The Other Stone Countertops

The Other Stone Countertops

When most people think about natural stone countertops, granite and marble usually come to mind first. They are the two most written about, most popular and most widespread natural stone materials that people are familiar with. However, there are several other natural stone materials that should also be considered for countertop projects. Here, we will explore some of the other natural stone choices.

Limestone

Advantages:

  • Cost – Limestone usually does not cost as much as some other natural stones.
  • A variety of color hues – While largely neutral, limestone does come in a color range including tan, rose, gray, and variety of other neutral tones
  • Durability – Limestone is a very durable natural stone that will last beautifully for years.

Disadvantages

  • Softness – Limestone is a softer stone, so it is more prone to scratching.
  • Porosity – Since it is a soft stone, it is more porous than some other natural stones. To buy yourself some time against stains, make sure to keep your limestone sealed properly.
  • Acid sensitive – Common acidic foods like lemons, limes, tomatoes, and red wine or vinegar can etch limestone. Just be careful when preparing or using these items on your limestone countertop, even with a cutting board.

Quartzite

Advantages:

  • Very hard and durable – Actually scores just a bit better on the Mohs scale than granite.
  • Easy to clean – After sealing, it just needs soap and water cleanup.
  • UV resistant – Quartzite won’t fade or darken in direct sunlight.

 Disadvantages:

  • Usually more costly – The stone itself is rarer, so it does usually cost more than some other natural stones.
  • Prone to etching and staining – Even with sealing, spills will need to be tended to as quickly as possible to prevent staining and /or etching.
  • Not DIY friendly – DIY folks should not install or try to repair this stone.

 Soapstone

Advantages:

  • DIY friendly – Soapstone is a softer stone, so it does scratch. However, most scratches can be dealt with by the homeowner. Also, since soapstone doesn’t need sealing, only waxing or oiling, this can also be a DIY project as well.
  • Doesn’t stain – Soapstone is considered a non-porous material, which means it doesn’t stain.
  • Durable – Even though it is a softer stone, soapstone is very durable and can last for years if not decades when properly maintained.

Disadvantages:

  • Limited color range – Soapstone usually comes in grey or black, although it can contain hues of green or blue with some white veining.
  • Maintenance – Soapstone will develop a patina over time and also wear unevenly. To help alleviate the uneven wear appearance, soapstone should be oiled or waxed.
  • Scratches easily – It is a softer stone, so it is prone to scratching. However, as mentioned above, most scratches can be a DIY fix.

Sandstone

Advantages: 

  • The look – Sandstone has an earthy look and depth that offers a unique and stunning visual appearance.
  • Durability – The main component in sandstone is either quartz or feldspar, making it a very durable stone material.
  • Maintenance – Once properly sealed, sandstone doesn’t require any special cleaners. Water, mild detergent, and a soft cloth are all that is necessary.

Disadvantages:

  • Porosity – Sandstone is very porous and soaks up liquid quickly, which can lead to unsightly stains.
  • Scratches – Using a cutting board on sandstone is highly recommended since it does scratch easily.
  • Sealing – Sandstone, because it is so porous, needs to be sealed and regularly resealed with a high-quality impregnating sealer. An impregnating sealer does not prevent staining. It does give you more time to deal with the spill before it becomes a stain.

Soapstone is the most DIY friendly natural stone choice. Most scratches and other imperfections, such as uneven wear can be dealt with by the homeowner. However, other natural stone materials can be renewed or repaired by qualified, professional restoration technicians.

Sometimes we get preconditioned. Granite, marble, granite, and marble is all we hear. There are many other wonderful natural stone choices out there for countertops. If granite and marble were our only natural options, then mother nature wouldn’t have given us all those other beautiful choices.


By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

The Versatility of Stone

We may need to change how we think about natural stone

Most of the time, when people think about natural stone, what comes to mind is building facades, countertops, shower surrounds, floors, and other “big” projects. That doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Natural stone is great for smaller projects outside as well as inside.

Why is natural stone great for smaller outdoor projects?

