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.

Stone and Quartz Backsplash Options

Stone and Quartz Backsplash Options

If you are having natural stone or manmade quartz countertops and backsplashes installed, you will need to make a decision about the height of your backsplash or whether you want a backsplash at all. This article provides valuable information about the purpose of a backsplash, what could happen if there is no backsplash, and the pros and cons of various backsplash heights.

The Purpose and Function of a Backsplash

Backsplashes have two main jobs. The first is to protect your walls and cabinets from liquid spills. The second is to hide the gaps between your countertop and walls.

Spill Protection

If a spill occurs on your countertop and, for whatever reason, does not get wiped up right away, a backsplash will prevent the spill from seeping down into your cabinets or from pooling at the wall and being absorbed into the drywall. Over time, this issue can damage your cabinets and walls resulting in costly repairs.

Hiding Gaps

Even in new construction, walls are very seldom completely straight. Settling, uneven drywall mud, and other factors can make walls a bit uneven. It’s nothing to worry about. It’s just a fact. Fabricators will try as hard as possible to minimize gaps but sometimes gaps will happen. Since stone doesn’t bend and cannot be “molded” to follow the wall line. Backsplashes go a long way toward hiding those gaps.

If You Forego the Backsplash…

While no backsplash can put a modern spin on a kitchen, it may not be worth the risk of expensive damage down the road. The decision to forego a backsplash that matches your countertop material is not recommended unless tile or some other backsplash material is going to be installed all the way down the wall to your countertop. If there are gaps, make sure the backsplash material you choose will be wide enough to cover those gaps. For example, if you have a quarter inch gap, thin metal for a backsplash won’t hide the gap.

If you do decide on no backsplash, purchase and store some extra material. That way, if you realize later down the road that no backsplash was a mistake, you will have the exact color you need. Don’t expect to find an exact color match for your existing stone or quartz countertop if you purchase it later. Colors can change from lot to lot on stone and even manmade quartz countertops.
backsplash

4-inch Backsplash

The most common backsplash height is 4 inches. When your stone or quartz backsplash is cut and installed at the same time as your countertop, the top and backsplash will match. Fabricators do what they can to line up veining but depending on the project, this may not be possible. A 4-inch backsplash will be the same thickness as your countertop project and will cost the same per square foot as your countertop material. There are times when a 4-inch backsplash may need to be cut a little taller to cover the caulk/paint line of the previous countertop splash.

The backsplash is installed after the countertop installation. Your installer will make sure the backsplash is securely adhered to both the top of the countertop and the wall and fill the seams for spill protection and aesthetic purposes.

A 4-inch backsplash can be left on its own with just a painted wall, or it can be used in addition to other backsplash material such as tile or metal.
full-height-backsplash

Full Height Backsplash

Full height natural stone and quartz backsplashes are the most impressive and helps give a kitchen the “WOW” factor. Plus, they are easy to clean.

Full height backsplashes are also the most expensive, for several reasons. They go from the bottom of the cabinets to the top of the countertop, leaving no open wall space. The backsplash material is sold at the same price as your countertop material, but it does add a lot of extra square footage to the project. It also requires a second trip to be installed, as the space usually does not get measured until after the countertop is installed. This ensures a better fit. Also, there will have to be electrical outlets cut out, which can add to the cost. A full height backsplash will be the same thickness as your countertop material.

Here’s an interesting design note. It is not unheard of for people to mix and match their countertop and full height backsplash materials. For example, an Absolute Black granite countertop can be installed with a Red Dragon granite full height backsplash.

If you are having natural stone or manmade quartz countertops and backsplashes installed, make a decision about the height of your backsplash based on both what fits your budget and what makes you smile. The end result should be something you love.


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

Why Stone Thicknesses Matter

Stone Thicknesses

If you are in the market for a new countertop installation, you may have noticed that countertops come in a variety of thicknesses. Perhaps you have questions. Why do countertop thicknesses vary? How thick is a typical countertop? Does countertop thickness even matter? The most common stone thicknesses for projects, in centimeters (cm) are 1 cm (3/8”), 2 cm (3/4”) and 3 cm (1 1/4”). Even though they may all be the same material, they are not all used in the same way. This article provides important details about countertop thickness that can help you make a more informed decision about your installation.

1 CM Stone

1cm (3/8”) stone really only has 2 practical uses. The first one is vertical projects. The second use for 1 cm stone is pre-made countertops with a laminated edge. Let’s take a look at each of these.

Vertical Stone Installations

Vertical project examples include fireplace surrounds, shower walls, backsplashes, and other vertical projects. 1 cm is much more fragile than 2 or 3 cm, but once the stone is properly attached to the right backing, such as drywall, plywood or other backing material, it becomes less fragile. The advantage to 1 cm stone is that it weighs much less than 2 or 3 cm, so it is easier to work with in some projects.

Pre-made Countertops With a Laminated Edge

A laminated edge is an edge that has had extra material glued onto it to make it appear thicker. Most of the time, this type of selection is used for vanity countertops precut with polished edges. 1 cm remnants are great for small shelves, furniture tops and other small projects.

