GRANITE & MARBLE
Can granite or marble be used in food preparation areas?
Granite is an excellent product for use in kitchens and other food preparation areas. Under normal conditions it is stain, chip, scratch, and burn resistant. Like any other countertop material, if cleaned regularly and properly granite poses no health or sanitation problems. Marble is not recommended for use in the kitchen because of its tendency to stain and scratch.
Can you cut on granite or marble?
Granite is an extremely tough, durable material and in most cases can be used as a cutting surface without fear of scratching the stone, although repeated cutting on granite may dull knives. Using marble as a cutting surface will result in scratches as if cutting on a piece of wood.
Can you set hot pans on granite or marble?
Granite is ideal for kitchens because under normal conditions it will not burn and it will not be harmed by hot pans or open flames. Marble should not be used in kitchens as excessive heat can cause damage and potentially leave scars or burn marks. Neither material is flammable.
Does granite or marble chip or scratch?
Granite is a very dense material and under normal conditions it is chip and scratch resistant. However, we do not recommend a straight edge polish for countertops, especially around a sink because pots, pans, and other heavy objects may chip the sharp edge of a straight edge finish. Several other edge options are available that will look beautiful and reduce the chance of chipping. Marble can be chipped and scratched under normal use and therefore, should be used in low traffic areas and should always be treated like a piece of fine wood.
Will granite or marble stain?
Marble and granite are porous materials and therefore, are subject to staining if not maintained properly. In granite, the same porosity that allows for staining also allows for easy stain removal. In most cases, stains can be prevented by quickly wiping the spill. If a spill is left overnight, especially if the liquid is grease, oil, coffee, or wine the granite will usually darken. To remove the stain, a poultice should be applied, which may pull out the stain from the granite. Marble can be stained and etched by acidic or oil-based products
Should granite be sealed?
The most effective method of protecting your granite is not sealing. Instead, Kim's marble applies a stone impregnator, which penetrates the granite and keeps dirt, liquids, and food from easily absorbing into the stone, giving a good window of time for proper clean up. The stone impregnating material does not change the color of the stone, as some sealing materials may. It penetrates the stone and will help prevent staining. However, it will not stop the penetration of moisture entirely. When a liquid that might cause staining spills on the top, it should be cleaned up as soon as possible.
Can granite be repaired?
While it is difficult to permanently repair granite, it is also very difficult to damage it. However, if some damage does occur, granite usually can be repaired by a mix of epoxy and ground-up chips of granite.
Is granite a completely smooth surface like other Solid Surface Materials?
No. Many granites contain pits and fissures that are natural characteristics of granite. Some granites exhibit these characteristics more than others, and the lighting of the room can make these marks more or less visible. These characteristics should be pointed out to the client prior to deciding on a particular material.
What is the difference between 2 cm and 3 cm?
The 2 cm thick stone is approximately 3/4" thick, ranging from 5/8" to 7/8" in thickness. The 3 cm is approximately 1 3/16", and can range from 1 1/16" to 1 5/16" thick.
Why do I have to have seams in my countertop and what do they look like?
Slab size may not be large enough for the entire run of the countertop. The weight of the material may dictate that seams are inserted so that the structural integrity of the material is not jeopardized. The cabinet structure, placement of cooktops, or other cutouts may require seams. Access to the job or layout of the countertops may be limited and/or difficult to work with. The type of material may require seams to maintain the structural integrity of the material. Tightness of seam will not to exceed 1/16"-1/8" width. Seam is sealed with a moisture-proof silicone/plastic caulk that is color-matched to the material to minimize visibility. Kim's marble project managers will work with the client in every way possible to ensure that seams are kept to a minimum and are discreetly placed, while still maintaining the structural integrity of the stone.
What affects pricing of granite and marble?
There are several variables that affect the pricing of granite and marble. The material is priced by the square foot and these costs are dependent on the product's standard availability and the origin of material. Additional costs, such as cooktop or sink cutouts, fabrication costs, edge profile and special requests are priced separately.
