Questions we are asked the most
Are granite countertops expensive?
Granite countertops can be less expensive than many other solid surface materials. The price will vary by square foot, depending on the color you select as well as the edging detail. But remember, a granite counter will last forever and be completely unique to your kitchen—it’s a truly durable, scratch-resistant, and an investment extremely cost effective.
Can granite scratch, chip, stain, or burn?
Can I cut on my granite countertops?
Can I put hot pans and dishes on my granite countertops?
Yes, but we recommend the use of trivets to avoid excessive stress on tension spots, such sink cut outs and seams.
How wide can my granite overhang without other visible means of support?
You can overhang single piece of granite up to 14” if there is sufficient support on the fixed end. But never cantilever granite where it might receive excessive stress, like from someone sitting on a counter or stepping on a counter to change a light bulb.
Are honed or leather finished granites less durable than polished granite?
The processes to hone or leather a granite slab do open up the pores on the surface of a stone, so using a good sealer is important to close off those tiny capillary openings. Changing the finish, doesn’t change the composition of the material, therefore, their resistance to heat and scratches and their durability are all still the same.
Can I use marble on my kitchen counters?
How durable is marble?
Marble has been used for thousands of years. Many marble statues and buildings have outlasted the cultures that built them. A simple, regular maintenance program will keep marble looking beautiful for the life of your home or commercial project.
What is honed marble?
Marble, travertine, or limestone that is honed has a matte or satin finish, rather than a high reflective polish. This is achieved at the factory by stopping just short of the last stage of polishing. Some fabricators have special equipment and can hone marble in their shops by removing the factory polish. One feature of honed marble is that it doesn't show etching as readily, or wear patterns on floors. It is preferred by some because it has a less formal, softer appearance than polished stone.
What is etching?
Etching happens when acid in some form comes in contact with a polished marble or limestone surface. This causes a chemical reaction, which removes the polish, or roughens the surface of honed marble or limestone. Green marbles, such as the "jades" from China are resistant to etching, and granite is impervious to any common household acids.
What can be done if a marble becomes scratched or stained?
Fortunately, most damage that can be done to marble surfaces can also be undone. There are wonderful craftsmen who specialize in the restoration of stone surfaces, and your installer or fabricator can provide you with contact information. Some “do-it-yourself” options for the homeowner include marble polishing powder to help remove scratches, or a poultice to penetrate the marble and help lift out stains. Be careful, however, to never seal a stain into your stone.
What's the best way to clean marble and other stones?
The old rule of thumb is never to use anything you wouldn't use on your hands. Never use powdered cleansers or abrasive pads to clean your stone. Even "soft scrub" type cleaners contain pumice, which is powdered volcanic stone, and might damage your stone countertops or floors. Never use any product which is acidic; this includes substances like ammonia or many common liquid cleaners such as Windex. You should always use sealers and cleaning products designed specifically for natural stone.
Does natural quartzite etch or scratch?
Quartzite is a fairly hard stone and resists scratching and etching. Remember that we do recommend every natural stone (besides soapstone) to be sealed. Due to its minerals, etching should not be a problem on a true quartzite.
Is natural quartzite more durable than granite?
Granite is an igneous rock and quartzite is metamorphic so each has unique features. Granite has been a favorite for kitchen applications for many years and quartzite is just now beginning to gain popularity and both offer excellent durability.
How much does natural quartzite cost?
Natural quartzite is on the higher-end of options for stone surfaces. However, its unique beauty and durability makes it well worth the cost for many buyers.
What is the difference between quartz and natural quartzite?
Quartz is entirely different from natural quartzite. Quartz is an egineered product, primarily made of Quartz powder and Polyester Resin. Since quartz is a resin based product, it is not as heat resistant like the other natural stones and it comes in many colors like white, gray, yellow, rose, violet, yellow, and brown.
How do I care for natural quartzite?
Even though quartzite is very durable, it does need some home work to keep it looking its best. All natural stones should be sealed because of their porous nature. Reseal your quartzite annually is recommended. Use stone cleaners or pH neutral soaps to clean your natural quartzite and dry it thoroughly. Avoid abrasives—even though it is very difficult to scratch natural quartzite—to keep your surface looking like new.
Can I put hot objects on natural quartzite?
Most stones can withstand some heat, but it is not recommended that you place items right from the oven or right off the stove directly on the stone. Use a trivet or pad.
Where shouldn't Quartz be used?
Do not place Quartz materials in outside locations or in place subject to intense solar radiation, or in places where the product may be exposed to lighting emiting UV rays or direct heat to it.
Is Quartz heat resistant?
No. Nevertheless place hot objects straight from the stove or oven on Quartz, there may be irreversibly damaged. Therefore, it is recommendable to use mats or cloth over your Quartz when you need to place hot objects on it. Toasters, fryers and other appliances generate heat, so the surface should be protected by ensuring there is sufficient separation for ventilation so that hear can be dissipated.
