Frequently Asked Questions:Q: What are the advantages of Granite and how do I keep it clean?
A: Granite is the one kitchen countertop option that is completely natural. It is not affected by heat, is fairly hard to scratch, and requires minimal maintenance. Independent studies have shown that granite is one of the most bacteria-resistant surfaces available because of its dense structure. When sealed properly granite should not stain, although it will appear darker when wet. Extra virgin olive oil if left on your granite over night can cause a dark area. If you do manage to get stain on your granite, either with extra virgin olive oil or something else, it can usually be pulled up with a poultice that we sell at the shop. As for cutting on your granite, it will not damage the stone, but it will dull your knives. When cleaning your stone avoid products such as AJAX or Comet which are abrasive cleaners, or dish soap as it can leave a residue on the counter. We recommend using Windex, Simple Green, or any of our line of PH neutral Stone Cleaners made by Aqua Mix, the same manufacturer as our sealer. With so many new stone cleaning products it is a good idea to always check any new product you will be using on a small area to make sure it does not interact in an unwanted way with the sealer on your counter before you apply it to the whole counter. Polishes for your stone are also commercially available, and we recommend using them sparingly because they become unneeded routine maintenance much like using Armor All on your car.
Q: Can you put marble in a kitchen?
A: While you can put marble in a kitchen, we highly suggest that you don't if you use your kitchen on a regular basis. Marble is a much more porous material, which stains easier than granite. Marble is also chemically polished with a base, and anything acidic can eat away at the polish (e.x. lemon juice, vinegar, tomatoes, ect.) If you must put a marble in your kitchen we recommend having the surface honed before installation and using Georgia White marble. When you hone the marble it will break down the polish and create a more matte finish which will not have as much of the problems with acids that a polished marble will have, however they can still etch the surface. Georgia White marble is a crystallized marble that is less porous than most marbles which makes it less susceptible to staining.
Q: How often do I need to seal my granite?
A: It depends on what sealer you use. A water based sealer typically needs to be reapplied every month because it is being washed away when ever you wipe down your counters. A solvent based sealer will actually penetrate the stone and typically last mush longer than the water based sealers. Most fabricators will seal your stone for you when it is installed, and since every fabricator uses different sealers it is best to ask them how often it needs to be applied and what sealer they used. If you do not know who installed your granite or what was put on your counters before, always test a small area before re-sealing the whole counter. We use and recommend Pro-Solv by Aqua Mix to seal your granite, marble, travertine or slate. Pro-Solv is a solvent based sealer that the manufacturer says is good for ten years, though we recommend re-applying every five years since the kitchen is a high use area. Using a PH neutral cleaner will help pro-long the life of the sealer. We have Pro-Solv available for purchase at our shop.
Q: Will there be seams in my counter?
A: Most likely there will be at least one seam or joint in your counter. It always depends on your kitchen design and which material you pick. The slabs come in various sizes and some of them can get longer runs than others. We always try to minimize the number of seams and when we bid your plans we can let you know approximately where your seams will be. At Forefront Design we will normally place your seam in a corner or at the range. We try hard not to place any seams near the sink, because if water manages to get to the wood sub-top below it can warp the wood causing the granite to pop out of place. If this happens it is nearly impossible to fix. If you are using another fabricator make sure to ask them where your seams will be. Also it is important to note that we try to make the best match possible at all our seams but they will be noticeable no matter what you do. Below is a picture of a good seam.
Q; Why shouldn't I go with the cheaper pre-fabricated countertops instead of custom fabrication?
A: There are many advantages to having your counters custom fabricated instead of ordering pre-fabricated counters. Pre-fabricated counters offer limited sizing options which often result in more seams than would be necessary and limited design possibilities. Pre-fabricated counters also come in very limited colors with little to no movement, since they need to be able to be put next to any of the other pieces. However, if you have a small kitchen with no island and straight counters or a bathroom to do, pre-fabricated counters can be a much cheaper option. Usually the counters are fabricated in China, or other countries where labor is cheaper, than shipped to the US which is why they are so much cheaper then custom fabrication. That is also why you always want to check the quality of the counter you will be receiving before purchasing. We do have some pre-fabricated counters from Brazil at our shop that we would be happy to show you and see if it would work for your application.