Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is Granite?

Granite is the most popular stone type used in countertop applications today. Granites are some of the hardest of the common countertop stones, offering high levels of resistance to abrasion and scratching. Granites are made up of several different minerals, each mineral having a different hardness.

Granites contain quartz, feldspars, biotite, amphibole, ferrous titanium oxides, and other mineral combinations. Limestone is a sedimentary stone with at least 50% calcite or calcium carbonate content. Almost all limestone is composed of grains or fragments of biologic origin, ranging from fossils to dinosaur bones. Most limestone is marine in origin, composed of micro-sized fossils of marine organisms like the shells found on most beaches. It is very common to find pieces of shells in limestone tiles.

Q. What is Natural Stone?

Natural Stone is not manufactured; it is a product of nature. Blocks are removed from the quarry, slabs are cut from these blocks, and the slabs are further fabricated into the final stone to be installed.

Each block is different; each slab is different. Skillful blending or matching of the dimension stone blocks, veneer panels, tops, etc., results in a beautiful blending of nature's variety and man's design. In contrast to the uniformity of materials produced by machine or assembly line, stone's naturally varied appearance has wonderful character. "Uniformity of material," when applied to natural stone, is a term of relative value that needs to be understood when making a selection.

Q. What is Travertine?

Travertine is a calcium-based stone. Travertine is generated by the deposit of calcium carbonate resulting from water springs and streams running through the stone.

Every time a drop in pressure or change of temperature occurs, the water releases carbon dioxide as gas, much like carbonated beverages. This gas causes holes to form in the travertine. These natural pores are still going to be present once the blocks are cut into tiles. The amount of holes depends by how compact each travertine type is and it varies greatly by the type of travertine. The pores present in the tiles can be filled with a paste made of cement and pigments. However, it is important to note that these void spaces are a distinctive character of travertine tiles and they are always going to be present to a certain extent.

Q. What is Marble and Onyx?

Marble is a metamorphic rock predominantly consisting of calcite, dolomite and crystals. Onyx originates from deposits of limestone caverns, where it forms stalactites and stalagmites. Onyx is formed by gentle, dripping water movement and may envelop terrestrial fossil remains. Since onyxes are formed by a process of crystallization, they are 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. Marbles can be scratched by kitchen utensils, so it is best to use cutting boards and other protective measures. Marbles can also be etched by chemical attack. Since these stones are calcium carbonate-based, they can be damaged by exposure to acidic solutions such as lemon juice, tomatoes, vinegar, etc. The use of inappropriate cleaning agents may also trigger acidic attack. Acidic solutions can permanently etch the surface of the material. The application of a sealer will reduce, but not eliminate, the vulnerability to acidic attack. For these reasons, marbles and onyxes are not recommended for use in kitchens, however they can be a good selection for bathroom vanities for example.

Q. What is Slate?

Slate is a metamorphic rock exhibiting “slaty” cleavage, which allows it to be split in thin sheets. Slate is formed in the water of rivers and ponds from clay accumulating in thin, flat layers at the bottom of these waterbeds. Slates are softer than granite and therefore vulnerable to scratching and abrasion. Slate has a natural cleft (not a smooth surface). The same precautions mentioned for marbles with regard to damage should be applied to slates.

Q. How do I clean my Natural Stone Tile and Slabs?

Clean stone surfaces with a few drops of neutral PH stone cleaner available at retail stores or at your local tile and stone dealer, or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Use a clean rag mop on floors and a soft cloth for other surfaces for best results. Too much cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on marble or limestone. Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the soap solution and dry with a soft cloth. Change the rinse water frequently. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.