There are a couple of drawbacks to using pre-made countertops with a laminated edge. If one of the edges needs to be cut for any reason, then the cut edge somehow has to be polished to the same shine as the surface of the stone, and the edge has to be made to match, as well. Another drawback has to do with sinks. Since the edges are laminated to show a thicker profile, if a hole is cut out for an under-mount sink, the actual, smaller, original thickness of the stone will show. It’s better to use the less popular drop-in sink on this case.

Pre-made countertops with a laminated edge are usually great for cookie cutter homes in a new subdivision where measurements tend to be the same and they can be ordered in bulk. If you want 1 cm stone for a special project, more than likely you will have to special order it. Most suppliers don’t carry it in stock, if they can get it at all.

2 CM Stone

2 cm (3/4”) stone is more flexible in its possible uses. Even though it weighs more than 1 cm, it can still be used for wall cladding, fireplace surrounds, and other vertical projects. Again, it should be attached properly to the correct backing. Since it is heavier than 1 cm, it is not quite as easy to work with in some situations. 2 cm remnants are also good for smaller projects like furniture tops, small shelves and other small projects. Let’s take a look at another possible use for 2cm stone, that is, countertops.

Kitchen Countertops and Bathroom Vanity Tops

With the proper support, 2 cm stone can be used for countertops in kitchens, bathrooms, break rooms, bar tops, table tops, and similar applications. Depending on the project, this thickness of stone may need the extra support of a plywood backer. If that becomes necessary, then be aware that the exposed edges will need to be laminated to hide the plywood. Also, like 1 cm, if the edges are laminated but a cutout is needed for an under-mount sink, the difference in the edge thicknesses will show. 2 cm overhangs should not exceed 6” without support. Your installer can recommend the proper overhang support for your project.

Supply is another consideration of 2 cm material. It is more common than 1 cm but is stocked in limited capacity by distributors.

3 CM Stone

These days 3 cm stone is the “mac daddy” of installation projects. You can do almost anything with it. With proper support it can be used for wall cladding, shower walls, fireplace surrounds, or other vertical applications. With the exception of a few geographical areas, 3 cm is also used for kitchen and bathroom countertops, bar tops, tabletops, windowsills, and a variety of other projects. It is the most commonly stocked thickness in distributors’ warehouses across the United States, again, with the exception of a few geographical areas.

The perks of using 3 cm stone include:
  • No need for extra support from plywood on 3 cm countertops
  • No need to laminate the edges for extra thickness
  • An under-mount sink cutout edge will match the front edge
  • The thickness will accept a wider variety of edge profiles
  • It is available in more colors and styles than we can count
  • Remnants are great for smaller projects

Other than the fact that 3 cm stone is heavy, there isn’t much you can’t do with 3 cm material.

Stone is very versatile and can be used for an endless variety of projects. We can help make sure you pick the right thickness of stone for your project.


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

Ingestible Countertop Material?

THE SURPRISING USES OF MARBLE

Ingestible Countertop Material?

Most people are familiar with the idea that marble is used for countertops, floors, walls, statues, and decorative items. In the following article from Fred M. Hueston, Chief Technical Director for SurpHaces, you’ll discover that marble has many other uses, some of them ingestible! Sit back, relax, and grab some popcorn, because you’re not going to believe what people do with marble.

Garden Lime

Gardeners use lime to raise the pH level of acidic soil, which can help certain plants extract nutrients from the soil. Garden lime is processed from marble. The marble is heated in a kiln, which removes the carbon dioxide from the stone, producing a form of lime called calcium oxide, or quicklime.

Field Marking

In the past, lime was used to mark soccer, baseball, football, and other sports fields. Lime is very caustic, meaning it can cause discomfort or damage if the powder makes its way to a moist skin surface, such as the eyes or sweaty skin of athletes. These days, powdered marble is used as a safer alternative.

Calcium Supplements

Many farm animals require calcium for health reasons and to produce eggs, milk, etc. Farmers mix powdered calcium into animal feed as a supplement. These supplements are nothing more than pulverized marble.

Antacids

If you take an antacid to calm your stomach, you are basically just ingesting powdered marble!

Whiting

Whiting is a fine powder made of marble that is used as a brightener, filler, and even a pigment in many products. It can be used to clean glass after glazing and to shine copper, stainless steel, and other surfaces.

Cosmetics

One of the main ingredients for face powders and blush is pH-neutral calcium carbonate, i.e., marble dust.

Construction Aggregate

Concrete is used for road building and many other uses. Concrete mixtures require cement, water, and an aggregate, such as crushed bits of stone, gravel, or sand. Marble aggregate can be used in concrete.

Neutralizers

Here is a little chemistry lesson. If marble is dissolved in water, it becomes alkaline, which means it increases the pH level of the water. Acid, which is low pH, can be neutralized when marble is added. Marble can be used to increase pH, so it can serve as a neutralizer in swimming pools. It is also used by water treatment plants and other chemical industries.

