Natural Stone Countertops
Everything you need to know about granite characteristics, templating, removal of existing tops, fabrication, and installation.
Congratulations on your decision to purchase one of the world's most beautiful and durable countertops, Natural Stone! We have constructed this document to ensure that you understand the characteristics of Natural Stone and the process of templating, fabrication, removal of existing tops, and the installation of new tops. By explaining the product and the processes we follow, we hope to ensure your satisfaction with the completed job. Please review this document thoroughly. If you have any questions please speak directly with our customer service department.
What is granite?
Granite is a natural stone, formed many millions of years ago when molten rock from the center of the earth's core was pushed towards the surface. Granite's extreme hardness, which approaches that of diamonds, makes it an uncommonly durable surface. It has a natural beauty which makes it appealing when used as countertop or other surfaces within the home. Granite's natural beauty endures forever. nations through the ages have chosen granite to memorialize their significant achievements. you can be sure that the granite you choose will stand the test of time and provide many years of enjoyment and service in your home.
I have heard that granite has small cracks and pits in it. What are these?
Fissures occur naturally in many stone types. The term "fissure" is used commercially in the stone industry to describe a visible separation along inter-crystalline boundaries. This separation may start and stop within the face of the stone or extend through an edge. A fissure differs from a crack in that it is a naturally occurring feature of the stone. ALL granites contain some degree of fissure. Some contain more than others. Since fissures occur naturally in all granites they are not considered a flaw. Countertops will not be replaced due to the presence of fissures.
Pitting of the countertop surface, particularly in granite, is a commonly seen characteristic of natural stone. Granites are made up of several different minerals, each mineral having a different hardness. Granites contain Quartz, Feldspar, Biotite, Amphibole, ferrous titanium oxides, and other mineral combinations. On the Mohs Scale, diamonds are the hardest mineral with a rating of 10. Quartz and Feldspar have a hardness of 6.5 - 7 and are very durable. Biotite (small, black minerals found throught the slab) on the other hand are very soft (2.5) and can flake easily. All true granites have Biotite in their compisition. Because Biotite is relatively soft and flaky, the first few layers can be removed during the polishing process. The pits do not make the granite less durable or otherwise inferior, and do not in themselves qualify a slab for replacement. Pits are common in all granites and should be expected when dealing with Natural Stone. Countertops will not be replaced due to pitting in the surface of any granite countertop.
My neighbor has granite and there are very small chips along the seam. Is this normal?
Chipping will occur, particularly in the igneous stone varieties, as a result of sawing operations. The exiting portion of the diamond blade used to cut granite will create many small chips. A small chamfer, called an "arris", of approximately 1/16" x 1/16" can be used to eliminate most of these small chips. The use of an arris will make the seam appear wider than its actual dimension when filled. Large chips may be repaired with epoxy or polyester resin if the completed repair is consistent in color and texture with the surrounding area. Stone Interiors does not use arrises, unless requested, when installing granite countertops. Seams are assembled and the small chips are filled with polyester resin.
I have seen some seams which are not perfectly smooth, why is this?
The term "lippage" as used in the stone industry, is the planar offset of the finished surfaces of two adjacent stone pieces. Due to the relatively tight seams usind in countertop installations, even minor amounts of lippage are noticeable. Lippage may be unavoidable due to permanent warp in the slab srock. There should be no detectable lippage at the front or rear edges of the countertop. Maximum lippage at the center of the countertop is 1/32" or 0.8mm. Countertops will not be replaced due to lippage within acceptable industry standards.
Will my granite match the sample I saw in the store I purchased the countertops from?
If you are purchasing your countertops directly from Stone Interiors you will be shown a slab of material from the lot that your job will be cut from. Your finished project will match very closely to what you viewed. If you purchased your countertops from one of our quality distributors the sample you viewed may not exactly match the lot that your job will be cut from. You may request to visit our facility and view the slab or have a digital picture sent to you for approval. Slab viewings are done by appointment so please call in advance if possible
Some of the walls in my kitchen are bowed and inconsistent. Will the granite bend to follow this bow and conform to the wall?
Granite is extremely rigid and cannot bend to follow the irregularities of walls. No wall is perfectly straight. There will be areas where small gaps are visible. The size of these gaps is determined by the severity of the bows in the walls. Stone Interiors will not caulk any gaps between the walls and the granite. Countertops cannot be scribed in an attempt to follow the irregularity of any wall. Countertops will not be replaced due to gaps between the walls and the countertops.
I would like to increase the overhang of my new granite countertops on my island to allow for bar stools and an eating area. Can I do this?
Unsupported overhang cannot exceed 1/3 of the supported top, to a maximum of 6" on 2cm material and 10" on 3cm material. Supports, such as corbels or brackets can be installed by the homeowner or contractor after the granite has been installed. Stone Interiors does not install corbels.
I am planning a large party, how quickly can I get my granite installed?
Customers planning events in their home should be cautioned to provide several weeks of cushion before hosting an event as delays in major construction projects are common and can occur for many reasons. During transportation a top can sometimes break. tops can also break during the installation process. Should a top break during transportation or installation, Stone Interiors will remake the top and prioritize the installation of the new top as quickly as possible. No financial compensation will be provided for delays or the impact these delays have on an events planned by the customer.
Do I need to be there during the measure / templateing of the countertops?
Yes. The customer must be present during this process to review items such as seam locations, overhangs, radius corners, and other such issues which commonly arise. You will be asked to sign the drawing of your countertops which will indicate the approximate location of the seams and other specific information of your project.
Do I need to have the existing countertops removed prior to the templating date?