How do granite and marble compare to other solid surface countertops?
Granite is one of the most durable, maintenance-free countertop materials available. Granite is a natural material made of very hard igneous rock that is second only in hardness and compacted strength to diamonds. As a result of its geological composition, granite is stain, scratch, and burn resistant. Easy to care for and much desired for its natural beauty, granite is an investment that amortizes over time, retaining its original appearance long after initial installation. In most cases, granite countertops fall within the same price range as other high-end surfacing materials.
What is Soapstone?
Soapstone is quarried like Granite and Marble. It is a steatite stone and its primary components are magnesite, dolomite, chlorite, and talc. It can range in age from 300 to 400 million years old depending on which part of the planet it is drawn from. As talc in soapstone is soft to the touch, it gives the smooth feeling of rubbing a piece of dry soap. Thus the name was derived - "Soap" Stone. No. You can't wash with it.
For thousands of years, soapstone has been used throughout the world for tools, crafts, vases, goblets, sculptures, fireplaces, etc. In early American history, soapstone was used primarily for building blocks, sculpting and urns. As villages and towns began building home structures, a popular choice for the do-it-all sink was soapstone. It could be easily cut to shape with non stone cutting tools. Four styles of common sinks from the 1800's and early 1900's were the Philadelphia, Chicago-Wright, Boston-Williams and the good old New England Double Bowl (our most popular). In early New England, Soapstone uses ranged from fireplace hearths to countertops, sinks, and oven fireplace stoves. In different parts of the world, soapstone is still used as a daily staple for mixing bowls, cook-tops, cook-wear, and oven baking decks. Currently in the USA and in different parts of the world, soapstone is used for the largest variety of items ever yet - including balusters, stair treads, window sills and island tops. It's fast becoming a very popular choice by designers and architects and it's one of a kind texture and look make soapstone one of the most aesthetically pleasing stones to be used for the job.
True Soapstone is inert. Alkalis and acids won't affect it as they will a granite, marble, or slate. For over one hundred years, soapstone sinks and tiles have been used in science class rooms and labs along with work tables and counter tops. Its longevity to long term - high traffic use is amazing!
Because of its truly remarkable and natural heat retention characteristics, soapstone is widely used for masonry heater fireplaces, wood stoves, fireplace liners and pizza ovens. Soapstone heaters and fireplaces heat very quickly from burning coal, pellets or wood, the soapstone will then slowly radiate heat very evenly for hours on end. Even after the fire has long gone out!
Since soapstone is soft to the touch, does this mean it's absorbant?
Though soapstone is soft to the touch it is far from absorbant. If the surface picks up a stain or discolors, this is literally - just on the surface - and can be scrubbed or sanded off. Slates, marbles, most granites, limestones and travertines are absorbant. Soapstone is not.
Once oil or a sealer is applied, can it be removed some day to bring the stone back to the original color?
Yes. Even after 100 years of hard use, soapstone can be re-finished to a new state as though it was just installed.
Our soapstone is perfect for achieving that warm "old fashioned", "rustic", "early American" look. It's also versatile enough so that it can be used with very modern designs.
Upon installation of our soapstone countertops, we recommend that the stone is sealed with mineral oil or stone sealer. The mineral oil and some light penetrating sealers will bring out a dark richness to the stones natural color and also work as a protective sealing layer to the surface of the stone. Mineral oil may be re-applied to the stone periodically. Most sealers will remain for quite a while longer than the mineral oil. It is not necessary to use oil or sealers on the stone. Spilled wine or virtually anything else will not penetrate and stain the stone on the inside. It can and may leave a darkened area or superficial surface stain. However, these marks can be scrubbed off the stone or sanded off as they can't penetrate the soapstone below the very surface. Some people opt never to apply anything to the stone, as it will soon begin to take on it's own natural patina with regular use.