Answered by Our Experienced & Skilled Contractors
Whether you’re simply replacing your cabinets or installing a new countertop, Capitol Granite Design Center can help. We specialize in kitchen remodeling and are highly experienced in handling a wide range of projects.
What is a solid surface countertop?
This is a man-made material that does not stain, does not require sealing and will not breed bacteria. This material has the ability to be adhered together, allowing a “seamless” appearance, although the seams are meant to be inconspicuous, but not invisible.
What is a quartz (or natural quartz) countertop?
This material has the look and feel of natural stone, but is actually stronger due to its engineered make-up. This material is typically made of 93% natural quartz, manufactured with resin, colorants and other materials. The end result is a material that does not stain, does not require sealing and will not breed bacteria.
What is a natural stone surface countertop?
There are many different types such as Granite, Marble, Soapstone, Quartzite and Limestone. These are natural materials, with natural characteristics and are mined in quarries all over the world.
Why should I choose a stone countertop?
Through the ages builders and architects have selected to use stone because of its durability and aesthetic value. Today, with the discovery of a growing number of options in stone, the selection process has become more intricate, requiring the consideration of many factors. It is green, sustainable, and more affordable now than ever with automation in tooling.
Where does stone come from?
Stone is a natural product and cannot be manufactured. Blocks of stone are removed from a quarry, a type of open-pit mine, and from those blocks slabs are cut. The slabs are then fabricated into the final stone to be installed. Natural stone generally comes from all over the world except the United States for countertops. Caledonia, Dakota Mahogany, Virginia Mist are a few granites quarried domestically, among many marbles. Green materials are generally associated with South America, blue hues from the Nordic area of the world, and earth tone colors from the Middle East.
Why does all natural stone look different? Does stone come from?
Each extracted block is different, and in turn each slab is also different. The idea of each and every stone having its own uniqueness is often times a selling point. When applied to natural stone the term “uniformity of material” is an understood relative value. Direction of cut from block to slab will also determine the look of the material.
What are some of the factors that affect the appearance of stone?
Variegated or veined stone, like marble, is “faulted” by nature and although it makes for a remarkable aesthetic, the material is not usually used for exterior use and has a greater value when applied to interior installations that highlight the decorative element. With extremely light-colored marbles and onyxes the crystal composition creates translucence which is also an interesting quality for decorative purposes. The light transmitted varies depending on the thickness and finish of the stone. Given the structural capacities are taken into account for practical applications of the stone, in terms of appearance alone consumers should be prepared for a realistic amount of variations in each piece.
What factors affect the price of a stone countertop?
A multitude of factors come into play when determining the cost of a particular stone at any given time. Market demand, quality, ease of extraction, availability, and transportation are a few notable variables. The advantage to making cost an issue is that it opens the door to exploring alternatives based on the original parameters. Within a particular material, efficiency of lay-out for the slab sizes available, and logistics of getting to the point of use are the most prevalent factors.
How does the size and thickness of a slab of stone relate to its cost?
The size and waste factor of the slabs are used determine the finished project price, as does the thickness of the stone, typically 3 cm. Some 2 cm material is available for clients who use it in bathrooms, or laminate it to 1 1/2″ for the kitchen, sometimes call “2+2”. Laminated edge treatment typically offsets the savings associated with buying 2 cm material for “2+2”.
Why are customers encouraged to view their natural stone slabs prior to fabrication?
Stone is a natural material and color variations, veining, pitting, inclusions, fissures, fill and other naturally- occurring characteristics are very common and perfectly normal. There may be vast differences between samples viewed and a customer’s actual material. Because this material is a natural product, consistency cannot be guaranteed, even within a single slab. Some materials are very consistent while other colors may change in color/shading/veining from slab to slab or within the slab (from top to bottom or left to right).
Do stone countertops need to be maintained?
Many people overlook the importance of maintenance after the stone is installed. It is important to understand what is required to maintain the color and finish of the stone for years to come. Generally, sealing is all that is required, and the length of time between sealings is typically determined by the cleaners used that degrade the sealer over time, the porosity of the stone, and other factors like density/mineral content.
How should I clean my countertops?
For most materials, every day cleaning can be accomplished with mild dish soap and water. We offer our stone cleaning product that is a 3-in-1 cleaner, polish and protectant that we call “Da-Good-Stuff” in our showrooms, but there are also cleaners available at your local home improvement stores. To avoid water streaks, wipe counters dry after cleaning. Windex® (without ammonia) or similar products can be used to clean up excess oil but are not recommended for daily use due to the acidic levels in the product.
I left a cold drink on my hard surface and now there is a dark ring. What do I do?
