FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Proper maintenance ensures that the granite countertop will last for many years. This is a chance to protect one’s investment. Thankfully, stone is pretty easy to take care. Some tips for maintaining granite include:
- Quickly blot up any spills before they seep into the granite’s surface.
- Regularly clean granite surfaces with soap and water.
- Avoid hard water, which can leave a mineral coating or film on the surface.
- For stubborn or serious spills, use Soft Scrub or Comet Gel to sanitize and clean the countertop.
- Do NOT use cleaning products that include such acids as vinegar or lemon. Such items can strip the polish of such valuable stones as marble or granite.
- Keep hot items off of the stone by using mats for hot dishes.
- Use placemats for objects that could scratch the granite’s surface.
- Reseal the countertop every four to six months. The frequency will depend upon the color of the stone. For more information, refer to our “How to Put Sealer Manual.”
Sealing the stone keeps it safe from scratches, dulling, and damages. Depending on the color of the stone, this resealing should happen between every four and six months. This ensures that the surface will not stain. The resealing process takes between 15-20 minutes. You will need the following materials to seal stone:
- 1 Bottle of Sealer (found at such stores as Home Depot or other hardware businesses)
- Soft and Clean Clothes or a Roll of Paper Towels
Directions to Seal Stone
- First, the stone needs to be cleaned so that there is no food, dust, or other debris on it. Use a soft scrub, soap, and water to clean the countertop. Following cleaning, make sure to thoroughly dry off the area.
- Next, apply the sealer to all visible surfaces. It is important to coat even the edge detail and back splashes of the stone.
- Allow the sealer to sit for 3-5 minutes.
- Wipe the sealer off of the surface using a clean cloth or paper towel. Change the cloth as soon as it becomes saturated with the sealer.
- Once the sealer has been removed, polish the stone with a clean cloth.
In just a matter of moments, your countertop is as good as new!
Though granite is quite strong and hard, it can in fact be scratched. This is why it is important to avoid placing hot plates directly on the stone and to really use placemats as much as possible. On a normal scale of hardness, a diamond would be a 10 and granite would range between 7.5-8.5 points. However, because granite is composed of different materials or minerals, different points could be weaker than others. A good way to remember this is that every different shade or color on the stone is a different type of mineral or material. Cutting boards, placemats, and other protective items will protect the granite from damage.
Each one different color on this sample is a different mineral.
Different granite colors may have veins. For example, colors like “Juparana Colombo” or “Blue Fantasy” have these. To make joints or separations, sometimes called seams, less noticeable, the stone gets a 45 degree cut so that customers have a matching seam area, commonly called book matching. Experts can work hard on this, but it is nearly impossible to find a perfect match between veins and invisible seams. This may mean that customers need to invest in extra material.
Many different criteria are used when determining the price of a slab. Experts consider the size of the stone, number of cracks, color, quality of polish, and overall aesthetic appeal or beauty when determining this amount. Smaller slabs usually cost less. However, if one has a big project coming up, it is wise to invest in larger slabs. Competition between manufacturers can double the price on some slab colors. Supply and demand is always a consideration when it comes to the price of a slab of stone.
Prefab countertops are great for people who want the cheapest possible countertops and aren’t looking to invest too much into a property. Homeowners looking to sell their home or those who could care less about their kitchen can really make use of such mass-produced countertops. These items usually come from China and include bull-nose edge detail and 6" back splash.
The difference between custom-made countertops and prefab options is the gluing. A prefab countertop could be torn apart with one’s bare hands if the individual pulled hard enough. A custom countertop is more durable. Such options include bull-nose edge is comprised of two strips of stone that are glued together. Notches between the stone pieces keep the pieces together. Prefab countertops do not have the notches, which is why they are usually less durable.
Another downfall to prefab countertops is that they do not have the same high quality edge detail. This is because such detail is made with a machine versus by hand. Similarly, the one-size-fits-all nature of prefab countertops means that people are limited when it comes to size (the standard is 25"x9') and colors.
It is common for natural stone to have some flaws. Often, such cracks cannot be seen when purchased. However, there are ways to protect one’s investment. First, it is important to have a fabricator inspect slabs for cracks. Sometimes such flaws can be seen on the underside of the stone whereas other times such cracks or fissures can be felt. Such experts will use metal strips, commonly called rebar’s, to the back side of the stone in places like the front side of a sink to prevent the slab from cracking. Sometimes, cracks happen because the slabs do not have a secure base. This is why cabinets need to be installed by experts. Such cabinets should be in a stable position and elevation. After all, the hope is that these countertops will last for decades.
People get what they pay for. It is important that experienced contractors are used for any installation or stone-related project. Quality stone contractors have the best materials, tools, and staff.
When an experienced stone contractor walks into a home or office, he or she will have the best glues, tin sets, silicone, and wonder boards. Expert contractors understand that the best materials ensure that the job is done right the first time.
Similarly, it is important that hired contractors bring along the right tools, too. Diamond polish pads may take longer to use than sand paper, but they offer the best look. This is a chance to ensure that countertops are gleaming bright.
The right people or staff understand how to work with stone, keep it safe, and how to pay attention to the smallest details. Passionate contractors love working with stone and love installing countertops. This is why it is important to invest in experienced and passionate stone contractors who understand the nuances of such items.
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