Frequently Asked Questions
What are the different types of stones you work with?
Quarried from mountains of Italy, Brazil, the U.S., India and dozens of other countries around the world, granite is one of the most popular natural stones on the market. It provides organic beauty, indisputable strength and ultra durability. Granite is one of the oldest and most respected building materials. Traditionally, it's the ideal material chosen by architects and engineers when permanence, enduring color and texture, and complete freedom from deterioration and maintenance are vital.
Granite can be used indoors and outdoors. Both eye-catching and ageless, it's available in a slew of sticking colors, textures and finishes that complement any decor. Granite can hold up in the most demanding situations. When used outdoors, granite's mineralogical composition can endure freeze and thaw cycles. The diamond-like hardness of granite makes it impervious to extreme heat, ultraviolet light, acids and abrasions. However, it is somewhat porous and requires a penetrating sealer to deter stains.
Granite is dense and coarse grained and one of the hardest materials on earth, ranking close to that of quartz and diamonds. Granite is an igneous rock, which means it was once molten and formed as it slowly cooled deep within the earth's surface. Minerals appear within the granite as small flecks or nodules throughout the stone, creating a "salt and pepper" affect. Some types have veining similar to that of marble.
Marble is found in the mountain regions of Canada, Italy, Germany, Spain, the U.S. and other countries. Since ancient times marble's classic elegance has been heralded by artisans and masons. Marble, though indeed luxurious, is soft and porous and needs regular waxing/sealing. Marble should be cared for as you would fine wood finish. Using coasters on table tops and immediately cleaning up spills will preserve marble's natural beauty. Marble stones consist of limestone that has undergone high heat and intense pressures. A transformation process takes place when the weight of overlaying material, pressure from crystal collisions and heat from the earth's core generate temperatures in excess of 1800F. This altered its crystalline structure and introduced other minerals that produce the valuable colors and veining that are characteristics of marble. Marble is composed predominately of crystalline grains of calcite - dolomite or serpentine - and capable of taking polish.
This material has the look and feel of natural stone, but is actually stronger due to its engineered make-up. This is a man-made material that does not stain, does not require sealing and will not breed bacteria. Quartz provides a uniform pattern, if this is your desired look, engineered solid surface materials are in great supply! There are virtually unlimited patterns and colors to choose from. Silestone, Caesarstone, & Dupont Zodiaq, are the top Engineered Stone (Quartz Surfaces) manufacturers.
Soapstone is a natural stone quarried from the earth in blocks like granite and marble. It's made from different materials, but is primarily composed of talc, which gives soapstone its silky smooth feel. It is low maintenance, and unrivaled for its family-friendly resiliency. Unlike granite and marble, soapstone is naturally non-porous and stain resistant. Being softer then both granite and marble, it has a tendency, under stress, to scratch or dent rather than chip. It is also typically easier to repair than granite or marble. Soapstone oxidizes (turns dark) when exposed to water, grease and oils. Given this, it is recommended that soapstone countertops be treated with mineral oil to keep the oxidation uniform across the entire surface. Colors range from dark grey to bluish or greenish gray. Soapstone has a personality as no two pieces are exactly the same and each can produce unique variations in veining and color. With a small amount of up front maintenance and care, your countertops should reward you with decades of service and beauty.
How often should the stone be sealed?
A good rule of thumb is once per year, however, a simple test is the best way to determine when it is required. Sprinkle a few drops of water on the surface, if the water droplets “bead up”, then there is no need to seal the stone. If the water soaks into the surface or the surface becomes darker, then sealing is recommended.
What's the difference between marble & granite?
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 and shells, plant matter, silt – at the bottom of bodies of water. After millions of years this solidifies (lithifies) into stone. Because its main component is calcium, it can be affected by acids such as vinegar and citrus beverages. Because of Marble’s more porous properties, it is not recommended for kitchens or bar tops. Marble applications include bathroom vanities, shower and fireplace surrounds. Granite applications include kitchen countertops, bath room vanities, bar tops and fireplaces. 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.
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Can granite top be damaged?
Like any solid surface, high impact blows can harm granite. Because of its crystalline structure, it can chip if subjected to sharp hard objects. Unsealed, granite can absorb stains such as oil, which can ultimately cause dark spots or discoloration. All of the fabricated tops we make are sealed before they are installed.
Can I cut on my granite top?
Only if you want to ruin your good knives. Granite is harder than your knife blades and will dull them very quickly, if you use the countertop as a cutting surface. Always cut and chop on a wooden or plastic cutting board.
Are stone surfaces difficult to maintain?
Granite, marble and other natural stone products are porous materials and, therefore, require sealing. Every LVM Granite top is sealed upon installation. For residential use, it is recommended that the surface be sealed annually using sealant designed for use with natural stone.
Can I pick out my own granite?
Yes, in fact we strongly encourage you to view and select your slabs. We do this for 2 reasons: 1. Finding the perfect slab is a great experience and you should have the opportunity and the joy of actually selecting slabs for your kitchen. They will become conversation pieces for years to come. 2. Samples don’t always represent the actual slab and we want you to know exactly what is going to be installed in your kitchen. Visit one of our local distributors so you can hand pick your slabs.