Is it necessary to apply sealant on the Quartz?
No. Thanks to its null porosity, no humidity can penetrate the surface, so it is not necessary to use water-repelents or sealants to protect the surface or enhace the gloss, as opposed to other natural stone.
Can I cut directly on a Quartz Surfaces or use sharp utensils?
No. A good quality quartz is usually made from 93-95% of natural quartz, one of the hardest minerals in the world. Nevertheless, to ensure its integrity and beauty we recommend avoiding cutting operations directly on the surface. Use an appropriate cutting board when working with knives, sharps utensils or tools.
What chemicals or cleaning agents are not recommendable for use?
Do not use paints strippers, caustic soda, degreasers, or products with pH level above 10 or chlorine-based products, such as toilet cleaners, furniture wax, oily soaps, or drain unblocking products. Do not under any circumstances use products containing hydrofluoric acid or dichloromethane. If you use bleach or solvent, this must be diluted with water and never allowed to remain in contact with the surface for long periods of time.
Can I re-polish Quartz?
No. Under any circumstances should Quartz be re-polished. Either in floor, or countertop applications.
What is Neolith?
Born in the last decade, Neolith – a Sintered Stone – is part of a new and revolutionary product category aimed at meeting more demanding architectural and design needs.
It is not at all what is known as traditional ceramic or stoneware but rather evolved from these materials to the point that a new type of surface was created which was non-existent up until that time. Neolith is pioneer in the Sintered Stone industry.
Why isn’t NEOLITH ceramic?
The difference between Neolith and traditional ceramics is obvious when you simply compare the characteristics. Although traditional ceramic may have some characteristic in common with Neolith, it definitely doesn’t have all the characteristics inherent to Neolith such as its stain, chemical and heat resistance all in one product.
It all begins with the raw materials which, despite being similar and obtained from comparable sources, the raw materials used to produce Neolith are more refined and purer to ensure a more uniform product.
Moreover, the machinery used to process these raw materials is unique as it is specifically designed to manufacture Neolith. The production line features the most advanced equipment and latest technology to guarantee a high-quality product. The raw materials are pressed at a significantly higher pressure to get denser material.
Then, the pressed material is baked for almost 2 hours which is much longer than for traditional ceramic which includes cycles of around 40 minutes.
These longer cycles create a product with a stronger, non-absorbent surface. All of these enhancements in the raw materials and production techniques result in an improved product with superior technical characteristics known as Neolith.
What is Sintered Stone?
Composition: 100% natural based on 3 groups of elements:
1. Minerals from granite: quartz and feldspar which provide the product with hardness and strength.
2. Minerals from glass and silica that provide chemical stability.
3. Natural oxides that offer chromatic properties.
How is NEOLITH® produced?What is Sintering?
Where can NEOLITH® be applied?
Because of the format and physical/mechanical characteristics, this type of product is ideal for an endless number of interior and exterior uses in business and private homes: countertops, floors, walls, facades, tiling, furniture. The only limit is your imagination.
What kind of care does my NEOLITH® kitchen countertop need?
Is NEOLITH® scratch-resistant?
Ceramic knives can scratch a Neolith surface irrespective of the finish just as they scratch other brands of the same and other product categories.
What is the process involved with buying a NEOLITH® countertop?
Neolith must be purchased through a specialized shop or store. This is because the product requires specific tools for cutting, handling and installation which all must be done by a qualified professional.
What is Vetrazzo made of?
Vetrazzo is composed of a patented (Patent No. US 7,771,539), proprietary formula that combines recycled glass with a binder of cement, additives, pigments and other recycled materials. Conversely, most manufactured countertop materials on the market, such as engineered stone (also referred to as “Quartz”), utilize a synthetic, petroleum-based resin binder.
Are Vetrazzo surfaces smooth or textured?
The Polished Vetrazzo surfaces are smooth, just like highly polished granite. The Sea Pearl finish is compared to a leather granite with a slight texture to it.
Where does the glass come from? How much is recycled?
All of the glass used in Vetrazzo is recycled, and it makes up approximately 85% of the final material. Our largest source of glass is the neighborhood curbside recycling programs. (See if you can spot last night’s Heineken bottle…) Other glass comes from post-industrial usage, windows, drinking glasses, stemware, automotive glass, stained glass, laboratory glass, reclaimed glass from building demolition, and other unusual sources such as decommissioned traffic light lenses. Because of the unique nature of the glass used in the production process, every Vetrazzo surface has its own history.
How does Vetrazzo compare to granite?
