FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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Granite & Marble Basics
What exactly are granite and marble?
Granite is a crystalline igneous rock composed primarily of quartz, mica and feldspar. It forms from slowly cooling magma that is subjected to extreme pressures deep beneath the earth’s surface. Usage in construction dates as far back as 2600 BC when it was used in Egypt’s famous Red Pyramid.
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed mostly of calcite, aragonite and/or dolomite crystals. It forms when existing limestone deposits are subjected to changes in heat, pressure or chemicals through a process called solid-state recrystallization. Marble has been used as a building and sculpting material for centuries. If you’ve ever seen the Taj Mahal or Venus de Milo, you’ve seen an example of marble in action.
How strong are granite and marble?
Granite is one of the strongest, naturally occurring materials on earth, measuring an eight out of ten on Mohs hardness scale. It is an important building stone and is extremely resistant to weathering. To give you an idea of granite’s strength, diamonds, the hardest natural material, are required to cut, shape and polish granite. Marble is relatively soft when compared with granite, which explains its use in sculptures since classical time. It scores a six out of ten for hardness. It is still suitable for use in the home, but more care is required to avoid chipping, staining or scratching.
Are there differences in hardness between stones?
Yes, from the hardest to the softest: Quartzites, Granites, Schists, Marble, Engineered Stone (aka ‘quartz’, Limestones and Sandstones, and Soapstones. There are also hardness variances within each individual stone category. Among granites, the lighter colors tend to be ‘softer’, and the hardest tend to be blacks and reds. However, even the ‘softer’ granites are extremely hard.
Why are some stones more expensive than others?
Primarily, acquisition cost and processing time. Even in today’s wire saw environment, quartzites still take6-7 times longer to process vs. typical granites, more man hours at the factory. Add to that increased production times in our shop, you have a more expensive product. Engineered ‘Stone’, it is expensive to buy because the primary ingredient is crude oil based glue, which until recently, was very costly. And, it will be again.
Granite vs. Other Materials
What are granite’s main advantages?
Beauty leaps to mind. Natural stones such as granite and marble are quarried all over the world, and since each quarry produces a unique palette, there are literally thousands of distinct colors of granite available. Synthetic alternatives such as Corian and Engineered Stone are created in factories and cannot reproduce the variable look of granite since they are manufactured with consistency and repeatability in mind. Granite, on the other hand, can vary in color and texture both within a single slab and from slab to slab. Every granite countertop is unique and nothing compares to the beauty of nature.
Another advantage of granite is its durability. Granite can withstand temperatures of 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can place hot pots and pans directly on your counters, or even use the countertop as a cutting board! Manmade alternatives simply cannot match the strength, durability or longevity of natural granite, despite what their promotional materials say.
What about synthetic stones like Corian and Permastone?
Corian is basically tinted glues (resins). Engineered ‘Stone’ is about 40% crushed rock and 60% colored resins. Both products scorch at temperatures found in every kitchen. They also scratch easily as the glue is quite soft. The 90+% quartz claim by the Engineered Stone marketers is based on weight, not content – quartz is heavy, resin is light.
Is natural stone a good investment?
Based on my experience as a General Contractor in both the new construction and remodel market, I know first hand that natural stone is a tremendous investment. Two things sell homes: kitchens and bathrooms. Nationally, the payback for remodels on kitchens and bathrooms is over 90% of your investment. In Tulsa, where granite prices are less expensive than the national average, your return on investment will be even better. If you are trying to sell an upscale home that has existing tile or laminate tops, you will likely hit market resistance. Installing new natural stone countertops will be a lasting investment that you can also enjoy now.
Doesn’t granite require a lot of care?
Caring for granite is simple. There are many products on the market that can be used to clean your countertops, but mild soap and water is usually sufficient for daily cleaning.
What about maintenance? I hear granite needs to be sealed frequently.
At All Stone Granite, we seal all our tops with a new imported sealer that is guaranteed for 10 years and likely provides protection for close to 20 years. Most other fabricators will use a considerably less expensive sealer which is good for one to three years. The problem with conventional sealers is that they break down with repeated use of cleaning products, especially those containing ammonia. Every time you use them, you’re breaking down the sealer, making your counters more vulnerable to staining. The molecular structure of our sealer is significantly smaller, which for you means a much greater resistance to sealer breakdown and an increased lifespan for your countertops. If you are still concerned about sealers, let us know and we’ll be happy to show you a range of granites that never require sealing.
Will my kitchen have seams?
Our preference is avoid seams if at all possible. That said, a typical slab of granite is about 70 inches tall by 108 inches long. If you have a countertop run which exceeds either of those dimensions, you will have seams. This is something to keep in mind if you are purchasing new cabinets. If you prefer not to have seams, it is possible that your builder or designer can take this into account in the design phase of a kitchen. When we lay out the countertops for fabrication, we consider several factors in determining the very best placement of seams.
