I have spent some time writing specs for an architectural firm in
regards to countertops.
I specialize in solid surface products, such as Corian, Staron,
Meganite, Gibraltar and such.
More and more do people ask for upgrades like granite and engineered
eStone, as I call it, is basically all the same 'Breton' process.
Silestone, Hanstone, CeasarStone, Zodiaq.
Granite, however, is not so easily identified and is misunderstood in
way too many ways.
Hence my post.
Acrylic solid surface and eStone *IS* created pretty much the same
way. 10-year warranties included.
Granite is not.
For instance 'Blue Pearl', in my opinion is one of the prettiest of
them all. 'Emerald Pearl' can be fantabulous.
Now here comes the problem: there are 5 grades of those 'pearls'. Some
are soft as butter, some are full of fissures, some are hard
as..well...stone. They DO look the same.
A fabricator will select his router's running speed and feed-speed
depending on hardness of those granites.
Some of those decisions are made after a slab is picked up by grippers
and a rubber mallet is whacked upon a 5' x 10' sheet.
If it rings like a bell, GREAT.. if a dull THUD...not-so-great.
When buying granite, you really have to take a very close look at your
fabricator. Ask for references and CALL them!
You be careful out there!
Did you know you can stain granite if you forget to seal it?
VERY durable. Some of the 'patterns' are uncanningly like the ones
you'd find in nature.
Tropical Brown granite and its quartz cousin are so close.
I like quartz countertops because they are so predictable in colour.
As nice as granite?
I am real fan of uniformity. Uniformity is good; I don't like having
the conversation begining with "I dont' think this is the piece I
I love the look of some of the granites, but I don't think they are
very practical for a hard used kitchen. The feeback I get is that
they scratch fairly easily, etch a little sometimes, and the edges can
be easy to chip. For me personally, if I have the large skillet full
of chicken cacciatore, another large pot of linguine, another of
marinara sauce, and the last burner taken with a skillet of fresh
chopped garlic in olive oil, I don't want to be watching out for a
bump into the edges of the counter, and errant spill that I miss and
don't clean up for several hours, etc.
Since most people just admire their pans these days, hard use is not
usually a problem. However, for those that do I am hearing a real
mixed bag on the feedback for granite. Not near so much so for the
I ran into a guy that absolutely LOVES granite tops. He bought a
franchise that repairs them (as well as quartz). But says he, granite
is 90% of his business. Quartz is soft; a metal or glass mixing bowl
can scratch it if slid or moved without picking it up. He fixes a lot
of chipped outside corners where something whacked off the edge. He
fills and seals a lot as the imperfections in the top gather tiny
amounts of gunk that you can see in the lighter colors. He polishes a
lot as all the tiny scratches gather and keep new tops from having
that mirror finish everyone wants.
He said he is so busy he is running two trucks now, and his company is
about a year old. I stopped to talk to him as the repair part of the
granite countertop business was something that always intrigued me -
ever since I found out what was charged to a lady that set a hot pan
down on the top (uh oh...) when she was distracted with something
Still looking into it - I like the idea of polishing out and sealing
the tops. It looks like that could be a good holiday business for the
right employee. Extremely low risk, low material cost, low equipment
cost - sounds good to me!
r - if you are still following this thread - what do you think of the
new arcylic epoxy based quartz toppings they are putting on formica
and her sisters? I saw at a recent show that they sand the old
counters down, prep them some way, then apply this goop with the
stones in it at about 1/2" thick. It looks like Silestone when it is
finsihed, and it looked pretty good. They told me an average kitchen
only takes 3 - 4 days and I seem to remember it having a long
I think a lot of folks would disagree with the above. We did a lot of
asking around (of people in the know who were NOT in a position to sell
us anything) when we redid our kitchen about 18 months ago. By far, the
consensus of opinion was that granite was the way to go, with quartz
being a good alternative if you preferred its greater uniformity.
We picked out a relatively dark pattern (you can see it here -
http://www.loyno.edu/~cbmarsh/cdrack.htm ) and even though I've never
sealed it, staining has not been a problem. No chips either, and we cook
every day, have lots of parties with teenagers wreaking havoc, etc., etc.
Exactly. I was actually in a friend's house when his wife sat a hot
pan (one of her nice heavyweight stainless jobs), right off the stove
onto the cold granite. We heard these popping noises a little like
crackle, and didn't see any damage.
But when she cleaned up that night a couple of small pieces of quartz
came out on the sponge. She was in tears.
I have heard, but not seen personally that a hot pan would also
discolor granite. I would guess it would have to be a really hot pan
on a really cold surface though. Just a guess.
No thoughts. None. I'm all out of thoughts.
