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Natural Stone

There are many differences between marble and granite, most notably aesthetics but more importantly performance. Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of re-crystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite. It is this particular composition that gives marble its unique natural characteristics. For centuries marble was the material of choice for builders and carvers who desired a material that is sustainable and relatively easy to manipulate. Marble, for the most part is softer than granite and consist of minerals that have little resistance to acidic, low PH chemicals often found in everyday foods and beverages (i.e. citrus fruits, cocktails and cleaning surfactants). Calcite, the most common mineral in marble will show degradation when exposed to these types of products. Often confused as a stain these marks known as etching have little to do with absorption and should be considered part of the natural patina of marble. Granite in comparison is much harder than marble aided by its prominently quartz composition granite is inert to low PH chemicals, foods and beverages. Granite comes from the Latin term granum, a grain, in reference to the coarse-grained structure and is by definition an igneous rock with a specific mineral blend consisting of quartz, mica and feldspar. Granites natural attributes lends itself to the unequivocal performance for modern day building materials and has surpassed marble as the material of choice for today’s bustling building environment. Over the past decade or so, different types of geological stones have entered the market place. Most of these stones are not by definition “granite” however, they do carry the same overall qualities. To keep it simple, natural igneous stones that are quartz based are often considered granite in today’s market.

Yes, if not sealed and maintained properly, most Marble surfaces are prone to staining. With that said there is a common misconception that all marbles are more porous than granite. The truth is there are some marbles with greater density that naturally repel stains more efficiently than some granite do. To add to the misconceptions, even those marbles that have greater density than granite will etch due to its calcite mineral composition. Again, not to be confused with staining these etch marks are not caused by absorption; it is considered a surface degradation caused by a chemical reaction between the acidic foods and beverages and the inherent minerals naturally found in Marble. The difference is in the precautions and resolution; typically to prevent a marble countertop from staining (absorbing foods and beverages) you can follow a simple sealant regiment. For etching there is currently no chemical available to prevent this for occurring. For the resolutions, stains can be removed using a poultice to draw out the stain. If the stone is etched, the only resolution is to re-polish the affected area.

Yes, certain granites if not cared for correctly can stain if left unprotected. It is recommended to follow a sealant regiment that is specific for the type granite you select. For more information regarding a specific sealant regiment tailored for your application please contact our Technical Director at dan@caayu.com

Depending on where you are installing natural stone and where your expectations are set at, there are definitely options for selecting the right stone for a particular application. Marble, Limestone, Onyx and all other calcite based stones will show signs of use much sooner that granite, due to their mineral composition. Irrespective to what is advertised; sealers will not protect these materials from etching (the effect acidic products have on the surface of such stones). However, if the looks of these materials are “just what you were looking for” and your expectations are aligned, then these materials can be the perfect addition to your design project. Granite on the other hand is more simplified. Granite will not etch and is considered the best material for most applications. Following a simple sealant regiment, granite will endure years of wear and tear with minimal signs of use. To learn more about natural stone products please contact our Technical Director at dan@caayu.com

There are a few key items that dictate the cost of natural stone; most importantly availability. For example, natural stone blocks that are quarried from smaller quarries that have limited production runs due to their remote locations, or quarries that are apt to frequent inclement weather conditions are more likely to produce slabs that cost more than those to the contrary. Additionally, Country of origin, quarry size, export duties and shipping channels all contribute to the overall price of natural stone. Ultimately, the cost of the stone reflects supply and demand and has little to do with the overall quality of the stone. It’s a misconception that natural stones that are less expensive are more prone to staining, scratching or cracking.

Yes, however not typically. Under normal use granite countertops will maintain their original luster and will provide years of low maintenance durable service. Just take one look at the local cemetery or any building in New York City for that matter; these stones are left unprotect, exposed to the element and still shine like new. Granite, one of Earths hardest natural materials is not likely to scratch or chip. Although if struck with a heavy object like an iron skillet, chips and scratches may be inevitable!

Soapstone (also known as steatite or soaprock) is a metamorphic, talc-schist stone. It is largely composed of the mineral talc which gives it its soft soapy texture. Soapstone is always manufactured with either a honed or textured finish, and is unable to achieve a high gloss finish. Unlike marble, Soapstone is inert to most chemicals which will provide natural protection against surface etching and staining. When compared to other natural stones available for countertops, Soapstone is by far the softest; easily scratching under normal use, Soapstone will immediately begin to show signs of wear and tear. However, following an oiling regiment, scratches and wear patterns are easily blended into its surroundings adding to the natural patina. Soapstone is a great countertop material and a terrific look for someone who understands and appreciates the understated qualities of this material. For detailed instructions on how to care for soapstone, please visit our care and use section at http://www.caayu.com/Soapstone-Care.aspx

Marble and granite slabs come in two thickness, ¾” (2cm) and 1 ¼” (3cm). While the trend has moved towards the 1 ¼” some projects may require the thinner ¾” slabs. It is common practice to laminate ¾” countertops to produce a thicker edge. This technique has also trended towards the 1 ¼” countertops; producing 2 ½” thick edge details for areas like center islands, bar-tops and buffet tops.

a. The weight of natural stone will vary depending on the stone you choose. For example, light colored marbles like White Carrara will weigh less than dark colored granites like Black Absolute. The difference will usually be 1-2 lbs per square ft. The list below will show you the difference in weight for a variety of different sizes 3/8″ x 12×12 Granite tile: 4.5-5.5 lbs sq. ft. 1/2″ x 12×12 Granite tile: 5.5-6.5 lbs. sq. ft. 3/4″ x 12×12 Granite slab: 11-12 lbs. sq. ft. 1 1/4″x12x12 Granite slab: 16-18 lbs sq. ft.

Engineered stone countertops, also known as quartz countertops are made in a factory, by people. Resins and small pieces of stone are chemically fused together. Natural stone countertops are made by nature. They are comprised entirely of 100% natural stone.