Frequently Asked Questions & General Information
About Granite, Marble and Engineered Stone.
Counter Top Solutions makes it so easy to get new granite or marble countertops for your home!
We have been in business for a long time. We have a legacy of happy kitchen countertop customers. We have a trained sales team that gets the job done on time and on budget. When you call to get a quote on your project, a real person actually answers the phone. Our people know how to answer your questions about granite, marble, limestone, travertine, and other types of natural stone. While other stone shops go out of business, we continue to grow. Unlike many granite shops, we will be around to take care of you long into the future.
Does Counter Top Solutions have a large inventory of granite remnants?
Yes, we have one of the largest inventory of granite remnants around! We also have remnants and half slabs of Engineered stone, marble, limestone, onyx and of course granite and many other types of stone remnants.
In addition to Natural Stone, we process all major brands of Engineered Stone Recycled Stone, Glass and Concrete Countertops!
Our extensive experience in commercial and architectural projects gives our team the skill sets needed to work with engineered stone. Visit our commercial gallery for some great examples of our commercial work and know that you can use our fabrication shop with confidence for your next project.
We specialize in remodeling kitchens.
When it comes to removing existing tile or Formica countertops in your kitchen, Our professional crews know how to take care of your home. It starts with accurate templating, our trained technician will accurately measure your cabinets and walls. Our templating process allows to measure WITHOUT tearing out your existing countertops. The project is then fabricated in our production facility using our state of the art gear to ensure outstanding accuracy and quality of your stone project. We then send out our installation vehicles, they are clean and well maintained. They will not drop oil on your driveway. When our granite installers arrive they mask off the floors and lay down protective matting to ensure your home is not damaged or marred during the installation process. We will not be fabricating your kitchen in your driveway! When our team leaves your home they will clean up and make sure you are happy with every detail of your remodeled kitchen or bath. We will treat your home as if it were our own....this is not a job for our team members, it is a profession. We take pride in our granite and marble work.
We work closely with the Architect and Design Community!
We have the skill, design knowledge and talent to execute the most demanding stone projects . From contemporary drop apron projects to 3D stonework, our team can get the project accomplished to your specifications. Please feel free to contact us for your next project. Our employees are drug free and have passed background checks. We have the proper safety training and gear to install stonework on your next commercial project. When professionalism, quality and timeliness count....count on us!
Never wonder what your Granite or Marble project will look like again!
Our layout software will enable you to see exactly what your stone is going to look like before it is cut.. Gone are the days of wondering what your granite or marble kitchen seams will look like. You have heard the horror stories about botched installs and granite veins that don’t line up at the seam or color miss-matches. Too often granite fabricators use the excuse of “It’s natural stone....What did you expect?” We have invested in the stone working technology to make sure you will never need to hear that lame excuse with your installation.
We want to assist you with design considerations!
How many inches of overhang can I have on my island with out support? Often fabricators will resort to the simple rule of thumb which is 12 inches. How silly is that? Every stone has different properties and a huge range of strength. Depending on veins, density, thickness etc, the safe amount could very from NOTHING to 18 inches. Should I reinforce the stone with rods? How do I mount granite slabs to walls safely? Our team has the experience and skills needed to help you understand the engineering considerations for your specific granite or marble. Our experience working with granite and marble ensures that your product will last a lifetime.
What is Granite?
Granite is normally a coarse grained igneous rock that is comprised of quartz, feldspars and micas. The quartz will be be the lighter color minerals with the remaining consisting of feldspars and muscovite. The dark minerals are hornblende or biotite. Granite is by far the most common rock found in the outer crust of the planet. Granite is formed by the cooling of magma in the ground.
What is Marble?
Marble is metamorphosed sedimentary carbonate rock. Limestone or dolomite (carbonate rocks) are the typical base minerals. The recrystallization of the carbonate minerals result in Marble. Often the original structure of the carbonate rocks are modified during the metamorphism to render the marble unrecognizable from its original state. The swirling and veins in marble often result from mineral impurities which are in layers in the original limestone or dolomite.
What is Mercantile Granite?