Seriously. I do not know of what thou speaketh.
Needless to say, I'm very interested to learn more.
Any further info....please.
I haven't been keeping up with the latest...and watching TV simply
hasn't been an option these days.
Moving into the bigger premises has been a much bigger task than I
anticipated. I had deadlines to meet during the move as well.
But...I'm a lot happier now as the efficiency has doubled.
I'll post a pic of the partially completed fabrication section on ABPW
maybe later this evening.
Doubled! Wow... I just don't think I have the energy anymore. But
that is impressive - I am happy with 25% these days!
Hope so. I sure seems that over the last several months you have put
a ton back into feeding the business. I would like to see where you
have taken it.
I'll look into that counter topper. I personally don't know anything
at all about it except what I got back from someone that went to one
of our larger homeshows when it was here. I >think< it is a franchise
No kiddin'. We are having chamber of commerce weather here, and I am
moving as fast as I can (the actual speed may not be too
impressive...) to get as much done as possible. But right now, I am
looking for the bead after this post. Going to a BBQ contest and
chili cookoff tomorrow! Yeehaw!
I found this, and I am pretty sure this is it. They apparently cast
it like the old days of cast marble (resin and marble dust) to make
them as they are overlays. I wasn't able to find out that the product
was cast until I read the "limited material warranty" and it described
the mother of pearl additives, etc. This sure sounds like it is what
the guy described to me as they fit over the counters, cast to fit.
But then, I found this deal, which is actually fiberglass reinforced
granite, cut thin and layed in with glass. This stuff looks cool, and
it seems like it would cut the possiblity of damage down quite a bit
since it is lighter, and well reinforced. Depending on edge
treatments, I don't know how easy it would be to tell this from a
regular granite installation. It looks like it could be a helluva
money and time saver.
Pretty interesting stuff.
Like to hear what you think about these. Note that they are both
"franchisable". I wouldn't bite on a franchise, but I would like to
know about the products.
Back here in a couple of days. Gonna go be a good German and drink me
some beer, eat some grilled, homemade sausages, try out the chilli and
other BBQed meats, and support the local high school volunteers that
sponsor this event for this tiny little town.
In principle from empirical reports yes, but with my geologist's hat
on I can't think how you manage to do this. Granite is (or ought to
be) pretty tough stuff - impervious mineral grains that are closely
bonded without any sort of pervious matrix. Barring the odd mechanical
fissure, just how do you "stain" granite? What happens here - do the
grains change colour, or does some visible stain get absorbed into the
material? Which granites (chemically) are prone to it? What
substances will cause staining?
Grantites that are low in quartz (and other hard minerals) are
softer and more porus. They will absorb water (and stains).
The softer minerals can also be etched by acids (e.g. lemon
Obviously, light colored plan granites are more prone to
show the stains. I have Blue Pearl GT and that's pretty
non-porus and the darker color means stains won't show
unless serious. Nevertheless, I seal it every six months;
only takes 20 mins.
A near white granite will show the slightest stain. A black
granite will show the slightest etching from acids or
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
What are the 'soft" minerals?
Granites consist of varying proportions of quartz, plagioclase
feldspar, potassium feldspar (microcline), perthite; some mafic (dark)
minerals like amphiboles (hornblende, reibekite) and less commonly
pyroxenes (augite, enstatite), and micas (biotite); and lesser
proportions of accessroy minerals (epidote, sphene, zircon,
None of these minerals are soft or porous; most have minimum
hardensses of 6-7 . The mafic minerals may be subject to chemical
attack moreso than the quartz and feldspars, but even that should be
Glass (basically fused quartz with impurities) and hard minerals can
be etched with strong acids, but have very low permeabilty and are
resistant to "staining" without the presence of acids. I suspect that
the granite counters that get stained are from quarries in
'low-quality" granite, i.e. rocks that have been weathered (i.e. the
feldspars partially altered to (soft) clay minerals, or quarried from
parts of the granitic pluton that underwent late-stage magmatic
("dueteric") alteration (which also causes the feldspars to alter to
Anyway, I'd still like a granite countertop.
-Zz, M.S., PhD.
On Thu, 25 Oct 2007 14:01:03 GMT, Malcolm Hoar wrote:
My 5+ year-old kitchen has a dark granite (Emerald Pearl, I think)
countertop. No stains. Just a few scratches, and a couple of small chips
on the top at the front edge (guess I should not have had a square edge
treatment put on it).
It hasn't been sealed since new. What should I seal it with?
My fabricator recommended this range of products and that's
what I'm using:
I'm just using one of their sealers -- I don't bother with
fancy cleaners/polishes/enhancers etc. A large bottle cost
me $50 but I figure it will last me close to a decade.
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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