How To Buy Granite and Marble Countertops and Other FAQs
How can you to become an educated consumer? These discussions are designed to help.
What do I need to consider when buying marble or granite?
Because it is a natural stone, marble 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 by introducing an element of the natural into human-designed spaces, whether residential or commercial.
What’s the difference between marble and granite?
Because of Marble’s more porous properties, it is not recommended for kitchens or bar tops. Marble applications include bathroom vanities, shower and fireplace surrounds. Granite applications include kitchen countertops, bath room vanities, bar tops and fireplaces. 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.
How is quartz different from marble and granite?
Quartz countertops which are sold under brand names such as Zodiaq™, Hanstone™, Silestone™ and Cambria™ are man-made stone surfaces. Quartz products offer consistency in patterns and colors that natural stone can not. Quartz surfaces do not offer the uniqueness and varied random patterns of natural granite and marble. Stonecrafters is an authorized distributor for Zodiaq™, Radianz, COLORQUARTZ, Ceasarstone and Hanstone™. Visit our Quartz page for links to color charts and design galleries.
Is granite safe to use in a kitchen?
In a word, yes. There has been some misinformation circulated by competing industries attempting to raise concerns about issues such as bacteria and radon. We would be pleased to share the research that shows that these concerns are not only unfounded but granite actually ranks second to stainless steel in a study measuring the bacteria resistance capacity of six common countertop materials.
Learn more of the facts from these links:
- ▪ Marble & Granite Institute Resource Page includes scores of research reports.
- Granite vs. radon article from NaturalStone.com
- The video below was produced by the Marble and Granite Institute and provides some facts and research on the topic of radon.
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.
For more information on the use, care and maintenance of your stone products visit www.stonecare.com
Are stone surfaces difficult to maintain?
Granite, marble and other natural stone products are porous materials and therefore require sealing. Every Stonecrafters top is sealed upon installation. For residential use, it is recommended that the surface be sealed annually using sealant designed for use with natural stone. The sealant is available from Stonecrafters. The process is similar to waxing your car. More on stain removal.
How do I choose a stone fabricator?
The process of purchasing custom stone is more detailed than, for example, buying carpeting. As with any purchase, you need to determine what criteria are most important to you. Are you searching for the absolute lowest price or looking more for overall superior value? Is timely completion important? How heavily do you weigh the quality of materials and workmanship of both the fabrication and installation? Do you value responsive service, integrity and the caliber of people that you deal with and will have working in your home? Be prepared to ask tough questions to determine the proper fit with a reputable source.
What questions should I ask a fabricator to make a more informed decision?
Our best customers are the most informed. To become an educated consumer, here is a list of suggested questions for both yourself and your prospective sources.
Why should I choose Stonecrafters?
Thanks for asking! While are pricing is competitive, our best customers are looking for something more. They value how we handle all of the details that go into producing a superior quality product and our responsive service. They don’t want to be pressured to make a purchase. They want to work with professionals in every step of the process especially with those who perform work in their home. They want their project completed on-time with minimum disruption to their home and their lives. The Stonecrafters Team has a proven track record for assuring these results.
Our customer comments say it better than we ever could.
What do you charge per square foot?
For the same reason that new cars are not priced by dollars per pound, the most fair answer is: It depends. While the amount of stone required for your project is a significant part of the price, there are other variables. For this reason, we prefer to first understand the variables of your project and then issue a prompt preliminary estimate. We are careful to avoid any appearance of bait and switchmarketing that can occur on the low end of our marketplace with square foot pricing.
What are the pricing variables?
They include the complexity of your project, the type of stone required, the edging design selected, the number and type of sinks, faucets and cook tops used, the removal of existing countertops. We also offer services that can make your project unique: fancy cuts, special features, scalloped corners, clips and corbelled corners, radius arcs, additional installation and removal services.
Where do I begin? How do I get an estimate?
At Stonecrafters, we work to make it easy for you to participate in the process of selecting your stone and your options. You will need to start by providing us with some measurements. Read our Getting Started pages for information you will need for a meaningful estimate and to help make your project a success.
Doesn’t granite require seams?
If your surface exceeds the length of a granite slab, it is necessary to seam the joints where two slabs are joined.
How does Stonecrafters handle seams?
We believe that superior seam quality is part of The Stonecrafters Difference. By combining superior cutting and forming equipment with meticulous, well trained installers, Stonecrafters provides thecleanest seams available from a stone fabricator. Unlike some of our more cost conscious competitors, your Stonecrafters Project Manager will be happy to show you the planned location of the seams for your project. Also, our layout designers work to minimize the number of seams required for your project, another Stonecrafters Difference. All Stonecrafters seams are hard epoxy bonded. We do use soft seam bonds employed by less stringent installers. In addition, our advance fabrication processes provide more flexibility for minimizing the need for seams wherever possible. Our stone counter tops seam page has more details on how we determine seam placement at Stonecrafters.
How long will my project take?
Once you have made your decision to proceed and have submitted your initial (50%) deposit, we will schedule a field measurement within one week. From there, your fabrication and installation typically takes two to three weeks.
I’m on a tight timetable. How can I avoid problems and delays?
This is where your cooperation makes a difference. In order for your project to progress on schedule, we need your assistance in advance of two events: Field Measurement and Installation. Missing elements will delay the process. Changes in specifications after these events will definitely result in a delay. We need the customer’s cooperation to get it right the first time. You can expect our Project Managers will proactively request the following in pursuit of a smooth, successful completion.
Field Measurement Requirements
- Material Selection and location of material (if not in our inventory)
- Edge detail selected.
- Sink templates and/or sinks to be used (if applicable)
- Cabinets installed and leveled
- Faucets, soap dispensers, cook tops, etc.
- All measurement requirements are met
- Signed Proposal
- Signed Order Confirmation Form
- Signed Countertop Layout Sheet
- Signed Additional Terms And Conditions
- Slabs selected and tagged
- 50% deposit
Do you have a Showroom?
We do! The purpose of our showroom is to educate, not to sell. Our staff will assist you in making educated decisions on color, style and edge design. In addition to the showroom, we have an inventory of 100’s of stone slabs for you to examine. When you’re ready to buy, you can select the actual stone slab(s) that will be used for fabrication of your project. We also work with several stone distributors located around the Chicago suburbs where you can visit and select the stone slabs for your project.
What if I can’t find the color I’m looking for at Stonecrafters?
For unique and hard to find stone colors and patterns, we will assist you by working with our affiliated local distributors that give us access to thousands of slab choices.