Since natural stone is created by nature in combination with the environment, it contains the natural elements of the earth. It doesn’t need to be protected from environmental issues such as rain, snow, heat, or cold. It will age with the weather, remaining beautiful and strong for years to come. However, if somehow it does become damaged, natural stone is renewable and repairable. A simple call to a natural stone restoration contractor can get your outside stone restored.

What are some smaller outdoor projects for natural stone?

  • Firepits – Natural stone can be cut into rectangular and sometimes curved blocks to create a firepit.
  • Walkways – Natural stone pavers are an excellent choice for walkways and sidewalks.
  • Tabletops – There is no better way to accessorize your outdoor look than with natural stone tabletops for your outdoor coffee or end tables. Fabricators usually have an assortment of smaller pieces left over from installed projects.
  • Garden edging – Add color and charm to your garden by using natural stone for garden edging and dividers. Showcase or spotlight those special areas of interest in your garden.

Why is natural stone great for smaller indoor projects?

Natural stone comes in a wide variety of colors, sizes, shapes, and stone types. With all this variety, there are so many smaller projects that can be done with natural stone. Natural stone is renewable and repairable so if it does become dull or damaged, it can be repaired.

  • Shelves – Keeping in mind that natural stone can be heavy, 2 cm might be better for shelf projects. However, with proper support, natural stone does make unique, beautiful shelves.
  • Windowsills – Wooden windowsills can be affected by several things, including weather (sometimes we forget to close the windows when it rains), in home humidity, and age. You can replace aging wooden windowsills with natural stone windowsills that will add beauty to any room and will last indefinitely. This is especially nice if you are getting a new countertop and you get a matching windowsill in your kitchen or bath.
  • Curbs and thresholds – If you are getting a new natural stone vanity top, or tub surround, consider getting a shower curb to match. You can also replace the dirty, worn thresholds in your home with natural stone. Natural stone will clean easily and hold up well. If it does become damaged, a simple call to a natural stone restoration contractor can get your inside stone restored.
  • Raised feeding platform for pets – If you have a large dog, vets recommend that you raise their feeding dishes off the floor. The trouble is that large dogs are strong, and they can push those feeding platforms around, causing a mess. A natural stone platform is heavy and difficult to push around, but very easy to clean.

Can smaller natural stone projects be used around food and drink?

Absolutely. Natural stone has many uses in these areas. Pastry chefs love marble countertops and pastry boards for making great desserts. Soapstone whiskey stones stay cold, don’t dilute drinks, and are a great conversation starter. A natural stone mortar and pestle can be used for grinding spices AND think about how stunning a natural stone charcuterie board would be!

Natural stone can be used in so many ways, big or small. It can add style and pop inside and out. It seems a shame to only think about it in terms of “big” projects.


By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

5 Common Stone Misconceptions

In all phases of life, different products come and go. Some are good, some are not. The one thing they all have in common is that every product, no matter what it is, has some sort of “misconception” or mistruth told about it. Carrots improve night vision, canned vegetables are not healthy, coffee stunts growth, etc. Stone is no different. There are plenty of misconceptions surrounding natural stone and natural stone projects.

Let’s take a look at some of the more common stone misconceptions:

#1 – Natural Stone is High Maintenance: Natural stone does require maintenance but it is not necessarily “high maintenance.” Cutting boards are recommended on stone, but they are for other types of countertops as well. Regular cleaning is recommended, but again, for other types of countertop material also, not just stone. The biggest difference is sealing. Most stone does require sealing but that doesn’t have to be a big deal. Fabricators will seal it before installation. If it ever needs resealing, your stone pro can help with that.

#2 – Natural Stone is Expensive: Granted, some natural stone can be expensive BUT natural stone comes in a wide variety of price ranges. It is inexpensive enough that homeowners, home builders, and contractors use it for their projects every day. It is also expensive enough to go into high-end projects. The price of stone depends on a lot of different things, but stone can fit into almost any budget.

#3 – Natural Stone Cannot be Repaired: Restoration contractors repair stone every day, fabricators and installers as well. All sorts of damage to stone can be fixed. Chips, pits, cracks, and stains are among some of the things that can be successfully corrected by stone professionals. In fact, stone can be repaired to like new, unlike many other materials.

