Frequently Asked Questions

How do I care for my stone countertops?

Granite:
Granite requires no special care at all. Simply wipe your counters with a clean, well-wrung cloth. Specially formulated natural stone cleaners are available, but not necessary. Stick to mild soaps or enzyme-based cleaners – harsh cleaners will not harm granite but may break down the sealer, resulting in the need to re-seal more often. To avoid water spotting, try a good micro-fibre cloth that has been rinsed in clean water and wrung out as much as possible. Click here to visit the Marble Institute for natural stone care & cleaning

Marble, Limestone, Travertine, Onyx:
When cleaning these stones it is important to stick with gentle, non-abrasive cleaners. Because marble, limestone, travertine and onyx are much softer than granite, harsh or abrasive cleaners can etch or scratch the surface. There are specially formulated natural stone cleaners available, but mild soaps and enzyme-based cleaners are really all you need. To avoid water spotting, try a good micro-fibre cloth that has been rinsed in clean water and wrung out as much as possible.

Engineered Stone:
Engineered stone is similar to granite in durability and maintenance. The manufacturers recommend cleaning with a mild soap and soft cloth.

Do I need to seal my counters?

Natural Stone:
We seal every natural stone countertop that we install with a high quality, penetrating sealer. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, you would only need to reapply the sealer every 10 years. However, we suggest taking a more proactive approach and re-sealing every couple of years. If you wish to test whether your counters need to be sealed, the easiest way is to leave a puddle of water on the counter for a couple of hours and then dry it off with a towel. If the water has absorbed into the stone it will leave a dark mark, indicating that it is time to re-seal. We sell a high quality, penetrating sealer that is very easy to apply.

Engineered Stone:
Engineered stone is a non-porous material that does not require the application of additional sealer.

Can I place hot pots on my stone countertop?

Granite:
Yes, although it is recommended that you not place a hot pot on a narrow strip of granite, such as the strip in front of the sink.

Engineered Stone:
Although it is heat resistant, the manufacturers of engineered stone recommend that you use a trivet or hot mat rather than placing a hot pot directly on the stone.

Will I need to use a cutting board on my counters?

Granite:
You may want to use a cutting board to protect your knives. The knife won’t hurt your granite, but the granite might dull your knife. 

Engineered Stone: 
The manufacturers recommend using a cutting board so as not to dull the surface with repeated cutting.

Do granite countertops harbour bacteria?

No
When it comes to safety and bacteria, granite is rated as the number 2 countertop surface, second only to commercial grade stainless steel.

What about staining?

Natural Stone:
As long as your stone countertops are properly sealed, staining is not an issue. Although all stone is porous, once properly sealed it is as stain resistant as any non-porous surface. We apply a penetrating sealer to every natural stone countertop that we install. With normal use your countertops will only need to be resealed every few years.

Engineered Stone:
Engineered stone is non-porous, and therefore naturally stain resistant.

What are the differences between the various types of stone?

Different types of stone have different characteristics which make them more or less appropriate for specific applications.

Granite is a very durable, siliceous stone that is heat resistant, scratch resistant and can withstand contact with acidic foods and mild acidic cleaning solutions. It will also endure outdoors. This makes it the ideal surface for kitchen counters, bathrooms, floors, fireplace surrounds and exterior applications.

Marble, Limestone, Onyx and Travertine are relatively softer, calcareous stones that are heat resistant, but are easily scratched or etched by mild acid found in some foods and many cleaning solutions. For these reasons they are not recommended for the kitchen. Appropriate applications include bathrooms, fireplace surrounds and window sills.

Slate is also a siliceous stone. It is not sensitive to chemicals, but is much softer than granite. Slate is most commonly used for flooring, both interior and exterior.

Engineered Stone is made from up to 93% quartz with resin and colour. It is similar in durability to granite, but is not recommended for exterior applications. Engineered stone is a popular choice for those who prefer a very uniform look to their stone.

I've heard a lot about radon. Should I be concerned?

Absolutely not.
Radon is everywhere – in the soil and rocks in your yard, in the air, in cement and drywall. Independent scientific studies have shown that most of the radon in homes comes from the soil in the yard. The amount of radon in granite countertops is negligible.

For more information on radon and independent scientific studies: http://www.marble-institute.com/industryresources/granite_radoninfo.cfm