What is involved in pricing a countertop?
There are many factors involved in pricing countertops: material cost, quantity of slabs, design and edge profile are primary considerations. Once you have chosen a particular stone, Kitch-Encounters will need either an accurate drawing or a field visit in order to clarify all the details. This service is offered for free and you will not be charged for the initial visit. After either obtaining an accurate drawing or a field visit we will then provide you with a finished, installed price.
Can I install my own countertops?
The cutting, polishing and installation of natural stone not only require specific tools and machinery, it also requires extensive product knowledge. Fabricating and / or installing natural stone countertops really are not "do it yourself" projects.
Can you cut on granite or do you have to use a cutting board?
Yes, you can cut directly on granite. However, routinely cutting on a granite surface will dull your cutlery. Using a cutting board is always recommended.
Can I put a hot pot directly onto granite?
The use of a hot plate or trivet is highly recommended. Placing hot objects onto granite (and any other countertop surface) can scorch the surface and/or cause a thermal shock to occur. A thermal shock can cause your countertop surface to crack.
Which type of sink is best for granite? Under mount or drop-in?
The ability to wipe off the counters directly in to the sink and the aesthetic appeal make under mounted sinks the most popular, yet, sink style is a matter of personal preference. If installed properly, both types of sinks are sanitary and safe. Typically an under mount sink installation would be an additional expense (though minimal) because of the process of finishing the edges around the sink.
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 a particular stone is in short supply and the demand is high, the price will reflect that. Stone is a natural product imported from all over the world, the price spectrum is wide. Many granite colors are offered at the same price (and sometimes less) than man-made products.
Will my countertops have seams?
Not necessarily. A typical slab size is somewhere between 7 and 10 feet. Therefore, your countertops may not require a seam. In any case, often the seams are so tight they are difficult to notice. If you are concerned about seams you should discuss this with Kitch-Encounters prior to fabrication. Where your countertop is seamed should also be discussed during the design process. Communication with Kitch-Encounters is essential in order to avoid confusion or disappointment regarding seams.
I'm building a house, when should I select my stone?
Because natural stone has variations, it is not a good idea to select a stone too early. Colorations can vary, and the veining from one shipment to another can be quite different. Once the cabinets are 3-4 weeks away from being installed it is a good idea to finalize your selection based on current inventory.
Should I approve my slabs before they are fabricated?
It is always a good idea to approve the slabs prior to fabrication. This will help to prevent any surprises or disappointments once the material is installed.
Is it okay to mix different colors of stone?
Absolutely. It is not uncommon to mix colors or types of stone within a room. When mixing stones, it is a good idea to consider which material would be the most practical for the space. For example, when mixing granite with marble, the granite would be best suited for the area around the range because it is the most durable. The marble could be used on the island or as a dining table.
How can we have as few seams as possible?
On average, granite slabs are approx 110" x 66". Though in some colors, 120" slabs are not unusual. While planning your kitchen, keep these sizes in mind. Extremely large islands may require a seam and the color selection in unusually large slabs will be very limited.
How much does stone weigh?
3cm granite weighs approximately 18 lbs a square foot. An average kitchen of 80 square feet will weigh approximately 1450 lbs. Typical cabinet construction is sufficient to handle the distributed weight of your granite, however large free-standing islands may require extra corner bracing.
How long will my natural stone last?
Take care of your natural stone and it will last for generations. Remember, some natural stones, now used in countertop fabrication, are as old as the earth.
Will granite stain?
Some granite, if not properly sealed, can absorb liquid into the pores. This may appear at first to stain; however in many instances a dark area on the countertop will dry and disappear over time. If discoloration occurs, there are products on the market that may be useful to attempt to remove them.
Will bacteria grow on granite?
Bacteria, like any other living organism, needs something to eat in order to live. Bacteria cannot eat granite. Unclean countertops can harbor bacteria regardless of what countertop is used. Granite has performed extremely well in testing; performing second only to stainless steel in its ability to resist bacterial growth. Sealing your countertop on a regular basis is a great way to prevent the growth of bacteria as well as helping prevent staining.
What should I use to clean my granite?
It is best to use a cleaning product made specifically for natural stone. Soap and water will do an excellent job for routine cleaning of your countertop. Additionally, you may consult Kitch-Encounters for other specific product recommendations.
How often do you have to seal granite?
Traditionally, homeowners have been told to seal their granite annually. However, with the advancements that have been made in sealing products, some sealers only need to be reapplied every 3 - 5 years. Check the information on the back of the sealer and follow the recommendations.
Does a professional have to come in and seal natural stone?
No, sealing natural stone is something a homeowner can easily do. The product is a liquid that is applied to a clean, dry countertop with a soft cloth. After the sealer is generously applied to the surface, the excess is removed with a dry cloth, and the countertops should be allowed to dry. Check the back of the sealer to determine when the countertops will be ready for normal use. Drying times can vary between 24-72 hours. Be very careful to not apply the sealer on any wooden surface. The chemicals in the sealer may ruin the finish on the wood.
Will the sealer wipe off when cleaned, or scratch off with wear?
No. The sealer is not a coating on top of the stone, it is an impregnator, which is absorbed by the stone and fills the pores in order to repel food and liquid. Over time, cleaners do reduce the effectiveness of the sealer, requiring re-sealing of the stone. Re-sealing could be necessary every 1-5 years, depending on the material and sealer used. In order to increase the life of your sealer, use cleaners that are intended for natural stone.
How do you know when granite needs to be re-sealed?
Many people in the industry recommend an annual re-sealing of your stone. However, many types of granite are harder than others and may never need to be re-sealed. If you notice water absorption into the countertop or darker areas around the sink that is an indicator it is time to re-seal.
Can granite crack or chip?
Yes, granite can crack or chip. Severe settling, excessive impact or abuse could result in cracking or chipping. A specialist in the stone renovation business can repair most minor cracks or chipping in natural stone. A qualified fabricator may also do repairs.
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. Today with advanced processing, the natural pitting or tiny craters in a granite finish are greatly reduced. These natural pits pose no maintenance or wear issues. The depths of these pits are virtually immeasurable.
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. These characteristics can enhance color and may be an attribute of that stone. Structurally, with today's processing, these materials do meet the strength requirements for countertop use.
Can granite be used outside?
Yes. There are a handful of granites that can change color when exposed to UV rays, but the material is very durable and can be used outside. Granite is often used for outdoor kitchens, as pavers for driveways and walkways, as stair treads, and as exterior cladding on commercial buildings.
Can you use marble in a kitchen?
The short answer is yes, you can use marble in a kitchen. However, because marble is susceptible to staining, scratching and etching, the use of marble in a kitchen requires careful consideration.
What is Soapstone and what kind of maintenance does it require?
Soapstone is quarried like Granite and Marble. Its primary components are magnesite, dolomite, chlorite, and talc. Talc in soapstone is soft to the touch, which gives the smooth feeling of rubbing a piece of dry soap. Thus the name was derived - "Soap" stone. For maintenance, Mineral oil should be applied to the stone, which darkens the color and works as a protective sealing layer. The mineral oil will need to be re-applied to the stone periodically, especially when the countertops are first installed. Over time, a patina will develop and the mineral oil can be applied less often. Soapstone will scratch. Scratches can be sanded out and re-sealed with mineral oil.
There are many interesting, practical and beautiful materials for countertops. Kitch-Encounters is proud to be a countertop supplier to Tallahassee and South Georgia businesses and homeowners. Countertops for your kitchen, bathroom or office, when remodeling or up-dating your home, will make a dramatic improvement.