What is Natural stone?

“Natural stone” refers to several products quarried from the earths crust, used over many thousands of years as building materials and decorative enhancements. These products include granite, marble, limestone, travertine, slate, quartzite, sandstone, onyx, and others. Natural stone products differ in composition, color, and texture even among pieces from the same source. This is usually considered a benefit, lending itself to unique distinctive designs.

What is Engineered stone?

Also know as Manufactured stone or just quartz, is created almost entirely with natural quartz mined directly from the earth. The natural quartz is then combined with various resin, polymers and pigments to create the final prefabricated slab. Like Natural stone, it is extremely durable and an excellent countertop option.

What is the difference between Natural stone and Engineered stone (Quartz)?

Natural stone is 100 percent stone, quarried from the earth, cut into slabs and polished. Quartz is a man-made Engineered stone. It is formed by mixing roughly 93 percent ground quartz, with the remainder comprised of resin, polymers and pigments. Quartz surfaces are more uniform in their appearance than Natural stone. Since it is manmade, despite Natural stones, there are no veins. The polyester resins in these Engineered stones tend to give them slightly more of a matte appearance than the highly polished Natural stones.

What should I know before purchasing Natural stone?

A: Natural stone is an original building material. Since the colours and shades come from the earth, Natural stones cannot be copied or manufactured. Unique shades and inconsistencies are signs of Natural stones. No two are alike. And, depending on how the surface is finished, different visual characteristics may be revealed. When selecting Natural stones, there will be lack of predictability regarding color and veining, which adds to its beauty, originality and design potential.

How is Natural and Engineered stone manufacturer?

Both Natural and Engineered stone countertops are manufactured the same way. After templating and cad work is completed the project data file is sent to production, the slab is laid out on one of out CNC waterjet/diamond blade saw and precisely cut out. From there the pieces are moved to the CNC stone milling machines for any edge shaping and first pass polishing. Next the stone pieces are moved to the polishing stations for final polishing.

Why should I use Natural stone in my home?

A: Natural stone is prized its distinctive beauty and the sense of peaceful tranquility it creates, but there are also many practical benefits to using Natural stone in your home. Natural stone products are more durable than many artificial products, often lasting for decades with very little maintenance. With Natural stone there are no worries about exposure to harmful chemicals in the home or released into the environment during production or disposal. Why invest time and money into a look-alike? Natural stone is the real thing that the artificial products try to emulate.

Why is granite preferred for kitchen/bar countertops?

Countertops in kitchens and bar areas are often exposed to acidic substances such as lemon, vinegar, alcohol, and tomato sauce. Knives, dishes, pots and pans, and other implements may cause scratching of lesser materials. Granite is the hardest and densest of all Natural stones – the feldspar content keeps it water resistant, and the silicates it contains won’t react with acid. These properties help granite resist staining and retain its fine luster over a longer period of time than ceramic tiles or other stones.

Can I use Marble on my kitchen counters?

Yes, but dew to marble’s high carbonate content its polished surface is more vulnerable to household acids like vinegar, mustard, catsup, citrus or other food-related products. These acidic substances cause a chemical reaction and will remove the polish if not instant then over time. Additionally, marble and limestone are a softer stone and can be scratched more easily than granite.

How many different colors of stones are available?

There is an easily dispelled myth that Natural stone doesn’t offer many color options. We have over 280 color samples on display and 100’s more in catalogs. Natural stone is available in a nearly endless variation of colors, patterns and veining.

Why do Natural stone colours vary throughout the slab?

Natural stone is sliced from earths crust. For that reason, colours are always different between pieces and often within the slab itself. You should also be prepared for imperfections as they are natural to the product. If you prefer a countertop without variation, talk to one of our experts about our other options.

Is Natural stone difficult to maintain?

No. Once your Natural stone is installed and sealed. Stone soap, which is specially formulated for Natural stone is recommended for cleaning on a regular basis. Household cleaners such as Windex, and fantastic do not rinse and will leave a build up or film so the surface appears streaked. Natural stone countertops have a sealer applied at the time of fabrication which offers deep penetrating protection against stains (oils, wine, etc.). We recommend that you re-seal it one to two times a year. Sealers and user-friendly Natural stone soap are available at our show room.

Does Natural stone have to be sealed?

All Natural stone is porous, to some extent. The general rule we use is “if water darkens the stone”, we believe it needs a sealer.

Do I need to seal my Engineered stone?

No. Quartz products are non-porous and remain so without polishing or sealing. They are extremely resistant to stains and require no sealing or special maintenance.

Will heat damage my Natural stone countertop?

For the most part no, granite is extremely heat resistant but other Natural stone is not. There is also the possibility of thermal shock to the Natural stone that could case cracking. We always recommend placing hot items on a hot pad or trivet.

Will heat damage my Engineered stone countertop?

Engineered stone will tolerate brief exposures to moderately hot temperatures, however prolonged direct contact with, or heat from very hot pots can cause thermal shock, discoloration or damage. Avoid placing electric frying pans, oven trays, or pots and pans that have become hot (on the stovetop or a hotplate, or in the oven) on Engineered stone surfaces. We always recommend placing hot items on a hot pad or trivet.

How thick are the countertops?

