Frequently Asked Questions
“What is the best stone for my kitchen counter tops, granite or marble?”
We think granite is the ideal stone for kitchen countertops.
- Adds elegance and style with a richness that cannot be duplicated in synthetic materials.
- Formed deep in the earth by extremely high temperatures making it very hard and resistant to scratching, cracking or staining. You could chop vegetables directly on the countertop without damaging the surface (but don’t do it- you will dull your knives!).
- Impervious to heat; can take a hot pot without the use of a trivet.
Marble, while beautiful stone, has limitations for kitchen use.
- Formed as sediment at the bottom of bodies of water so not as hard as granite.
- Main component is calcium, making its polished surface vulnerable to scratching and dulling over time.
- Susceptible to staining from acids such as vinegar and citrus beverages.
“Green marble” is not actual marble and is also ideal for kitchen use. Green marbles such as Hulian Jade from Taiwan, Verde San Remo from Italy, or Verde Antique from Vermont, are all excellent choices for the kitchen. These green marbles come from a stone called serpentine and are extremely hard and resistant to staining and etching.
“What should I use to clean my stone surfaces?”
Here are some handy do’s and don’ts for properly cleaning your stone surfaces.
- Use a mild soap and water solution and dry completely after washing.
- Clean with a warm, wet washcloth and a small amount of Ivory dish soap. Ivory dish soap does not contain animal fats and is free from dyes that leave a film on the stone.
- Microfiber cloths are fast becoming a great tool to help clean natural stone. They are made to ‘trap’ dirt in the cloth’s design and leave no smudging or smearing of any kind compared to a typical dishcloth that can leave streaking.
- For stone floors, dust mop often. Dirt from shoes can be abrasive and dull the finish of the floors.
- Never use abrasive scrubs or cleansers on the surface of your stone as these will scratch or remove the finish.
- Do not use acidic, citrus or vinegar cleaners as these will etch the finish of the stone.
- In the shower, use a squeegee daily to avoid soap scum build up. Use a non-acidic soap scum remover to clean any residue or build up.
- On a marble vanity top, clean with soap and water.
- Avoid using window or ammonia-based cleaners.
“How often should I seal my stone surfaces?”
Properly sealing your stone extends its life and keeps it looking and performing beautifully. We recommend sealing all stone surfaces with our exclusive sealer called Granite Guard®. Unlike other sealers which simply clog the pores and wear down within a year, with Granite Guard®, you only need to seal the stone once.Granite Guard:
- Provides an impregnating, invisible, breathable barrier
- Protects granite, marble, limestone, porous tile, pavers and grout
- Protects against damage caused by salts, graffiti and oil-based stains.
- Works without changing surface colors or textures, unlike other surface sealers
- Reduces water take-up and chloride ion ingress by up to 98%.
- Enables Affordable Granite & Cabinetry transferable lifetime warranty when Granite Guard is applied by an accredited applicator according to written instructions and maintained according to our recommended maintenance system.
- Please call us today for more information.
“I would like to have a small table top made. Do I have to buy an entire slab of stone? “
No, if you buy from us. Unlike our competitors, we stock and sell slab remnants for our customers’ smaller projects.
- Pay by the square foot so you only pay for what you need.
- Wide range of stones to choose from.
- New remnants weekly.
“Can you scratch granite?”
No, granite is one of the hardest stones in the world. A knife blade will not scratch granite. Only another piece of granite or specially sharpened tools designed to cut granite like tungsten or diamond blades will scratch it.
“Does granite burn?”
No. You cannot burn granite. Granite is formed by extreme heat and pressure combined beneath the earth’s crust. It is completely safe to set hot pots or pans directly from the stove or oven onto your granite. A lit flame placed under the granite will have no melting effect and will not leave any burned or scarred marks.
“Will my kitchen have seams?”
Due to the limitation of slab size, seams on a granite countertop are necessary and sometimes unavoidable. We use a pneumatic seamer called the Gorilla Grip for a premium quality seam. These seams are much less noticeable and more pleasing to the eye than conventional means. The visibility of seams will depend on the granularity, color, and pattern. Our sales associates will help explain the seam process in detail to you. Seams are normal and when done properly will blend nearly seamlessly with your new countertops. For proof, take a look at the kitchen displays in our showroom.
“Does granite stain?”
In typical use and with a few simple precautions, granite does not stain. Here are some general rules:
- All stone is porous to some extent, so staining can occur.
- Granite has very little pososity but can stain in some instances.
