Frequently Asked Questions at STONE EXPRESS about Granite, Quartz, Marble
A:Granite is very durable and recommended for any countertop surface. It’s a natural stone so no two slabs of granite are alike which gives each kitchen a unique and personal touch. Granite countertops also keep their value better than any other home improvement and increase the re-sale value of any home.
Q:Why are your prices so competitive?
A:When you shop with STONE EXPRESS MARBLE&GRANITE you are going directly with the fabricator. Bypassing salesmen, retailers & home improvement stores.You are paying the actual cost of stone fabrication & installation.
Q:Do I have to seal my granite countertops?
A:Sealing granite is optional. However all granites are sealed by us upon installation. Penetrating sealer is used to protect and help prevent staining. Sealing your countertops at least once a year is recommended. Natural stone sealer can be purchased at your local hardware store
Q: Is your granite “pre-fab”? Will you be creating a lot of mess in my house or driveway?
A: STONE EXPRESS MARBLE&GRANITE is a custom fabricator of granite, quartz and marble countertops. We generally work with full sized “slabs” of material (approx. 5-6ft high by 9-10ft long) and 3cm (about 1-1/4”) thick. This means every countertop is custom-tailored specifically to your kitchen design, minimizing the amount of seams and maximizing the beauty! We do nearly all of the “messy” fabrication work in our factory, with the exception of small finishing work on-site to make your counters just right. You are guaranteed professional results from the initial design through fabrication and final installation. Watch out for anyone who says they will do work in your driveway off the back of their pickup truck. They may seem like a bargain at first, but these “hacks” are often illegally unlicensed, will cut every corner you can imagine on the construction of your counters, and once they leave the premises you will likely never see them again if there is a problem
Q: Why do you specialize in using 3cm slabs? What is the advantage of 3cm vs. 2cm?
A: Using 3cm slabs of granite and quartz allows us to produce an attractive edge profile without the process of “laminating”, or gluing an extra piece on the edges, which creates a seam, and adds significantly to the labor costs. 3cm slab can also cantilever (overhang) farther than 2cm without requiring plywood or other support. However, we are also perfectly adept at fabricating from 2cm slabs, if by chance the exact color you want is not available in 3cm.
Q:What's the difference between fabricating by hand and using automated machinery?
A:Beware of companies cutting, fabricating and polishing by hand. A component of the hand-method is to use wax to bring out the shine in the edge profile. The wax finish will usually diminish within 6 to 8 months leaving you with a dull finish. Uneven fabrication, bumps and crooked lines are typical with hand methods.
Q: Will my countertop have visible seams?
A: Most kitchen countertop installations will require at least one or more joints called seams. During layout and design, STONE EXPRESS MARBLE&GRANITE will always try to minimize the number of seams required, and to locate seams in places which make them less conspicuous. Finally, STONE EXPRESS MARBLE&GRANITE installers are trained to color-match the joint filler material to enhance their appearance. Seams are created with a permanent, maintenance-free epoxy material, NOT like tile grout in any way!
Q: Are there special cleaning requirements for granite and quartz countertops?
A: Maintenance of granite and quartz surfaces is easy. For daily cleaning, a non-abrasive dishwashing liquid is recommended. Although granite is very solid and nearly non-porous, spills left on the surfaces for an extended time period may leave some residual staining – even if sealed properly. Most stains usually dissipate over time on their own. If immediate removal is desired, a stain-lifting poultice powder can be used. Quartz surfaces such as Caesarstone and Zodiaq are billed as “maintenance-free” and do not require sealing – otherwise they feature the same ease of daily cleaning as granite. Marble, because of its mineral makeup, requires a bit more care and maintenance, although in a bathroom which is where we typically install marble surfaces, there are few issues.
Q:What is the difference between 3CM and 2CM Granite?
A:3CM is 1 1/4″ thick and 2CM is 3/4″ thick. 3CM is standard for kitchens. 2CM is popular for vanities, table tops, & bars. Actual thickness can vary depending on quarry.
Q:Will my countertops have a seam/joint?
A:Seam(s) may be necessary depending on countertop layout, slab size, and amount of slabs purchased. Seams are colored to match the color of your granite. So if you have a black colored granite, the seam will also be black.
Q: How often do I need to re-apply stone sealer to granite?
