Every day we receive many questions about granite and stone. Most questions refer to negative rumors people have heard. Please keep in mind most of these rumors were started as a result of marketing plans from competitors of granite. We will try to address the most common ones we hear.
1. I have heard that granite needs to be sealed frequently. Is that true?
Answer: Probably not! That is the short answer. But, this is a very complicated answer with many different directions possible. First, The Marble Institute of America’s position is that most granite does not need sealing. It is of a dense enough material to be frost proof, or have a water absorption rate so low that it will not entertain a damaging amount of water in case of a freezing temperature. Will sealing improve this status? Possibly, but only minimally so. Most granite is very stain resistant so what are we trying to improve?
With that being said, some granite will benefit from sealing. That is why we are here. We take a look at all of the stones and granite we fabricate. If it needs a sealer, we will seal it for you. The general rule we use is “if water darkens the stone”, we believe it needs a sealer. A little bit of common sense goes a long way.
Why not just seal everything? Well, the long explanation goes like this: “resin coating.” Resin coating is a process that slab fabricators have developed over the last 5 to 10 years. This process applies an epoxy coating over the slabs, and fills the voids, veins, and fissures. The process was developed for stone that was normally so unstable it would never reach the marketplace in good enough shape to be of any use. The more unstable stones they sold, the more they use resin. Resin coating has become such a part of slab fabrication that many of the fabricators decided to resin coat all of the colors to keep things simple.
We do not know what kind of resins these fabricators are using. When you mix a sealer with an unknown resin, it may turn the resin “cloudy.” If you turn it “cloudy”, you have ruined the material. That is why this is best left for us to figure out.
2. Does granite harbor bacteria?
Answer: Absolutely not!! Let me refer you to the website www.hitm.com. Dr. O. Peter Snyder of the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management, using e-coli bacteria as its contaminating agent, found significant cleanability advantages of natural, unsealed, non-resin coated granite over all other commonly found countertop surfaces. Granite actually ranked #1 in cleanability when washed with a soap and water solution.
3. Will heat damage my granite?
Answer: Not unless you subject it to a high heat source for a long period of time. If you take a casserole dish out of the oven, feel free to set it on your granite countertops. It will cool long before it will have any effect. If a frying pan gets too hot, you can set it on your granite tops without fear of damage. To get a little on the technical side, it takes an 80 to 90-degree difference within your granite countertops to cause enough thermal stress to cause a crack. Something like a heat lamp left on may do it. But, it will have to be left on for several hours to cause a problem. If you heat a piece of granite uniformly, it will take many hundreds of degrees before any problems arise. Please note granite tops will draw the heat from food dishes or a delivered pizza very quickly.
4. I have heard granite does not come in many colors.
Answer: This is one of the easiest myths to dispel. Come to our showroom. We have 180 color samples on display. We have catalogs and books showing several hundred more. In our conversations with suppliers, who maintain libraries of different colors, they have told us they have 4,000 to 5,000 colors on record. From our trade magazines, we know Brazil has over 1,800 quarries.
5. Does granite contain radon gas?
Answer: First let us examine the question: “what is radon?” Radon is a naturally occurring gas generated by the decay of trace amounts of uranium found in the Earth’s crust throughout the world. It is an unstable gas that quickly breaks down and dissipates in the air.
Research has proven that a typical granite countertop produces less than one atom of radon in one year. We are exposed to more radon from concrete, cement, sheetrock, and the outdoor air we breathe everyday than from a granite countertop. The scientist, Maurizio Bertoli, who researched and wrote the article “RADON IN GRANITE…What a crock of cheap salesmanship”, suggested that if we wanted to reduce our exposure to radon, we should build an airtight house made from granite!
6. What is the difference between marble and granite?
Answer: The rock forming the Earth’s crust falls into three generic groups: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. Granite is usually classed as igneous rock derived from molten masses or magmas. Marble is a metamorphic rock resulting from the re-crystallization of limestone. Limestone and travertine are defined as sedimentary. Because the world of rocks and geology are such a vast and complicated field, the above descriptions are very general.
Please keep in mind that the following descriptions are very general and there are exceptions. Granite is a harder material, resistant to heat, chemicals, stains, and scratching. It is available in thousands of colors. General appearances range from fine to coarse graining, little to huge amounts of veining. Of all stones, granite is the most practical.
Marble is softer material with limited applications, unless the consumer is willing to accept the changes associated with use. Marble’s biggest asset is its appearance or look. Because of its mineral composition, nothing has the look of marble. Marble’s biggest drawback is the lack of stain, chemical, or scratch resistance.
Limestone is softer material and usually does not polish well. Generally, it has a honed finish. It has the same characteristics as marble.
There are many other types of stone such as onyx, soapstone, quartz, etc., and all are unique in their own ways. If you have any questions, please feel free to call.
Quality Granite & Marble
1123 South West Street
Wichita, Kansas 67213
Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturdays by appointment only