Natural/Engineered stone countertops are 30 mm (1 1/4″) thick. Some colours are available in 19 mm (3/4″) thick. We can make your countertop look thicker by mitring the edges to any desired length or stacking a piece to the under side with an appropriate edge profile.

Do Natural/Engineered stone countertops overhang the cabinets?

  • Most countertops overhang by 28mm (1 1/8”) from the front of the cabinet doors but may be changed due to cabinet configuration or personal taste.

How are sinks installed?

Sinks are either drop-in or under mount. A cut-out needs to be made in the stone to accommodate the sink. The sink hole must be precisely templated and cut out to ensure a perfect fit. Drop in sinks are installed in the rough cut, whereas, under mount must be cut and polished as the depth of the granite is exposed. A minimum of 76 mm (3”) of stone is required between the sink and edge of countertop for structural integrity.

Can I install my own countertops?

We don’t recommend installing on your own. Yes, installing on your own is possible, if you feel comfortable doing so, have the experience and equipment to safely transport and install material.

Do I need extra support for the countertop?

When the site templating is done, we will determine and let you know if you need extra support is needed. Most cabinets can easily hold natural/Engineered stone. With overhangs, brackets or corbels may be required.

Do I need a backsplash?

Personal preference. We have many options available for backsplashes, from Natural/Engineered stone cut to 3-4” in height, hand made glass panels, hand made custom ceramic tiles, to Natural/Engineered stone slabs custom cut to fit.

Can I add matching pieces in the future?

The dye lots between Engineered stone vary much less than different slabs of Natural stone, that can look extremely different. Sometimes it is possible but more than often we recommend going with a different but complementary colour so it doesn’t look like you tried to match it but couldn’t.

Will my countertops have seams?

It depends on the size of your countertop and the size of the slabs. When we go on site to template, we will let you know if and where a seam would be needed.

How are seams made?

Seams are done where the two pieces of stone are put together. The seams are joined with epoxy that is mixed with the color that matches the stone. Then the joined area is smoothed, leaving only a very thin line visible. Because Natural stone is mined from the quarry in blocks usually no more than 10 feet long, you will most likely end up with seams. Also, because Natural stone is sold in rectangular pieces, you may want to use seams to reduce your costs, such as in an “L” shaped corner.

Will seams be visible?

If it is determined a seam in necessary, it won’t be invisible, however we take every precaution and consideration when determining seam location to minimize the visual impact. Factors taken into consideration include slab size, customer needs, kitchen layout, site conditions, site access, crew safety, material yield, and cabinet structure.

Can I cut on my Natural/Engineered stone countertop?

Only if you want to ruin your good knives. Natural/Engineered stone is harder than your knife blades and will dull them very quickly, if you use the countertop as a cutting surface. Always cut and chop on a wooden or plastic cutting board.

Will Natural/Engineered stone countertops scratch?

Both Granite and quartz countertops are scratch resistant, but this does not mean they can never be scratched if abused. It is always recommended, to prevent any issues, use cutting boards instead of cutting directly on the countertop.

Can my Natural/Engineered stone top be damaged?

Like any surface, high impact blows can harm Natural/Engineered stone. Because of its crystalline structure, it can chip if subjected to sharp hard objects.

If chipped or stained, can Natural/Engineered stone be repaired?

The damage will need to be evaluated before determining whether it can be repaired, but we will do our best to restore your natural/Engineered stone to its original beauty.

Does Natural stone harbor bacteria?

Natural stone is naturally resistant to bacteria, but this does not mean it is impervious to germs. Regularly sealing the stone helps the surface resist liquids that can harbor bacteria.

How far away do you do installations?

We install 1 hour away from our shop. If you live further out, additional trip charges my apply.

How long does installation take?

A typical kitchen countertop installation can take up to 3-4 hours. A vanity countertop can take 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Can you disconnect and reconnect my electrical, plumbing or gas?

We will not touch plumbing, electrical or gas. If you have a gas range, please have it disconnected, any plumbing disconnections as well, before we arrive to install your countertop. If the faucets are on site when we do the installation, we will verify the fit but not install them.

Do I need to be on site for the templating and/or installation?

No. The templating is just a detail measurement for a perfect fit, should any problems arise our consultants will be in contact with you. As for the installation, our installers will have all the information necessary to complete the install.

Will you remove my old countertop?

Yes, we can remove and dispose of your old countertop. We charge a fee to do this.

What should I do before you come and install my new countertops?

If we have been commissioned to remove the old countertop, all plumbing, electrical and gas will have to be turned off and disconnected. Any appliances remove from the area. Make sure your existing countertop is clean and your cabinets have been emptied. Have your new faucet on site. Also, make sure that your driveway is clear and easily accessible.

How and when can i hook up the sink and faucet?

Do not hook up your sink and faucet until 24 hours after the countertop installation. This allows the silicone to set and adhere to the countertop. If it is hooked up earlier, the silicone may not have set and your sink may fail.

What kind of sinks are available?

You can put any type of sink into a Natural or Engineered stone countertop. We carry under mount, top mount, vessel and apron sinks. These are available in stainless steel, granite and porcelain. We also carry custom glass sinks, hand made at our sister company Panache.

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