Countertops Info

 

Countertops Services

 

What is granite? Marble? Travertine?

Granite is the most popular stone type used in countertop applications today. Granite is an igneous rock (formed over millions of years by solidification of magma) made up of several different minerals, including quartz, mica, and feldspar. Marble is a metamorphic rock (rock changed by pressure, heat, and water) predominantly consisting of calcite, dolomite, and crystals. (Onyx is considered part of the marble family.) Marbles and onyxes typically have a diverse aesthetic appeal, accentuated by distinct veining and often bold colors. They are relatively softer than granite. For a variety of reasons, marble and onyx are not recommended for use in kitchens; however, they can be a good selection for bathrooms. Travertine is a calcium based stone. Travertines are very porous and even have holes in the stone. Again, travertine is not recommended for use in a kitchen.

Where does your stone come from?

Most are from Brazil, Italy, and India. Our main supplier is Daltile, one of the largest importers of natural stone in the country.
 

What are the best selling granites?

Stones that are consistently top sellers include New Venetian Gold, Santa Cecilia, Ashen White, and Tropic Brown.

There is such a wide range of prices. Are there different quality levels (grades) of stone?

Usually the higher grades of granite are due to consistent coloration and not quality. Stone pricing is generally based upon availability/scarcity of the stone, thickness, and the country of origin. Where the stone is quarried also affects the pricing. For example, blue-toned granite is said to come from deeper beneath the earth’s surface, making it rarer and more costly.

How thick is the granite?

Most is 3 cm (approx. 1 ¼ inch) thick. Some stones are available in 2 cm (approx. 3/4”) thickness.

Can I go and select my slab?

Yes. You can go to our Stone Center to look at available slabs. Our Stone Center is conveniently located just inside I-285 off of Howell Mill Road. If you do not select your slab(s) in person, please remember that you are purchasing a natural stone product that will have variations from the sample. Some stones have far more variation than others. Even a single granite or marble slab will possess a certain amount of color variation from one end to the other.
 

Does all granite have strong veining?

No. Some stones have no veining at all. If you want a granite with a lot of veining, we STRONGLY recommend you select your slab in person.

How much do new countertops cost?

A typical kitchen needing one slab of granite normally costs $3000 to $4000 installed.

Will my granite scratch? Stain?

Yes. It is scratch resistant, stain resistant, and heat resistant, NOT scratch proof, stain proof, and heat proof. The darker the granite, the less porous and more stain resistant it is. It is possible to chip the edges by striking it with an object. A heavy pot or other blunt items “slammed down” can cause a crack in the countertop which may be able to be repaired. Never cut directly on stone countertops; always use a cutting board. Do not sit or stand on stone countertops. Do not place hot items directly on the stone surface
 
 
 

Will there be seams in my countertop?

Slabs are typically between 7 and 10 feet long. If your countertop is longer than that, there will definitely be a seam. The seams are joined with epoxy that is mixed with the color that matches the stone. The joined area is then smoothed, leaving only a very thin line. The visibility of seams will depend on the granularity, color, and pattern of the stone. A small, uniform grain (such as Uba Tuba) will not show seams as easily as a larger varied grain (for example, Juparana.) The seam in a dark color will be less apparent than in a light color. A dramatic pattern with swaths of color will show more seams than a uniform pattern.

Is my stone sealed? What type of future maintenance is required?

Yes, one coat of sealer is applied. Natural stone should be cleaned with neutral cleaners. Never clean with any product containing acid, lemon, or bleach. Acids, even a light solution of vinegar and water, will eventually etch and damage natural stone. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface. Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices. Many common food and drinks contain acids that will etch or dull the surface. Wipe up and clean with mild soap and warm water all spills immediately. Thoroughly rinse and dry the surface after washing. Stone sealers should be applied as soon as you notice water no longer stands (beads up) on the surface.
 
 

Do I need a new sink?

Most clients have a new sink installed with their new countertop. An updated under-mount sink and new faucets seems to be part of a kitchen update. Also, the cutout for your sink is custom made. If you decide to replace your sink later, it is a far more difficult process.

Where is my slab cut?

At our fabricators facility. The slab(s) arrive at your home pre-cut and ready to be installed.

How long does the installation typically take?

Normally four to six hours.

What is the warranty on my new countertop?

The installation is warranted for one full year.

Will granite weigh too much for my cabinetry? Do I need additional cabinet supports?

3 cm granite weighs approximately 19 lbs. per square foot. Typical cabinet construction is more than adequate for most installation. However, large, self-standing or furniture style islands may require additional corner bracing or corbels.

Can granite cantilever?

According to the Marble Institute of America, corbels or structured support should be used when an overhang exceeds 10” for 3 cm materials or 6” for 2 cm material.

Will I need to remove my existing tile backsplash when I replace my countertop?

Probably. Changes in the placement of the new countertops, however minor they may be, make achieving an acceptable seam between the new countertops and the existing backsplash nearly impossible.
 
 
 
 

How do I select my edge?

Some edges lend themselves to more causal styles; others are more formal or more contemporary. Your Enhance Design Consultant can assist you with this decision,

What is ONE Quartz Surfaces?

ONE Quartz is an engineered stone. Many patterns look like granite. ONE Quartz is a blend of 93% natural quartz and 7% resin, pigments, and fillers. Quartz is one of the hardest naturally occurring materials. Second only to diamonds in hardness, ONE Quartz is highly scratch resistant. ONE Quartz features a long-lasting, high-gloss shine. The surface is non-porous, stain resistant, and does not support the growth of bacteria. No sealing is needed. ONE Quartz features a ten year limited warranty.

How many square feet of countertop is average?

A small kitchen is around 40 square feet, a medium kitchen around 65 square feet, and a large kitchen is 100 square feet and up. We will measure this for you at the time of your estimate. The depth of most countertops is 25”.

What does the “installed” price include?

The granite and the basic installation, basic edging styles, as well as tear-out and disposal of your existing countertop. Items that are additional charges include certain edging options, granite backsplashes, and cutouts for the sink, faucets, cook top, and electrical outlets and switch plates. We also do not do any plumbing or electrical work that is required. We do dry fit the sink to assure proper fit. Metal brackets (supports), rounded cuts in the slab, and any cabinet leveling needed are also not included in the installed price.

I see places advertising granite countertops for $29 per sq foot installed. Your prices are higher than that. Why?

This $29 price is not a “totally installed” price. There will be additional charges added to the $29, for example, cutouts for the sink and stove, removal of your existing countertops, etc. The $29 granite may be only 2 cm thick. You will also find that when you go to look at the $29 granite there are only a few colors available at that price. The prices for other granite choices go up dramatically from there. Once you have a totally installed price, you will find that you are paying more than $29 per sq ft installed. Also, be sure you understand how many pieces of granite will be used in your countertop installation. We minimize the number of seams needed, which can increase the amount of granite needed, but gives you a far more satisfactory finished product.