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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Question’s

View below some of our frequently asked questions and most common enquiries if your question is not answered below please do get in touch with us on our contact page here.

How is granite priced?

Granite is priced by its scarcity. For example, there are only 2 quarries in the world that supply labrador antique thus it is in the highest price group whereas impala can be sourced from 1 of 12 quarries hence its price group. Some granites are more unique than others and there are many natural disasters occurring in the world that affects the price of stone. Recently there was an earthquake in India that affected a mine producing Star Galaxy; this in turn became hard to get hold of and the price increased. The grade of the material is important too. We only source grade A material from established suppliers from around the world.

Why is Granite a great option for kitchen worktops?

Granite is the hardest natural product on earth after diamond, sapphire and ruby,. Once polished, natural granite will maintain its high gloss almost forever. It is heat, stain and scratch resistant. It is sometimes possible to scratch some of the softer granites and we always recommend use of a chopping board. It is also possible to purchase hob bars for hot pans.

Is there any difference between granite, marble and limestone?

They are all 100% natural products. Granite is less porous than the other two and mostly used for kitchen worktops. Marble is normally used in the bathroom or floor and limestone can be used for flooring. All three can be used to create beautiful fireplaces.

What is granite?

Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granites usually have a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals (phenocrysts) are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic texture is sometimes known as a porphyry. Granites can be pink to gray in color, depending on their chemistry and mineralogy. By definition, granite has a color index (the percentage of the rock made up of dark minerals) of less than 25%. Outcrops of granite tend to form tors and rounded massifs. Granites sometimes occur in circular depressions surrounded by a range of hills, formed by the metamorphic aureole or hornfels. Granite is usually found in the continental plates of the Earth’s crust.

Granite is nearly always massive (lacking internal structures), hard and tough, and therefore it has gained widespread use as a construction stone. The average density of granite is between 2.65[1] and 2.75 g/cm3, its compressive strength usually lies above 200 MPa, and its viscosity at standard temperature and pressure is 3-6 1019 Pas.

The word granite comes from the Latin granum, a grain, in reference to the coarse-grained structure of such a crystalline rock. Granitoid is a general, descriptive field term for light-colored, coarse-grained igneous rocks. Petrographic examination is required for identification of specific types of granitoids.

What is limestone?

Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and/or aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Like most other sedimentary rocks, limestones are composed of grains; however, most grains in limestone are skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera. Other carbonate grains comprising limestones are ooids, peloids, intraclasts, and extraclasts. Some limestones do not consist of grains at all, and are formed completely by the chemical precipitation of calcite or aragonite, i.e. travertine. The solubility of limestone in water and weak acid solutions leads to karst landscapes. Regions overlying limestone bedrock tend to have fewer visible groundwater sources (ponds and streams), as surface water easily drains downward through joints in the limestone. While draining, water and organic acid from the soil slowly (over thousands or millions of years) enlarges these cracks; dissolving the calcium carbonate and carrying it away in solution. Most cave systems are through limestone bedrock.

What is Marble?

Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite. Geologists use the term “marble” to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.[1]
Marble is commonly used for sculpture and as a building material.

What is quartz?

Quartz is the second most abundant mineral in the Earth’s continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz, several of which are semi-precious gemstones. Especially in Europe and the Middle East, varieties of quartz have been since antiquity the most commonly used minerals in the making of jewelry and hardstone carvings. The word “quartz” is derived from the German word “quarz” and its Middle High German ancestor “twarc”, which probably originated in Slavic (cf. Czech tvrdy (“hard”), Polish twardy (“hard”)).

Is limestone usable in my kitchen?

Limestone is porous and should not be used as a kitchen worktop. This is because limestone is made up of softer properties and is not as durable as granite.

How is granite priced?

Marble is porous and should not be used as a kitchen worktop. However if someone was very careful, had many chopping boards and only had their kitchen for show then marble can be used. Marble is soft, permeable and vulnerable to stains. If lemon or any acidic foods contact the work surface the shine will come off the work surface.

Would you recommend a matt or honed granite?

Honed or matt granite give you a great look where fingerprints do not show up. The worktop has not been polished to a shine. It can come in a smooth or a rough finish. Honed stone produces a desired look for those that are not into the natural shine of their worktop. It must be noted that this type of material is suspect to staining and acratching and will require greater care than it’s polished counterpart.

When buying my worktops, is it cheaper if i buy a whole slab?

We charge by the linear meter so we will not charge you for wastage. The cost of your worktop will not increase with the quantity of slabs we need for your kitchen. We will buy enough material to install your worktop and we will always endeavor to minimize waste.

Does granite chip or crack?

Granite is stronger than most solid materials however it is not unbreakable. If there is an object that hits the worktop at a high velocity then a worktop can be damaged. The edge of the worktop and in and around the sink and drainer grooves are the most common places where chips occur. This is because pots and pans are constantly being banged against these areas. Chips are however repairable often with an akimi or resin. The quality of fitting is important when you buy a granite worktop and following ordinary usage it should never crack.

