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Granite & Marble Shop

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Below is a selection of questions we are frequently asked by our customers. If you are unable to find the answer to your question below please do not hesitate to contact us.

We also offer information on Care & Cleaning and Tips and Warnings.

Why is Granite an excellent material choice for kitchen counter tops?

Next to diamond, sapphire and ruby, granite is the hardest natural product on earth. Once polished, natural granite will maintain its high gloss for almost indefinitely. It is resistant to heat, staining and scratching. Though it is possible to scratch granite and we always recommend use of a chopping board especially with the modern knives.  A pan trivet should always be used for hot pans. 

What does “honed” granite mean?

Honed granite has not been polished to a shine. It is a smooth, matte finish.  Honed granite is lighter coloured than its polished counterpart.  However the colour can be deepened with colour enhancing sealer. While honing a stone produces a look that is appealing to many, honed stones are more susceptible to surface stains and will show things such as finger prints much more than a polished stone.

Will granite chip or crack?

Like any solid surface, high impact blows can damage or chip the surface. The most common areas for damage to occur are around the sink or at the edge of the granite. These are usually as a result of heavy objects being dropped on the granite. Dependant on the colour of the granite they may not be visible but may be felt.  Chips are easy to repair, if you can save the chip or alternatively a coloured epoxy resin can be used to fill in small areas.

Granite is most susceptible to cracking during shipping and should not crack with normal use.  You should never stand or sit on your granite worktop (this would not be classed as normal use)

Granite Care and Maintenance

Marble and granite can be easily maintained. Using warm soapy water and a soft cloth will allow you to clean and shine the surfaces. Alternatively you can purchase granite and marble cleaners from any good local store. These cleaners are formulated to be non-abrasive, gentle and effective on stone surfaces.

To ensure your stone remains polished and unscratched.  Never use abrasive cleaners or scrubbing pads of any type.  These products will be far too harsh and may even scratch your surfaces.  Care should also be taken not to use acidic cleaners as these may contain chemicals that will dull your surface. Bleach and window cleaning fluids are two types of cleaners that should never be used on your surfaces. Be sure to check as many cleaners contain ammonia. A good way to gauge what to use is to ask yourself would you put it on your hands?  If the answer is no, then don’t use it.

Is sealer advisable?

Your worktops should be sealed at installation. However, all worktops would benefit form sealing again approximately every 12 –18 months. This will help maintain its stain resistance. 

However, some natural stones are still susceptible to staining even when treated.

What is etching?

This occurs when acid in some form comes into contact with the polished surface.  There is a chemical reaction, resulting in the loss of polish.  It can also cause the surface to become rough if the stone had a specialist finish such as “leather”.

Is there any difference between granite, marble and limestone?

Although they are all quarried from the earth. Each has different qualities such as porosity, softness and durability.  Granite is the hardest of the three types and best suited to use for kitchen worktops.

What is limestone?

This is a sedimentary rock made up of mostly organic materials such as shells, skeletons from marine animals and sediments.  The material settles over eons of time to the bottom of bodies of water, which then solidifies into rock. Then due to the earths movement the rock has then been exposed to the air.  For example Mount Everest is limestone that started out deep in the bottom of the ocean floor.

Is limestone usable in my kitchen?

Limestone, like marble is best avoided for use in a kitchen. The reason for this is that polished limestone undergoes some surface changes or damage from materials usually found in kitchens and is not as durable as granite.

Can I use marble in my kitchen?

Marble, though beautiful to the eye and cool to the touch is not the best-suited material for kitchens.  Marble is vulnerable to household acids and when in contact with these products the polished finish is damaged.  Marble is also “softer” stone than granite and can scratch more easily than other stones.  Marble is often used for pastry slabs because of its cool properties.

When buying my worktops do I have to purchase the whole slab?

We will work out how much material is required and ensure the best possible use is made of the slab.  We will buy enough material to complete your installation and minimise waste.  If you think of how a dress pattern is placed over a length of material. You purchase the material to a certain length and lay the pattern in such a manner to reduce any waste.

Is granite priced according to its quality or grade?

There are several factors to consider.  Sometimes granite that is very exotic will be quite highly priced because of its uniqueness; where as a standard black granite may be relatively low in price by comparison.  There are also risk factors to consider such as will the remaining stone by suitable for selling or is there a high risk it will be fragile to cut because of its composition.    We source all our stone from well established and trusted firms and never compromise on quality.

Can I come and see the granite?

This is a most definite yes; we encourage visits to our showroom to take a first hand look at the slabs and how we do things.  In the instances where we do not carry the granite you have chosen in stock we will always endeavour to obtain a sample for you to view.

I have heard that granite can have pits in it, will mine?

As granite is a natural product and has a crystalline structure therefore pitting does naturally occur. These pits are tiny spaces between the various mineral crystals and are not structural defects in the stone. These form part of the unique characteristics of this natural product and will not impair the durability or beauty of the stone.

Will I have joints in my worktops?

Granite is quarried into slabs usually no bigger than 3 meters by 1.8 meters. There are many factors to consider when designing your worktops, which will affect whether there are any joints.  For example:

Access to the kitchen, can we get a 3 metre length into the room with ease?

Is an island required which exceeds the slab size?

Can the section be lifted, don’t forget it has to be carried by hand into your kitchen.

The over all look of the work tops, will the kitchen look “balanced”, this may mean an additional joint just to create the correct finish.

Joints are kept as narrow as possible and will be visible to the eye.  We will always try to minimise the impact of any joint by tying the colour of adhesive as closely as we can to the granite.

If I put a hot pot on my granite will it burn?

Normal use will not burn your granite.  However, if you place a red-hot pan onto granite you can damage the finish, resulting in a mark on your worktop.  Our recommendation is to always use a pan trivet.

