We recently stumbled upon a website with a highly informative “Frequently Asked Questions” section pertaining to marble versus granite. Understanding a natural product’s inherent qualities is crucial when building or renovating your home and can save you time, money and heartache in the long run. Below, A&S Sales, Inc. explains:
What’s the difference between marble and granite?
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. The greatest difference lies in the porosity, softness and durability of marble when compared to granite.
Do I have to buy the whole slab?
Buying slabs is similar to buying fabric. Like a seamstress or tailor, A&S buys the raw material and sells you a completed installation. How much material needed is determined by the layout and the amount of waste. A&S will lay out your job in a way that will minimize the amount of waste material while maximizing the natural beauty of veining and pattern.
Why are some stones more expensive than others?
Availability, locations of quarries in the world (due to transportation expenses), the rarity of the color, and the amount of labor required to extract the stones all affect the price of natural stone. Higher price doesn’t mean higher quality.
What is “honed” stone?
Granite, Marble, or limestone that is honed has a matte or satin finish, rather than a high reflective polish. One feature of honed marble is that it doesn’t show etching as readily, or wear patterns on floors. It is preferred by some because “honed” stone has a less formal, softer appearance than polished stone.
Why is granite good for kitchen counters?
Granite is highly resistant to scratching, cracking and staining, and is impervious to heat. Daily kitchen activities pose no problem and it can take a hot pot without the use of a trivet. This makes granite an ideal choice for countertops.
Can granite 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. But repair is possible – a chip can be filled with a granite dust and epoxy mixture.
Can granite crack?
Not with ordinary use. Granite is most susceptible to cracks during shipping and installation. Normal use will not overstress this durable material. (Normal use does not include standing on the counter tops!)
Can you scratch granite?
In general it is very difficult to scratch. Granite is one of the hardest stones in the world and is highly resistant to scratching in ordinary use. A knife blade will not scratch granite. It can be scratched by another piece of granite or with specially sharpened tools designed to work with granite like tungsten and diamond blades.
Can I cut on my granite countertop?
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.
Does granite stain?
In general, no. All stone, however, is porous to some extent, but granite has very little porosity. A few colors may absorb some moisture with prolonged contact compared to others. For example, a puddle of water left on the counter, for some colors, may show a dark spot when the water is wiped away. Usually, no evidence remains once the liquid is removed and the granite dries. A stone sealer is highly recommended for all granite after installation. Some stones are more porous than others, so it is important to use a penetrating sealer to prevent stains from oil, wine or other liquids from soaking into the surface.
Does granite burn?
No. You can’t burn granite with ordinary use. It is perfectly ok to set hot pots or pans directly from the stove or oven onto granite.
How do you take care of granite?
Warm soapy water will do the trick. Or use cleaners specifically formulated to help clean and protect stone surfaces.
I’ve noticed some granites have pits on the surface – will I have these on my kitchen counters?
Granite, which is crystalline in structure, always has tiny pits – spaces between the various mineral crystals. 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 that 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.
Will my kitchen have seams?
Due to the limitation of slab size, seams on a granite countertop are necessary and sometimes unavoidable. On average, granite slabs are approx. 110″x66″, though in some colors, 120″ slabs are not unusual. Extremely large islands may either require a seam, or color selections will be limited to those slabs that have longer lengths or widths. A good place to incorporate seams is near sinks or cook tops. This will help to cover most of the seam, leaving a minimum amount in view. The visibility of seams will depend on the granularity, color and pattern of the stone. Our sales associates will help to explain the seam process in further detail to you.
Also for clarification, take a look at the kitchen displays we have throughout the showroom. Most contain seams.
Will my countertops overhang the cabinets?
Most counters overhang by 1 1/2″, which is standard. This may be changed for whatever reason due to cabinet configuration, cabinet installation and/or personal tastes.
Can granite cantilever?
You can cantilever granite up to 12″ with sufficient support on the fixed end and with a large enough piece. Never cantilever unsupported granite where it might receive excessive stress like someone sitting on a counter or stepping on a counter to change a light bulb. You must have support underneath for these situations.
Can I use marble on my kitchen counters?
Yes, but be aware marble (and limestone and travertine) are calcium carbonate, and their polished surface is more vulnerable to household acids including vinegar, mustard, catsup, citrus and a host of other food-related products. These acidic substances cause a chemical reaction, which will remove the polish. Additionally, marble and limestone can be scratched more easily than harder stones such as granite.
Marble does make a perfect pastry slab; its perfectly smooth, cool surface is ideal for rolling out dough and pie crusts.
What is etching?
Etching happens when acid in some form comes in contact with a polished marble or limestone surface. This causes a chemical reaction, which removes the polish, or roughens the surface of honed marble or limestone. Granite is impervious to any common household acids.
What’s the best way to clean marble and other soft stones?
The old rule of thumb is never to use anything you wouldn’t use on your hands. Never use powdered cleansers or abrasive pads to clean your stone. Even “soft scrub” type cleaners contain pumice, which is powdered volcanic stone, and might damage your stone countertops or floors. Never use any product which is acidic; this includes substances like ammonia or many common liquid cleaners such as Windex. You should always use sealers and cleaning products designed specifically for natural stone.
What is limestone?
Limestone is sedimentary rock consisting mostly of organic material such as skeletons and shells of marine creatures and sediments. It is formed by material that settles to the bottom of bodies of water, and over millions of years, solidifies into solid rock. Earth movements over extremely long periods of earth’s history can lift limestone miles into the air. The summit of Mount Everest is limestone that started out on an ocean floor.
Can I use limestone in my kitchen?
Like marble, polished limestone is highly susceptible to surface changes or damage from kitchen acids including citrus juices, vinegars, mustards, and so forth. Unsealed, some of the more porous limestones can be subject to stains. If the limestone is polished or semi-polished, you will see a rough spot where the substance sat on the stone. Limestone can scratch easily as well.
*Disclaimer: Benson & Associates has not worked with A&S Sales, Inc. and can not verify their products or installation.