What is granite?

Granite is a term that covers a group of related stones, all of which have their origin about 2 billion years ago deep in the earth's molten mantle. As this hot liquid cooled, it formed a crystalline, granular structure, hence the term granite. Quartz, feldspar, mica, and other minerals fused together into a very hard stone ideal for kitchen countertops. The diamond is the only stone that is harder than granite.

Does granite have pits or fissures?

Yes. Pits and fissures are part of the natural crystalline structure of the stone. There are always tiny spaces or pits between the mineral crystals. The appearance of pits can be minimized by applying sealer to the surface of the counter. Occasionally, fissures are also visible. Fissures may resemble cracks, but they are not a structural defect. Fissures are a natural result of the incredibly high pressure and heat formed in the granite eons ago. Some styles of granite may contain more pits and fissures than other types.

Is marble a good material for kitchen countertops?

Marble is a beautiful and elegant stone, however we do not recommend marble for kitchen countertops. It can etch and scratch under heavy use. Marble is better suited for vanities and showers.

What about radon? Do granite countertops emit this harmful substance?

A report published on November 17, 2008 states that the most comprehensive scientific study of health threats from granite countertops did not find a single stone slab that poses a health risk. Home radon levels associated with emissions from natural stone countertops are low in comparison to typical background levels of radon exposure. In other words, contrary to some media reports of questionable scientific accuracy, this study found that natural stone is a minor contributor to concentrations of radon gas within homes. "The study showed that you are more likely to have a fatal fall from bed than to develop a health problem related to the most common granite counterops," said Dr. John F. McCarthy, president of Environmental Health & Engineering.

Can I afford granite? Is granite more expensive than Corian and other solid surfaces?

The price of granite has actually decreased over the past 10 years. Just like many products, new technologies have led to lower price tags. The average price of granite is comparable to Corian and solid surface tops.

Is granite porous? Does it pose a health risk?

Although granite is porous when it comes out of the ground, the surface is filled, polished, and sealed. Thus, it does not promote bacteria growth. Chefs have been rolling dough and preparing food on stone for hundreds of years.

How often do I need to seal my granite?

We do not recommend any set schedule for re-sealing granite. Our installers will apply sealer when they install your tops. The frequency for re-sealing depends on the stone and the amount of use that the countertops see. An easy guideline is to monitor around the sink. If you begin to notice that water does not bead up, or soaks into the stone within 15 minutes, then it is probably time to re-seal. Re-sealing is easy. Simply wipe on and wipe off. We offer sealers for purchase in our showroom or by phone.

Is granite difficult to take care of? Do I need special cleaners?

Granite is almost maintenance-free. For daily cleaning, we recommend mild dish soap and water. No Windex. Washcloths are better than sponges because sponges can leave streaks on the polished surface. For more intense cleaning, we recommend StoneTech products. The Revitalizer, which cleans, seals, and polishes all in one, is available in a spray as well as convenient wipes.

Does granite scratch or stain?

Granite is one of the toughest surfaces for countertops. It is highly resistant to scratching and staining.

Can I put hot pots and pans on my granite?

Granite is extremely heat resistant.

Do granites differ in quality?

Yes. Quality stone should have very clear crystals and exhibit the color and characteristics of its type. Natural Stoneworks only uses the best quality stone available. Many companies who advertise extremely low granite prices use inferior commercial grade stone and/ or use several seams to adjoin small stone pieces.

Does it make a difference who cuts and installs my stone?

Yes. Accurate templating and cutting are the beginning of a quality stone job. Polishing requires expertise. The polish should have a mirror-like shine without swirl marks from the polisher. Our experienced craftsmen also ensure that smooth seams are placed in discreet areas. We also maximize the slab layout to achieve the least amount of seams possible. When needed, we add strength to somewhat fragile stones (usually marbles) by drilling and inserting rods in the back of the slab - another sign of quality stone work.

Where do I start?

We suggest that you visit our showroom and bring along your cabinet door, wallpaper, etc. Our professional designers will help you to make selections. Our showroom allows you to coordinate countertops, floors, and backsplashes in one stop. Many of our clients also arrive with their designers. We welcome them to use our showroom. Please bring along your drawings so that we can follow through with an estimate. If you do not have drawings, we will set a time to come to your home or business to measure.

Do I need to have Natural Stoneworks install my tile?

No. We do not stock quantities of tile however we will order your selections for you to purchase. Common tile orders may only take a couple days to receive. Hand-made and specialty tiles may take 3 - 6 weeks.

Can I use tile on my patio or pool deck?

Yes. We can direct you to tiles that would be appropriate for patio and outdoor use. Porcelain or stone tile is able to withstand the freezing and thawing that we experience in this area. Slip resistant tiles are available for pool areas.