#4 – Stone is Out of Style: Trends have come and gone throughout time. Quartz, laminate, butcher block, porcelain, etc. have all shared the market with natural stone. However, natural stone has been, and still is, a wise choice for projects, inside and out. Natural stone has a lasting style. It has been the center of projects, big and small for centuries. The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Mount Rushmore, and Angkor Wat are but a few testaments to its lasting durability. The millions of kitchen countertops, fireplace surrounds, and floor and wall projects are a tribute to its beauty and sustainability.

#5 – Natural Stone Stains Quickly and Easily: Yes, natural stone can stain. However, a properly sealed surface can buy you time to deal with a spill before it becomes a stain. Sealers slow down the absorption of the potential stain. You would naturally wipe up any spills on any other material, stone is just the same. On the off chance that it does stain, you can consult our stain guide under the resources tab on our website or call us for help.

Natural stone, like everything else out there, has misconceptions and and mistruths. When shopping for material for a project, make sure you get the truth of the material and not the “misconceptions” connected to it.


By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Granite vs Porcelain for Countertops

Times change, trends change. In the recent past, laminate was the countertop of choice. Over time, that trend gave way to natural stone, like granite, soapstone, or marble. Then quartz came along and became popular. Now, porcelain has entered the countertop market. Not as tile (although that is an option), but as full-size slabs for countertops. The question is: How does porcelain stack up against granite for countertops?

What is Granite?

Granite is a 100% natural stone product, created by the ongoing processes of mother nature and the earth. Man finds it and mines it but has nothing to do with its creation.

What is Porcelain?

Porcelain is a man-made product, created by engineers. It contains soft, white clay and various other materials such as feldspar, quartz, ash, sand, and other ingredients. Once mixed, these materials are shaped and then heated to over 2,200 degrees.

Pros and Cons of Granite Countertops:

Pros:
  • 100% natural
  • Stain resistant – When properly sealed, granite is stain resistant.
  • Unique – Not only is each color unique but no two slabs in a color are the same.
  • LEED points – Granite can contribute to LEED points in projects.
  • Variety – Granite comes in hundreds of assorted colors.
  • Readily available – Granite is mined throughout the world.
  • Heat resistant – Hot pots and pans can be placed on granite surfaces. (Although trivets are recommended.)
  • Repairs – If granite is damaged, it can be normally be repaired by a qualified stone restoration technician.
  • Longevity – Granite has been around for thousands of years. It has shown itself to be a stable, beautiful, versatile product we can use for countertops and various other projects.
Cons:
  • Seams – Depending on the size of the project there may be visible seams.
  • Expense – Granite comes in a wide range of price points, but depending on the look and color you want, it may be costly.
  • Damage – Granite is a very durable product but it can be damaged. Chips and cracks can happen if something is dropped on the stone.
  • Maintenance – Granite is not maintenance free. To avoid stains, wipe up spills as soon as possible, and clean with a stone safe cleaner as needed.
  • Sealing – Granite sealer is not permanent. Occasionally, resealing your granite may be necessary. This should be done by a qualified stone technician that understands the qualities of your specific granite.

Pros and Cons of Porcelain Countertops:

Pros:
  • Heat proof – Porcelain is created with extremely high heat, so the normal heat of hot pots and pans won’t normally harm it.
  • Low maintenance – Clean with soap and water. Sealing is not needed.
  • UV resistant – Porcelain won’t fade in the sunlight, making it great for outdoor projects.
  • Chemical resistant – Acidic foods or harsh chemicals won’t etch, fade, or dull the surface.
Cons:
  • Edges – Porcelain is a thinner material than granite, so the edge options are limited.
  • Variety – Porcelain does offer a variety of colors and patterns but because the countertop aspect of porcelain is still new, it does not have the wide variety of granite.
  • Longevity – Porcelain for countertops is relatively new to the market so there are not a lot of statistics or information about the long-term stability of porcelain as a countertop material.
  • Expense – While porcelain may not be more expensive than granite, because it is a thinner material, edges may have to be laminated or the countertop may need a backer board, adding to fabrication costs.
  • Depth of color – Unless you specifically request through body porcelain (a product where the pattern of the porcelain goes all the way through the slab), you may end up with a color body product. A color body porcelain only has the pattern on top of the slab. It does not go all the way through, so when cut, the edges will not be the same as the top of the slab.
  • Cracking – Porcelain, while very durable, can be prone to cracking. Porcelain is a rigid, thinner material making it much more susceptible to cracking during fabrication, installation, and everyday use.

