Granite and Quartz FAQs
Here are a few frequently asked questions and answers that our customers ask us about countertop products and care. If you would like specific information about our available products, we recommend coming to the All American Granite showroom where you can see, touch and compare countertop options, side-by-side. We love to talk countertops!
All granite countertops are sealed during fabrication. This impregnating substance penetrates the stone clogging most of its pores making it quite impervious to alcohol, juices, soft drinks, cosmetics, cleaners, coffee, food and even oils. Over time, depending on how heavily the tops are used, this sealer may wear off. It is recommended that your granite should be sealed at least once a year (unless upgraded sealer is applied at install).
Granite is sealed before it is installed. This will ensure lasting life and beauty. Granite may be cleaned with a mild two-part water one part phosphate-free, biodegradable liquid dish soap. Granite should always be cleaned and sealed with cleaning products specifically designed for natural stone.
Only if you want to ruin your expensive knives. Granite surfaces are harder than your knife blades and will dull them very quickly. If you use your countertop as a cutting surface, always cut and chop on a wooden or plastic cutting board placed on top of your granite surface.
Granite is a very durable stone. Granite has been used in the past in the commercial industry and will withstand almost any element it comes up against including cold and heat. High impact blows can harm granite just like any other solid surface. Because of its crystalline structure, granite can chip if subjected to sharp hard objects. A chip can be filled with a granite dust and epoxy mixture. Granite that is not sealed properly may absorb stains such as oils, which may cause dark spots or discoloration. Heat from pots and pans or burning liquids will not harm granite under normal conditions, however, we always recommend using a hot pad.
Granite is formed by extreme heat and pressure combined beneath the earth’s crust. It cannot be affected by heat from a cook top or frying pan. Granite will not burn with ordinary use. It is perfectly ok to set hot pots or pans directly from the stove or oven onto granite. We always say, why take a chance? Use a hot pad to help protect your new countertops.
In general, no. All stone, however, is porous to some extent, but granite has very little porosity. Most colors will never show any moisture. A few colors may absorb some moisture with prolonged contact. For example, a puddle of water left on the counter may show a dark spot when the water is wiped away. Usually, no evidence remains once the liquid is removed and the granite dries. Our granite is sealed before installation and with proper maintenance staining should not be a problem.
Because granite is a natural material and is mined from the quarry in blocks usually no more than 10 feet long, you may have a seam. The visibility of seams depends on the granularity, color and pattern of the granite. A small uniform grain will not be as apparent as a larger varied grain. A seam in a dark color will be less apparent than a seam in a light color. A dramatic pattern with swaths of color will show more seams than a uniform pattern. HOW ARE SEAMS MADE? Seams are made where two pieces of stone are put together. The seams are joined with an epoxy that is mixed with the color that matches the stone. Then the joined area is smoothened, leaving only a very thin line visible.
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 has become today’s countertop of choice for architects, cabinetmakers, kitchen designers and contractors. A granite countertop is virtually impervious to abrasions, stains and extreme heat. Additionally, the inherent qualities of granite — its color, patterns and shades — compliment any décor.
It is very hard to damage granite. If any damage occurs it can be sealed with a mixture of epoxy and ground up chips of the granite.
Improved stone-working technology has made granite countertops very affordable compared with man-made hard surface materials. With granite, the resale value of your property will also increase.
Very few products are completely indestructible – including granite countertops. The following questions are often asked in regard to the durability and sensitivity of granite countertops and surfaces. If you have additional questions about how or why granite is used as countertops, please give us a call at 952-882-1600 or fill out our inquiry form.
- The absorption rate of your stone (porous or dense)
- The type and quality of granite sealer used
- How well the initial sealer was applied
- Products used for cleaning granite countertops (common household cleaners are too harsh and will degrade the sealer)
Light colored granites and un-polished (honed, tumbled) softer stones such as marble, some travertine and limestone and onyx may need sealing every 1-3 years.
Dark colored granites as noted in the greens, browns, blues and blacks can be sealed less frequently: every 3-5+ years or not at all. But remember, it depends on your particular stone and sealant, so be sure test a sample.
All sealers are not crested equal. The technology is constantly change to provide the consumer with the best results. The pros at All American Granite can give you the latest information and provide you with the best sealers on the market.
Whether or not your quartz countertops will be seamless completely depends on the size of your kitchen and the layout of your cabinets. Quartz is sold in slabs that are about 10’ in length. If you have a countertop run longer than the length of the slab, you’ll have a seam. But, don’t worry. The All American Granite Installers are pros making seams nearly impossible to find. Visit our showroom to see our seam samples.