Your Meds

Many prescription and over the counter drugs use powdered marble as a filler. So the next time you need to take a pill, chances are you will be ingesting some marble.

Paint and Craft Additives

Marble powders are popular in many types of paint, as well as acrylic modeling paste, glue base gesso, and all water and oil dispersed paints.

Carbonated Beverages

Have you ever wondered why there is a tiny explosion when you pop open a can of soda? During the manufacturing process, a can is filled with CO2 dissolved in water. When the can is sealed, the pressure causes a chemical reaction to take place, resulting in carbonic acid. The sound you hear when you open the can is caused by carbonic acid returning to the form of CO2 dissolved in water. The carbonic acid that is used in soda is derived from marble.

Chalk

Sidewalk and blackboard chalk used to be made of marble, but these days, most chalk manufacturers use gypsum.

Marcite and Plasters

Marcite, a sprayed-on coating that is applied to built-in swimming pools, contains marble dust. Many plasters also contain marble dust as their main ingredient.

Groceries

Products containing marble, such as baking powder, toothpaste, dry dessert mixes, dough, and wine, are for sale in your local grocery store. The next time you look at a list of ingredients and you see the word calcium, the product likely contains marble.

Carbon Capture Technology

A study by Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research reports that one of the most promising technologies to reduce global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) is called calcium looping. The process involves scrubbing CO2 from flue gases by using calcium-oxide-based sorbents. You can probably guess what those calcium-oxide-based sorbents are. That’s right. Waste marble powder.

If you ever visit a marble quarry, you will notice a large amount of waste. Thankfully, marble waste is used in many ways.


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

Why Countertop Overhangs Matter

Why Countertop Overhangs Matter

If you’re in the market for new countertops, you may be curious about countertop overhangs. There are standard, extended, or flush-mounted tops. Are overhangs essential? How far can an overhang extend without support? Let’s take a look at countertop overhangs.

Overhang vs Flush

A countertop overhang is exactly as it sounds. It is the portion of the countertop that extends beyond the cabinet underneath, usually by about 1.5 inches. If there is no overhang, the countertop is said to be flush with the cabinet. Although countertops can be installed flush, you may want to reconsider a flush install for the following reasons:

  • CLEANING SPILLS
    Spills are inevitable on kitchen countertops, where food and beverage preparation take place. Sometimes spills happen in bathrooms on vanity tops, too. Countertop overhangs keep spills from dribbling all over the cabinet faces and the edges of doors and drawers, as well as handles and pulls. With countertop overhangs, spills fall directly to the floor, where they can be easily wiped up.
  • HIDING IMPERFECTIONS
    Countertop overhangs can hide minor variations in cabinet alignment.
  • CABINET WARRANTY
    Check your cabinet warranty. It may require an overhang to protect cabinets against damage from liquids.
  • PROTRUDING HARDWARE
    With flush cabinets, the handles and pulls on your doors and drawers will protrude further than the countertop, which may result in pockets, belt loops, sleeves or other objects constantly getting caught.
  • CLEANING CRUMBS AND DEBRIS
    Although crumbs and loose debris likely won’t damage your cabinet face, wiping the little bits and pieces off of countertops with no overhang can be a challenge. Think about it. When people wipe crumbs from a top, they place an open hand to catch the crumbs just below the overhanging edge.

Extended Overhangs Need Support

Countertops can be extended beyond the supporting cabinet to create a space in the kitchen that can serve various purposes, from food prep to buffet-style serving to a seating or desk area. Since cabinets serve as the support for countertops and overhangs go beyond the cabinet edge, extended overhangs will need dependable support. Wall mounted tops, desks, shower benches, mantels, and shelves will also need support. This may be accomplished with legs, corbels, decorative brackets, or hidden brackets.

Decorative Support

Legs, corbels, and decorative brackets can visually enhance traditional style kitchens in addition to the support they provide for extended overhangs. If you are using an extended countertop overhang for seating, you’ll need about a foot of overhang to make space for feet and knees. For seating areas, decorative supports are referred to as knee-knockers because in cramped sitting areas, they sometimes get in the way.

Hidden Support Brackets

For sleek, modern kitchens or tighter spaces with less leg room, hidden support brackets are ideal. Your countertop can “float,” seemingly unsupported. The brackets are virtually invisible, because one would need to bend down and look at the countertop from underneath to see the supporting hardware. Hidden support brackets are also a great option for slabs installed on top of a pony wall (short wall, often used for standard height or bar height seating).

How far can a countertop overhang be extended without support?

People sometimes ask how far a countertop overhang can be extended without adding support, perhaps to save a few bucks. A common misconception is that natural stone and engineered stone are impervious to damage. Without proper support, even a very thick slab can break. Regardless of material type and thickness, all countertop materials will need support for extended overhangs. Reputable fabricators and installers will not take any chances and will follow the NSI (Natural Stone Institute) Standards for natural stone installations and manufacturer standards for engineered stone. Insufficient support will end up costing a lot more in the long run.


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