Working with Stone...

 


People have posed a lot of questions to us over the years about marble and granite surfaces. The following will explain more about these materials and why Marbleous provides a better product.


Materials


Over the past few years, marble and granite have become the most popular choices in home applications. While prices are similar for both, granite is the best choice. It's stronger, tougher to damage and resists stains and scratches better than marble. Once you understand the facts, most will choose granite for kitchen and bathroom counters.


Granite comes in almost any color or pattern and texture you desire. Veined or "movement" patterns, almost solid colors and mottled surfaces are available. While many fabricators today are using 3 cm slabs or 1 1/4" thick slabs due to ease of fabrication (no laminated edges required), they can pose problems with some types of today's cabinet construction which have no inner supports or are made of melamine and particle board. 3 cm material can weigh up to 25 lbs. per square foot. In some cases, the cabinets are not strong enough to support to weight over time, pose problems by having large open areas under the stone, and can be difficult to level where seams are required. Many fabricators will simply glue or silicone the stone to cabinet edges. Should seams move out of alignment over time as cabinets shrink and expand with the seasons and humidity in the home, they can be impossible to reset without damaging the tops.


While from time to time we have worked in 3cm material, our preference is 2cm thick or 3/4" thick slabs. Weight factor is reduced by almost 40%. In addition, we are able to laminate a book-matched edge under the slab top, providing a 1 1/2" finished edge. The thicker edges profile adds more proportion to the tops and allows full sheets of plywood to be fastened to the underside of the slab. Plywood acts as support for today's open style cabinets and allows seams to be calibrated properly. Should seams move over time, they are easily reset, requiring the removal of a few wood screws which are then replaced. No damage to your countertops.
Where under mount sinks are used, the 3/4" thickness of the material above the sink produces a more proportionate look in these areas and not a bulky 1 1/4" thick edge above the sink.

Design

Designing with stone is unlike designing with other countertop materials. Depending on the country of origin and the composition of the granite, slabs vary in size. While 10 ft. lengths are available in some colors, most run from 8 feet to 9 feet x 56" to 65" high. Your design should keep in mind the size of the slab or slabs you have chosen to minimize seams or seams in the wrong places.

Seams

Any large countertop will have seams. We attempt to work with you and or your designers to keep them out of sight where possible. We never seam in the center of sinks and prefer a distance minimum of 14" from any sink opening. This increases the stone's durability and strength in this area and eliminates water penetration into your base cabinet. Seams that are cut 90o instead of 45o miters provide a less visible joint and allow the slabs to be pulled tighter together since most walls are not perfectly straight. All our seams are joined with 100% silicone of the highest quality and not epoxied together. This allows some movement should they require re-alignment. Epoxy can pull the granite surface apart if the seams move, damaging them permanently.


Cut-outs


An under mount sink application in stone is a great detail. Easy cleanup and no dirt or bacterial forming around the edge of the sink. As a matter of course, we always imbed 1/4" stainless steel rod ( or brass in marble) both in front of and behind the sink cut-out. In addition, a 2" black granite strip is glued to the upper slab behind the sink cut-out to add greater strength. In 99% of the installations we do, all cutting, grinding and polishing is done at our shop prior to installation. In this way, there is no dry cutting, dust or water in your kitchen or bathroom when the stone is being installed.

Edge Treatments


Several standard edge treatments are possible with granite and other stone types. These are created with hand-guided grinding and shaping tools and polished with air powered hand tools using ceramic discs designed specifically for stone. Prices range from $14.00 to $35.00 per foot, however, Ogee and Bull nosed edges are also available at a higher cost..


Backsplashes


Design for backsplashes has changed some in the past few years. While magazines and TV shows now promote full height glass , stone or ceramic tiles, granite backsplashes can offer a good transition from the counters to the adjacent walls. Because the cut edge of the stone is very flat, no gap is visible and can be book matched to the countertop. In addition, it provides a waterproof barrier to the wall and a visual appeal to the treatment above. We also use 100% silicone to attach them to the counters, providing a strong bond to the counter below. All exposed edges are ground and polished to match the profile of the countertop edges.

Sealers

Over the years we have heard from many people who have purchased granite and marble tops and have had problems with staining. This is obviously due to poor attention to detail on behalf of many fabricators. All stone, regardless of type should always be sealed with the appropriate product before delivery to the customer. It is our policy not to allow any of our products to be delivered without sealer.

Protecting Marble

Marble comes from over 40 countries, Italy being the most widely recognized. You can find almost any color or pattern you wish, veined or solid colors, polished, honed or textured.
Marble can be used in a wide variety of applications: Fireplace surrounds, hearths, bathroom vanity tops, walls, showers, thresholds and floors. Flooring tiles come in different sizes from 12" square to 16" and 18". Some thicker tiles are also 24" square. It is not recommended for use in kitchens due to its porosity and softer surface. Good quality penetrating sealers will help prevent staining but is not a guarantee. Because it scratches easily, sand and grit can damage it. In kitchens, knives, pots and some sharp utensils will damage it. Household cleaning products and liquids such as lemon juice, orange juice, vinegar can mar the polished finish. You should be wary of what products come in contact with its surface. It can look good for years in bathrooms but must be maintained and attention paid to where and how it is used. We would be happy to help with your selection of marble, limestones and travertines for your applications.

About the Artist...