When they are necessary, we top-polish the seams. Most fabricators will place the two pieces to be seamed together, put a line of color-matched glue between them, and then set the pieces using a vacuum pressured seam setter. Any glue which is pressed to the top during this process is scraped away, and the job is done. At All Stone, our fabricators take it one step further, top polishing each seam to ensure it is perfectly flat and practically invisible. You’ll see examples in our showroom. It makes a world of difference.
If there are seams, how do you ensure a pattern match?
It depends on the material. Stones which are primarily one color, like Opalesence or Uba Tuba, and those which have a tight, repeating pattern, like Santa Cecilia and New Venetian Gold, are simple to match. Other stones, like Crema Bordeaux or Snake Brown, have a large variance in color and pattern from one part of the slab to the other, and therefore, care must be taken when matching seams.
To ensure the best pattern match possible on exotic stones, we use a program called Slabsmith, and we are the only fabricators in the state able to offer you this service. The Slabsmith process involves combining the digital template we take of your countertops with high resolution digital photos of your slabs to create an image showing you how your kitchen will look before it is even cut. We do not start fabricating the job until you approve the layout. Not only does this guarantee a great match on any required seams, it gives you peace of mind knowing there won’t be any nasty surprises come installation day. You can see examples of customer Slabsmiths in our gallery section.
Can marble be used in a kitchen?
It can, but it has natural tendencies. Simply put, marble will stain. It is not a matter of if, but when and how much. The reason for this is that the shine on a marble is achieved by applying an acid during production. Thus, if you spill anything acidic [soft drinks, orange juice, tomato juice, etc.] and it sits for a few moments, your shine will be gone. We can bring the shine back, but it is tedious and time consuming, as well as expensive. In spite of this, some customers love the look of marble enough to accept these inherent limitations, and that is fine by us as long as you are aware of the risks.
What type of sink applications are used for granite counters?
The most common are undercounter, using undermount sinks, top mount or drop-in, which uses self-rimming sinks, and increasingly, the vessel, which sits partially recessed into the countertop or on top. A unique application that only All Stone does is a flush mount. A solid surface sink is mounted to the underside of the granite countertop. We then polish the inside rim of the granite so there is no gap between the stone and the sink and the sink appears integrated with the counter. You can see an example in our gallery section.
We can laminate 2 or more pieces of stone on the front edge to create a thicker appearance. We do this frequently with a ‘chiseled’ edge. It’s a beefy look. We can also do offset laminations where the bottom piece is pulled forward from the main countertop to give a waterfall type look. This results in a fairly strong forward overhang. Mitered ends are becoming more popular, especially in the synthetic ‘stones’. No matter which lamination application you choose, colored resin is required to bond the 2 pieces of stone together. In monochromatic choices, the glue line tends to fade. In wildly patterned stones, there is no physical way to make it ‘disappear’. If I have 5 colors blending over 5 inches, no matter which color I tint the glue, the other 4 colors are not going to match. We do dabble in the world of magic, but not Alchemy.
Is it safe to buy stone by looking at a 4″ by 4″ sample?
No. The pattern and color variations of granite cannot be represented in a small square. It’s like buying a car by looking at only the hubcap. We are a stocking fabricator. You see the entire slab in our yard, so that you can better determine what the finished product will look like. We write your name on the batch from which your slabs will be taken. That way, you know that what you’ve selected is what you’ll see installed.
What is your fabrication process?
There are many different methods for cutting and polishing stone, from manual to sophisticated automation. We are believers in the precision that digital solutions provide, and our process reflects this. The first step for any fabricator is to take a template of the area to be covered. While some shops will use paper or wooden sticks to construct the template, we capture this information using a digital laser template system or a sophisticated capture machine derived from the yachting industry. From there, the digital template is fed to an automated KMT Sawjet using a diamond blade for straight cuts and a waterjet for any curves. From there, your pieces are sent to two Prussianni CNCs for edge profiling and sink work, and then finishing touches are put on by our experienced fabricators. As a result of our investments in technology, we are able to offer edges, finishes and custom inlays which are not available anywhere else. We’re constantly working to improve our quality and to distance ourselves from the competition.
What makes you different from other fabricators?
All Stone Granite & Marble offers many advantages, including:
• A wide inventory of unique, A-grade selections
• Lifetime warranty on workmanship on granites. We do not warrant remnants of any material, marble, or engineered stone.
• Slabsmith technology to ensure customer satisfaction
• Top polished, flat seams
• All Stone texture options done in our facility
• Competitive pricing and free estimates
• Digital fabrication technology
• Prompt production turnaround
• Dependable installation schedule
CONTACT US TODAY
Enhance the Beauty & Value of Your Home
Come tour our showroom and on-site slab yard to start creating your next dream space.
Tuesday-Friday: 8:30AM to 5:00PM
Saturday: 10:00AM to 3:00PM (except holiday weekends)
4225 South Sheridan Rd. Tulsa, OK 74145
P: (918) 992-4255