No. Stone Interiors recognizes that being without a working kitchen for several weeks would be very difficult. Although it is more accurate to measure with the existing countertops removed it is not mandatory. however, occasionally the measurer will not see something that becomes visible after the existing tops are removed. This may mean that a piece has to be remade or reworked. Stone Interiors will remake this piece at no cost to you. No financial compensation will be given do to delays in installation caused by measuring issues.
What other items do I need to know prior to templating?
* Final pricing will be based on actual field measurments and conditions.
* Undermount sinks, faucets, and cook tops must be onsite during measure.
* It is the CUSTOMER'S responsibility to make sure the sink, faucet, cook top, and down draft fit into their respective cabinets.
* Existing countertops should be cleared of items which may interfere with the measuring process.
* Cabinets must be fully installed including finished panels prior to the template. No finished panels may be added after the template has been made.
* Farm or apron sinks must be mounted in their final location prior to templating.
* Overhangs at the cabinet are designed to cover or hide inconsistencies of the cabinets. Overhangs will vary slightly over the length of the tops.
* Gaps behind the splashes and the tops are caused by irregularities in the walls. Stone Interiors will not caulk the gaps.
* Caulking is done only where stone meets stone.
* Standard backsplash height is 5" on remodels and 4" on new construction. Stone Interiors will not be responsible for if the backsplash does not cover paint or wallpaper lines. It is the customers resposibility to have electrical outlets moved up or down to miss or fall within splash. This should be done prior to installation.
* Stone Interiors will provide dishwasher clips for stone. The dishwasher must be installed prior to our arrival. Stone Interiors will not adhere clips to wood, nor wood to stone. Should a dishwasher clip become unattached at a later date it will be the responsibility of the homeowner to correct.
* Undermount sinks may be reconnected 24 hours after installation of the new countertops. Reattaching the plumbing before the sink has had time to set may result in the sink moving or dropping. If this occurs it will be the homeowners responsibility to correct.
* The tear out and installation of countertops is a MAJOR construction process. Cook tops and surface sinks will be cut in place, inside the home to avoid breakage. THERE WILL BE SIGNIFICANT DUST CREATED DURING THIS PROCESS. Owners should remove or protect any items left under the cabinets. You should turn off your ac / heat. You may also want to drape or cover the construction area to reduce tha amount of dust and debris that reaches other areas. Construction site will be left broom clean. Dust will continue to settle for several hours after the installation has been completed. This clean up will be the responsibility of the homeowner.
* Mirrors in bathrooms that are permanently affixed to the wall and rest on or within 1" of the existing backsplash or countertop must be removed prior to the tear out of the existing tops. Any damage to mirrors or cabinetry not removed will be the responsibility of the homeowner.
* Installers are not expected to move, install, or adjust appliances.
* Upper cabinets must be installed if the job requires a full height back splash.
Can I have Stone Interiors remove my existing countertops?
Yes. Stone Interiors offers this service. Please contact your local distributor or speak directly with our customer service department.
When will the tear out happen?
The tear out is normally done the same day of the installation. On rare occasions, especially with large tile tear outs, it may be done the day before. If this is required you will be notified in advance of the situation.
Are my cabinets structurally sound enough to handle the weight of granite countertops?
That is a great question! Most cabinets can easily handle the weight of granite countertops. It is often not possible to assess cabinet problems prior to the removal of the existing tops. If significant problems are detected after the removal of the existing tops, either in structure or levelness, the installation of the new countertops may be delayed. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to have the cabinets repaired to within industry standards. If the installation must be rescheduled and a new appointment day is needed trip charges will apply. Countertops can be shimmed and installed with out of level cabinets up to 1/2". Beyond 1/2" the cabinets must be repaired. Countertops sit directly on the cabinets and are held in place with silicone.
What are some things I should know about the installation of my new granite countertops?
* Owner or designated representative must be onsite during the entire installation process. Owner's representative must be able to make decisions on issues which may arise during this process. They will be required to sign the completion forms at the conclusion of the installation.
* All seams will be placed at the discretion of the fabricator. Every effort will be made to indicate the seam locations during the measure. The fabricator reserves the right to move seam locations as needed to cut around inclusions, cracks, or other major irregularities within the slab. No financial compensation will be given do to seam movement.
* When two pieces of granite are seamed together there may be slight differences in the thickness of the stones. This is very common. These areas will be "feathered" to blend the pieces together. This happens with roughly 80% of all installations.
* Cut outs for undermount sinks will be made to have overhang. This overhang reduces the risk of food particles collecting on the rim of the sink and molding. Overhangs WILL vary as no two bowls are exactly the same. Overhangs should be between 1/16" and 5/16".
* The installation process can create large amounts of dust. No one other than the installers should be in the immediate area of the work being done unless requested by the installer.
* It is the resonsibility of the homeowner to provide a safe area for our installers to work. There will be many trips between the installation jobsite and the installation vehicle. The pathways should be clean and clear of debris as well as items of value such as statues, painting, vases, and other items which could inadvertantly become damaged. Granite pieces are very heavy and difficult to maneuver. Children and animals should not be allowed near the jobsite. Homeowner should indicate what area is acceptable for use in cutting and staging material.
The removal of existing countertops and the installation of new ones is a major construction process. There are often delays in projects such as these. Countertops can break during transportation or installation. It is important to understand that delays are possible. Granite required millions of years to achieve its natural beauty and Stone Interiors is committed to installing it correctly so that it may provide years of enjoyment in your home.
It is our sincere hope that this document has clearly explained the process of having new granite countertops installed in your home. Stone Interiors is committed to fabricating and installing countertops using guidelines set by the Marble Institute of America. For more information on the MIA please visit www.marble-institute.com.
Granite countertops are a beautiful addition to your home and will provide many years of service. Every slab of natural stone is unique meaning your kitchen will be like no other in the world!
We hope you enjoy your new countertops and thank you for allowing Stone Interiors the opportunity to provide them to you.