Do I need to seal my granite?

A technique that can be used to see if your granite needs to be resealed is to sprinkle some water on your worktop. If the water soaks into the stone and does not sit on the surface, then we would recommend resealing your granite.

Granite Care and Maintenance?

Granite is fairly easy to maintain. It can be cleaned using warm soapy (ph neutral) water. A soft cloth will also bring up the shine. There are also good granite worktop cleaners that can be purchased from hardware stores. Astonish is a product we can recommend. We would advise against abrasive cleaners as they can often scratch the surface and take the shine away. Acetone will also bring the polish off.

Can use a knife on a Granite or Quartz worktop?

Granite and quartz are a fantastic option for a kitchen worktop because you can cut directly on them without fear of scratching. Alternatively, some people like to have a chopping board made out of the same stone as their worktop solely for cutting on.

Does granite or quartz stain?

Normally, granite or quartz does not stain. If there is a tea cup that is left leaking at the same spot of a long enough period, it may leave a stain. As long as you are hygienic and responsible with your worktop, there should be no problems. Granite needs to be sealed once a year and quartz is sealed when it is manufactured and should never be sealed. Because of it’s non-porous properties, the sealant will sit on top and trap marks that will show up.

How can I limit the staining of worktop?

Avoid citric juices, oil based products and other acidic items when using your worktop. It is also necessary to wipe up spills as quickly as possible.

Does everyone use a sealer?

Your granite worktops will always be sealed at installation, Quartz is sealed at the factory and should never be re-sealed. Granite worktops whether polished or honed should be sealed every 12 months in order to stay stain resistant.

Does Acetone get off stubborn marks?

Acetone is a form of acid and when put in contact with polished surface there can a chemical reaction, resulting in the loss of polish. This is not advised.

Can I come and see the granite that will go into my kitchen?

Absolutely; we encourage visits to our stoneyard in Hertfordshire and our import factories in the South East of England. We have many suppliers with thousands of slabs on display so one can hand pick the material that will go into their home. For those reluctant to leave the comfort of their own home, we are able to send photos of the slabs and often send a sample of any desired granite, marble, limestone or quartz.

Can granite have veins and pits in it?

Granite is a natural product and can sometimes have pits in it. Granite is a crystalline that can have tiny spaces between the various mineral crystals. This does not mean the stone is defected but simply unique. Veins are part of the natural beauty in granite and one is advised to view a granite slab before it is manufactured and installed into a kitchen. Natural Veins and pits are distinctive characteristics of the natural product and will not impair the durability of the stone.

Do I have to have joints in my worktops?

Granite slabs are often smaller than 3.2 metres by 2 metres. Quartz slabs are created 3 meters by 1.4 meters and marble and limestone are smaller still. When creating your kitchen design, one must factor these particulars into their plan. Any run longer than 3 meters will need a joint. Most island tops will need a joint if bigger than 3m x 1.4. There is a way to minimize the joints but only with the latest precision equipment and fantastic stone masonry skills. We boast the best joints in the industry by using the same colour adhesive as the worktops for the joints. Please visit our showroom to see the quality of our joints. Or view our Gallery

If I put a hot cooking appliance on my granite will it damage the surface?

Hot items will not normally burn the granite. Having said this, we will always recommend hob bars as there can be a reaction with red hot items that may leave undesirable ring marks.

If I put a hot cooking appliance on my quartz will it damage the surface?

Yes Quartz is made up of 93% natural quartz crystals but 7% resin. When exposed to vigorous heat, this resin can rise to the top and discolour the worktop. Hob bars are a cost effective solution to this problem.

Is it common to have an overhang in my worktops?

Ordinarily, you would have a 20mm overhang all around the kitchen. Some people feel a 10mm overhang is slightly more contemporary. It is a matter of taste. On a breakfast bar overhangs can be anything from 250mm to 400mm, 300mm often being the standard allowance. Occasionally it will be necessary for extra support for the worktop, we can supply stainless steel legs if necessary.

What is the difference between an undermount or an inset sink? Can I get a sink made of quartz?

An undermount sink is stuck with silicone underneath the worktop so one is able to see the inside of the granite above the sink. An inset or drop-in sink sits on the granite and so only a rough cut-out is necessary. A polish sink cut out is a more expensive option but often looks nicer; drainer grooves normally accompany a polish sink cut out. Silestone make sinks out of the same material as the worktop which looks fantastic and original.

Is there a difference between an upstand, a full-height upstand and a backsplash (cladding)?