No one product is 100% perfect for every project. It’s best to do the research, and talk to professionals, weigh the pros and cons of each surface and decide which one best suits your needs. Taking these steps will ensure you choose the surface that is best for you.


This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Sealers Can Help Protect Your Stone

[This article was originally published in October of 2018]

Kitchen countertops, bathroom vanity tops, bar tops, and the like can be prone to staining because they are exposed to oily or dye-containing substances on a daily, or sometimes, even an hourly basis. Consequently, a sealer should be applied to help prevent staining. Choosing the correct type of sealer can be very important for how the sealer performs. An experienced, professional stone restoration contractor will know which sealer is best, taking into consideration the characteristics of the particular type of stone to which it will be applied and the location where the stone is installed.

Impregnating Sealers

Impregnating sealers, also known as penetrating sealers, are the most commonly used sealers. They are applied to natural stone to inhibit staining. Impregnating sealers penetrate below the surface and protect the stone from within. They are formulated with water-repellent and oil-repellent substances. Topical sealers are available, but can be problematic, and are very seldom recommended.

Misconceptions About Sealers

There are many misconceptions about what a sealer does and doesn’t do. It is important to note that sealers do not prevent traffic patterns or etching. The surface of the stone is still vulnerable to acidic substances, scratches, dullness, and other damage. In addition, natural stone, even when it is properly sealed, is not stain proof, it is merely stain resistant. In other words, it buys some time so that spills can be cleaned before they penetrate into the stone and become stains. After natural stone is sealed, it still needs to be regularly cleaned with pH neutral stone care products and periodically refinished or resealed.

New High Performance Protective Treatments

There are new protective treatments that, unlike impregnating sealers, offer both etch and stain protection.

Ask us about how we can help protect your natural stone.


This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Cultured Marble vs Real Marble

Are cultured marble and real marble the same thing?

Cultured marble and real marble sound the same, but they are two completely different things. Each one is created differently. They are fabricated differently, and they are installed, cared for, and repaired differently. The only real similarity is that they both have marble in their name.

What is cultured marble?

Cultured marble is a man-made product that contains dyes, marble dust and resin. After it’s made, it gets coated with a high-shine, clear gel to protect it. Because of the way it’s made, cultured marble is more closely related to Corian or Hi-Macs solid surfaces. It is often called faux marble.

What is real marble?

Real marble is created by mother nature. Man has nothing to do with it. What man does is quarry it out of the earth, cut it, polish it, and install it in different projects.

How can I tell the difference between cultured and real marble?

  • Cultured marble projects have integrated sinks and backsplashes. (All one-piece design). Real marble projects have separate backsplash pieces and separate sinks.
  • Cultured marble can be manipulated to mimic real marble but will have a flat appearance that lacks depth. The protective gloss can even make it appear like plastic. Real marble will have depth to its look.
  • Cultured marble, made in a factory with a formula, has a consistent look, piece after piece. No two pieces of real marble are identical.
  • Cultured marble is considered more of a budget friendly product while real marble is considered more of a luxury item.
  • Cultured marble never needs sealing. Real marble does.
  • The protective coating on cultured marble gives it a high shine. Marble may have a high shine, but it can also have a dull, matte finish, giving it a softer look.

While cultured marble and real marble have vast differences, they can both be cleaned and maintained in basically the same way, with non-abrasive, pH-neutral cleaners. Look for cleaners that specifically state they are for cleaning cultured marble or real marble, depending on what you have. Both materials can be etched by harsh, abrasive chemicals and cleaning products. Both can also sustain chips, scratches, and cracks. Even though they can both be damaged in similar ways, the tools and processes used to fix them are different.

Can cultured marble be repaired?

Most damage on cultured marble can be repaired if the gel coat has not been penetrated or removed.

