Issue #25: The Stone Circle - Natural Stone: What to expect during fabrication.

November 30, 2005

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In This Stone Circle Issue:
  • What's New at Natural Stone Interiors?
  • Idea this month: Install Process
  • Hints and Tips From the Fabricator: What to expect during fabrication.
  • Recap of the months "Question of the Week"

What's new this month at Natural Stone Interiors?

Thanksgiving is now behind us and the count down to Christmas is on. With the rush of the Holidays, we've been looking at a new front page design to make it faster and easier for you to find new articles and info. Hopefully, we will be able to implement it this month!

Want to know more about stone care? Find articles, information, and resources on stone & granite care, repair and sealing here.

AND here's where you'll find natural stone and granite stain removal guidelines. These are the easy first steps to removing stains recommended by the Marble Institute of America.

Idea this Month

This is a picture of a reception area in an office building using Mesabi Black.

Mesabi Black Granite

They are at the end of the install process. The stone is attached, the seams are epoxied and smoothed, and now the installer is blending the edges where the seams meet.

A hand held polisher with diamond pads is used. These pads are extremely expensive. The grit starts at 50 and slowly progresses up to a 2000 grit pad. Up to eight of these diamond pads are used to smooth, blend, and polish the stone. The polishing process ends with a buffing pad.

This is a slow and tedious process but if done correctly, the edge seams virtually melt away.

If done incorrectly, dips and varying degrees of shadows and shininess prevail!

Hints and Tips: From the Fabricator

Not sure what to expect after hiring your fabricator? Here's a quick guideline.

The first thing you will do is choose your slab(s) or stone. Some fabricators will choose your stone for you but we always recommend choosing your own. At the very LEAST - see your stone before it's fabricated!

Your fabricator then comes to your home to double check measurements and template out your project. Templating is where Luan, (thin pieces of plywood) are glued together in the exact shape and width of your project. Some fabricators use a thin plastic, laser templating tools or even cardboard for templating.

During the templating process, sink location and setbacks are noted, overhangs implemented, curves and angles laid out, and if seams are necessary, this is where placement is decided.

If you are doing a full stone backsplash above a countertop, some fabricators measure during the original templating process and others will template out the backsplash after your countertops are installed.

The templates are then taken back to the shop and used to cut out your stone. If you have intricate angles or a complicated design, a cad program might be used to lay this out.

After your stone is cut, your fabricator will bring it to your home and install it. The stone is attached with silicone, seams are filled with a colored epoxy and smoothed, sinks are hung, and small touch ups are done.

HINT* Be there during templating. If you can't be there, make yourself available. Important issues such as seams, angles, overhangs, sink setbacks, and curves are decided on. Communication is essential to your successful project.

Need more details? Follow along on this granite bar installation.

RECAP of this months "Question of the Week"

What type of sealer should I use to seal my soapstone countertop?

Soapstone isn't sealed. This non porous natural stone isn't susceptible to staining. Mineral oil is usually applied.

How much does a granite countertop cost?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions. And, the answer varies. Granite is usually quoted by the square foot and the cost depends on a number of things:

  • Your Geographical Location.
  • Actual stone you choose to use.
  • Special edges, full backsplashes, and arches or radius' will add to the cost.
  • Using an undermount sink rather than a drop in sink entails more polishing; therefore, this also adds to the cost.

Most marble and granite contractors offer free estimates. Make sure it is from a LOCAL marble and granite contractor for accuracy. Would you feel more comfortable figuring out the approximate cost yourself? Here's a granite estimate guide to help you figure it out yourself.

How big are stone slabs?

Stone slabs dimensions vary A LOT. On AVERAGE, they are 5 x 8 feet or approximately 40 square feet. Some slabs are quite a bit bigger and others are smaller.

A little bit on seams...

Seams are where two pieces of stone meet. They are used when your countertop is larger or longer than your slab and are usually placed in less conspicuous areas. So what's the definition of a good seam?

  • Slab edges where the stone meets should be extremely smooth without a bevel.
  • There should be less than 1/16 inch space between the two pieces of stone.
  • An epoxy grout colored to match the stone should be used.

MORE on seams.

Does granite harbor bacteria?

A study by the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management located in St. Paul Minnesota was conducted to determine the cleanability of six countertop surfaces. The experiments included a typical wash and rinse as well as a sanitizing procedure using vinegar. In the first part of the study, each surface was contaminated with E. coli bacteria and then washed and rinsed with just soap and water. The results: Granite vs E-Coli

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