with your fabricator before selecting the stone. If you really hate the pits, ask about granite selections that have no visual imperfections.

Q: What about the filled lines in the granite slabs?

A good number of granite colors that are very beautiful with a variety of colors and veins that flow in different directions, are not truly “granites” in strict geological terms. Though they are commonly called granites, they are actually Gneiss or Schists stones. True granite stones scale between 6 and 7 on MOH’s scale of hardness. By comparison, the MOH’s scale for Gneiss and Schist is less than 6. In order to strengthen these stones to be used as countertops, they undergo a process called resinization, where epoxy resin is used to fill the weak spots. These slabs, with the visually filled lines, don’t break or crack once they are installed, with proper care. If any problems occur, they will happen during fabrication or transportation. Many exotic stones belong in this category. The filled areas are not defects but are required as part of the product.

Q: Does granite need to be resealed regularly?

The granite provided by us doesn’t have to be resealed and comes with a warranty against permanent staining under normal use. If staining material, like red wine, is not removed promptly there may be superficial staining which can normally be removed with a poultice.

Q: What are prefabricated granite blanks?

Granite slabs that are cut into particular sizes and have one edge that is polished. They are typically fabricated in countries with cheap labor, like China, and if you decide to use these, you will not have a custom fabricated countertop. Don’t expect the same quality of fit and finish with these or the same consistency of shade between pieces. We will not return to site for complaints on these issues.

Q: How much can I extend the granite overhang?

The standard overhang is 1 1⁄2” from the face frame of the cabinets. This gives a good visual appearance because it creates a 3⁄4” overhang from the door fronts. You can compare this to the 1” overhang typical of the laminate countertops you are looking to replace with granite.<br /> The actual overhang may slightly vary depending on how straight the cabinets are installed. Having the cabinets not installed in a straight line is a common problem. Our template professionals discuss these issues with homeowners when they are visible at time of template.<br /> We can usually extend the 3 cm granite countertops up to a maximum of 10” from the cabinets, provided the total unsupported area is no more than 1/3 of the supported area. unsupported. We have to be careful when we install upper bar tops that sit on a 5” knee wall. These overhangs have to be supported by steel braces placed under the countertop and then screwed into the wooden studs in the knee wall. Any granite countertops with more than an 10” overhang should be adequately supported by steel braces. The placement of wood or metal supports that extend from the cabinets, sometimes called corbels, can hit your knees and may not be visually appealing. The ideal solution is to place steel bars, secured adequately, providing a permanent support that is almost invisible and does not hit your knees.

Q: What is the ideal overhang for my bar top or breakfast area?

12” is the ideal overhang for comfortable seating without hitting your knees on the cabinet. However, the overhang does need adequate support.

Q: How is my dishwasher attached?

Dishwashers must be attached to the under surface of the kitchen countertop to prevent tipping the machine forward when the door is opened. The attachment also prevents vibration during the dishwasher’s operation. We attach the dishwasher with a well-designed bracket. This attachment is rigid enough to secure the dishwasher safely, while still allowing you to easily remove it in case you need to repair or replace the dishwasher in the future, without having to call a granite fabricator to do so. Newer dishwashers come with side attachment clips so that the dishwasher can be screwed to the cabinets instead. This should be done by your cabinet installer or remodeling contractor.

Q: Can I keep my existing tile back splash?

Yes. While replacing the existing laminate countertops, customers can choose to keep their current tile backsplash. However, you must consider the following points for better results: The thickness of laminate countertops is 1 1⁄2” and granite, marble, or engineered surfaces, like Silestone, are 1 1⁄4” thick. The replacement causes a visible gap of about 1⁄4” between the new granite countertop and the existing tile.<br /> This scenario applies in cases where the tile goes all the way down to the countertops. You can solve this problem by using one of these methods:<br /> -Plying caulk in the gap with a matching color to the existing grout. The new caulk line will be about a 1⁄4” thickness instead of the tile grout line of about 1/8”.<br /> -If you have kept the grout from the original tile installation, you can use that grout to fill the gap. This is the best case scenario.<br /> -You can purchase and install a trim line from tile supplier that fits between the tile and the granite countertop. This should be done by your tile installer.<br /> -Installation of a 4” back splash of granite over the existing tile is another option.<br /> In case the existing tile goes up to the 4” back splash of laminate countertop, 4” granite back splashes have to be placed between the granite countertops and the existing tile. We will custom measure these at the time of installation and they will minimize the gap between the tile and the backsplash. However, that will require a second visit to install.

Q: Do I need to buy full slabs of granite?

No, you don’t need to buy full slabs. We consider the cost of actual material used in your project. That is one of the advantages of buying from us. Of course, we do have to make efficient use of the stone and therefore it is a requirement that final seam locations and utilization of the slab is at the discretion of the fabricator. If you decide you want a specific slab layout on a particular slab or slabs which involves more waste, then we can provide you with a price for that.

Q: Do seams in Granite show?

All stone seams can be seen and felt and granite will not match exactly at the seam. They will be around 1/8 of an inch wide. However, the goal of a good granite installation company is to make them as inconspicuous as possible.

Q: How much does granite weigh?

Granite weighs about 16 to 17 pounds per square foot.<br />

Q: How do you attach the granite countertops to my cabinet?

The stone countertops are places on the cabinets and, after ensuring everything is leveled, a bead of silicon is applied at the intersection of the cabinets and the underside of the stone. This is sufficient to hold the countertops in place in a normal situation. If the cabinets are not leveled, which is not uncommon, we have to place shims underneath the countertops to level them.<br /> To avoid shims the tops should be levelled to within 1/8 of an inch over 10 feet. We can install without this standard being met but will ask you to sign a waiver before we do it.

Q: Do I need to reinforce my cabinets for granite installation?

No. If you use 3cm (1 1⁄4”) thick granite, you do not need any special reinforcement. You may need some additional support in the corners of walls that our template specialist will be able to explain to you.

Q: Can you level my cabinets?

No, we do not level your cabinets. You will need the help of your carpenter or your contractor for that.

Q: Do I need an appointment to come and see slabs?

We are a production fabricator and our aim is to keep our costs low and our quality high. We ask that you look at the extensive selection in store and make some preliminary choices there. Then call us to make an appointment and we’ll gladly pull available colors from our inventory to show you. Because of the very wide range of colors available we don’t always have those colors in stock but will be happy to get them in for you to see before you commit.