FAQ

Natural Stone, Quartz, and Tile frequently asked questions, and related information:

 

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Here are some great resources to help you make informed decisions about your project!

Please visit this link and download a .pdf for a comprehensive homeowners guide to “The Installation of Natural Stone Countertops” 

Please visit this link for a complete guide to “the Care and Cleaning of Natural Stone

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Does sealing my granite make it maintenance free?Sealers 

Sealing makes your surface easier to clean and may help it shed water. Contaminants can sit on the surface longer, so you have more time to clean up before any staining occurs. Water may penetrate when there is no sealer applied and it may keep your tile or stone wet longer, increasing the probability of mildew occurrences. On some unsealed surfaces, staining can start immediately. Sealers are time sensitive, that is, if you do not reseal periodically it is no longer as effective as it was. No stone sealing product will make a porous surface stain-proof, but will make it highly stain resistant. Using the correct stone cleaning products also makes a difference. We use only the best sealers and cleaning products available. Visit DuPont Stonetech for information on products we recommend.

 

 

Should I get an Under-mount or an Over-mount sink?

While both types of sinks are popular, they differ in cost, look, and utility. Over mount sinks are much cheaper because the tile or stone does not need to have finished or polished inside edges. The downside is you do not have the ease of cleaning. Under-mount sinks are much easier to clean because the countertop surface continues all the way into the sink, making it easy to wipe food scraps into the sink. However, it can be more costly because the inside edges of the tile or stone have to be polished.

 

What is a granite composite / quartz composite sink?: 

A composite granite sink is an engineered product manufactured using a mix of granite stone dust and acrylic resins molded into sink form. Composite sinks composed of quartz dust and acrylic resins are close cousins and the labels “composite stone ” and “granite sink” are sometimes used interchangeably to describe either material.

 

How often should I seal my countertops?

The best answer is perhaps a qualified, “It depends.” Generally speaking darker granites do not need sealing very often, and once per year is usually sufficient around high use areas like your sink or stove area. Dark stones usually denser than lighter ones, and they are tougher to stain, and the stains are usually nearly invisible or barely perceptible because of the darkness of the stone. In plain terms, the lighter the color, the more often you should seal it. White and light-colored granites should be sealed more often. Marble, especially light colored marble, should be sealed more often as an extra precaution. Re-sealing marble every 3-6 months is a good idea. While it may seem like quite a project, sealing countertops is a very easy process and that homeowners should not be afraid of. It should only take just minutes and there usually little to no elbow grease involved. It is important to understand what type of stone you have before you implement your care strategy. Please download: “the Care and Cleaning of Natural Stone” for a comprehensive guide to identifying and caring for your stone countertops.

 

If I seal my grout, will it stay clean?

No, not without correct cleaning. Grout is the low point and often the most porous part of the wall or floor, and gathers the grime and residue from mopping. Sealing your grout makes it easier to keep clean. With a good grout sealer, you will get a much better result when you give your grout a good clean with the correct cleaner. We recommend upgrading to a stain resistant grout such as “Mapei Flex Color CQ”, or “QuartzLock Urethane”  grout for maximum protection of your investment. These innovative new grouts help prevent cracking, color shading, efflorescence, and eliminate the need to seal your grout.

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flex color Mapei

 


The tile supplier said to seal my porcelain but my tiler said not to – why?

The truth is porcelain is creating much confusion in the market place and many pages have been written to try to put all issues into perspective. The more questions you ask the more confused you will be. As a rule of thumb, textured and honed porcelain doesn’t need to be sealed, but polished porcelain often does. This is contrary to what may seem logical. The tiny pores that accept staining are created in the polishing process. A good penetrating sealer fills these pores and sets up good stain protection. The textured tiles generally just need a good clean because of the “rough” surface. If you are not sure, do a stain test. Get a sample tile or an off-cut and try to stain it with the things common to that area. If it stains, there is a benefit to having the tile sealed.

 

My polished marble/limestone/travertine is sealed but still has marks – why?

Penetrating stone sealing products protect the stone from staining. Often the “stains” are not stains but are etches. These stones, especially marble, are acid-sensitive, and any acid will burn the polish and create a dull or frosty surface. A good example is red wine. On an unsealed stone you will get a red stain and an etch, but on a sealed stone you will only get the etch. Penetrating sealers sit below the surface of the stone and prevent the red wine acid penetrating deeply to set up a stain, but will allow the acid to burn the surface. Acid can be in many forms, as simple as fruit or wine and salad dressings, or in the bathroom, urine may do the damage. This damage can be repaired.

 

How do I care for my Tile and Stone?

Normal maintenance requirements are similar to wood floors or carpet where routine sweeping or vacuuming is done for removing dirt. Stone surfaces should be resealed when water no longer beads on the surface. The frequency of resealing will depend on traffic and use. Stone, like any other natural product, will age and patina over time adding to its beauty and character.

 

I have chips or small pot holes in my granite can this be fixed?

Some chips, cracks or small indentions in granite can be filled with colored epoxies, wax fillers, and buffed. There is a wide variety of granite and some types may be more susceptible to cracks, veining, chips, or indentions. It is important to select stone that is appropriate for your selected application. While granite is among the hardest and most durable surfaces, if you drop a cast iron skillet from 6 feet high, bad things may happen. But what counter could survive that anyway? Try not to do this.

 

What should I consider when purchasing tile?

You must always verify that the tile is suitable for the intended use. Some tile is appropriate for walls but not floors. Some considerations are indoor/outdoor, wet environments, countertops, and commercial projects. Other common considerations are design style, available colors, price, and material type. Material types include ceramic, glass, metal, concrete and stone among others. Please contact us before ordering your tile to ensure that proper amounts are calculated.

 

Can I get heated tile flooring?

Yes – We install many different types of heated flooring systems ranging from electric radiant heating to hydronic systems. They can be used merely to warm the floor or as a means of heating your entire living space. Please consult us prior to choosing your heated flooring system so we can help you choose the right system to cater to your specific needs.

 

How long do I need to let the grout dry before I can seal it myself?

It is very important that the grout dries for 72 hrs before it is sealed, if you are using a traditional portland cement grout. If it is sealed before this time, you may experience shading or discoloration. Often this happens because the grout is not given enough time to off-gas. (This is the crucial time when the by-product of the chemical reaction is expelled while the cement products are curing) The trace gasses from the reaction cannot escape and as a result will cause the light hazing or discoloration. Please always refer to the manufactures recommendations.