All Your Granite, Quartz and Solid Surface (Quartz) Questions, Answered
We get a lot of questions about stone – which stone is strongest, most affordable, lasts the longest, best for increasing property value, differences between the 3 most popular stone types. If you have questions, look below to see the answers to the most common ones. If you still want to know more, come in and see us.
Q: Does all material look the same?
A: The short answer is no. Stone is a product of nature and difference in color and vein characteristics are to be expected. Viewing and approving material prior to fabrication is recommended depending on the type and colour. However, many man-made options, such as Quartz and solid surfaces, such as Corian, do look the same, or close to the same, from one lot to the next.
Q: What are the requirements when it comes to sinks?
A: There are a few. In order to maintain the structural integrity of the countertop, we require at least 3” of stone in the front and the back of the sink cutout. In nearly every sink installation, Rock With Us uses aluminum undermount sink brackets that are attached to the base cabinet. Additionally, we recommend that if 2cm stone is being used, an overmount sink should be provided. Lastly, Rock With Us will need to know the sink type prior to scheduling your template and design for the project so we can plan around it. You will also need to know the measurements of the under-cabinet to ensure that the sink that you’ve selected will fit into the space allotted.
Q: What type of sink can be used?
A: Undermount sinks are always recommended for granite countertops. You can pick any sink that can fit the cabinet opening. Granite undermount sinks require extra support.
Q: Will you fix my sink in place?
A: Yes, we offer same-day plumbing with your countertop installation. In fact, we are the only stone countertop installers in the area who are able to offer same-day plumbing installation.
Q: What do you do about overhang?
A: An overhang of stone in excess of 12” past the edge of a cabinet should be braced from below.
Q: What kinds of edges can you do?
A: Our edges include Straight, Eased, Full and Half Bullnose, Bevel, and Ogee. All edges are priced separately.
Q: Does my countertop need seams?
A: The average length of a slab is about 113” and if it runs longer than this, it may require a seam for industry and structural standards. For safety requirements, pieces weighing more than 550 lbs may require a seam. Other factors that may require a countertop to have a seam include:
- Weight of material
- Cabinet structure
- Access to job
- Type of material
Rock With Us will work with the builder, dealer and the customer in every way possible to ensure that seams are kept to a minimum and are discretely placed, while maintaining the structural integrity of the stone. Seam location and the quantity of seams may affect pricing.
Q: How much do stone countertops weigh? Will my base cabinet be able to support the weight?
A: 3cm granite weighs approximately 21-24 lbs per square foot and 2cm granite weighs approximately 20-30 lbs per square foot based on the density of the stone. Granite is easily supported by standard floor and cabinet systems.
Q: How thick are your countertops?
A: Most are 2cm (about ¾”) with a 4cm (about 1 ½”) laminated edge.
Q: How much overhang do I need to allow where there are finished edges?
A: 2 inches.
Q: How exact do I have to be in my measurements?
A: The greater the accuracy, the better the ultimate fit and the easier the installation, which is why we use laser guided measurements for the best possible accuracy.
Q: How do I get a quote?
A: There are a few ways to receive a quote. First, take your countertop’s measurements, select a stone, and then fill out a Quote Request form on our Website. Or, fax a dimensioned sketch to (905) 692-1828 and within 24 hours, you will receive a hardcopy quote back from our estimating and pricing department. You are also welcome to call us or visit our store.
Q: Do you take final measurements?
A: After you place your order, we will visit your home and complete a laser measurement of the area. Then you will get a set of dimensioned engineering drawings. You will have an opportunity to make any adjustments or corrections to the measurements when you get the drawing. We don’t start fabrication until we have a set of endorsed drawings from you. If you are using an independent installer, contractor, or cabinet maker it is usually a good idea to get them to check and approve the drawing so if there are any issues with the measurements they own the problem, not you.
Q: Do I need to be there for the template process?
A: Yes. This is the most important stage of the project. There are often details that we need to ask or you may want to add to what you have now. This is the time to change anything you wish.
Q: Can I add to my countertop or add shape to my countertop before you template my kitchen or vanity for the granite?
A: Yes, we can add inches to counters. We can make any shape and design you want.
Q: How does the dishwasher attach to the granite tops?
A: The best way to attach a dishwasher is to have mounting brackets on the side that attach to the base cabinets. For older models, we can epoxy the top mount bracket to the bottom of the granite or silicone a small strip of wood under the counter. Once dry, the dishwasher can be screwed into the wood. You may also use dishwasher straps and attach them to the back wall or to the cabinets. This option will make the dishwasher more difficult to service.