  • Light scratches can be addressed with automotive buffing compound.
  • Cracks and chips can be repaired with a retail repair kit specifically designed for cultured marble. It may be best, however, to let a professional stone restoration contractor handle such damage for the best possible results.
  • Since the gel coat on cultured marble is non-porous, deep stains don’t normally happen. Usually, stains can be dealt with by using a cultured marble cleaner or denatured alcohol and a non-abrasive pad.
  • Deep scratches or large chips and cracks may require a professional restoration technician or may require replacement altogether.
  • If the gel coat has been worn off, damaged or removed, it is also best to call a professional restoration contractor.

Can real marble be repaired?

Under most circumstances, real marble can be repaired to new or almost new condition.

  • Light scratches can be minimized by using a dry, soft buffing cloth in a circular motion after cleaning the area with warm, soapy water.
  • Cracks and chips can be repaired with a retail repair kit specifically designed for real marble or natural stone. It may be best, however, to let a professional stone restoration contractor handle such damage for the best possible results.
  • Stains can usually be drawn out with a poultice. Once you identify the stain, look at the Stain Care App on our website under the Resources tab to see what sort of poultice you need.
  • Deep scratches, set-in stains, etch marks or large chips and cracks may require a professional restoration technician.
  • If your marble needs to be resealed, it is best to call a professional.

While cultured marble and real marble are vastly different surfaces, they each have the potential to enhance the look of different projects in your home. The key is to realize which one you have so you can properly clean and maintain it, keeping it beautiful for years to come.


By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Natural Stone – Fissures vs Cracks

Fissures vs Cracks

Natural stone, granite, marble, quartzite, etc., is made by, well, nature. Man has nothing to do with it. We just quarry it, sell it, and put it where clients want it. Then we ooh and ahh and remark how pretty it looks. Yes, it is pretty and it does deserve our admiration, but it can have natural, unique occurrences in it called fissures. Fissures can give your stone project that one-of-a-kind look that people love. Natural stone can also have cracks. Cracks can be natural or unnatural occurrences. Fissures and cracks look remarkably similar, but they are not the same thing. Here we will explore the differences between them and help you know what to do about them.

What are fissures?

Fissures are defined as: A long, narrow crack or opening in the face of a rock. Fissures are often filled with minerals of a different type from those in the surrounding rock.

Basically, what this means, is that fissures are natural occurrences in the stone and normally they don’t affect the integrity of the stone itself. They are not considered to be flaws or defects. Fissures are not normally localized in stone slabs. They are usually spread out through the entire piece.

What are cracks?

Cracks are defined as: A line on the surface of granite, marble or another natural stone that has split without breaking into separate parts.

Cracks usually happen when the stone has stress or trauma applied to it, and they can run almost all the way through the depth of the stone. However, by the time the stone gets to the point of installation, cracks have generally been addressed, usually by the fabricator. As a general rule, cracks are mostly confined to one area of a slab.

How can you tell the difference between fissures and cracks?

One way is to rub your finger or fingernail over the area in question. If it is smooth, then it is a fissure. If your finger feels a bump or your fingernail gets caught or drags over the area because it’s not level, then it is a crack.

Another way to tell is to shine a light on the stone and look across the plane of the surface. A crack will have two points of reflection, one for each plane, but a fissure will only have one point of reflection as it is an even surface.

What can be done about fissures?

Nothing. They are a natural part of the stone and are not considered flaws or defects. You can just admire them for making your stone project unique.

What can be done about cracks?

If you see a crack while the stone is still at the distributor or wholesaler, think about staying away from it, no matter how much you love it. There is no guarantee that the stone will survive transport to the fabricator, and there is no guarantee that the fabricator will be able to cut around it.

If you discover a crack in the stone at the fabricator’s shop, find out if they can cut around it. If not, ask them if it is severe enough to compromise the integrity of the stone. If they say yes, then pick something else. If the fabricator says it’s minor, ask them how they intend to fix it. Then it is up to you whether you accept it or pick something else.

What if a crack forms after install?

If you notice a crack after install, you will want to have someone look at it right away. Left unattended, it could get worse. If your project was recently put in, you may want to give the business that installed it a call. They won’t warranty the stone itself, because Mother Nature made it, but a good company will warranty their own workmanship. If it has been a while or you know you did something to cause the crack, even accidently, you should contact your stone and tile restoration and repair technician. Your restoration or repair technician will know exactly what the issue is and how to repair it. They deal with these types of occurrences on a regular basis.