Can I have overhanging worktops?

You are able to have overhanging worktops.  Standard overhangs are approximately 20mm.  If you would like to have a larger overhang to create a breakfast bar this is also possible. Usual lengths vary form 300mm to a maximum of 400mm dependant on the supporting structure.

Will my sink be an under mount or inset sink?

This is usually decided at the design stage. We can accommodate either when fabricating your worktops.  You can also decide on whether you have drainer grooves with an under mount sink or not.

What is the difference between an up stand and back splash?

Simply put, the up stand is a smaller piece of granite usually 100mm in height which runs along the back of your worktops and is fixed to the wall. At the point your worktops break for the hob or range then a backsplash can be fitted. This fits to the width of your cooker and rises upward to meet your extractor fan. (You can state the size you want to meet your needs)  This serves as a wipe clean surface for any splashes from pans whilst cooking. Then where your worktop starts again up stands begin again.  Both up stands and backsplash are optional features that complement your worktops.

What if I am not having new units can I just fit new granite?

Yes, refurbishment of a kitchen is a very prudent way of getting the new look with out the higher cost of replacing all the cupboards.

How do you measure up for a quote?

Simply let us know the approximate sizes of the tops you require or have a plan of your new kitchen layout and we can do the rest.  The exact measurements will be double checked at the point a template is made.

What is a template?

This is a vital tool in the fabrication of your worktops.  It is an exact model (including measurements) of how the granite work tops will need to be fabricated. Made from a flexible material the templater will work out where any joints should sit and where the sink  and /or hob will best be placed into the granite. It will also assist in working out access especially where kitchens are upstairs or only have small door ways. 

When is the template made?

This is made at the point in time when all your units are fixed into place.  This has to be the case as any changes to layout or walls in a kitchen can affect the overall measurements of granite worktops needed.

Do I have to pay upfront from my granite work tops?

We ask for a 50% deposit at the time of templating and the outstanding balance upon completion.

Can I change the choice of granite?

The templater will confirm your choice of granite.  Prior to this changes can be made but may result in an increase in the cost of your worktops from that given on your original quote?

What if the kitchen is larger/smaller than the sizes given on the quote and can I add/remove things on such as up stands after I have the quote?

A review is made when the template is complete and price is adjusted accordingly if the sizes are significantly different from the original quote.

Is lighter granite a better choice than dark granite, I have heard it does not show if it gets scratched and is low maintenance?

Granites that vary in colour and are lighter can be said to be forgiving where scratches occur. However any granite will show damage if it is significant or the light hits it at just the right angle.   All granite should be looked after and chopping boards and pan trivets should always be used.

Can scratches be repaired or removed?

Scratches can be filled and polished dependant on the size and situation in the granite. 

My existing granite worktop has moved and sagged, can anything be done to fix it?

Usually a site visit will be required to assess the damage.  Where possible a repair can be affected such as adding supports to the area that has dropped depending on the units.  But if the unit carcasses are faulty or have moved you may need to enlist a kitchen fitter initially to correct that.

Can I get a pure black granite worktop ?

Sadly, there is no naturally produced pure black granite.  All black granite will have variation of colour unless it has been dyed at the point of processing before being supplied to the trade.  There are however some very dark granites available such as Indian Jet Black which as the name suggests is a close to pure black as you can have without dying the slab.

What are quartz worktops?

These are manmade work tops by manufactures such as Silestone, Ceasar Stone, Compact, Quarella and Technistone to name a few.

Are quartz worktops cheaper and better than granite?

No, it really is a matter of personal choice. Both are hard and durable though quartz colour pallet is greater as it is not a natural product and can be died to all the colours of the rainbow.   With regard to price they can be on a par or vary greatly dependant on the particular colour or composition of the granite.  It is always worth comparing when you are at the planning stage if you are undecided.

Do I have to have a standard edge finish or can I pick one?

We have a standard edge included in the fabrication but there are other finishes available.  Dependant on the granite or quartz choice there may be a change to the cost.

Does the granite chosen look exactly the same regardless of whether my worktops are made from one slab or many slabs?

This is an important question.  Granite is a natural product of the earth’s crust, which gives it a unique beauty; one slab is never identical to the next. However, when purchasing our multiple slabs we always ensure that slabs come from the same batch, this means that if your worktops require more than one slab, then it will be fabricated from slabs cut consecutively from the earth. This will ensure the best match possible, maintaining continuity of look across the work surfaces. But there may well be variation in the pattern and colour and we also encourage customers to come and look at the slabs we have in stock.

What do you do with the pieces that are not used ?

We return them to our stock. Dependant on size they may be used in another kitchen or sold as windowsills, fire hearths etc.  You will only have been charged for the material taken to fabricate your worktops.

Do many people use granite windowsills?

Yes they do and this is becoming more popular.  Using the granite on your windowsill creates a dramatic effect not achieved by the run of the mill painted wood.

Can I have a granite fire hearth for a wood burner or stove?

Yes you can, we have produced full fire surrounds to simple floor hearths.  The choices are varied and we will be happy to show you examples of hearths we have made.

Do you rip out the old fire place as part of the service?

No, we cannot remove your old fireplaces or carry out alterations to chimney breast.  This is something you must arrange prior to our fitting.

Do I have to make sure my walls are plastered before  you come to template?

Yes you will need to ensure any work such as plastering walls, removing old tiles and worktops is completed. Otherwise there is a risk of your  granite worktops not fitting correctly.

Can I add to my granite worktops if I have more cupboards or alterations made in the future to my kitchen?

You most certainly can.  Though there is a cautionary note here, as granite is a natural product there can never be a guarantee we can match you existing worktops.  We will always do our very best to get the closest match possible.