Stone Countertop FAQs

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There are many different types of hard surface counter tops such as Granite, Marble, Soapstone, Onyx and Limestone. These are natural materials and mined in quarries all over the world.

This is a man-made material that does not stain, does not require sealing and will not breed bacteria. This material has the ability to be adhered together, allowing a “seamless” appearance, although the seams are meant to be inconspicuous but not invisible.

This material has the look and feel of natural stone, but is actually stronger due to its engineered make-up. This is a man-made material that does not require sealing and will not breed bacteria.

This is a man-made material that is adhered to a wood frame to make a counter top. This material has many colors and textures.

For everyday cleaning, mild dish soap and water should be sufficient. There are also cleaners available at your local home improvement stores. To avoid water streaks, wipe counters dry after cleaning. Windex or similar products can be used to clean up excess oil but are not recommended for daily use due to the acidic levels in the product. These types of cleaners also contain dyes and should not be left on the counters for an extended period of time.

Almost anything can be stained, but sealed natural stone will resist most common stains. Solid Surface and Engineered quartz can not be stained due to their chemical make up. Plastic laminate will resist many stains, but can not be sealed to be “stain-proof”.

The ‘Marble Institute of America’ recommends sealing natural stone once every 6 to 12 months. Using highly acidic or harsh chemicals may deteriorate the original seal, therefore requiring sealing more often. If water is no longer beading up on the top, it’s time to reseal. Over sealing can lead to a hazy look. Engineered quartz, solid surface and plastic laminate do not require sealing.

Nothing. Just as the cold liquid inside the glass pulled water from the air to create sweat on the outside of the glass, the cold has condensed water (under the sealer) within the stone. Simply remove the glass; wipe up excess water, the condensed water within the stone will dissipate after a few hours.

Because stone is a natural material, color variations, and veining are perfectly normal. There may be vast differences between samples viewed and a customer’s actual material. Because this material is a natural product consistency cannot be guaranteed, even within a single slab. Some materials are very consistent while other colors may change in color/shading/veining from slab to slab.

You should be looking at the overall coloring of the natural stone, to be sure that this is what you envisioned in your home. Since tiles, paint, flooring and wallpaper come in various shades it is much easier to match these items after you have selected your natural stone slab.

No, as some materials are very consistent. However, other colors may change in color, shading or veining throughout the entire slab. Since engineered quartz, solid surface and plastic laminate are man-made, the pattern is consistent with the sample that you viewed. Please note that the choice to view your material is up to you, however if you choose not to view your material (natural material) prior to fabrication, you will be required to sign a waiver. All natural material (granite, marble, onyx, soapstone, limestone, etc.) are products of nature and NO two pieces are exactly alike. Color Veining and texture may differ with each piece. ABSOLUTELY NO CLAIMS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER FABRICATION FOR REASONS OF COLOR, TEXTURE, CONSISTENCY OR VEINING.

For hard surfaces, the standard seam allowance between two pieces of granite can range from 1/16″ to 1/8″ wide. A color matched stone adhesive is used to join the two pieces of counter top. Once cured, this adhesive is food safe and cures in approximately 3 hours. Seams are necessary and are not invisible. For solid surface, the material is adhered together and an inconspicuous seam is made. Please note that these seams are not necessarily invisible. For plastic laminate, the material is glued together and seams are minimized, but visible.

New counter tops can be installed over existing cabinetry; however it is not recommended to install if the cabinets are not structurally sound or are not level. Cabinets need to be leveled within _” for a 10′ length.

Your new counter tops are cut straight and your tile may not be installed completely level. It is better to remove existing tile prior to installation of your new counter tops and replacing the tile after new tops are installed.

In most kitchens you will have long lengths of counter top which could contain a large cut out (sink or cooktop). To minimize the risk of breakage during fabrication and installation the 1-1/4 (3cm) material is recommended. 3/4″ (2cm) material is more common in bathrooms and smaller counter tops.

