Questions On Granite Countertops


We get a lot of questions on granite countertops from our customers so we put together a page of the most frequently asked questions & answers on granite and natural stone tops.

Questions On Granite Countertops

Where is granite found?
Granite is quarried from the earth with specialized equipment and machinery. It is found all over the world. A few parts of the world where granite is quarried: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Finland, India, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Ukraine, USA, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

What is the difference between marble and granite countertops?
The look, the maintenance and the care of the stones. Marble is a softer stone, and will scratch & etch easier. Marble is a more delicate natural stone when compared to granite.

What is the strength of granite?
Granite is a very strong and durable natural stone. The actual strength of a specific piece of granite depends on the stone.

Will my granite countertop break?
With normal every day wear and tear - No. With heavy abuse it could.

Should I Seal?

Do I need to seal my granite countertops?
Maybe - depends on the granite you choose.

As a rule of thumb, The lighter stones need to be sealed and the darker ones don't. Try the water test to determine if your stone should be sealed.

What is etching?
Etching is surface damage. When acids from items such as lemons, alcohols, and even some cleaning products come into contact with 'certain minerals' in your stone, they leave dull spots or rings.

Sometimes an etch can be felt... it feels rougher than the surrounding stone.

Other times, you cannot feel a difference but you'll see a dull looking area.

Will my granite etch?
Most granites don't etch. But there are always exceptions to the rule. Find out before purchasing your stone. Get a scrap and test it by doing the Oil & Lemon Juice Test.

Can I cut on my granite countertops?
Yes you can but you'll probably want to use a cutting board. Granite is very hard and will most likely dull your knives. Sometimes little slivers of the knife become embedded in your top. It's really noticeable on dark stones and these slivers are hard to remove.

Will granite chip?
It can. A lot of times chips happen around the sink area or near an edge. They're easily repaired using a clear or colored epoxy. If you get a larger chip, save the piece of stone so it can be used to repair your countertop.

Will granite scratch?
It can and it will if you try hard enough. Concerned? Test on a stone scrap with a knife or keys.

Will granite burn?
Not usually. Many granites can withstand heat up to 1200F. But we've heard from customers who've put HOT pressure cookers on their stone and are amazed when the crystals pop. Use a little care and a lot of common sense.

How do I clean granite countertops?
A mild dish soap and water will work. Over time, the soap will build up on your tops and leave it looking dull and dingy. It's easier and more efficient to use stone friendly products.

Close Up Seam In Granite Countertop What are seams and do I need them?
Seams are joints where two pieces of stone meet or join together.

Granite slabs are very big but larger kitchens and lay outs sometimes need a seam. If you have curves, arches, or really long spans of granite you will usually need seams. Hire a good fabricator and seams are hardly noticeable.

What are some of the granite countertop colors?
There are hundreds of colors and color combinations. Whites, ivories, blacks & grays, brown, blues, greens, reds, pinks, yellows, tans and violets. The colors can be bright or muted... subtle or bold. The patterns vary also. Speckles, veins, dots, monochrome, etc.

Should I see my stone before ordering it?
It's not mandatory but it's wise. Each and every piece of granite & stone is unique. The color tones may be lighter or darker from one slab to the next, the patterns vary, and the dimensions differ. You can pick from a small sample but this sample will never showcase the uniqueness of your slab.

What are granite remnants?
Remnants are smaller pieces of stone. You can't special order remnants. What you see at your fabricator's place of business are your choices. Remnants work great if you need a small piece of stone and you're not set on a specific color. Think bathroom vanities, shelves, table tops, small desks and bar tops.

What are granite color charts?
Granite color charts are small pieces of stone in booklet form or on a large piece of board. You use these color charts to compare many different colors and patterns at one time in the area where your stone will be installed.

What are granite samples?
Granite samples might be small tiles or 'scraps' of stone. The small tiles are used to compare colors and patterns. Similar to a color chart except the stone tiles are larger & heavier.

Small pieces of granite which are left over from your job, 'the scraps', can be used to help match curtains, knobs, rugs, or whatever else you can think of. They can also be used for testing your stone. For example:

  • Does my stone need to be sealed?
  • Will it etch?
  • Does it scratch easily?

Santa Cecilia Granite Matching granite countertops with cabinets?
If you're unsure of how well your granite countertop will match your cabinets, use granite color charts or samples.

Look at the stone samples in different lighting and in different areas of your kitchen.

To see how others have matched their cabinets, stone and countertops, look at the picture gallery or the interiors design ideas found here.

AND, here's a quick how to guide on
matching paint to stone.

What is the weight of granite?
On average:

  • 3/4" Granite - 13 pounds per SF
  • 1 1/4" Granite - 18 to 20 pounds per SF
  • 2" Granite - 30 pounds per SF

The darker stones are usually heavier than the lighter stones.

What is the thickness of a granite countertop?
The thickness of your tops depends on your geographic location. It also depends on money. The thicker your granite countertops, the more it costs. On average:

  • 2cm =3/4"
  • 3cm =1 1/4"

Usually, 3cm is the preferred thickness for granite countertops.

Do I need underlayment?
Not with 1 1/4" granite. If you plan to use 3/4", most likely.

Will my cabinets support granite countertops?
Santa Cecilia GraniteMost cabinets will as long as they're sturdy. Granite spreads its weight out.

If your cabinets aren't sturdy enough, IKEA for example, reinforce them.

What are some of the uses of granite?
Granite is used on exteriors and interiors of homes and commercial buildings.

It is used for headstones, kitchen countertops, fireplaces, bars, vanities, sinks, cabinet knobs, switch plate covers, tables, walls, benches, fountains, shower surrounds, flooring, sinks...

whew!... If you can imagine it, you can use granite.

What is a fabricator?
This is the stone person who measures, cuts, shapes, and polishes the edges of your stone. He or she should be able to answer any of your questions on specific stones, guide you in choosing your stone type and help you locate your stone of choice.

Where do I go to look at granite?
Stone yards, showrooms or at your fabricators place of business.

Will my marble and granite contractor tear out my old countertops?
Maybe. Some of them will and some of them won't. Ask.

What is the granite installation time frame?
Most installations take a day or two - of course this depends on the size of your job.

Preparations before installation, such as cutting, polishing and getting your stone to the shop can take anywhere from a couple of days to a month. This depends on the company you hire. Here's more info on the granite installation process.

How much does a granite countertop cost?
Granite countertop costs vary depending on your region and also the type of granite or natural stone you choose.

Exotics, hard to finds, and blues are usually more expensive. Sink & cook top cut outs, outlet holes, arches & curves, special edgings and tearing out old countertops add to the cost.

Get help estimating the cost of your stone countertops here.

Add Shine

Erase Scratches

Get Rid of Mold and Mildew

Get Rid of
Mold & Mildew
Repair Etch Marks

Etch Marks

Here's MORE Granite STUFF:

  • Granite countertop edges are available in many shapes and styles. Curves, angles, and lines join together to create a look of simplicity, elegance or unusual design.
  • Polished and honed granite refers to the different types of surface finishes applied to the face of natural stone. Which do you prefer?
  • Need Ideas? Start here with other customers interior design ideas.

Choosing Stone Installing Stone Granite Countertop Stone Slabs

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