An upstand is normally a 100mm high length of granite going across the wall at the back of the worktop. A backsplash is the piece of granite that goes behind the hob and underneath the extractor fan. Along with granite and quartz a backsplash can be made of glass and stainless steel. Cladding is another term for backsplash. A full height upstand is like the backsplash going all the way around the kitchen up to the wall units. The advantage of a full height upstands is that you will have a complete surface to wipe when food of water splashes on the wall. The look is also magnificent.

Can I put granite on my existing kitchen?

Yes, we will take the existing worktops off for you and replace them with granite or quartz ones. This is a great way to give your kitchen a new look without the cost of buying a new one.

How can I obtain a quote for my worktop?

You can either go to our online quotation page by clicking here. You can email a plan to [email protected] and we will email you back the same day. You can fax the kitchen plan to 0208 216 2042. You can call us directly on 0208 216 2041 with your measurements and we can give you a price over the phone.

Do you need to measure up for a quote?

We will obtain exact measurements when we template your worktop but we will be able to give you a costing on approximate measurements before that. We can arrange for a site visit before templating if necessary.

What is a template?

A template is where we make an exact replica of your worktop with hardboard or corex. We then go back to the factory and cut the granite over the hardboard to the nearest millimeter. At the template stage you will decide where the joints need to be (if any) and go over your worktop design with our experienced stonemason. We will also need your sink and hob present onsite when we template.

When is the template made?

The template is made once the kitchen units are fixed into place. You cannot move the kitchen units once we template.

When do I pay for my granite work tops?

You will pay 50% when we come and template and 50% on completion once the worktop is fitted and you are happy with our service.

How do I choose my granite?

You may already know what granite you want by visiting your local showroom. If this is not the case you can visit us and choose what you like from our range of samples. You can also visit our materials page by clicking here. The stonemason that does the template will confirm your choice of granite.

What if the my worktop is larger or smaller than the sizes given on the original quote?

Once we template, we will check the measurements against the original costing and provided there is no substantial change then the price will stay the same. If upstands or claddding or drainer grooves are added then the price will increase accordingly.

Is better to go for a lighter or darker stone?

Granite and quartz vary in colour quite substantially. If you were looking for a plain black worktop, we would advise going for granite as the plain black quartz can often show smears. Lighter granites are often softer than darker ones but only marginally. Quartz is advised for those looking for lighter stones as there is a greater range and there is more consistency throughout the slabs. There is no such thing as a plain light-coloured granite, only a light coloured quartz.

When buying my worktops, is it cheaper if i buy a whole slab?

Yes, Scratches and chips can be repaired.

When buying my worktops, is it cheaper if i buy a whole slab?

Yes, Scratches and chips can be repaired.

Can I have a quartz worktop?

Yes, we supply many different brands of quartz. They are manmade worktops normally made up of 93% quartz crystals (a natural product) and 7% resin (which makes it a composite). We have fantastic relationships with quartz manufacturers such as Caesarstone, Compac, Diresco, Stone Italiana, Arenastone, Okite, Technistone, Quarella, Silestone, and Lunastone.

Is quartz more expensive than granite?

They are a very similar price. Granite comes in various price groups as does quartz. They both have their qualities and both are ideal for a kitchen work surface.

Is there many different types of edges?

Absolutely. There are many profiles edges that you can have. Please click here to view all of the options available.

Does the granite chosen look the same regardless of whether my worktops are made from different slabs?

Granite is a natural product of the earth’s crust, which gives it an original beauty; one slab is never exactly the same to the next. However, when purchasing our multiple slabs we always ensure that slabs come from the same batch, this means that if your worktops require more than one slab, then it will be fabricated from slabs cut consecutively from the earth. This will ensure the best match possible, maintaining continuity of look across the work surfaces. But there may well be variation in the pattern and colour and we also encourage customers to come and look at the slabs we have in stock. Quartz is always uniform throughout and there are little or no colour variations.

Do you have any off-cuts?

Yes we do. These are available but you would need to call us directly to see what we have in stock.

Do many people use granite or quartz windowsills?

Windowsills made out of stone are very common and achieve a nicer look than a painted wooden one.

Do you do fireplaces?

We have many on display in our stone yard in St Albans. We can make full fire surrounds or if needed simply a hearth.

Can I add to my granite worktops if I want to buy more units for my kitchen?

This is an option but beware, the new worktops may not match the existing one.

Would you advise a Marble Kitchen worktop?

Absolutely not. Marble is a porous product which means it can absorb stains from various foods. Marble can also scratch but it is a fantastic choice for the bathroom, floor and fireplace surrounds.

What is the difference between 12mm, 20mm, 30mm and 50mm worktops?

30mm is what people normally go for and is the perfect thickness for the worktop. 20mm this thinner and looks more contemporary. It is equally as strong and slightly less expensive. 12mm is thinner still but quite fragile. We would only recommend this in a quartz product and is fantastic for those with a tight budget. 50mm is a luxurious look. The worktop is thicker and looks bolder. The bigger edge means that the price of the worktop will increase

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