Use mild dish soap and water for everyday cleaning and stay away from harsh, abrasive cleansers, and cleansers that contain bleach.
Quartz countertops are man-made stone surfaces. Quartz products offer consistency in patterns and colors that natural stone cannot. Quartz surfaces do not offer the uniqueness and varied random patterns of natural granite.
No, not necessarily. Depending on the level of granite and the particular company or pattern of quartz; granite can be a significantly more cost-effective material. Some factors that change the cost of granite are the extraction of the stone, and the shipping of the material which consumes a lot of time, money and energy. Factors that change the price of quartz are company, pattern or color of material, demand, labor rates, thickness and edge treatment, among others.
Under normal use it is unlikely that your quartz countertop will chip. However, edges are more susceptible to chipping than the middle of the surface. If hit with enough force, chipping can occur. These occurrences are generally not covered by any manufacturing warranty, but would usually be repairable, depending on the size and scope of the chip or damage.
Quartz countertops are composed of 93% natural quartz. Variation in the natural stone (quartz) color, pattern, size, shape, and shade are inherent and unique characteristics to be expected with quartz products.
Quartz can be affected by extreme heat, so manufacturers recommend using cutting boards, trivets and hot pads while preparing meals. Quartz is very durable, but remember that any material can be damaged if not cared for properly. Unlike granite, removing burns/stains of white/light quartz tops will be a much more involved process if it can be accomplished, at all.
The hard surface of Quartz is non-porous and resistant to staining; however, it can stain. Though Quartz counters can resist oil, coffee, wine, juice and most other common kitchen spills, they are NOT 100% stain resistant and are susceptible to stains from solvents, sodium hydroxide, and permanent markers. Also please note direct exposure to UV can stain light colors yellow and fade dark colors.
The biggest difference is quartzite is 100% natural while quartz is a manufactured product. Quartzite is a metamorphic rock. It started out as sandstone and then it transformed in to what we see today due to prolonged exposure to heat and pressure below the earth’s surface.
Quartz is a manufactured stone that is molded and baked into slabs.
Quartz is non-porous, so it repels water and most stains. Quartzite is porous, so it needs to be sealed to prevent staining.
The short answer is, yes!
Quartzite is more durable and harder than granite. It is also harder than most other popular countertops materials, making it great for kitchens.
It has the appearance of marble but it won’t etch.
Quartzite countertops are easy to maintain. However, sealing is necessary about once a year. Regular cleaning includes wiping up spills immediately and wiping them down with mild soap and a damp rag. This will clean the counters without damaging the finish.
It is scratch resistant but you want to avoid abrasive cleaners because they will remove the sealant.
Quartzite slabs can be found in a wide range of colors, including grey, green, white, beige, pink, yellow, blue, purple, orange, and brown. The most striking features of quartzite are the veining and the fissures. The natural imperfections create a stunning, one-of-a kind show-stopping countertop.
A properly sealed countertop will not be as susceptible to staining, so mild soap and water with a soft cloth will clean it beautifully.
There is very little maintenance required to keep your soapstone countertop looking its best. Soapstone countertops can be cleaned with everyday household cleaners. Plus, they don’t need to be sealed.
Applying mineral oil periodically will accelerate the process of darkening the surface. It should be noted that soapstone will darken over time whether or not you oil to it. Darker areas appear in areas of the countertops that are used the most. Leaving the soapstone unoiled will develop a veneer of aging. If you decide you want to oil it you can do it at any time.
Most any household cleaner can be used to clean soapstone countertops. However, it is recommended to use mild dish soap and water. Harsher cleaners can affect the oil-treated surface requiring another mineral oil treatment to be needed. The pros at All American Granite can help you with the best cleaning processes.
Yes, you can scratch it. However, by simply applying some mineral oil, the scratches can be hidden. Deep scratches can be removed with a little light sanding and some mineral oil. This is not a DYI project. Call All American Granite for tips and tricks.
Porcelain is very durable once installed. However, it is very fragile during the fabrication process. The pros at All American Granite know porcelain and have all the right tools, cutting machines and expertise to install it.
Porcelain is nonporous and stain resistant.
Porcelain is durable but not indestructible. It will scratch. Always use a cutting board.
Yes. Clay is mixed with additives, shaped and then fired in a kiln. Next, they’re coated with a pigmented glaze. This gives it an appearance similar to natural stone or even marble. As with any manufactured stone product, there are a wide variety of designs. The downside is that there’s a consistency in color and design. If you’re looking for true, one-of-a-kind countertops for your kitchen we recommend granite or quartzite.