- Typically, the darker the granite, the more stain resistant it is.
Some granite can stain if the granite has not been sealed and the substance is left on the granite to soak in.
- Stone sealer is highly recommended for all granite to reduce or eliminate staining.
- We recommend our exclusive sealer called Granite Guard® for an impregnating, invisible, and breathable barrier which guards against surface staining. It comes with a Lifetime warranty which is transferable if you ever decide to sell your home.
“Does granite harbor bacteria or emit radon?”
Granite ranked #1 in cleanability when compared to six other countertop surfaces including stainless steel, based on a study by the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management.
- Granite continues to be used and approved in food and medical applications.
- The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has no records of granite harboring bacteria, and has no reports of people becoming ill from bacteria in granite.
- With regular cleaning, granite is far less likely to support bacteria than butcher block or even laminated materials.
- Granite does not emit dangerous levels of radon. The Colorado School for Mines confirms the accepted science that consumers do not have to worry about radon exposure from natural stones in their homes.
“Why should we choose granite for our kitchen countertop?”
Granite is the hardest of all building stones with a very close grain, making it almost impervious to stain and uniquely applicable for any interior use. If polished, its high-gloss finish will endure even in harsh environments. These characteristics make granite ideal for countertops and flooring.
“What is granite?”
Granite rocks are igneous rocks also known as “fire rocks’ formed by cooling pockets of magma beneath the earth’s surface.
“Why is every piece of granite different?”
Granite is generally made up of quartz, feldspar and mica. These minerals combine in varying percentages that account for the color, veining and crystallization patterns that make each granite deposit – and therefore customized countertop – unique. Other minerals, such as magnetite, pyrite, garnet and hematite can also occur that create the wide range of granite varieties available throughout the world.
“Is granite a do-it-yourself product?”
For several reasons, granite should be professionally installed. First, granite fabrication is a specialized trade that requires extensive training and practice to produce high-quality results. Affordable Granite fabricators and installers have years of training and experience. Second, the diamond tooling and equipment required is expensive. And third, granite is heavy! So safe handling and delivery are important. When you choose Affordable Granite, you are assured professional results from the initial design through fabrication and final installation.
“Can I reuse my own sink and faucets?”
Reusing your existing faucet or sink is not a problem, provided these fixtures work with each other and the countertops you’ve chosen. For example, an under-mount sink works best with granite countertops so most customers choose a new sink when they replace their countertops. This also is a good time to upgrade older fixtures.
“Do I have to buy the whole sheet or slab?”
Slabs are always sold intact. Buying slabs is similar to buying fabric. Like a good tailor, your fabricator buys the raw material and sells you a completed installation. Typical waste ranges from 20-25 percent. Your Affordable Granite fabricator is an expert in laying out each job to minimize excess material while maximizing the natural beauty of veining and pattern.
“What sizes do raw granite slabs come in?”
Slabs range from 45 to 63 square feet. Average is 55 square feet.
“How is granite cut?”
The best, safest and most efficient way to cut granite is with a highly-specialized combination of water jet and diamond saw. The raw granite is then polished on one side.
“Will my granite countertop add value to my home?”
Yes. Real estate agents agree that a home with granite countertops in the kitchen is easier to sell and commands a higher price. Granite is stylish and will last a lifetime. This may be one of the best uses of a home equity loan. Granite is an investment that pays you back every day, and later when it’s time to sell.
“Is granite so hard that it can’t be damaged?”
Next to diamonds, sapphires and rubies, no material is harder than granite. But in the kitchen, a hard blow can still damage or chip the surface. So, as with all things of beauty and value, just use common sense and take some care with your granite countertop. Avoid hanging heavy objects like pots and pans directly above. And make sure to seal against stains with Granite Guard Lifetime Warranty Sealer.
“Will the color of my granite be uniform throughout my kitchen?”
Granite’s unique character and beauty come from its natural color variations. This is part of granite’s allure. Expect natural variations in shading and patterning. Like fingerprints, no two slabs are exactly alike. Even if you choose the same line as that of a friend, your kitchen will not match theirs exactly.
“Why does my sample have pits and fissures?”
Granite has a crystalline structure which often results in small pits and fissures that may look like cracks. These are not flaws. Once your countertop has been installed and sealed and you look at the overall picture, these natural deviations won’t matter and won’t be noticeable. If you are unsure, ask to see a whole slab, rather than just a small sample.
“Can you give me an estimate if I email or fax a sketch?”
