What is the difference between granite, marble, quartzite, and quartz?
The stones referred to as granite, marble, and quartzite are natural stones. What is commonly referred to as “quartz” countertops is a manmade material comprised of natural quartz mixed with resin and glues. Quartz countertops are usually comprised of about 93% natural quartz and the rest is resin and glues.
There are many different classifications of natural stone other than granite, marble, and quartz. That is why one material referred to as granite may have vastly different characteristics than another. The same is true for material referred to as marble or quartzite. One marble may be hard and stain resistant, while another may be soft and stain easily. Same for quartzite. It is important not to get too hung up on the classification of stone. Ask questions about the stone you chose.
How much maintenance is required for stone countertops?
The short answer is it depends. Some natural stones require virtually no maintenance other than cleaning with a mild soap and water. Some require sealing on intervals ranging from 6 months to several years. Your stone will tell you when or if it needs to be sealed. If you see that water absorbs into the stone and takes several hours to dry, then it is probably time to reseal your countertops. We recommend that you try and avoid ammonia-based cleaners because it will eventually remove your sealer from your stone.
Do my cabinets need to be reinforced to hold stone countertops?
Usually, no. We do hundreds of installs each month and we rarely run into situations where cabinets need to be reinforced. Most cabinets are fine for stone countertops. Sometimes additional support is required for extended overhangs. If an issue is discovered with your cabinets at the time of installation, our lead installer will discuss this with you and explain options. But again, this is hardly ever the case.
We are planning to paint or refinish our cabinets. Should we do the cabinets first or the countertops?
You can do it either way. As countertop people, we like to be the first to go. There is the possibility that new, tight fitting, countertops could cause some slight damage or scratching to the freshly refinished cabinets. Having your cabinets refinished after the countertops are installed can eliminate this concern. Plus, sometimes it is easier to select the best cabinet color after you see the countertops installed. But if you prefer to do the cabinets first, it is not a problem.
Should we do our tile backsplash before or after the countertops?
Do the countertops first. Countertop material can vary in thickness. Plus, the countertops must be shimmed and level so that they are flat. The backsplash will need to sit on top of the countertops. The best way to ensure a good clean fit between the tile and the countertop is to install the tile backsplash after the countertops.
Will I need to hire a plumber?
Maybe, but probably not. We have a person on staff to do the reconnection of your faucets, sinks, and disposal. We do not do any type of work involving water supply lines. We do not relocate plumbing connections. Ask your salesperson and they can give you some guidance as to whether you will need to contract a plumber.
Where does the stone come from?
The slabs we use to make your new countertops come from all over the world. Surprisingly enough, little of it comes from the United States. Most natural stone used for countertops comes from a region in Brazil called Espiritu Santo. A lot of natural stone comes from India. Some of the more traditional marbles comes from Italy. There are some nice marbles that come from the US, including Alabama and Georgia. But natural stone used for countertops comes from all parts of the world.
Quartz is also manufactured in all parts of the world, including the US. There are a handful of quartz brands that are produced in the United States. But there are quartz factories on basically every continent.
Can I replace my old stone countertops?
Yes. As stone countertops have been around for quite some time, it is becoming more common for homeowners to choose to replace them. We do it all the time.
Can I reuse old stone countertops?
Yes. But it is not always a good idea. The countertops will have to be removed, brought to our manufacturing facility, recut, and refinished. The old layout does not always allow for use in a new location. Many times, it ends up being more expensive to reuse old tops than to cut new ones, and the results may not be as good when reusing the old ones.
What should I budget for new countertops?
There is a wide range depending on the material you choose, the size of your project, whether you purchase new sinks and faucets, the type of edge work you select, plumbing, removal of old tops, etc. We do kitchen countertops projects that can start for under $1000. An average kitchen can be in the $3000 range. But, again, there are many variables that determine the budget.
Can I, or should I, reuse my old sink and/or appliances?
Yes, you can, but no you probably should not. In many cases, sinks, faucets, and appliances look fine until you install the new countertops. Once the new countertops are installed, the “old” begins to show on the reused sinks and appliances. We do many projects, however, where the homeowner elects to reuse sinks and appliances and it works out great. It depends on the age and condition.
If I reuse a sink, faucet, or appliance, can I change them later?
Yes. Cooktops are easy to change if you go back with something that fits the same cutout. You can replace a cooktop with a larger cooktop but will have to pay someone to make the cutout larger. Faucets usually can be swapped out without having to modify the countertop, if you use the same number of holes for the new faucet. If you need additional holes drilled, that is usually not a big deal. Sinks, however, are another issue. It is difficult to change a sink once the tops are installed. You can usually change a drop-in sink for another drop-in sink without too much trouble. But changing from a drop in to an undermount is difficult, as is changing one undermount for another. That is why we usually recommend a new sink when you install your new countertops.
Is there a warranty on my new countertops?
Yes. We warranty our labor for as long as you own the home, with some limitations. We warranty under normal conditions for intended usage. We do not warranty against misuse or abuse. Material warranties on manmade products are between you and the manufacturer. We do not warranty natural stone to be anything other than what it is… a natural product.
Can I keep my sink or cooktop cutouts?
In many cases, cutouts are broken or damaged in the cutout process. But you are welcome to keep these cutouts if they survive. However, they are heavy and sharp. They can easily scratch your countertops or floors. They can be a hassle to move around and store. We recommend against keeping them.
Can I put a hot pan on my new countertops?
With natural stones, you can in most cases, but we recommend against it just to be safe. Most natural stones can tolerate heat, some stones better than other. But it is better to be safe and to use the same precautions that you would with any countertop surface. Plus, stone tops retain the heat. So, once you set a hot pot or pan on the surface, the surface can remain extremely hot for a period afterwards. It is possible to damage your natural stone tops with extreme heat.
With quartz countertops we advise you not to place a hot pot or pan on the countertop surface. Because quartz is made up of resins and glue, it is possible to burn the surface.
Can I cut on my new countertops?
With most stones, this is not a problem. Some softer stones can scratch. Most customers cut right on their countertops. But we recommend that you test it on a scrap piece first. But with most stones, this is not an issue.
Will sunlight affect my new countertops?
Sunlight has little or no effect on most stone countertops. However, prolonged direct sunlight can damage some countertops. Quartz countertops can fade over time if exposed to direct sunlight for a long period of time. Some natural stones can change due to sunlight exposure for extremely long periods. This is rarely ever an issue for countertops installed inside the home. But it needs to be considered for any outdoor installations.
How much overhang can we have without support?
In most cases, we recommend support for anything over 10 inches. But this is not a hard and fast rule. It depends on the material. Quartz countertops can usually handle a larger overhang safely than natural stone. Some natural stones may be more fragile than others once place horizontally. If there is a doubt, we recommend installing brackets or corbels.