Natural stone is beautiful, and the projects created with it can take your breath away. In spite of its natural beauty and versatility, it is not a perfect product. We need to learn how to appreciate and work with its occasional imperfections and flaws. After all, those unique imperfections can help give your stone projects the “WOW” factor everyone loves.


By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Choices for Modern Kitchen Sinks

There was a time when cast iron was about the only choice for a kitchen sink. Those sinks were white, easy to chip and heavy. Then, stainless-steel sinks came along and became the go-to sinks. They came in a variety of styles like 50/50, 60/40, and one big bowl, but the color pallet didn’t exist. They were one color and if you did not get the sound buffer pads, they could be loud. Today, there are so many more choices.

Fireclay

Fireclay sinks are clay and glaze fired together to make a durable, more scratch- resistant sink. They can be cleaned up with soap and water, but harsher chemicals can be used if needed.

Copper

Depending on the décor, copper sinks can be polished to a high shine, or they can be left with a dull finish. These sinks will develop a patina over time, and they clean up easily with
warm soap and water. Copper sinks will become the focal point of your kitchen.

Granite Composite Sinks

Granite composite sinks are some of the most popular sinks sold today. They are made from stone powder and adhesives. Granite composite sinks are scratch and heat resistant plus, they come in a wide variety of styles and colors. Tip: Get the matching strainer if they offer it.

Glass

Tempered glass sinks come in a variety of sizes and colors. They are very stain resistant but do show water spots easily. A protective mat is recommended, and you should not pour boiling water into them.

Concrete

Concrete sinks are generally custom made and need additional support due to their weight. They can be perfect for a sleek, modern kitchen or a rustic looking décor. Concrete sinks are exceptionally durable.

Bronze

Bronze sinks are usually crafted by hand and can be costly. Like copper, they will develop a patina over time, but their finish starts out darker than copper. They scratch fairly easily, but they will be a showpiece in your kitchen.

Bamboo

Bamboo sinks add warmth to the décor, and they are durable. Obviously, the color pallet is limited, but each sink does have variations that make each one unique. Bamboo sinks do require a bit more maintenance since they need to be sealed from time to time, and you cannot use harsh chemicals to clean them.

(New) Cast Iron

Obviously, the cast iron itself is still the same. These sinks are still heavy and require added support, but they are available in so many more varied sizes and colors now. It shouldn’t be a problem finding one to fit your décor. They are very durable and can last a lifetime.

(New) Stainless Steel

Up until recently the biggest drawback to stainless steel sinks was the color pallet. They had one color, but, just as with cast iron sinks, technology has changed this issue. Stainless steel sinks now also come in colors like gold, black, bronze, blue, and rose.

There are many new types of sinks on the market today, more than mentioned here. All have their pros and cons. But, no matter what your décor or your needs, there will be one out there exactly right for your kitchen.


By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Sinks Are Important

Sinks Are Important

Some people view sinks as an afterthought when designing a kitchen or changing out a countertop. “It’s a box that holds water and dishes. Big deal.” It can be a big deal depending on how you use your sink, especially if you are getting a stone or quartz countertop. Once you pick a sink, if you discover you do not like it, it can very costly and time consuming if not impossible to change it.

Here are a few things to consider when picking a sink:

How do you use your sink?

Functionality is a major issue. Do you cook huge family meals with lots of big pots and pans? You may want a deep single bowl sink instead of a shallow 50/50 sink. Does your vacation home lack a dishwasher? Then you may want a 60/40 sink with one side to wash and one side to rinse and dry.

Think about sink size.

Consider for a moment the size of the sink you need. If your kitchen is smaller and does not have a lot of counter space, you may want to use a smaller sink for to rinse and leave the bulk of the work to the dishwasher. A smaller sink will give you a bit more counter space.

Consider your cabinets.

Another thing to take into consideration is your cabinets. If you have a thirty-inch sink base, a thirty-six-inch sink will not fit. You should pick a sink that will fit in the cabinet.

