More Granite Faq's
What are the differences between Corian, other man-made plastics, and granite?
First of all, Corian is a leading brand name and, along with several other name brand solid surfaces, is man-made. For the most part they are made with plastics and polyester resin-like materials. They have particulates added to simulate a “stone-like” look. The advantage of an engineered solid surface is that it is consistent in pattern and color and because this material can be melt together, it has no visible seams.
Most scratches, cuts, or stains in the surface can be sanded out and it is difficult to stain. One disadvantage, aside from lacking natural beauty and depth, is that in order to maintain a uniform surface a mild abrasive cleanser is needed to get rid of scratches and the whole countertop needs to be polished, not just the scratched area, or over time you will have an uneven “wavy” counter.
Another inconvenience is that hot pans or heat-radiating appliances like electric griddles or toaster ovens cannot be used on the solid surface material without the risk of scorching, or in some cases cracking, the surface.
- Granite is an all-natural material.
- It is real stone.
- It has a rich, unique, durable beauty that sells itself.
- Granite is virtually impossible to scratch under everyday kitchen use.
- Granite is very stain resistant when it is polished and sealed properly.
- You can place hot pans (up to 1200 degrees) on granite and not worry about heat damage.
- Granite is an excellent surface for baking and rolling out pastry dough.
- Granite is by far the most durable material you can use for your kitchen countertops.
All other solid surfaces are trying to simulate natural stone as closely as they can. Granite will never be purchased because it has a look that is very similar to a plastic-looking Corian color. The fact that Corian manufacturers try to make their product look like granite indicates which product is most desired.
Due to the size limitations of the granite blocks quarried, you may have to live with a seam or two in some kitchens. However, the pattern is natural and you will see some interesting formations in many of the 600 or more readily available colors.
Granite counters will clearly add the most value to your home. For pure aesthetic beauty, a man-made solid surface does not come close to the richness, depth, luster or quality of granite.
The beauty and permanence of granite will always sell itself. We depend on customers knowing what they want, not being steered by tremendous advertising budgets or commission-driven sales people.
How much does granite cost?
We charge by the square foot and that price includes the material, the fabrication work (including cutting and polishing), the templating process, and the installation. We are happy to provide quotes at no charge or obligation.
For the most accurate quote, we ask that you send us the cabinet layout, the type of sink you are planning on using and stove or cook top information. If possible, show on your drawing any areas that have more than a 1 ½ “ overhang and areas that require backsplash. We can give you a price in three ranges, which cover 90% of the colors we carry. We also carry nearly 1,000 remnants that can be used on smaller projects at a substantial savings.
Can I place hot pans on granite?
Yes, up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can I cut on granite?
Absolutely, but over time you will dull your knives.
What kind of sink should I use?
You can use just about any kind of sink. Most customers tend to use under mount sinks, at least in the kitchen. If you choose to use cast iron your cabinet installer or carpenter will have to provide extra support under the sink.
What do I use for backsplash?
We can fabricate and install 4” to 6” high by ¾” thick backsplash or even custom full height backsplash. You can also make arrangements to have tile or other backsplash material installed.
How do you get the shine on granite? Should I be concerned about pits and fissures?
Slabs are laid on huge mill beds and are naturally polished by wheels with finer and finer diamonds and abrasives. The final glossy finish is a process, not a product, which is achieved by buffing with a very fine powder-like aluminum oxide under very high pressure. Some granite during the polishing process will have fissures and pits exposed. Tiny fissures and pits are very common in granite and are due to the way igneous stone is formed. Granite is a composition of colored feldspar, white quartz and black ferromagnesian minerals. “Pitting” in the granite is simply where perhaps a small crystalline quartz void occurs; it is not a sign that the granite is deteriorating and seldom gets worse.
How often does the surface need to be sealed?
Our company seals the granite after the installation process has been completed. This allows us one final inspection and will leave the countertop clean and safe to use. We have sampled numerous sealers over the years and use what we believe is the best available. Some granite may need a more aggressive impregnator, which is often overlooked by fabricators without experience. We recommend that countertops be resealed approximately every 4 or 5 years. You can however do it more often if you like.
Sealing is not a difficult task and can be done in 2 or 3 hours. If you like an extremely smooth feel to your granite, apply a stone polish to your countertop from time to time. Polish will also help restrict the absorption of various spills. Note: This is a liquid polish (a product, not a process) that is applied to the original, naturally derived polish.
Do I need to be concerned about bacteria on granite?
Yes, as you should be about any surface. Regardless what your countertop is made of, bacteria will be present. We suggest that your granite countertops be cleaned with anti-bacterial cleaner from time to time to kill any lingering bacteria. However, we would like to point out that studies show only stainless steel surfaces are less conducive to germs and bacteria; granite is more sanitary than Corian, butcher blocks and plastic laminates. We would suggest that you use common sense concerning what is safe and what is not.
How long does it take to get granite installed?
We do what we can to accommodate your needs if timing is an issue. The following are several factors that affect lead-time:
- The cabinets need to be installed prior to templating.
