Frequently Asked Questions

Where does natural stone come from?

Natural stone is formed when mineral sediments are exposed to millions of years of heat and pressure. These minerals make up the variety of colors and patterns that are characteristic of natural stone. Various types of stone, in a multitude of colors and textures, are found around the world.

Can natural stone be used on the exteriors of homes or commercial buildings?

Yes. Many natural stones can be used for exterior wall cladding, even in extreme temperatures. Proper installation and consideration of site-specific details are essential to success in exterior applications.

What’s the difference between marble and granite?

Although both are stones and both are quarried from the earth, granite and marble (and marble’s relatives - limestone, onyx and travertine) are very different from each other. The greatest difference lies in the porosity, softness and durability of marble when compared to granite.

What is the difference between Egyptian marble and granite?

Most of the time Egyptian marble and granite can be identified by visible particles at the surface of the stone. Egyptian Marble has veining and granite has a more fleck like/ granular appearance. Natural stone is categorized into two general categories according to its composition. Siliceous stone is composed mainly of silica or quartz like particles. It tends to be very durable and easy to clean. Included in this category are granite, slate, and sandstone. Calcareous stone is composed mainly of calcium carbonate. It is sensitive to acidic cleaning products and frequently requires different cleaning procedures than siliceous stone. Types of these stones include Egyptian marble, travertine, limestone & onyx.

Marble vs. Granite...

The choice between marble and granite depends on the aesthetic effects you want to achieve and how much use or abuse the stone will be subjected to. Although both are natural stones and quarried from the earth, granite and marble (and marble's relatives - limestone, onyx and travertine) are very different from each other. The greatest difference between granite and marbles lies in their porosity, softness and durability.

Marble :

Marble is a metamorphic rock formed when a carbonate rock is exposed to high temperatures and intense pressure. The heat and pressure cause the re-crystallization of the original carbonate mineral grains, which forms a denser rock. The characteristic swirls and veins found in marble are usually due to the various mineral impurities (clay, sand, silt, iron oxides), which were originally present as grains or layers in the limestone.
This stone is among the most elegant and luxurious of stones. Marble's beauty will last for generations and is versatile enough for use throughout the home in such places as fireplace surrounds, ornamental furnishings, walls, flooring, and bathrooms. Marble especially stands out in the bath. It can be applied on almost every surface, including vanities, shower walls, tub decks and flooring.
Given that marble is more susceptible to staining by many foods, spilled liquids and other household materials, we do not recommend their use for kitchen countertops. Softer and more porous than granite, marble is more suitable for less-trafficked, formal areas.

Granite :

Born from molten magma, granite is a much more durable and functional stone than marble. Granite's crystalline structure is far more resistant to abrasions, staining and discoloration than most marbles. Denser and stronger than all natural stones, granite is an excellent choice for high traffic areas where class and style is desired.
Granite feels at home in a country farm house as well as a modern high rise. This remarkable stone is ideal for kitchen countertops, accent islands, bar tops, dining tables, flooring- the options are endless!

How durable is marble?

Marble has been used for thousands of years. Many marble statues and buildings have outlasted the cultures that built them. A simple, regular maintenance program will keep marble looking beautiful for the life of your home or commercial project.

Can marble be used for kitchen countertops?

Yes, marble is a durable material that can be used for kitchens, but the look and the required maintenance are not for everyone. Marbles are calcium-based materials and are therefore susceptible to etching, staining, and scratching. Etching occurs when acids microscopically eat away at the surface of the stone, leaving dull spots in the material. This effect can be visually minimized by using a honed surface instead of a polished surface. Also, since marble is more porous than granite, it is more prone to staining and scratching, so we recommend that a penetrating sealer be applied to marble twice a year to protect it against damage. Any spills that occur should be wiped up immediately. Despite these maintenance points, marble countertops have been used for centuries to epitomize elegance. The stone’s patina (the change that occurs over time) is part of its beauty and tells a story of meals enjoyed with family and friends.

What areas are most appropriate for marble tile?

Marble is an extremely versatile natural stone that has been used as a building material for centuries. Ideal for foyers, hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms, its uniquely varied patterns and colors give it a timeless appeal. Due to its vulnerability to acidic substances, it is not recommended for kitchen countertops. Generally you can safely use marble in low-traffic areas.

What do I need to consider when buying marble?