Vetrazzo is comparable in strength, scratch resistance, thermal resistance, durability, and care and maintenance to granite. Vetrazzo can be used wherever granite or other natural stone surfaces are used. One key difference between granite and Vetrazzo is that, because Vetrazzo is made entirely in the US and is composed of more than 85% recycled material, Vetrazzo is one of the most environmentally friendly surface materials on the market.
How is Vetrazzo used?
Almost any surfacing requirement can use Vetrazzo. The most popular applications include countertops, vanity tops, tabletops, bar tops, hearths/fireplace surrounds and tub decks. Vetrazzo has even been used for wall cladding entryways, and shower surrounds.
Can Vetrazzo be used outdoors?
Vetrazzo Classic Colletcion is a real nature lover, and won’t change color from UV exposure like other surfaces that use petrochemical based binding agents. While it’s not warranted for outdoor usage due to the potential of etching from rain with high acid content, current outdoor installations have withstood many freeze/thaw fluctuations in seasonal cycles. Be sure to cover your Vetrazzo when not in use to protect it. The Designer collection however is only recommended for indoor use.
How much of a surface can be unsupported (cantilevered)?
It depends on the particular use, but generally speaking it has similar dimensional limitations to granite or marble. In general, expect the following*:
• Spanning between two supports shall be limited to 2'0" with rodding
• Cantilevers 10'' or longer require corbels
• Corbels must be installed a minimum of 18" on center
• Corbel length must support cantilever distance within 2" of overall length
Refer to the Vetrazzo Fabrication Guide for more information.
*From the Marble Institute of America's Fabrication Standards
What finishes are available?
The standard finish is high-gloss polish, but Vetrazzo is also available in a Sea Pearl finish by special order.
Will my Vetrazzo look like the sample I saw?
Because of the unique nature of Vetrazzo, no two pieces are exactly the same. We endeavor to reproduce panels of the same mix as close in color match as possible. Your Vetrazzo will likely exhibit variations in color, shade, glass size and glass particle distribution that are part of the inherent character and beauty of mixing post consumer and/or post-industrial recycled glass. Any samples of your chosen mix should be considered a general representation of the final appearance of your surface. These variations are not structural and are part of the beauty and distinctive pleasure of having a genuine Vetrazzo surface. Be assured, no one will have a surface exactly like yours. If it's important to you to select your specific Vetrazzo panel, many stocking suppliers will allow you to pick your Vetrazzo from their inventory.
Can Vetrazzo create custom colors?
We will create custom mixes for larger projects, and for select smaller projects. Please appreciate that the complexity of custom orders requires special pricing.
How long will it take to get my Vetrazzo?
If your retailer or fabricator is working with a distributor that has Vetrazzo in stock, your fabricator will probably receive your Vetrazzo within a week. If not, they will probably receive it in 3-4 weeks. Please note: the timeline may also vary depending on the size of the job, the chosen mix's glass availability and our current production pipeline.
How do I clean and maintain Vetrazzo?
The surface should be wiped clean with a damp cloth. For dried spots or rings, use mild liquid soap or detergent with a damp cloth. Maintain the finish on your Vetrazzo by applying marble polish (such as Goddard’s) two or three times a year.
Can Vetrazzo stain?
Vetrazzo's porosity is better than marble and concrete and equivalent to some granite. But you do have to care for it. 85% of the surface is glass, which is impervious to stain. However, acids (like red wine, lemon juice, and vinegar) will etch the matrix of the surface (the concrete area between the glass) if not cleaned up right away. And staining agents, (like coffee and tea) will leave a trace if allowed to remain on the surface. Luckily, like aged butcher block, marble, and concrete, signs of living can actually enhance the character of the surface. If you clean messes up quickly, your Vetrazzo will remain unchanged. If you are more carefree, you may appreciate the natural patina that develops as you live with and enjoy your Vetrazzo. Also, dark mixes and those with patina hide the signs of a carefree lifestyle remarkably well.
Will it chip, crack or scratch?
Vetrazzo is extremely strong and durable and will withstand years and years of normal use. In the unlikely event of damage, it can be easily repaired by your fabricator.
How does it handle really hot pans placed on it?
Extremely well, thank you. It’s glass and concrete, remember. Some customers even make Vetrazzo trivets. Note, however, that prolonged heat can weaken the sealant. If you do this often, be sure to reapply sealant more frequently.
Can I cut on it?
Yes, but you’ll very quickly dull your knife as Vetrazzo is one of the hardest countertop surfaces on the market!
Is soapstone natural stone?
Soapstone — a soft metamorphic rock composed mostly of the mineral talc.
Soapstone also includes chlorite, carbonate, and tremolite. Soapstone forms through the alteration of ferromagnesian silicate minerals during metamorphism. Soapstone (steatite) is a naturally occurring metamorphic rock found in various localities of the world. It is geologically associated with ancient ocean rift zones of ultra-basic, igneous rock assemblages.
