Elegant Stone Products - Frequently Asked Questions
How do I care for my granite countertop?
For everyday use, wipe your countertops with a wet washcloth using a mild dish soap such as Ivory or Dawn just like you would your laminate countertops.
What is the difference between "cast stone" and natural stone?
Man-made or cast stone is made up of finely ground stone such as quartz mixed with resins or cement-based products, then poured into a mold to create either a slab or items such as sinks, mantels, etc. Natural stone is harvested from the earth in block form, cut into slabs, cut into shape, polished and installed in your home. Simply put, cast stone is a manufactured product where natural stones like granite are formed by nature over the course of thousands of years.
Are engineered quartz surfaces natural?
Marketers contend that quartz surfaces contain 93% quartz. However, this number is calculated by mass, not volume. Therefore the true ratio of quartz is approximately 67 - 73%. It is also important to note that "quartz" refers not only to natural quartz but glass and mirror particles as well.
I heard the Quartz Surfacing products won't stain and that Natural Stone will. Can you clarify?
No surface is bomb-proof. Be very careful with anything acidic, oily, red wines, fruit juices or food coloring. These items will also stain laminate, Corian® (and other solid surface brands), and Silestone® (and other quartz countertops). Rest assured, most stains can be removed.
Is granite more expensive than man-made materials?
It depends on the granite. Availability, color, and country of origin are major factors that affect the price of granite. If the supply of a particular stone is short and demand for it is high, the price will typically be higher. Given that stone is a natural product imported from all over the world, the price spectrum is wide. However, with petroleum prices fluctuating the way they do, products like Corian, with a petro-chemical base can often times be more expensive than the most common granites.
What is a "pit"? Will I have them in my countertops?
Most granite has some degree of pitting, whether microscopic or visible to the naked eye. With todays advanced processing, the natural pitting or tiny craters in granite are greatly reduced. These natural pits pose no maintenance or wear issues. The depth of these pits is virtually immeasurable. This constitutes the “Texture” of the stone.
Are veins weak spots in the stone?
Not necessarily. Some veins are strictly color variations in the stone. However in some materials natural flaws can exist within the vein, which enhances the color and is characteristic of that stone. Structurally, with today's processing, these materials do meet the strength requirements for countertop use.
How often do my granite countertops need to be re-sealed?
All granite tops are sealed at our facility before being loaded into trucks for delivery. We use a high quality 15 year guaranteed sealer to ensure maximum protection against stains. To check if you need to re-seal your granite, put a small amount of water on the countertop. Let it sit for 15 minutes. If the water is absorbed, you need to re-seal your granite countertops. Call Elegant Stone Products, for a quote on a re-seal using regular sealer or the new 15 year sealer.
Is it difficult to re-seal my granite countertops?
Competitive products may make the sealing process of natural stone seem more difficult than it really is. If you did not receive a “Care & Cleaning of Natural Stone Surfaces” brochure when your countertops were installed, please contact us and we will send one to you. You can also contact us and we'll re-seal your tops for you with the new 15 year sealer.
Can I hire Elegant Stone Products, Inc. to re-seal my countertops?
Absolutely. Contact us today for a free estimate. Be prepared to provide:
- Square Footage of Countertops
- Job Location
- Stone Color & Type
- Original Date of Install
Help! I have a stain in my granite!
Many stains can be removed from your granite countertops. You can call or contact us today and we will give you a free estimate to remove the stain(s) for you.
Will the polish on my countertops wear off over time?
The polish on natural stone is not a topical coating but the surface of the stone itself. Granite, with normal wear and tear will not lose its polish. That doesn't mean that if you attack your granite with a belt sander that it won’t dull the finish. Things that could scratch granite are typically not found in the kitchen. Marble, on the other hand, is a calcite which will react with acidic liquids, etching the polish. Proper sealing and maintenance is more crucial with marble countertops.
What is Antiqued Granite?
Instead of the normal process of polishing granite, abrasive brushes are used to surface the stone which leaves a satin textured finish.
Can granite crack or chip?
Yes, granite can crack or chip. However this is usually caused by severe settling, excessive impact or abuse. Most minor cracks or chipping in natural stone can be repaired by a specialist in the stone renovation business or by a qualified fabricator.
What do I do if my countertop chips?
Most chips are repairable in granite and quartz surfacing countertops. If you happen to get a chip, save the pieces and call or contact us for a service call. Our service technician will come out and repair the chipped area. Many times, after the repair is complete, you can't tell a chip ever happened.
Does granite scratch easily? Can I cut directly on my granite top?
In order to scratch granite you would need to use something as hard as granite or harder. While cutting on your granite top won't scratch the surface, it will dull your knife. Because of this we recommend always using a cutting board. Should a scratch occur, it can be repaired without resurfacing the entire area. In the event of a scratch, contact us and we'll send out a technician.
Can I have the stone that remains from a sink or cooktop cutout?
Sure! The pieces removed from sink or cooktop cutouts however do not have finished edges. If you would like the piece(s) re-cut to size and finished we will be happy to give you an estimate. Some customers will use these pieces as cutting boards, table tops, plant stands, garden pavers, etc.
Will my stone countertops look like the color sample?