A: It’s hard to predict how our customers will use their countertops, so STONE EXPRESS Granite&Marble does not advise any preset “calendar” for re-sealing, but in general, once every year or two is sufficient. Over-application of sealer can build up over time and cause a haze on the surface of your countertops. The frequency for re-sealing really depends on the type of granite installed (lighter colors are more porous than darker ones) and the amount of use that the countertops see. An easy rule of thumb is to closely monitor the area around the sink. If you begin to notice that water does not bead up or soaks into the stone within 10-15 minutes, then it’s probably time to re-seal. Applying sealer is easy; you simply spray it on, let it soak in for a few minutes, and wipe it away with a clean towel. Quartz surfaces do not require any sealing.
Q: Can I cut on my granite or quartz countertop?
A: Only if you want to ruin your good knives. Granite and quartz is harder than steel, and will dull knives very quickly if you use the countertop as a cutting surface. Always cut and chop on a wooden or plastic cutting board.
Q: Can I place hot pots and pans on my granite or quartz countertop?
A: Granite is nearly impervious to typical kitchen cooking temperatures, though you may wish to avoid any risk of damage by using hot-pads or trivets. Quartz surfaces such as Caesarstone and Zodiaq are tolerant of heat up to about 300 degrees F., so you’ll want to use more care around them with very hot cooking surfaces.
Q: My sample of granite has pits on the surface – will I have these on my kitchen counters?
A: Granite, which is crystalline in structure, always has tiny pits – spaces between the various mineral crystals. You don’t 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 cannot be expected to look manmade. Fortunately the process of “Resining” can greatly reduce the appearance of pits and fissures, as well as help repel stains.
Q:What is “Resining” stone?
A: Resining natural stone is a procedure meant to fill fissures and pits in the stone. The slabs are first honed to allow the surface of the stone to evenly absorb the resin. The stone is then dried and resin is spread over the entire surface of the stone, and then cured in special ovens. After the resin has cured, the slabs are polished. All excess resin is removed from the face of the slab, leaving only the resin that has filled any fissures or pits – the resin does not “coat” the surface.
Q:How much will it cost?
A:The cost of your granite countertops will be based mainly on two things. The amount of square feet your project has & the color of granite you pick. Whether your project will require 1 or 2 slabs can also affect the price. Sinks, Polished Cut Outs & Tear Out and Removal is available.
Q: Will my granite look like the online sample?
A: The samples you see on the computer have been scanned and saved as digital images. The color tones may not be absolutely correct due to variations in computer systems and monitors. Granite also has naturally occurring variations in color, tone, granularity, pattern, etc. These variations are expected and are the source of its natural beauty. 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 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.
Q:Will I be able to hand-pick my slabs?
A: You will always hand-pick the exact granite or marble slabs used for your counter tops, either from our local inventory, or at one of our slab suppliers. Quartz surfaces such as Caesarstone and Zodiaq, because they are very consistent in color and texture, are ordered directly from the samples.
Q:Do you install backplashes?
A:Yes, backplash installation services are available. A backsplash is typically installed 1 to 2 days after the countertop installation. You can pick any type of material including: Tumbled Stone, Travertine, Marble, Slate, Glass, Porcelain, and more!
Q:How long will it take?
A:From the day you pick out material and we make templates, we ask for for a seven days time-frame. This gives us enough time to properly cut, fabricate, & polish the slabs at our facility.
An average size kitchen installation is complete in one day. This includes both the tearing out of the old countertops and the installation of the new countertops.
Q: Do I need to remove my existing countertops first?
A: Yes, your kitchen needs to be ready for us to install your new countertops on the day we come to make a template. Demolition is another job entirely and can take several days, so plan ahead. We can sub-contract your demolition if needed, or provide you with a list of reliable contractors who can perform such work.
Q:What should I expect on the installation day?
A:Your countertop installation will be complete in one day. Please help us in securing a clear walking path from the back or front door and into work area (kitchen, bathroom, etc.). Please remove any items from your countertops. Cook Top cut out and Faucet Holes are completed on site. A vacuum will be present to minimize dust during cut outs. The final phase of the installation will be the sealer application.
Q:Can you re-connect my electrical and plumbing connections?
A: STONE EXPRESS MARBLE&GRANITE is a highly trained and licensed contractor for countertops, but we are not electricians or plumbers. We can not assume any liability for making electrical, gas, or plumbing connections.