Make sure that your choice in marble tile has been appropriately gauged (its edges are perfectly square) and calibrated (the back of each tile is made entirely flat). This will make it easier to install from tile to tile. When you order marble tile, expect color variation. This is a natural product, the color of which has been determined randomly depending on which mineral content makes up each batch when the marble is formed.
You can use this subtle color variation to your advantage when it comes time for a trial layout. Open all boxes in your shipment and see the range of color variation that is in your particular batch. This is a great way to determine what you want in terms of overall look. This also leads to a finished marble project that is unique to your installation.

Will my stone look like the samples?

Briefly stated, probably not. Since stone is a natural and unique product, it will vary in color, tone, granularity, pattern, etc. These variations are expected and are one of the sources of its exceptional beauty. The ample should be viewed in the broadest terms only. This means that the colors you see in your sample are a very general guide as to how the marble in your order will look. Aside from this, a sample offers ideas about textures, weight, and durability before you buy. In this, ordering samples is always a great idea.

Why is one material more expensive than another?

There are numerous factors that contribute to the cost of each different type of natural stone, including the quality, supply and demand. First quality materials offer the finest processing and the most aesthetically appealing selections, and for that luxury there is a surcharge over commercial grade materials. The size and mechanization of a stone’s quarry are other factors contributing to its cost. For instance, a small quarry will only have a limited quantity of first quality blocks available, which can raise the cost of the stone. In addition, some quarries are located in places where the climate only allows them to operate part of the year, thus reducing their output and increasing cost. Some pricier materials contain semi-precious stones which have a higher market value in other industries. Or a material may be more costly because it requires more skill and careful attention during the processing and fabrication process, increasing the cost of the finished product. Finally, the distance a shipment has to travel to the port before being loaded on a freightliner can also contribute additional cost.

Is it necessary to seal stone?

Since mineral surfaces are quite porous they absorb liquids, which may result in discoloring and staining. Although there are many commercial grade products available on the market which may bring the stone to its original luster, taking simple precautions and regular maintenance can save a lot of trouble and cost. All marble and granite tops are sealed immediately after they are installed. With course of time, depending on how heavily the tops are used, the sealer gets washed out. The clear indication of this happening would be the fact that the liquids are easily absorbed into the stone leaving temporary (if promptly wiped off) stains. You should seal your marble every six months and your granite every year.

What is the best way to clean marble?

The old rule of thumb is never to use anything you wouldn’t use on your hands. DO NOT use powdered cleansers or abrasive pads to clean your marble. Even "soft scrub" type cleaners contain pumice, which is a powdered volcanic stone, and might damage your marble countertops. Never use any product which is acidic; this includes substances like ammonia. You should always use sealers and cleaning products designed specifically for natural stone.

Care and Precautions

Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices. Many common foods and drinks contain acids that will etch or dull the surface of many stones. Do not place hot items directly on the stone surface. Use trivets or mats under hot dishes and placemats under china, ceramics, silver or other objects that can scratch the surface.

Cleaning Procedures and Recommendations

Floor Surfaces
Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that will scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a non-slip surface. Normally, it will take a person about eight steps on a floor surface to remove sand or dirt from the bottom of their shoes. Do not use vacuum cleaners that are worn. The metal or plastic attachments or the wheels may scratch the surface.
Other Surfaces
Clean stone surfaces with a few drops of neutral cleaner, stone soap (available at hardware stores) 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.
Bath and Other Wet Areas
In the bath or other wet areas, soap scum can be minimized by using a squeegee after each use. To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover or a solution of ammonia and water (about 1/2 cup ammonia to a gallon of water). Frequent or over-use of an ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface of the stone.

Dos and Don’ts

• DO Dust mop floors frequently
• DO Clean surfaces with mild detergent or stone soap
• DO Thoroughly rinse and dry the surface after washing
• DO Blot up spills immediately
• DO Protect floor surfaces with non-slip mats or area rugs and countertop surfaces with coasters, trivets or placemats
• DON’T Use vinegar, lemon juice or other cleaners containing acids on marble, limestone, travertine or onyx surfaces
• DON’T Use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners or tub & tile cleaners
• DON’T Use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers
• DON’T Mix bleach and ammonia; this combination creates a toxic and lethal gas
• DON’T Ever mix chemicals together unless directions specifically instruct you to do so.