Q: What do I need to do in order to care for and maintain my new countertops?
Using coasters under glasses and placing hot items on trivets or pot holders will help to keep your natural stone looking like it did the day it was installed. Many food items and drinks may contain acids that could etch or dull your stone. Countertops should be cleaned with a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Do not use any household cleaning products, as this may break down the sealer on granite and may actually damage the surface of marble, limestone, or travertine.
Q: What is a sealer and how do I know when it is time to apply one to my countertops?
A sealer is like a coat of armor for your countertop. Natural stone can be dense or porous, and is absorbent to some degree. Stones that have more swirls or veins tend to be more porous and absorbent. Sealer will decrease the opportunity for something to stain or harm your surface. A protected stone will be easier to clean, resist staining, and provide a safer and healthier environment. By sealing your stone, you will more easily retain the natural beauty of the surface.
To test your countertop's sealant, apply a drop of water at least ½-inch in diameter to the stone and let stand for at least 15 minutes. Cover with a glass to reduce evaporation. If the stone does not darken then it is probably sealed against water-based stains. To ensure the beauty and longevity of your stone, we recommend sealing your stone yearly.
Q: What is the difference between marble and granite?
Most of the time, marble and granite can be identified by visible particles at the surface of the stone. Marble has veining, and granite has a flecked or granular appearance. Natural stone is categorized into two general categories according to its composition: Siliceous stone is composed mainly of silica- or quartz-like particles and tends to be very durable and easy to clean. Included in this category are granite, slate, and sandstone. Calcareous stone is composed mainly of calcium carbonate. It is sensitive to acidic cleaning products and frequently requires different cleaning procedures than siliceous stone. These types of stones include marble, travertine, limestone, & onyx.
Q: What is the difference between Quartzites and Granites?
A: Granite is an igneous rock found more abundantly than quartzite, deep in the earth's crust, providing the base for the many continents' sedimentary rock. Quartzite consists of a larger volume of quartz than granite—under heat and pressure combined, quartzite is formed from sandstone and quartz, and depending on the amount of pressure to which it is subjected, empty grains of sandstone are stuffed with quartz. This means quartzite is actually harder than granites—on the Mohs scale of hardness from 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest, granite measures in at around 6-6.5, and quartzite measures in at approximately 7.
Q: What is the green bloom effect?
It is possible there is a staining problem on granite countertops that you may be experiencing: One is an issue between the reaction of epoxy or resin on granite slabs (applied at the factory) with solvents in Acetone (used to clean granite prior to sealing). The other occurs when sealers react with a super-glue’s (used to smooth out rougher, chipped spots) activator or accelerator spray which can result in a green/blue-green stain.
Granites with higher levels of quartzitae are especially at risk for the "green bloom" effect. If activator spray is applied too heavily a green coloration will appear within a couple of days. Activators react with iron or copper minerals in the stone which creates the green color. Fabricators use epoxy glue and a hardener/activator spray which reacts with sealer, causing a color change to occur more commonly found on white and yellow granite countertops. The staining appears on the edges for the most part, however the staining can also appear on the surface. The best solution for this seems to be (remove Mangia Macchia) Mangia Macchia (repace with TeBloom) from (remove Bellanzoni) Bellanzoni (replace with Tenax), which effectively removes the stains with a few applications.
For more advice on how to maintain your granite countertops, or if you have any further questions regarding this issue or others, please feel free to contact us. We offer fabricator/store pricing comparisons, extensive custom sizing for just about any area you want to cover, and one of the largest selections of marble, granite, soapstone, and slate countertops to give you the best fit. Our showrooms in Milford, CT and Westwood, MA can offer you the chance to meet us in person to both view the materials up close and further discuss what will work best for you.
Q: Will my stone have visible seams?
Most stone installations will require a seam. During design & layout, you can work with your fabricator to try to minimize the number of seams and to locate them in a less conspicuous area.