Homeowners FAQ

When should I select my stone?

30 days before installation of the cabinets, visit a Stone Holding showroom and an associate will help with your selection and find the best stone for your needs and application. Once you've made a final selection, your fabricator will purchase the slabs for your project.

Can I use marble, limestone or travertine for a kitchen application?

Yes, these materials can be used in a kitchen application. However, they are susceptible to staining, scratching and etching. The use of these materials in a kitchen requires careful consideration.

Is granite more expensive than man made materials?

It depends on the granite. Availability, color, and country of origin are major factors that affect the cost of granite. If the supply of a particular stone is short and the demand is high, the price will reflect that. Given that stone is a natural product imported from all over the world, the price spectrum is wide. However, many granite colors are offered at comparable pricing or sometimes less than man made products.

Will samples match my actual slab?

Because of the movement and veining in natural stone it is difficult to accurately represent stone with a small sample. Also, stone varies from block to block, so if you have a sample from a previous block, it may not match the current supply. It is advisable to view the actual slabs at the Stone Holding showroom nearest you or at the shop prior to fabrication.

Is it okay to mix different colors of stone?

Absolutely. It is not uncommon to mix colors or varieties of stone within a room. When mixing stones, it is a good idea to consider which material would be the most practical for the space. For example, when mixing granite with marble, the granite would be best suited for the area around the range because it is the most durable. The marble could be used on the island or as a dining table. Another example would be putting a stone with a lot of character on the island, and picking a more subdued stone for the perimeter.

Should I approve my slabs before they are fabricated?

It is always a good idea to approve the slabs prior to fabrication. This will help to prevent surprises or disappointments before the material is installed. Slabs cab be viewed at Stone Holding or at the fabrication shop prior to being cut.

Can granite be used outside?

Yes. There are a handful of granites that can change color when exposed to UV rays, but it is very durable and can be used outside. Granite is often used for outdoor kitchens, pavers for driveways and walkways, stair treads, and as exterior cladding on commercial buildings.

Can I put a hot pot directly onto granite?

Yes, you can, but it's best to be proactive and use a trivet. 

What is involved in pricing a countertop?

There are many factors involved in pricing countertops: material cost, quantity of slabs, design and edge profile are primary considerations. Once you have chosen a particular stone, the fabricator will need either an accurate drawing or a field visit in order to clarify all the details. The fabricator will then provide you with a finished installed price.

Will bacteria grow on granite?

Bacteria, like any other living organism, needs a food source in order to live. Bacteria cannot eat granite. Unclean, countertops can harbor bacteria regardless of what countertop is used. Granite has performed extremely well in testing; performing second only to stainless steel in its ability to resist bacterial growth.

What does "honed" granite mean?

Honed granite is granite that has not been polished to a shine. It has a smooth, matte finish that takes on a grey tone. However the color can be deepened with a color-enhancing sealer.

If my granite is honed, will it be more likely to stain?

A polished surface is going to be the best protection for your stone. The honing process slightly changes the porosity of the stone. However, use of the proper sealer can help prevent any additional staining that may occur due to the honed finish.

Why do some stones have a mesh backing?

Mesh backing improves the stability of the stone for shipping and fabrication. Many exotic materials would otherwise not remain intact during processing. Once these materials are installed however, they do meet the strength requirements for countertop use.

Can you cut on granite or do you have to use a cutting board?

Yes, you can cut directly on some granites. However, routinely cutting on a granite surface will dull your cutlery.

What is a "pit”? Will I have them in my countertops?

Most granite has some degree of pitting, whether microscopic or visible to the naked eye. With today's advanced processing, the natural pitting or tiny craters in a granite finish are greatly reduced. These natural pits pose no maintenance or wear issues. The depth of these pits is virtually immeasurable.

Can granite crack or chip?

Yes, granite can crack or chip. However this is usually caused by severe settling, excessive impact or abuse. Most minor cracks or chipping in natural stone can be repaired by a specialist in the stone renovation business or by a qualified fabricator.

What is Soapstone and what kind of maintenance does it require?

Soapstone is quarried like Granite and Marble. Its primary components are magnesite, dolomite, chlorite, and talc. Talc in soapstone is soft to the touch, which gives the smooth feeling of rubbing a piece of dry soap. Thus the name was derived - "Soap" stone. For maintenance, Mineral oil should be applied to the stone, which darkens the color and works as a protective sealing layer. The mineral oil will need to be re-applied to the stone periodically, especially when the countertops are first installed. Over time, a patina will develop and the mineral oil can be applied less often. Soapstone will scratch. Scratches can be sanded out and re-sealed with mineral oil.

How often do you have to seal granite?

Traditionally, homeowners have been told to seal their granite annually. However, with the advancements that have been made in sealing products, some sealers may not need to be reapplied. Do a simple test to check your granite by pouring a small amount of water in various spots, letting it sit for 30 minutes and then wiping it up. If the stone darkened where the water was, the stone should be resealed.

Will the sealer wipe off when cleaned, or scratch off with wear?

No. The sealer is not a coating on top of the stone, it is an impregnator, which is absorbed by the stone and fills the pores in order to repel food and liquid. Over time, cleaners do reduce the effectiveness of the sealer, requiring re-sealing of the stone. Re-sealing could be necessary every 1-5 years, depending on the material and sealer used. In order to increase the life of your sealer, use cleaners that are intended for natural stone.

Will the polish on my countertops wear off over time ?

That depends on whether you have granite or marble. Granite, with normal wear and tear, no. That doesn't mean that if you attack your granite with a belt sander it won't dull the finish. The only things that could scratch granite are typically not found in the kitchen. Marble, on the other hand, is a calcite which will react with acidic liquids, etching the polish. Proper sealing and maintenance is more crucial with marble countertops.

Can marble countertops be refinished once they become scratched?

Yes. Marble can be refinished through a process of grinding and re-polishing. The process will vary depending on the damage or wear. This is not a do it yourself project and requires a professional refinisher.