Marble is a metamorphic rock. Metamorphic means that heat and pressure deep in the earth has changed one type of rock (limestone) into a new, stronger stone called marble. Marble is available in many different colors and patterns. It is beautiful and versatile. Some marble, particularly the green and white marbles can even be used as kitchen counter tops as they are extremely hard, and less porous than other marbles making them less likely to stain.
Soapstone is a metamorphic rock. It is primarily made of talc, which gives its silky “soapy” feel. It also contains varying amounts of chlorite, magnetite, mica, tremolite, quartz, and iron compounds. Although soapstone is resistant to heat and acids, it is very easily cut with a knife which is a consideration when choosing a kitchen countertop material. Soapstone is gray or green with a smooth matte finish.
Granite is the ideal stone for kitchen counter tops. Granite is formed deep in the earth’s mantle at extremely high temperatures, and and it is an exceptionally hard, resistant stone made of crystallized minerals (see stone types). You can actually chop vegetables right on the counter top without damaging the surface, however you may damage your knives as the stone is harder than the knife blades and can dull them. Although typical application of marble is for the bathroom vanity tops, Jacuzzi tops and fireplaces, it is possible to use it in the kitchen. However, due to the fact that it is easy to scratch and is affected by acidic substances, such as vinegars, ketchups etc, we don’t usually recommend it. Moreover the high-gloss of the marble countertop can be partially lost as many chemicals etch its surface. Granite in turn is considered the second hardest stone, its polish is not subject to etching by household acids, or scratching by knives and pots and pans under normal use. It is also not affected by typical kitchen heat such as hot pans.
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. Granite is one of the oldest, most durable and most respected of building materials. Traditionally, it is the material chosen by both architects and engineers when permanence, enduring color and texture, and complete freedom from deterioration and maintenance are prime requirements. The marble family ‘ limestone, travertine, marble, and onyx ‘ starts out as sediment ‘ animal skeletons and shells, plant matter, silt ‘ at the bottom of bodies of water. After millions of years this solidifies (lithifies) into stone. Because its main component is calcium, acids such as vinegar and citrus beverages can affect it.
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. Graniterra’s tops are sealed immediately after they are installed. The impregnating substance penetrates the stone clogging most of its pores making its quite impervious to alcohol, juices, soft drinks, cosmetics, cleaners, coffee, food and even oil. 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.
POLISHED GRANITE is a very durable stone. Much harder than marble. Granite has been used in the past in the commercial industry. Some of the obvious applications have been panels on the outside of buildings, walls, and floors of “high-traffic” areas. Granite will withstand almost any element it comes up against including heat and cold. Granite itself is approximately 95-98% stain resistant but, we use a silicone impregnator on all our natural stone products. This will insure lasting life and beauty. Polished granite should receive the same cleaning care as polished marble, using a mild phosphate-free, biodegradable liquid dish-soap, soap flakes or powder which contain no aromatics, followed by a through rinsing and drying with cotton-flannel or chamois.
Granite is an igneous rock that is formed by magma (hot liquid rock) that has cooled under pressure deep within the earth. Granite is extremely hard and heat resistant and is therefore the first choice in countertop material. Granite has a glass-like surface and is virtually non-porous which makes it stain resistant. Granite is composed of quartz, feldspars, mica, hornblende, and a small amount of other minerals. Granite can be found in nearly every color and depending on how the stone was cooled within the earth, can have various patterning from a very uniform “static” look, to a random, wavy pattern which we refer to as having “movement”.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock. It is composed mostly of calcium carbonate and is formed in layers of sediment. Most limestone are composed of fossils from millions of years ago. Many of these “fossils” can be seen in the limestone slabs in our showroom. Limestone is generally white, but if it contains some iron oxide it can be brown, yellow, or red. If the limestone contains some carbon, it can be gray, black and even blue. Limestone is an excellent choice for bathrooms because it is “water-friendly”. Limestone is a soft stone and is almost always available in a matte finish however there are a few limestone that are available with a polished finish.
Only if you want to ruin your good knives. Granite is harder than your knife blades and will dull them very quickly, if you use the countertop as a cutting surface. Always cut and chop on a wooden or plastic cutting board.
Travertine is a type of marble with an extremely open surface, this is due to air bubbles being trapped in the stone during the formation process millions of years ago. Iron compounds found in travertine can give this buff colored stone a beautiful striated look.
The old rule of thumb is never to use anything you wouldn’t use on your hands. Never use powdered cleansers or abrasive pads to clean your stone. Even “soft scrub” type cleaners contain pumice, which is powdered volcanic stone, and might damage your stone countertops or floors. Never use any product which is acidic; this includes substances like ammonia or many common liquid cleaners such as Windex. You should always use sealers and cleaning products designed specifically for natural stone.
In general, no. You can’t burn it with ordinary use. Heat from pots and pans or burning liquids will not affect granite under normal circumstances. As far as staining, all stone is porous to some extent, but Granite has very little porosity. Most colors will never show any moisture. A few colors may absorb some moisture with prolonged contact. For example, a puddle of water left on the counter for 30 minutes for some colors, may show a dark spot when the water is wiped away. This spot will then dry up and no evidence will show. Only a few colors demonstrate this trait.
Not with the ordinary use. Granite is most susceptible to cracks during shipping and installation. Normal use will not overstress this durable material.
You can cantilever granite up to 14″ with sufficient support on the fixed end and with a large enough piece. Never cantilever unsupported granite where it might receive excessive stress like someone sitting on a counter or stepping on a counter to change a light bulb. You must have support underneath for these situations.
In only cases of severe abuse with a hammer or impact tool. Like any solid surface, high impact blows can harm granite. Because of its crystalline structure, it can chip if subjected to sharp hard objects. Graniterra’s service team can repair chips in the field. A chip can be filled with a granite dust and color-matched epoxy mixture.
Natural stones, like granite, travertine, marble, limestone, etc. are not uniformly manmade – they are created naturally in the earth over hundreds and thousands of years. These pits are not imperfections or flaws in the stone; they are simply a result of the natural process of stone formation. These pits are sometimes more noticeable in granite which is composed of quartz and mica. Some stones are more pitted than others usually depending on the coarseness or ‘tightness’ of the grain. Most pits on the polished surface of a slab are filled with a clear resin at the time the slabs are polished at the quarry. If a pit is visible on the surface of your stone, it can be filled with a color matched epoxy.
Granite sometimes has natural fissures as well, which may look like cracks, but are not structural defects and are a naturally occurring result of the immense heat and pressure, which formed the granite eons ago. These characteristics are part of the natural beauty of stone and will not impair the function or durability of the material. A product of nature cannot be expected to look manmade.