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An excellent choice for kitchen countertops, floors, and other heavily used surfaces. Granite has long enjoyed use as an exterior cladding and pavement material, and its inherent strength, abrasion resistance and superior weathering durability are likely to keep it one of the preeminent material selections available to today’s architects. Granite has also been employed as the traditional material for municipal curbs, where its strength and durability have been documented with decades of vehicular abuse. In the northern climates where snow melting chemicals are used heavily, granite has resisted the attack of these caustic agents.
Being one of the hardest of the dimension stone types, granite was historically avoided by the smaller, local stone fabricating shops, who favored marbles and limestones due to their easier working properties. A recent boom in the supply of affordable machinery and abrasives technologies eliminated these previous difficulties in fabrication. The use of granite has skyrocketed in residential interior applications as a result. Available in a striking array of colors, granite’s durability, longevity, and economy make it ideal for kitchen countertops and other heavily used surfaces, including table tops and floors.
Some synthetic surfaces scratch easily, while the hardness of the minerals comprising most granites surpasses that of the utensils that are used on them, resulting in excellent scratch resistance. Granite is typically heat resistant up to temperatures of ±250°C (±480°F), although direct application of localized heat sources is discouraged, since strong thermal gradients within the stone can initiate cracking. Studies of bacteria retention on common countertop surfaces have proven granite to be superior to the majority of surfaces employed for that purposes (Ref: MIA Technical Bulletins).
Absorption rates (% water, by weight) of stones in this group range from 0.05% to 0.40%, indicating that the available pore volume capable of harboring a staining agent is very slight. Impregnating repellents are sometimes used to further reduce the stain resistance of these materials.
Granite requires regular maintenance. Besides just cleaning, you’ll need to make sure the granite is sealed periodically. Stains can be difficult to remove, but not impossible. Countertops may also be susceptible to cracking.
To keep granite countertops clean, use a microfiber cloth to dust off the surface. Wipe down the granite countertop daily and as needed using water. Once a week wipe down with a damp cloth and a stone cleaner formulated with a neutral pH. Never use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners. They can scratch, pit, and etch the surface of the stone. For oily stains, try a poultice made of a cup of flour or baking soda and 5 tablespoons of dish soap. Add water to make it the consistency of sour cream or yogurt. Place the solution directly on the stain and cover with plastic wrap overnight, before washing away the poultice.
Sealing is a regular maintenance task for granite. Re-seal the countertop when water splashed on the surface no longer beads up. It’s important to examine your granite at least once a year. Inspect areas to make sure there is no cracking or shifting at the seams. Inspect for stains and scratches as well. If there are stains or damage, contact a stone-care professional for repair.
Ideal for foyers, bathrooms, floors and hearths.
Marble is a metamorphic rock found in the mountainous regions of most countries of the world. Marble quarried in India, China, Italy, and Spain represents the majority of marble, in terms of volume, that is utilized worldwide. Because of its beauty and elegance, marble is a popular choice for countertops, floors, foyers, fireplace facings and hearths, walls, and windowsills.
Marble with its inherent warmth, adds a sophisticated element to the area in which it is installed. Its naturally random appearance, engineering characteristics, and ease of maintenance makes it a premium choice for floors, wall claddings, table tops, wainscot, floors, and vanity tops. Many marbles are well suited for wet area application, which extends the versatility of this material to include tub decks and showers.
The calcite crystal is the basic building block of true marbles. The calcite crystal is vulnerable to attack by mild acids, including those commonly found in kitchen and bar settings. The user selecting marble for these applications should be aware of, and accepting of the maintenance and patina that is to be anticipated with this combination. Acid rain and other weathering elements can also affect exterior marble installations, and exterior applications are generally limited to white marbles, with some exceptions.
Marble is also a natural stone that is easily recognizable. Its characteristic veining and bold, white backdrop makes it a classic option that can achieve modern looks. Marble is most commonly known as a bright white or grey look, but it also comes in other shades like pinks, blacks, oranges and reds. It depends on what minerals were present as the marble formed from limestone. Marble is a porous stone and it is known to absorb spills as well as scratch and etch. However, it is also a cool stone that can be chilled for rolling pastries, making it a friend in the kitchen. With proper care, a marble countertop can stay looking beautiful, so don’t rule it out. Sealants and cleansers for marble have come a long way!