Q: How much overhang can you have without supports, and what type of support is required?
A: For 2cm stone, we recommend supports with overhangs that are 12” or greater.
Q: What is the most appropriate thickness for the countertops?
A: We recommend using 2cm thick stone to eliminate the need for multiple seams.
Q: How long will the stone pieces be?
A: It is typically safe to have pieces that are approximately 6-8’ long, depending on the stone type and sink/cook top configurations.
Q: How long are the slabs?
A: The average slab size is typically 100-120” long by 60-70” tall. The Rock With Us team will work with each customer to place a few seams as possible in a kitchen.
Q: How will I know if my old cabinets can support a new countertop?
A: Stone countertops can weigh up to 30 pounds per square foot.
Q: Can seams be avoided?
A: Seams are required based on slab size and may be needed to maintain the structural integrity of the countertop.
Q: Will my countertop have a seam?
A: We try extremely hard to avoid seams if possible, but the reality is that the majority of countertops will have a seam no matter how hard we try.
Q: What do seams look like?
A: Rock With Us will try to make the seam as invisible as possible. However, you will see a fine hairline of 1/16– 1/8” width and we will fill it with a matching colour epoxy to minimize visibility.
Q: How is the seam placement determined?
A: Seams are determined by Rock With Us depending on countertop layout, slab sizes, support needed, and material usage. As always, your input is always welcome.
Q: How can I limit the staining on my countertops?
A: Wipe up spills on your countertops as quickly as possible.
Q: Does granite have a completely smooth surface?
A: No. Many types of granite contain pits and fissures that are natural characteristics of granite. Some granites exhibit these characteristics more than others, and the lighting of the room can make these marks more or less visible. These characteristics should be pointed out to the client prior to deciding on a particular material and pre-approval of the actual slab is recommended.
Q: Can granite be repaired?
A: While it is difficult to permanently repair granite, it is also very difficult to damage it. However, if some damage does occur, granite can usually be repaired by a mix of epoxy and ground up chips of granite.
Q: Should granite be sealed?
A: Though not necessary, all granites are sealed. The sealer used is a penetrating sealer that does not change the colour of the stone. It penetrates the stone and will help prevent any staining. However, it will not stop the penetration of moisture entirely. When a liquid that might cause staining spills on the granite, it should be cleaned up as soon as possible
Q: How do I know if I need to seal my granite?
A: One method you can use to check if your granite needs to be resealed is to sprinkle some water on your countertops. If the water soaks into the stone and does not bead up, then we would recommend resealing your granite. Prevention is always better than a cure; reseal your countertops every year to prevent staining.
Q: Does granite chip or scratch?
A: Granite is a very dense material and under normal conditions it is chip and scratch resistant. However, pots and pans and other heavy objects may chip the square edge around the sink area. Several other edge profiles are available that will look beautiful and reduce the chances of chipping.
Q: Does granite stain?
A: Generally speaking, no. Because granite is very dense and not very porous, its ability to absorb liquids that cause stains is highly reduced. Granite is approximately 95-98% stain resistant, and is virtually maintenance-free. This is why it is the stone material of choice for outdoor projects such as patios, courtyards, driveways, footpaths, and steps. If by chance there is a stain, it can usually be removed using a poultice or paste that will draw out the oil from the stone.
Q: Is granite a cost effective choice?
A: Absolutely!High-end granite maycost a little more than other materials, but when you take into accounthow long-lasting it is; it’s a smartchoice.
Q: Can I set hot pans on granite countertops?
A: Yes, granite is ideal for kitchens because under normal conditions it will not burn. Granite will not be harmed by hot pots, pans, or open flames.
Q: Can I cut on granite?
A: Yes, granite is an extremely tough, durable material and in most cases can be used as a cutting surface without fear of scratching the stone (although knives may dull the surface by repeated cutting on the stone).
Q: Will my granite look exactly like the granite sample on the site?
A: The samples seen on the Rock With Us site have been scanned as digital images. While these are high quality resolutions, they will never capture the exact nature of the real thing. Although one of our strengths is the consistency of our products, you should expect some variation as it is natural stone. These slight variations in colour, pattern, and granularity give granite its unique nature, coveted by discriminating consumers around the world.
Q: How durable is granite?