These rock units become altered due to the tremendous heat and pressure that occurs during periods of mountain development and tectonic upheavals.The process of steatization changes the minerals in the rock into talc and dolomite (magnesium carbonate). The soft talc mineral gives soapstone the smooth feel of soap and the carbonate mineral provides the strength and integrity.
I heard that soapstone comes in small sized slabs?
At one time soapstone blocks were cut smaller to avoid veins. Since seams in soapstone countertops are virtually invisible, this was not a problem. As other stones increased in the marketplace, soapstone was forced to quarry larger blocks. Larger slabs sometimes will contain a few more quartz veins, but they only add to the aesthetics of the project.
Our 1 ¼” slabs average in size 60” x 100”.We also cut smaller sizes for fabricators that are not capable of handling large material. Custom thickness and sizes can be ordered, but time must be allowed for quarrying and sizing of blocks.
Handling of the larger slabs is the same as a large granite or marble slab. Due to natural fissures in those stones a mesh back is often applied to supply additional support. Since soapstone is such a dense material that mesh is not needed. As our slabs continue to be quarried in larger sizes, we may consider applying the mesh for safety reasons.
Any soapstone will work in my kitchen, right?
How come soapstone is not as popular as granite?
Probably due to its rarity and limited supply. Quarrying soapstone takes knowledge and patience. Because it is unlike most other architectural minerals, soapstone has not been quarried or marketed by large companies and has not been sold through traditional stone distribution channels.
And due to the limited supply of architectural quality, the chances of soapstone ever reaching the sales magnitude of granite is very unlikely.
Soapstone feels soft; will it wear thin over time?
Soapstone will wear, softening the edges and accumulating some nicks, scratches and dents over time. It will never wear thin and it certainly doesn’t wash away. Most scratches are just a displacement of the mineral oil. If deeper scratches should occur, they can be removed with light sanding if desired, but often left alone they tend to add patina to the stone.
Sinks that were built well over 100 years ago (those found in many New England garages and cellars) are still in use and just as attractive as sinks built today.
You recommend oiling soapstone, why?
Soapstone is non-porous so nothing will penetrate the surface. When liquid is spilled or applied to the surface, the stone darkens due to the light refracted off the stone. The stone lightens when the substance is removed from the surface either by evaporation or cleaning. Thus, in order to avoid an inconsistent color or tone, we recommend applying mineral oil to the surface of the stone. While oiling is done at the homeowners discretion (and often enjoyment), there is no right or wrong way.
Most importantly is the grade of mineral oil. FDA approved food grade mineral oil will not go rancid as an olive oil would. It has no odor or taste. In most cases the thin layer applied to the countertop will dry overnight. We suggest using a bottled mineral oil; otherwise heavier grade oil may be found in most drug and grocery stores.
Is there a time-table for oiling soapstone?
We recommend weekly for the first month, then twice a month for the next three months. After that a monthly oiling, or less, depends on use. Only you will know the timetable that works in your home.
There really is no right time or wrong time to oil. Kitchens that get more use than others will require less oil in high traffic areas since the moisture is naturally being replaced. The thin layer of oil, too light to feel, will keep the stone a consistent shade of dark gray. The oil does evaporate so the stone will lighten with time.
What qualities make it kitchen friendly?
Soapstone has three characteristics that make it an excellent choice:
1- Soapstone adjusts to heat. You can place a red-hot pan or dish on a counter without any damage to the counter.
2- Soapstone is non-porous so that no products that traditionally stain a natural stone will penetrate the surface. Other surfaces such as granite, marble or limestone have to be repeatedly sealed to prevent liquids from staining them.
3- Soapstone is chemically neutral so acids like lemon or tomato juice do not affect it nor do alkali’s found in some household cleaners.
***No other solid surface countertop material has all three of these characteristics
Is soapstone considered a green product?
At the current time no stone fits every requirement to be considered part of the Green Movement. Yet soapstone is accepted by many Green minded designers, builders and homeowners due to its earth-friendly qualities. The following are a few points that have been made to us:
Soapstone is quarried in an open pit, thus, the land is refilled with dirt, allowing grass and trees to reclaim the land.
Soapstone is chemical free;
- It needs no sealer as it is used in its natural state.
- Because it is non-porous, a mild soap and water cleanup is a snap.
- Mineral Oil, also a natural food safe product, is used to enhance it.
Soapstone is a one-time, life-time investment. Sinks that have been used since the early 1800’s in New England are still being used today in many laundry rooms.
Soapstone is recyclable. Old high school and college science labs that for some reason are being taken out and replaced with other materials have been reused for sinks, countertop and vanity tops with simple reconditioning.
Soapstone has withstood the test of time and is ready to take on the future. Whatever use it has been specified for, more than likely it is still in place today.Soapstone is ready for the Green movement; fact is has been ready for more than 200 years!