General Questions

What's the difference between Granite and Marble?
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, shells, plant matter and silt at the bottom of bodies of water. After millions of years this solidifies into stone (lithifies). Because its main component is calcium, it can be affected by acids such as vinegar and citrus beverages.
Should I use Granite or Marble for my kitchen counter tops?
Although typical application of marble is for bathroom vanity tops, Jacuzzi tops and fireplaces, it is possible to use it in the kitchen. However, we don't recommend it due to the fact that it is easy to scratch and can be etched by acidic substances, such as vinegars, ketchups etc. The high-gloss of the marble countertop can be partially lost as many chemicals etch its surface. Granite in turn is considered the second hardest stone, its polish is not subject to etching by household acids, or scratching by knives, pots and pans under normal use. It is also not affected by typical kitchen heat such as hot pans.
Is it necessary to seal stone?
Since most mineral surfaces are porous they absorb liquids, which may result in discoloring and staining. Although there are many commercial grade products available on the market which may bring the stone to its original luster, taking simple precautions and regular maintenance can save a lot of trouble and cost. All of our marble and granite tops are sealed immediately after they are installed. The impregnating substance penetrates the stone clogging most of its pores making it quite impervious to alcohol, juices, soft drinks, cosmetics, cleaners, coffee, food and even oil. With the course of time, depending on how heavily the tops are used, the sealer gets worn out. The clear indication of this happening would be the fact that the liquids are easily absorbed into the stone leaving temporary (if promptly wiped off) stains. You should re-seal your marble every six months and your granite every 12 to 24 months. For best results, it is recommended to use the same sealer which was used initially.
What is the best way to clean natural stone surfaces?
It is safe to use a neutral cleaner, stone soap or mild liquid detergent to clean granite and marble countertops.  Do  NOT use products that contain lemon, vinegar, or other acids on marble or other calcareous stones.  Do NOT use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the stone.  In the bath or other wet areas, soap scum can be minimized using a squeegee after each use.  To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover or a solution of ammonia and water (1/2 cup ammonia to a gallon of water). 
Can I cut on my countertop?
If your countertop is made of granite, you can. Granite is extremely hard and can withstand even the sharpest knives. It's not a good thing for your knives, though. They can get dull in as little as one use. We recommend using a wooden or plastic cutting board. Other stones are not as resistant to scratching and so we do not recommend cutting on them.
Can a damaged piece of stone be repaired?
If any damage occurs it can usually be fixed with a mixture of epoxy and ground up chips of stone. In most cases the repair is hard to spot.
Do seams show?
Because granite is a natural material and is mined from the quarry in blocks usually no more than 10ft long, you will most likely end up with seams. Also, you may want to use seams to reduce your costs, such as in jacuzzi surround fabricated with seams, as opposed to a single piece. The visibility of seams will depend on the granularity, color and pattern. A small, uniform grain (such as Uba Tuba) will not be as apparent as a larger varied grain (such as Peacock Green). A dark color (Platinum) will be less apparent than a light color (Imperial White). A dramatic pattern with swaths of color (Kinawa, Paradiso) will show more seams than a uniform pattern (Dakota Mahogany). Most customers have found that the beauty of natural granite outweighs the concern of seams.
Are some edge profiles better than others?
Although most edge profiles have similar general characteristics, there are differences which can have an effect on daily usage. One concern is durability. Edges with smooth, rounded profiles tend to be more resistant to chipping. Another aspect of edge performance is ease of cleaning. Edge profiles which feature sharp creases, such as the Cove Dupont or Waterfall edges, tend to collect dust and grime and are tedious to keep clean. The Full Bullnose edge, because of its roundness, tends to carry spills over to the cabinet surfaces which may, over time, lead to damage to the cabinets, especially around the sink area. Also, because the bottom edge is rounded, it is not visible when viewed from above, and makes the countertop appear thinner, which is usually not a desirable effect. On the other hand, parents of small children may consider the rounded bottom edge to be safer.
Can you polish a material that is honed, like limestone?
Certain materials, like marble, limestone, slate, and travertine, have honed finishes because they are not dense enough to create a fully polished surface. Stones like this cannot be polished. Additionally, granites that come in Honed surfaces usually are also available polished, so you can avoid the costly polishing process.
What is the standard overhang for kitchen and bathroom counter tops?
Depending on stone thickness, edge profile overhang is usually 1 1/4" - 1 1/2".