A: Granite is one of the longest lasting and toughest natural stones on the market, making it the perfect choice for any outdoor or indoor project. In 1822, an Austrian mineralogist named Friedrich Moh created a measurement of relative hardness based in a stone’s ability to withstand scratches. Because granite is composed of mainly feldspar and quartz, it has an exceptional resistance to scratches, which is why it is chosen for high traffic areas and has been considered one of the best building materials for thousands of years.
Q: What is granite?
A: Granite is igneous rock, which provides a clue to its origins. “Igneous” comes from the Latin “igneus” meaning “fire” (also the root word “ignite”) and indicates that it was formed by liquid, fiery magma and melted just like volcanic lava. In fact, its chemical composition is similar to that of lava. However, unlike lava, the molten rock never reached the surface. It solidified deep inside the earth, where it slowly cooled and crystallized. The granite that comes from the Canadian Shield is estimated to be approximately 3.8 billion years old. Splits and rifts caused by the earth’s plates shifting (due to seismic activity) forced the granite to the surface in the Precambrian Age, more than 570 million years ago. Luckily for us, the Canadian Shield is known around the world for producing some of the most beautiful, durable granite in the world.
Q: How durable is quartz?
A: Quartz countertops are just as strong as granite, if not more so in many cases. Quartz is non-porous and does not require sealing. Quartz countertops are virtually no-maintenance, and are a great alternative to marble with many colours available that mimic the look of marble stones like calacatta and carrara, without the worry of staining and scratching.
Q: What is quartz?
A: Natural quartz is a white or colorless mineral consisting of silicon dioxide, found widely in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. Quartz countertop slabsare made of crushed quartz mixed with resin. They are manufactured in a variety of different patterns and colors.
Q: What is solid surface? How is it different than quartz?
A: Just like engineered quartz, solid surface countertops areman-made. They are usually made up of a combination of marble dust, bauxite, acrylic, epoxy or polyester resins and pigments. The main benefit of solid surface countertops is that you can get a near-seamless installation, unlikegranite and quartz, and other natural stones. You have probably heard of Corian; it was the first solid surface countertop available on the market.
Q: Can marble be used in the kitchen?
A: We do not recommend using marble for kitchen countertops. Marble is not recommended for use in the kitchen because of its tendency to stain and scratch. Natural marble is also very susceptible to acidic substances, like lemon juice and vinegar, and oil. If you love the look of Marble, but actually want to cook in your kitchen, there are many man-made Quartz countertops and solid surface countertops available that look just like the real thing. Natural marble, because of its beauty and timeless look, is an excellent choice for vanities, wet bars, and fireplaces.
Q: Why is it best to use granite, quartz or solid surface for kitchen countertops?
A: Granite is the hardest and densest of all the natural stones and quartz and solid surface (Corian) are also extremely hard, as well as scratch and stain resistant. Since these products are highly durable and scratch resistant, they are the first choice for kitchen countertops. Bakers favour stone countertops over other types because it’s the best surface for rolling out and manipulating dough.
Q: Why should I use natural granite, quartz or solid surface stones in my home?
A: Stone, both natural and man-made, is timeless and highly coveted. It lends strength to its surroundings by evoking a classic and unique feeling. It invites luxury into your home while still being affordable. In the future, if you sell your home, it will add to your property value.
Q: Can I choose my actual granite slab?
A: Yes. When you come into our Hamilton location, we give you a packet that includes several local suppliers of granite slabs. You can go and tag your own granite slab, or you can select your granite from our extensive showroom samples.
Q: What is the average delivery time?
A: Rock With Us offer a wide variety of products. Some are in stock and others are created to your specifications. However, because of our commitment to customer service, as well as our cutting-edge technology, skilled craftsmen and modern manufacturing facilities, Rock With Us has one of the best turnaround times in the industry.
Q: Why should I choose Rock With Us as my supplier?
A: The Rock With Us team has the experience you can depend on, with four generations of granite craftsmanship that dates back to 1996. Our company has been serving Southern Ontario since 2002, and has earned a reputation for high quality natural stonework. Moreover, all of our sales and support staff are dedicated to customer satisfaction, and are happy to help you with your order from start to finish.
That’s Just Scratching The Surface
There is never an end to the questions flashing in your head throughout a renovation. We want to help you feel secure in your knowledge and decisions regarding your kitchen or bath stonework. Give us a call, or come by our Hamilton location and speak with our experts to learn more.