Nothing. Just as the cold liquid inside the glass pulled water from the air to create sweat on the outside of the glass, the cold has condensed water (under the sealer) within the stone. Simply remove the glass; wipe up excess water, the condensed water within the stone will dissipate, typically within 24 hours.
Can I use my countertop as a cutting board?
While you can find websites that indicate it is ok to use certain countertop materials as a cutting board (darker granites, quartz), we always recommend not to do it. If you want to purchase a matching cutting board for your kitchen, please ask us and we can get you pricing.
Can I place hot items directly on my countertops?
Some granites can tolerate temperatures in excess of 1200 degrees (F.) and you might be able to put direct heat on the countertop. Capitol Granite recommends never putting items from your oven, stove top or grill directly on the granite surface without a trivet or hot pad. Once items have cooled, placing them directly on the stone countertop would be acceptable.
For quartz, it is recommended to use a trivet and direct heat is not advisable due to the chemical makeup of this material.
For solid surfaces, plastic laminate and wood, No. These materials are much softer and direct heat is not advisable.
What is radon and what does it have to do with my countertop?
Radon is a gas that occurs in nature and created by the decay of small amounts of uranium found in the Earth’s crust. This gas dissipates in the air because it is unstable and breaks down easily. Radon is measure in units called picocuries per liter (pCi/l), which is one trillionth of a curie. A curie is the amount of radioactivity produced by a gram of radium. Radon may be released in very small quantities from natural stone countertops. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has determined 4 pCi/l to be the upper threshold for air indoors. Typical radon readings on natural stone countertops are a very small fraction of the allowable limits.
What are sealants and why are they important?
Sealants are typically solvent-based, a small sized carrier molecule that gets the sealer deep into the stone. Once dry, it prevents water and oil from penetrating and absorbing into the surface for a period of time of exposure.
What are some common countertop finishes?
A polished finish has sharp reflections and is considered a mirror gloss. A honed finish means the stone has been textured with abrasive heads making for a dull sheen that can vary from light to heavy. Flamed or thermal finishes change the color of the stone as the plane surface is finished at a high temperature by mechanically controlled operations that ensure uniformity. Similarly, the water jet flamed finish allows for more of the natural color to show through a uniformly textured finish. When a stone is split into any number of thicknesses, a cleavage face forms, this is called a natural cleft finish. Slate is a common example of a material that is cleft or honed. When a machine is used to grind a material into a specific thickness using circular abrasives the finish is called gauged.
Why is choosing a countertop finish important?
Deciding on a stone finish is an essential in the selection process and can include anything from saw cut to high polish. It can drastically change the interpretation of the stone, particularly in regard to color. Color will appear lighter with a textured finish, whereas with each degree of polish more light is reflected, bringing out the color. Selecting a combination of finishes can also add interest to the stone. With every passing year, new finishes are becoming available on the market, so it is important to stay up to date when it comes to making choice among many options. Polished finish has the least amount of surface area, and subsequently, is the most naturally resistant to water by definition (has to do with surface tension of water).
What criteria should be considered for interior applications?
The selection begins by focusing on vertical or horizontal planes. Interior vertical surfaces factor in highly used areas, mainly in commercial buildings, which lead to stones that are dense, resistance, and easily maintained and in variably prove to be a better choice in long-term investments. Water resistance becomes important in areas such as fountains and showers because the stones must be able to endure constant water projections and for showers hot steam. Traffic is a consideration in interior horizontal surfaces, especially when selecting floor stone. Heavy-volume traffic needs to withstand vehicles or carts, high heels, mud and sand, salting compounds, etc, requiring stone of maximum resistance. In medium-volume traffic areas dimension stones with a honed finish work well and are more easily maintained as they mask wear like scratching and etching on the surface. In residential areas and other light-volume traffic zones making a decision based on aesthetics as long as maintenance is kept up. Functionality is the primary concern in selecting countertop stones. The handling of food is a major factor in kitchens, whereas lavatory tops see little wear besides pollutants in cosmetics and can be chosen more or less to taste.
How does wastage factor into countertop design?
In terms of the stone industry wastage refers to materials that are damaged, outdated, reduced, or unsaleable, and for the most part destined to be thrown away and many times written off as a complete loss. It is important to make sure there will be enough material to complete the project at hand before making a final selection of stone. When taking wastage into account an often looked over fact is that material available at a quarry present day differs from what was available in previous months.
Do you offer a warranty?
Absolutely. We offer warranties for all of our products and services. Simply ask for written documentation outlining the warranty specifications. Our goal is to ensure that you are 100% educated and prepared for the remodeling process.