Granite Specific Questions

What should I know about granite?
Granite is a natural stone. It is very hard and durable, heat and scratch resistant as well as easy to maintain. Aside from the practical aspect, granite is very versatile in the design field. It comes in various colors and patterns. We stock more than 1000 colors to choose from on site. All stones are not exactly the same, each lot will have unique characteristics attributed to the specific granite. Because it is a natural stone, it 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 architects and designers celebrate. Consumers who are less acquainted with the material often expect the stone 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, introducing an element of the natural into human-designed spaces, whether residential or commercial.
Can granite surfaces be damaged?
Like any solid surface, high impact blows can harm granite. Because of its crystalline structure, it can chip if subjected to sharp tipped hard objects. Unsealed, granite can absorb stains such as oil, which can ultimately cause dark spots or discoloration. Fortunately, under typical household use, granite is not subjected to such events. Also, heat from pots and pans or burning liquids will not affect granite under normal circumstances.
My granite sample has pits on the surface. Will those be present on my finished countertops?
Granite, which is crystalline in its structure, often has tiny pits or spaces between the various mineral crystals. It's hard to see them on a larger piece because the overall appearance is polished and mirror-like. Granite sometimes has natural fissures as well, which may look like cracks, but are not structural defects and are a naturally occurring result of the immense heat and pressure which formed the granite eons ago. These characteristics are part of the natural beauty of stone and will not impair the function or durability of the material. A product of nature should not be expected to look manmade.
Can I set a hot pot on my granite counter top?
Granite is formed by extreme heat combined with pressure occurring beneath the earths crust. It is extremely unlikely that a granite countertop would crack or discolor when subjected to a hot pan.
Can granite chip?
Only in cases of severe abuse with a hammer or impact tool. A chip can be filled with a granite dust and epoxy mixture. If a chip occurs on your countertop, do not throw out the chipped pieces. We can use them to fix the countertop, so that no one will be able to tell it was ever chipped.
Does granite crack?
No, not with regular use. Granite is most susceptible to cracks during shipping and installation. Normal use will not overstress this durable material.
Does granite stain?
Most natural stones are porous to some degree. Granite has very little porosity. Most colors will never show any moisture. A few colors may show some moisture if exposed for a period of time. For example, a puddle of water left on the counter for 30 minutes for some colors, may show a dark spot when the water is wiped away. This spot will then dry up and no evidence will show. Only a few colors demonstrate this trait. Our installers will seal the countertops after they are installed.
How is granite formed?
Granite is an igneous rock of visible crystalline formation and texture. It is composed primarily of feldspar, quartz, and mica. It starts off as liquid magma deep within the earth's core where it is cooled and compressed over millions of years under tons of pressure. It is then quarried, cut and polished. After that process it can be applied in various ways like kitchen countertops, vanity tops, fireplace surrounds as well as Jacuzzi surrounds and other custom designs.
How much does granite weigh?
One square foot of 1 1/4" thick granite usually weighs 16-18 lbs.
Why are some stones more expensive than others?
There are several factors which determine the price of each stone. First there are costs of mining. Some stones are located in hard to reach areas which increases the costs of mining. Then, depending on where the stone is sent from, the cost of shipping comes into play. Finally, the stone market follows the supply and demand economics, so rare and sought after stones will be significantly more expensive than common and popular stones.

Marble Specific Questions

Can marble be used as a kitchen countertop?
Most marbles are too soft and porous to be safely used in the kitchen. Even the more resilient marbles are susceptible to staining and should be avoided if you intend to cook or serve food often. None of our marbles are covered by any type of warranty when installed in kitchens.
Where can I use marble?
Marble can be used for a number of applications such as fireplace surrounds, tabletops, saddles, and shelves. It can also be applied in the bath area as Jacuzzi surrounds, vanities, floor, and shower paneling. Generally you can safely use marble in low traffic areas.

Cultured Marble Specific Questions

How do I care for and clean cultured marble?
Use liquid detergent for regular cleaning to remove mineral deposits and soap scum. Restore dull surfaces by using liquid cleaning compound (such as is used for cars), followed by a light application of liquid wax or paste. Do not use abrasive cleaners, steel wool, scouring pads, scrapers, or sandpaper on any part of the surfaces.  To remove built up hair spray, paint, tar, and difficult stains from the surface, use rubbing alcohol, denatured alcohol, or paint thinner. Be careful not to use paint thinner on the hydrojets in a spa or plated components- damage to the plastic coatings may result.

To remove plaster or construction residue, scrape the surface slightly with a wooden edge and wash with liquid detergent. Never use wire brushes or metal tools on any part of the cultured marble surfaces.

If the stain is from hard water or mineral deposits, try using a cleaner for removing iron, calcium, or other such mineral deposits that are in your water supply. Most cleaning chemicals will not damage the gelcoat as long as label instructions are followed.
Does cultured marble/granite scratch?
The gel-coat finish we apply to our stone is a very high quality and durable surface, similar to the finish on a boat. As long as proper cleaning techniques are used and no sharp or abrasive objects and drug across the surface then no significant scratching should occur.
Can scratches be removed?
Most minor scratches can be removed with an automotive buffing compound and soft rag. Deeper scratches and chips should be repaired by a professional.
Can I install cultured marble/granite on my own?
While we do recommend that a licensed contractor install your shower, it is possible for someone with adequate knowledge and the proper tools to install our material themselves. We would be more than happy to explain some tips and techniques for proper fit and finish, should you choose to do it yourself.