Although marble is a beautiful and durable stone surfaces that is often chosen as a countertop material, a lot of homeowners use marble in only select areas of the kitchen, like bars, islands, and baking areas.
Marble Countertops Pros:
Marble is tolerant of hot surfaces. It is a gorgeous material that automatically updates the look of any kitchen. Marble is a preferred surface for many bakers because of the ease of rolling out dough and pastries on it’s surface.
Marble Countertops Cons:
Marble is softer and more porous than granite. This makes it susceptible to scratches, pitting, cracks, stains, and even dulling of the shine. It may take a little more maintenance and upkeep to keep your marble looking nice.
Cleaning Marble Countertops:
Dust at least once a week with a soft microfiber cloth. For wet cleaning, use a damp cloth and a pH-neutral cleaner designed for stone. Check with your countertop company for their recommendations.
Do not use regular cleaning products that can etch the stone surface over time. Never use abrasive cleaners that will damage and dull the finish. Acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits, and even our trusty friend vinegar will damage marble.
Marble Countertop Regular Maintenance:
Seal the countertops regularly. Be sure to reseal when water fails to bead up when splashed on the surface. Sealing will prevent stains and damage and keep the marble countertops looking beautiful.
Ideal for foyers, bathrooms, floors and hearths.
Onyx is often confused with marbles, yet it is a significantly different rock type. Onyx is a sedimentary rock, formed as stalactites and stalagmites in cave interiors. This formation method results in the cryptocrystalline construction of the rock fabric, and it is the size and uniformity of these crystals that contribute to the classic translucent property of most onyx varieties. While vulnerable to chemical and abrasive attack, the decorative appeal of onyx is perhaps unsurpassed by any other material.
Onyx is a premier natural stone option that is highly unique, with a sleek and modern look that is far removed from the caves it came from! Onyx countertops are a rare option – they are striking and luxurious and often used for vertical surfaces as bold statement walls in high-end residential and commercial designs. As a flat surface in the kitchen, onyx can be a functional piece of art you get to see every day, especially lit with under-counter lighting, as onyx has a transparent quality like no other. Onyx generally comes in swirling and pastel color patterns, and each piece is as unusual as the last. It is most suited as an accent countertop or bar area that does not see as much traffic, though with proper care, polished and sealed, onyx performs similarly to marble.
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Simply clean with soap and water on a regular basis to keep the lustrous gloss and radiant sheen. Use warm water and a damp cloth with a small amount of non-abrasive cleaner that does not contain bleach.
Although Quartz is resistant to stains, spills should be cleaned as soon as possible. Liquid spills and stains from fruits, vegetables, or other foods should be wiped up and cleaned with soap and water.
As the name implies, semi-precious stone is a combination of gemstones such as quartz, amethyst, agate, tiger’s eye, hematite and jasper, process and assembled in all their resplendent colors into large slabs. Distinguished by their rarity, transparency and brightness, semi-precious stones add a striking aesthetic to a room. Semi-precious stone is often used for interior decorative elements, key accents, or novelty items like sinks or trim.
One of the most extremely durable and aesthetically pleasing choices of natural stone, especially for high traffic areas, is slate floor tiles. No two slates tiles’ surfaces are the same and with a range of different colors available, they can create a unique look that suits many interiors.
Slate is a gorgeous countertop material. It has a nice spectrum of deep rich blue and green colors, with a beautiful texture of stone.
Slate Countertop Pros:
Slate resists heat well as a countertop surface. It’s beautiful and less porous than granite or marble, which makes it more resistant to stains and etching.
Slate Countertop Cons:
Slate is expensive, and it’s not as tough as marble and granite. It is brittle and can crack and chip away much more easily than other stones. Don’t clean slate with abrasive cleaners or oily sprays.
Slate Countertop Cleaning:
Dust once a week with a microfiber cloth. Clean with a damp cloth and a pH neutral stone cleaner.
Slate Countertop Maintenance:
Even though slate is better at resisting stains, it’s still recommended that you seal slate countertops. When drops of water splashed on the surface of the countertop don’t form beads, it’s time to reseal.