Frequently Asked Questions About Granite & Marble Countertops

If you have questions, you’re very likely to find the answers right here!

We’ve gathered the questions that are asked most often in one place, to help you find the information you need quickly and easily. If you have a question that is not addressed here or elsewhere on our website, please contact us and we’ll get back to you fast!

When should I seal granite or marble?

Both granite and marble are somewhat porous by nature, meaning they have the propensity to absorb liquids which may lead to staining or discoloration if not properly sealed and maintained. When we fabricate your granite or marble countertop, the last step we take is to apply a sealant that is absorbed into your countertop and provides a barrier against liquid absorption, much as a coat of wax applied to your car’s finish does.

Depending on how heavily your countertops are used and which products are used to maintain them, this sealant can either be washed out or enhanced. Frequent use of common household cleaners will tend to wash out the sealant while use of our 3-in-1 cleaner, polisher and protector will enhance the stain barrier. If you notice that liquids are being easily absorbed into your countertop, it may be time to reseal. You can check this by placing several drops of water on the surface of the stone and seeing how long it takes for the water to completely disappear. If the water absorbs into the stone in under 3-4 minutes, it may need sealing.

Sealing granite and natural stone with penetrating sealers, also called impregnators, protects the structure of a natural stone from within. When sealing natural stone or granite with this type of sealer, it is applied directly to the face of the stone with a soft cloth. It’s simple to do and does not require a stone specialist. This type of sealer is recommended for sealing granite.

The sealer will penetrate below the stone’s surface without leaving a coating or film on top. The stone below the surface will be protected; however, there is no surface protection. This means calcareous natural stones such as marble, onyx, limestone, and travertine can still etch or dull if acidic products such as orange juice or cola are left on your stone.

To help provide surface protection, a cleanser made specifically for natural stone can be used. Stone cleaners remove dirt and debris from the stone’s surface the same as a detergent soap does. They are just milder.

Can I place hot pots and pans directly on my countertops from the stove or oven?

Placing a very hot object directly on top of a cold surface results in a condition referred to as thermal shock. Imagine what happens to a glass of ice cubes when you pour boiling water into it. Under most conditions found in the kitchen, your countertops will be fine if you take a hot pan off the stove or a casserole out of the oven and place it on them. However, there have been instances of countertops cracking when the conditions are just right. For this reason, we always recommend the use of a trivet or thermal pad between the pot and countertop.

Will my countertops ever crack on their own?

Under normal household conditions, this is not a concern.

How thick are my countertops?

Granite is produced in various thicknesses, with 2 cm and 3 cm the most common. These correspond roughly to 3/4″ and 1 1/4″. In the Midwest market, 3 cm material is the accepted standard. Other thicknesses are available by special order.

How much does granite weigh?

Granite tiles and slabs come in different thicknesses. Granite is a very dense natural material so weight factors into the supporting material the tops mount upon. The approximate weight per square foot for each thickness is as follows:

3/4″ (2 cm) thick slab: 15 pounds/square foot
1 1/4″ (3 cm) thick slab: 20 pounds/square foot

What happens if I chip, scratch or break my countertop?

Repairs can be made using a variety of techniques involving ground-up chips, resin or polymer fillers, wet sanding with various grit polishers, and bonding with two stage adhesives. In some cases, you will be able to find the repaired area, however it will be a marked improvement over the original damage.

What goes into determining the price of my project?

Every project differs in some respect. Therefore, we quote individual jobs by a proposal. The following information will need to be provided in order to obtain a proposal: a drawing showing the dimensions of the project, the color of the material chosen, the edge profile chosen, the type and height of backsplash chosen, the number and types of cutouts for sinks, stoves or other appliances, the radius of any corners, and any dimensions of diagonal base cabinets. Once we have the information, we will provide you with a quote within 48 hours. This free quote is an estimate only and is subject to change based on the actual measurements we take at the time of template.

Will I see the seams on my countertops?

In short, yes! It is necessary to put seams in your countertops for a variety of reasons, such as the layout of your project relative to the size of the slab, the access to the job site and the work area, the ability to physically carry the material due to its weight, and the necessity to minimize waste in the fabrication process in order to deliver the product to you at a reasonable price. The fabricator always reserves the right to determine the placement of the seams based on the above considerations. When we come out to make a template of your project, we will discuss seam placement with you. In certain materials seams will be more visible than in other materials. Variations in color and pattern in certain granites and marbles will make seams appear more obvious than other materials.

How do I care for my marble or granite countertop?

Granites differ in their texture, but they all have similar properties such as their resistance to the invasive action of most substances found in the house. Unlike marble and limestone, granite is the least affected by acids or alcohol. It shouldn’t be damaged from standing hot utensils on it or by sharp knives.

All stones, due to their granular construction, are porous to a greater or lesser extent and most granites fall into the latter category. To reduce the slight ability of granite to absorb liquids, we treat the surface with a proprietary sealer that penetrates the surface and fills the microscopic voids between the crystals. This process is first done in the factory at the completion of fabrication. However, you should be aware that with the lighter-colored granites you may experience slight darkening of the stone in areas where water has been allowed to stand, but this should fade away as it dries out. Beetroot, wine and cooking oil, particularly when hot, may cause a stain on your marble or granite countertop, and you should always clean this up immediately.

Marble, limestone, and travertine are susceptible to the aggressive action of acids and alcohol. This is called “etching.” Care should be taken to remove spills such as orange juice, coffee, vinegar, wine, tomato products, mustard, urine, and many soft drinks since this will “etch” most marble, limestone, and travertine. Sealing allows you time to wipe up a spill, but it cannot stop the chemical reaction that may leave a dull mark. General household cleaners not specifically designed for natural stone are not recommended. These may etch away the polish, discolor the surface, scratch the stone or degrade the sealer. Professional refinishing is the best way to permanently remove etch marks and restore your natural stone’s even finish.