Since granite, marble, onyx, slate, travertine and soapstone are natural products, naturally occurring variations in color, tone, granularity, pattern, etc. are expected and are the source of its natural beauty. The samples you see will vary either slightly or to a large degree from the actual slabs used in your project. We STRONGLY encourage all of our customers to preview their actual slab before we begin the fabrication process. We offer the option of a Stone Waiver in the event that you do not want to preview and approve the slabs designated for your project.
Is it okay to mix different colors of stone?
Absolutely. Whatever makes the design work. We or your designer can help you with that.
Will you remove my existing countertops prior to measure & template?
We will gladly remove your existing laminate or solid surface tops. Call or contact us today for a free estimate on removal. Be prepared to provide:
- Square Footage
- Type of Countertop
- Location of Removal
If I perform my own removal, how much do I have to remove?
All countertops, build-up, screws, nails, and backsplashes must be completely removed. If wall patching or skim coating is needed after everything is removed, it will be easier to complete before the granite countertops are installed. If your install date is already set, but you need more time to complete the removal work we can reschedule the installation appointment with you as long as you call or contact us 48 hours in advance.
Can I install my own countertops?
Only you know your skill set and limits! Working with stone and quartz surfacing requires special tools, skills and a strong back. We highly recommend that you let us do your project from “soup to nuts” – including the final installation. Keep in mind that we have nearly 80 years of combined experience working with stone and our finished products show it! Fabricating and/or installing natural stone or quartz countertops really is not a "do-it-yourself" endeavor.
How much does granite & quartz weigh?
3cm granite weighs between 15 and 20 pounds per square foot. An average kitchen of 60 square feet will weigh about 1,020 pounds.
Do I need extra support to handle the weight of granite or quartz?
When talking about support, you need to consider two different aspects: Weight and Balance. Most cabinets are strong enough to handle the weight of granite & quartz countertops. When considering weight, you may want to consider how it can affect the integrity of the granite too. On a typical 24" deep, finished cabinet, maybe you are planning on a 20" overhang off of the back side. According to the Marble Institute of America, you'll need to provide substantial support for 10 of the 20" of overhang in the way of bars, legs, brackets or corbels. With quartz tops, in certain circumstances, you can get away with 14" unsupported material because of its increased tensile strength. Let us help guide you in this design decision. Balance is the other thing to consider when discussing support. If your overhang is equal to or greater than the base on which it is installed, you'll need to add support to keep your top from tipping. Bar tops are an area where you will typically need some sort of support against tipping. If you have a 5" deep half wall and a 16" bar top, you will need corbels or brackets even though your overhang is less than 10".
How far can granite extend beyond the cabinetry without additional support?
According to the Marble Institute of America, corbels or structured support should be used when an overhang exceeds 10" for 3cm material or 6" for 2cm material.
How thick is granite and quartz surfacing?
The standard in the US is 1 ¼” (3cm) material. Depending on the application, however, we can utilize materials as thin as 3/8”.
Do my cabinets need to be emptied for my installation?
Does someone have to be at the jobsite during both the final measure and installation appointments?
Yes, we require either one of the homeowners or your representative over the age of 18, to be at the job site for the final measure. Keep in mind that many decisions need to be made at this appointment. We would like someone to be present for the installation as well to answer any questions that may arise during the install.
I want to install a new backsplash in my kitchen, when should this be done?
This should be done after the granite countertops are installed. This will allow you or your tile installer to know where to start the tile backsplash and what size cuts are needed.
What kind of prep do I need to do before I get my new countertops?
We require all cabinets to be completely emptied and all drawers removed. This is to allow for easy access for the installers to set the countertops and sinks. This also ensures that if any glue, caulk or sawdust falls down into the cabinets, anything that is generally stored in the base cabinets will not be damaged or dirtied. Dishwashers should be in place before installation of the tops. Other appliances should also be on site.
Will bacteria grow on granite?
Bacteria, like any other living organism, needs something to eat in order to live. Bacteria cannot eat granite. Unclean, unkempt countertops can harbor bacteria regardless of what countertop material is used. Granite has performed extremely well in testing; performing second only to stainless steel in its ability to resist bacterial growth.
What is Radon?
Radon is an inert gas discovered by German physicist Fredrich Ernst Dorn in 1898 (the same year as Curie's discover of Radium). Its symbol on the periodic table is an Rn and is the heaviest of Noble Gasses. It is the decay by-product of uranium.
Do my granite countertops have Radon in them?
Let's put this in perspective first. You are surrounded by Radon! Some parts of the country have higher concentrations than others. The primary source of Radon exposure is from the soil, although exposure can come from ground water and outdoor air. Only 2.5% of all radon exposure comes through building materials in general. If you have an elevated amount of Radon gas in your home, it will almost always originate from your basement or crawl space. Proper mitigation can make high Radon readings practically disappear.
Are my Stone Countertops dangerous?
The Marble Institute of America recently published the findings of a scientific study that concluded that statistically, you have a greater chance of a fatal fall from bed than getting cancer from your countertops. As a stone fabricator, we were concerned enough about this question that we certified one of our employees as a Residential Measurement Provider through the National Environmental Health Association's National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP). He then became an affiliate member of the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST). We can honestly say that while some may seek to profit from instilling fear of Radon in your mind, we are absolutely confident that the products we install in your home will not jeopardize your health due to any Radon.
Is Elegant Stone Products, Inc. insured?
Yes. We will be more than happy to give you any proof of insurance that you may require upon request.