Yes, but a few important notes will help us insure your quote is as accurate as possible. Before emailing or faxing, make sure all measurements are accurate. Factor in a 1.5 inch overhang on all cabinets. Mark special areas (curves, etc). Indicate your preferred edges. Provide colors and fixture details (eg., sink under-mount or drop-in). And indicate whether you need your old countertop or backsplash removed. One final note: quotes are only estimates. We’ll finalize your quote when we complete our in-home visit to measure and review your project.
“Can I cut on my granite countertop?”
Only if you want to ruin your good knives! Granite 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 cutting board.
“What is the difference between marble and granite?”
Both are stones quarried from the earth, but the two are different in several important ways. Granite is formed deep in the earth’s mantle at extremely high temperatures and is a very hard, resistant stone made of crystallized minerals. Marble starts out as sediment (animal skeletons, shells, plant matter) at the bottom of bodies of water that, after millions of years, solidifies into stone. Because marble’s main component is calcium, acids such as vinegar and citrus beverages can affect it.
“Why is granite good for kitchen counters?”
Granite adds elegance, style, richness and character to your kitchen (and other areas of your home) that synthetic materials cannot duplicate. Granite is highly resistant to scratching by knives or pots and pans. It is resistant to cracking and staining. And it is impervious to heat, so go ahead and put that pot down on the counter without a trivet. Granite is quite possibly the ideal choice for kitchen countertops.
“Why is granite so popular with cooks?”
Granite gives you a consistently smooth, cool surface to work with. Since granite is impervious to heat, you can set a hot pot or pan directly on the countertop without a trivet and without worrying.
“Can granite be damaged?”
Because of its high-heat formation, granite is highly resistant to most damage. But because of its crystalline structure, it can chip if subjected to sharp hard objects. Use common sense and care. Granite also requires sealing to prevent staining. Unsealed, granite can absorb stains such as oil which can cause discoloration. Heat from pots and pans or burning liquids will not affect granite under normal circumstances.
“Can granite crack?”
Not with ordinary use and not if properly and professionally installed.
“Can granite be scratched?”
Granite is one of the hardest stones on earth. It is highly resistant to scratching in ordinary use.
“Does Granite stain?”
All stone is porous to some degree. Granite has very little porosity but a few colors may absorb moisture with prolonged contact. For example, for some colors a puddle of water left on the counter may show a discolored spot after the water is wiped away. Usually, no evidence remains once the liquid is removed and the granite dries. Granite Guard stone sealer is highly recommended for all granite after installation and helps prevent any discoloration.
“Can you set hot pots on granite?”
Yes. It is typically okay to set hot pots and pans directly from the stove or oven onto granite.
“How do you clean Granite?”
Warm soapy water will do the trick. Or cleaners specifically formulated to help clean and protect stone surfaces. For more information click here.
“Will my granite look like the sample?”
Marble and granite are natural stones composted of various minerals so will naturally vary in color, texture, spotting, veining and cracking. These variations are expected and are the source of stone’s natural beauty. Our samples generally indicate average coloring and pattern (also called veining). Since every slab is different, always make sure you are the one who chooses the actual granite slab to be used. If your countertop requires more than one granite slab, make sure the slabs are from the same quarry batch. We’ll work with you to assure your granite is exactly what you want.
“Do granite counters overhang the cabinets?”
Most counters overhang cabinets by 1 1/2 inch, which is standard. This can be customized for cabinet configuration, cabinet installation and personal tastes.
“Can granite cantilever?”
Granite can be cantilevered (extended beyond its base) up to 12 inches with sufficient support on the fixed end and with a large enough piece. Never cantilever unsupported granite where it might receive excessive stress like someone sitting on a counter or stepping on a counter to change a light bulb.
“How much does granite weigh?”
Granite tiles and slabs come in different thicknesses. The weight per square foot depends on the thickness: ¾ inch (20 mm) thick slab: 12.8 pounds per square foot. 1/4 inch (30 mm) thick slab: 18 pounds per square foot.
“Can granite be repaired?”
Granite can be repaired and restored in many cases. Affordable Granite & Cabinetry has the Twin Cities best repair and restoration teams to serve you. If the stone can be repaired and saved, we’ll save it.
“Is granite kid-friendly?”
Kitchen Granite countertops perform well in homes with children. Granite is extremely hard and durable so you don’t need to keep watch. Just teach children to wipe up spills right away and ask them not to hang from countertop edges.