Farm sinks, aka apron front sinks, are extremely popular right now, but if you don’t have an apron front cabinet, you will either need to have your cabinet modified or get a new cabinet altogether.

D-shape sinks can create another issue. Unless your sink cabinet is bumped out from the wall so it has more room in the back, your faucet will more than likely not fit. It will have to mounted to the side of the sink.

Question: Why is all this important?

Answer:  Once the sink hole is cut into a natural stone or quartz countertop, changing your mind can be a costly mistake. Sink holes, unlike faucet holes are not a standard size. They are cut to the specs of the particular sink you choose. It is much easier to swap out a sink for the exact same model but not a different one. Here’s why:

  • Sink holes are cut in the fabricator’s shop with specialty tools that require water to help the cutting process. The hole cannot be changed in a home due to the need for water. There is no way to contain the water, so in essence, trying this in your home could result in flood damage .
  • The sink run of the countertop will have to be removed from your home and taken back to the shop. This means that in addition to the new sink, there will be plumbing, transportation, and cutting costs. (Note: If the new sink is smaller than the original one, the fabricator cannot make the hole smaller, only bigger.)
  • Once the hole is recut and repolished, the sink run will go back on a truck and come back to your home to be reinstalled along with your new sink . All this moving of the stone increases the risk of cracking or breaking. The fabricator will not guarantee previously installed stone. If it breaks, then you are just out of luck. You’ll have to purchase a brand new countertop

So please, pay attention to the sink you choose. It’s not just a box that holds water and dishes. As you compare sinks for purchase, remember that replacing a sink in a stone countertop is not as easy as one might imagine. Be sure to choose your sink wisely.


By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

What gives granite its shine?

Granite is a composite of magma and different kinds of minerals such as quartz, feldspar, amphiboles, and mica. The mineral mica is found in a lot of granite, and it is one of the things that gives granite a shimmery shine in certain places. Whether you already have granite countertops or other granite surfaces or if you’re thinking about having granite installed, here are a few things you should know about mica.

Mica forms in sheets like a book.

What is mica?

Mica is a highly reflective natural substance that forms in sheets, like the pages of a book. It ranges in color from clear to black. If you have granite, then you more than likely have mica to some degree. Delicatus White, Volga Blue and Cosmos are examples of granites that have a bit more mica than most. A lot of mica can make a slab incredibly beautiful, but it can potentially cause some issues.

Potential Problems With Mica

The BIG issue is that mica is brittle. When we think about the granite, we think of durable, hard, rock. Due to mica’s brittleness, there may be some fabrication issues with granite that has a high mica content. When mica gets cut, it breaks, causing crumbling, pitting, and flaking. Fabricators may charge you extra to fabricate slabs with a lot of mica, because they know they will have to repair the slabs during the fabrication process.

If your granite countertop has a lot of mica, think about going with a simple edge like a pencil round or eased edge. A triple pencil or waterfall edge takes more fabrication and opens up more edge surface for mica to chip out, both before and after install.

What happens after the install?

Maybe nothing. Maybe some chipping. One day when you are doing your routine clean up, you may notice the sponge catches on a rough, flaky area that you never felt before. If this happens, don’t worry. Your granite countertop is not falling apart. More than likely, what has happened is that a piece of mica has chipped out.

If routine cleaning or normal wear and tear cause pieces of mica to flake out of your countertop, you can call your stone restoration technician to fix the spot. In most cases, there won’t be any problem with the repair, however, repair can be difficult or impossible for very large or awkwardly placed chips. Also, be aware that there is nothing any stone restoration contractor can do to prevent future chips.

What should you do about mica?

There is a myth that applying a sealer to granite will help prevent mica from chipping. This is simply not true, however, you can discuss other protection options with your stone restoration technician or fabricator. They can take into consideration your particular stone, the environment where it is or will be installed, your budget, and intended use and then make a recommendation for a protective treatment or film to help prevent chipping. This can be applied to a brand new installation or an existing one.

For new countertops, your fabricator will know if any shine on the granite is an abundance of mica or something else. If the shimmering beauty it creates is worth the possible occasional chip, then everything is okay. If not, you can always look at colors that contain a little less mica.


This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.