In our industry the term “Granite” is used to describe many stone slabs that are in fact not granite by a geological definition. What does this mean to you? Well not much as long as your countertop does not etch from common acids or scratch from a knife. It really is a simple test. Simply take a lemon and cut it in half, leave in the stone in question for ten minutes or so. Remove the lemon and look for etching of the surface. If the lemon had no effect, you have passed the first half of this simple test to determine if the stone is acid resistant. The next test is to take a knife and drag it across the stone. Does the stone readily scratch? If not you, are dealing with a Mercantile Granite that is suitable for the abuse that is common in a kitchen. Marbles, Limestones, Onyx, Travertines will not pass the test which is why those materials are more suitable in areas that don’t involve cooking.
What is “Resined” Granite or Marble?
Around eight years ago the granite slab manufacturing industry began to resin granite, marble, limestone and other stone slabs. The process is incredibly important as it helps seal and strengthen the stone. Resining granite is done after the slabs are cut from the granite blocks. The slabs are pressure washed to remove slurry and open any pores or natural fissures in the stone. The slabs are then dried in an oven. As the slabs leave the oven the slaps are sprayed with a penetrating resin which soaks into the slabs consolidating any fissures and filling the microscopic pores in the stone. The resin is then ground off the face of the slabs leaving the resin in the pores and fissures. The slab is left with a glass like finish that is resistant to stains. Be sure to ask for resined granite slabs when you starting looking for material. Reputable companies only purchase resined granite and marble slabs. Resined slabs are the true engineered stones of the industry.
Is Granite Green?
We like to think so. Unfortunately, it is not actually classified in a way the allows it to get LEEDS points. The two biggest criteria are 1. Does the countertop use recycled material and is it a renewable resource? 2. Was it made within 500 miles from where it was installed? That’s a layman’s version of LEEDS as it relates to countertops. Let’s discuss some other factors that make granite one of the “greenest” choices available to you. First and foremost is countertop life cycle. A properly installed granite countertop will last as long as your home and never needs replacing....it will look as amazing today as it does in twenty years. Second consideration is carbon foot print. The amount of Co2 produced in the extraction of granite is actually very low when compared with man made countertops. Couple that with a product that lasts a life time and you have one very green product. We wont run out of granite any time soon....it’s what the crust of the planet is made of.
What is “Engineered Stone?
As the name implies it is a countertop product that is made of quartz and resins. Before granite slabs were resined Engineered Stone had one major advantage over its natural counterpart, it was difficult to stain. Now with the advent of resined slabs that advantage is gone. The primary difference is the appearance. Man made products come in a large range of consistent color which do not occur naturally in nature. You often see engineered stone being used in commercial setting or contemporary ones. At the end of the day you have to decide which look is best for your countertops, price may also be a factor. Note: Engineered does not hold up to heat as well as granite.
How often do I need to seal my granite?
In most cases the answer is never.....or years and years after it is installed. Sealers are solids that have been emulsified in a solvent. They are designed to penetrate the stone taking the solids with them. When the solvent evaporates (think paint) the molecules lock into the stone and seal it. Combine one good coat of a quality sealer (which we will do for you in our shop) with the resin applied by the factory you will have a very stain resistant top that will be virtually maintenance free. Rarely, if ever will you need to seal granite that has been resined and properly sealed. Over time, in the unlikely you do see some water absorb then simply reseal. We can help you with this in the unlikely event your countertops need to be resealed. Remember, companies that sell sealers would love you to seal your counters every couple weeks....think about it.
Does the price of the stone have any bearing on the quality?
Often people make the mistake of assuming that if it is more expensive then the slab is better quality. Often in our industry stone cost has more to do with availability, competitive quarries...in other words; Does color come from multiple locations creating a price competitive market? So the simple answer is: No....the cost has nothing to do with the structural quality. The more complex answer is Yes. For example; Santa Cecilia Granite is available from many sources so the base price of the granite is fairly low. In that group there: First Choice Material, which is has nicest even looking coloring and movement. Then there is Second Choice Material: This will look close to first choice but have minor color variations which make it slightly less expensive then the first choice. The final classification is Commercial Grade Material: This class of stone will have things that make it look less then desirable, spots/eggs of color that do not match the “Norm” for that material. This is the lowest cost. These ratings are subjective and have to do with what the granite looks like. At the end of the day all three classification will perform perfectly in your kitchen but the “quality” is based on the subjective appearance. The best way to think about it is AKC registered dogs. Just because the dog has a white foot does not effect the performance....it does effect the subjective quality rating.
We want to answer your questions and make shopping for granite as fun and easy as possible!
If there is a question you have about granite marble or travertine just call (240) 625-9055 and somebody will be able to help!