Frequently Asked Questions About Natural Stone

Will natural stone stain?

Yes, it can. All-natural stone, including granite, has a minute level of porosity and can stain and etch. Sealers and impregnators serve as a moisture barrier only and do not totally prevent stains. However, they do help by giving you a fair amount of time to wipe up spills. If a serious stain is bothering you, it can usually be removed by resurfacing.

Will my stone countertop chip?

Small chips can occur with heavy abuse, but usually these can easily be repaired. A colored epoxy with small pieces of stone aggregate is used to fill in small areas. If you get a larger chip, save the piece so it can be used to repair the damaged area.

What is etching? 

Etching is surface damage. When acids from liquids such as fruit juices, alcohols and even some cleaning products come into contact with certain minerals in your stone, they leave dull spots or rings. Sometimes an etch can be felt (it feels rougher). Other times, you cannot feel a difference but you’ll see a dull looking area.

Will natural stone scratch?

It depends on the stone. Natural stone countertops will not scratch under normal use, but keep in mind that stone surfaces are scratch resistant, not scratch proof. It’s best to consult a professional stone supplier or fabricator to determine what kind of stone is best for your lifestyle and application.

Can stone countertops be repaired?

Yes. If minor damage does occur, natural stone usually can be repaired using a mix of epoxy and ground-up chips of stone. If your countertop is severely damaged or cracked, it may need to be replaced. Consult your stone installer regarding repairs.

Will seams be noticeable?

Seams are joints where two pieces of stone meet or join together. Although stone slabs are very big, most countertop applications require a seam. If you have curves, arches or long spans of countertop space, usually a seam is required. Hire a good fabricator and seams are barely noticeable.

Will natural stone countertops fade in direct sunlight?

It depends on the natural stone.  A lot of natural stones are filled with resin which could discolor from direct sunlight over time.  However, this may go unnoticed depending the color of the stone.

What types of edge profiles can I get?

A good countertop fabricator will be able to provide you with a wide variety of edge options to choose from. They typically own a large selection of router bits with different profiles to achieve the style you’re looking for. A good fabricator can also produce custom edges to your liking using specialized fabrication techniques.  Due to the possibility of chipping, not all edges are recommended for all materials

Does natural stone add value to my home?

Yes. Stone surfaces in your home will always add more resale value than any other surfacing material. Stone and quartz countertops are very desirable to homebuyers, especially throughout the kitchen. Stone countertops will last a lifetime, which means that after the cost of the initial installation (with proper maintenance and care) they never need to be replaced.

What are the price differences of stone that come from other regions around the world?

Prices of natural stone can differ for a wide variety of reasons. Typically the more expensive the stone, the more rare it is or difficult to obtain. Pricier, more exotic stones usually come from India, Brazil and Italy. Other reasons stone pricing can differ can depend on quarrying and processing costs, availability, shipping and importing, complexity of fabrication and its popularity with buyers.

What are the most popular surface finishes?

Natural stone surfaces can be finished in a variety of ways but polished, honed and leathered are the most popular.

What is “Honed”?

Honed finishes are gradually becoming more popular for stone countertops. This finish is smooth but less shiny than polished finishes and gives your home a more natural, casual feel. One drawback of honed surfaces is that they are known to show stains more than others. But, don’t let this deter you from choosing a honed finish.

What is “Polished”?

A polished surface is the most common and desirable. Polished surfaces have a great appearance and are easy to keep clean and maintain. In addition, a polished surface has a high luster and sheen bringing out the dramatic colors and rocky patterns of the stone.

What is “Leathered”?

A leathered finish begins with a honed surface, then it is swept with diamond-tipped brushes. The process brings back the color and closes pores on the surface. The result is between polished and honed. It has more sheen and is less porous than a honed finish.

Can I use a natural stone surface outdoors exposed to the elements?

Yes. Outdoor countertops add a beautiful complement to pool areas, decks and patios but require more maintenance – especially here in Michigan with our seasonal changes. When considering natural stone for outdoor countertops, be sure to select a hard stone. Some types of stone are softer than others and will weather and stain easier. Talk to your designer or fabricator to make sure you are selecting an appropriate stone for your outdoor application (see also Ultra-Compact Dekton for a superior outdoor kitchen product).

What are stone remnants? Can I buy remnants for small projects?

Remnants are smaller pieces of stone or smaller sections of slabs remaining from another project. Most fabricators and suppliers sell remnants and sometimes offer price discounts on leftover pieces. You cannot special order remnants – what you see is what you get. Remnants work great if you only need a small portion of stone for a bathroom vanity, shelving, a laundry room, or for small desks and tables.

Is natural stone a hygienic surface?

Yes. The minerals present in natural stone are toxic to most bacteria. Coupled with a good sealer, natural stone countertops are very hygienic.  -See also NSF (National Sanitary Foundation) certified solid surface, quartz and ultra-compact.


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