For hard natural surfaces, this will be determined after the field measure. Generally natural slab lengths vary from 100″ to 125″; the average slab length is 110″. Engineered quartz slab sizes are smaller than natural stone, averaging sizes of 52″ x 118″. Also keep in mind the weight of hard surfaces, which can weigh up to 20 pounds per square foot. For example, an island measuring 48″ x 96″ could weigh up to 600 pounds and would require 3-4 men to carry. In addition, the entry into the home must accommodate this size counter top, which may even prohibit larger sizes depending on hall ways, elevators or staircases. Long 4″-6″ splashes may need to be cut into more than one piece to prevent breakage during transit and installation. Seams in back-splashes are at the discretion of the measure and fabrication departments. The typical maximum length of a 4″-6″ splash is 84″ ‚ 96″ (7′-8′). For solid surface, seams will be inconspicuous (not invisible). For plastic laminate, the material comes in different sheet sizes up to 12 feet.

For hard surfaces, any overhang up to 12″ will rely upon the 2/3 rule applies: 2/3 of the material needs to be supported for the 1/3 over hang. A 24″ cabinet can safely have up to a 12″ overhang without support. For solid surfaces and plastic laminate, any overhang over 6″ will need to be support. A solid wood support will be installed under the counter top. Generally any overhang over 12″ should be supported. Supports can range from wood corbels to metal ‘L’ brackets. Ask your fabricator if supports are needed at time of measure.

In the situation of a breakfast bar facing a family room, where the underside will be visible when seated, the undersides of the over-hang may be polished.

For hard surfaces, Yes. Granite will tolerate temperatures in excess of 1200 degrees (F.) and engineered stone is rated higher. You can safely places items from your oven, stove top or grill directly on the hard surface with out a trivet or hot pad. WARNING: Due to the extreme temperature differences, hot glass dishes may crack when placed on the cool surface of the granite or engineered quartz; this is known as thermal shock. For this reason alone glass or Pyrex? dishes should be placed on a trivet or hot pad. For solid surfaces and plastic laminate, No. These materials are much softer and direct heat is not recommended.

For hard surfaces, Yes. Diamond-tipped tools are needed to cut through granite and engineered stone. Regular steel knives are no match for their hardness; however you will need to sharpen your knives more frequently. For solid surface, Yes but not recommended. Please note that cutting directly on the counter top can lead to scratching. However, due to the renewable nature of solid surface, these scratches can be easily buffed out and your counter tops will look brand new.

For plastic laminate, No. Scratches can be reversed on this type of material.

Francini is open to the public and we invite everyone to come and see the materials in our showrooms. We will assist you in selecting the right stone for your project. We are not natural stone fabricators, though we can recommend qualified professional fabricators for you to work with.

Our customer service representatives are design experts who would love to recommend color combinations for your project. If possible, we suggest that you bring in samples of the materials that will be surrounding your stone, such as cabinet doors, paint, flooring, and backsplash.

All natural stones bring a feeling of elegance and beauty to a kitchen environment. Some are a little more maintenance than others. Granite is #1 for a kitchen application due to its durability & low porosity.

Your fabricator can help direct you to the thickness that is best for your particular project. Factors such as edge profile & the stone’s application will all determine the thickness that is right for you.

No. Thickness is usually a personal or fabricator preference and does not affect the stone’s durability.

No, just use the same care maintenance as described for stone. The frequency of cleaning none polished surfaces may increase due to the finish.

A honed finish is a very smooth finish, ranging from a semi-polished look to a matte look.

A polished finish is very shiny and smooth.

A leathered finish creates an antiqued look in natural stone. The stone is brushed to a very textured leather-like finish.

A Tumbled finish is rustic looking with rough edges and corners.

Yes. In many cases there is tile to match your selected slab. We also have a large variety of materials that complement our slab colors. We have options!

Yes you can, there are a plethora of products perfect for the DIY homeowner.

A mild soap (like Ivory Dish Soap) & water is best for natural stones. You could also use a natural stone cleaner which can be purchased at local tile and/or granite stores.

Yes. Should anything happen to your stone over time, a repair can be done quickly & painlessly. Granite fabrication companies have the technology to glues to fix virtually anything that may occur.

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