- We will need to have your sink delivered to our fabrication plant prior to, or shortly after templating, or we can pick it up.
- We also ask that the slide-in range or cook top be at the job site prior to templating.
- ½ down must be received prior to ordering slabs.
- After we return from templating we begin fabrication.
- We then fabricate and install in approximately 3 to 5 weeks. This installation time is determined by the size of the job and the number of kitchens we are working on at the time.
How do I care for my granite?
Most day-to-day care is as simple as cleaning with soap and water and drying with a cloth or paper towel to prevent water spots. We offer special formulated cleaners that dry streak and spot free, but you are not required to buy or use them.
We also suggest that you reseal the granite every 4 or 5 years. We now carry cleaners that clean and add a little sealer with each cleaning procedure. We also carry wipes that do the same thing. This will add another layer of protection from spills and stains. With every countertop we install, a care brochure is provided which will tell you what not to use in order to avoid damaging your granite countertops.
Can granite be repaired?
If you chip your countertops we are able to mix epoxies and color them to fill the damaged spot. The epoxies are then polished to look similar to the original sheen. If your countertops are ever damaged beyond repair your homeowner’s insurance policy should cover replacing the granite. We suggest that you ask your agent to verify this before you have a problem.
What is your Customer Service Policy?
It is a priority that every customer we serve is satisfied to the point of willingly and eagerly recommending us to their friends and neighbors. We take extreme pride in our excellent reputation and we want our customers to be pleased, no matter the cost or inconvenience to us. If you don’t know someone that we have served, or your builder doesn’t vouch for our reputation, we would be glad to give as many references as you may need to verify our claim.
What should I look for when choosing a granite fabricator?
Please know that not all fabricators are alike. The old adage “you get what you pay for” definitely applies when purchasing granite countertops. There are many things that can be done to cut corners and install an inferior product. Most customers would not recognize that they have been short changed, so do your homework and take the time to educate yourself.
We recommend that you visit the fabrication plant in order to see if they have adequate equipment to produce precise work. You wouldn’t choose your builder on price alone, so we suggest that you choose your granite fabricator based on research, not only on price. You are going to have to look at these countertops every day, so don’t get stuck having to live with a botched job. Get references and find out how long they have been in business.
Look at your material before the cutting starts. Does the fabricator you choose have large pieces to look at? We have the largest inventory of remnants, which allows for two things. First, it allows the customer to see larger pieces and secondly the customer can purchase these at tremendous savings.
Lead times should also factor into your decision. Are they truly willing to work with you on timing? Are you getting more seams than necessary so the fabricator can save money? Are the seams consistent and tight? Does the granite fit the wall and overhangs correctly? Is someone free-handing your sink cutout or is it being cut precisely by a machine? Are the radius cuts being cut free hand or with a precision machine? Does the fabricator have access to the very best material or are they buying the cheapest available? Is your granite being sealed? Is it sealed with the best quality sealer or the cheapest? When you have a problem after installation are you going to be able to find them? Will they be willing to stand behind their product or will they disappear?
Please remember to do your homework. Granite is a focal point in every home, don’t settle for less than the best and have to live with something you regret.
Are there different edge treatments and what are they?
New edges are becoming available all the time. We presently carry: Standard Pencil Round, Full Bull Nose, ½ Bull Nose, Ogee, Ogee Bull Nose, “Q” Edge, several Radius edges, and Triple Waterfall. See our edge treatment brochure.
How many different colors of granite are there?
There could be as many as 1,000 different colors available at any given time. We have narrowed our access to about 300.
How far will Great Lakes Granite travel to install a countertop?
At this time we will travel anywhere in the state of Michigan. We do charge nominal surcharge for traveling more than 60 miles from any of our showrooms. Our present showrooms cover a good portion of the state.
What are the hours at the different Great Lakes Granite Showrooms?
- Comstock Park 8am – 5pm weekdays
- Holland 9am – 5pm weekdays
All showrooms can be open after hours if an appointment is made. Please call a few days ahead so arrangements can be made.
Can my cabinets handle the weight of granite?
Most solid wood cabinets can easily support granite. Granite, when spread out over the surface, distributes its weight so that it doesn’t require any special support. If your kitchen floors can support a refrigerator, they can handle granite counters.
What other types of natural stone does Great Lakes Granite carry?
In addition to granite we also carry marble, limestone, travertine, onyx, and soapstone.
How does granite compare to the “man-made quartz” countertop material?
Granite is not for everyone. “Engineered Quartz Stone” is now readily available and its strong suit is its ability to be consistent. For those customers who want a guarantee of consistent color and pattern, this product is made for them. “Ceasarstone,” which is one of the leaders in “Engineered Quartz Stone,” is now available at Great Lakes Granite.
Do I buy my marble or granite tile from Great Lakes Granite?
In some cases, you may choose to buy your tile from us. Normally you will find that either the tile installer can get tile for you or you can purchase your tile from a tile store. You would buy your tile from us if you wanted to assure an exact match due to both slab and tile coming from the same manufacturer and same block.
Does Great Lakes Granite install tile?
We can recommend reputable, licensed installers of stone tile and work with them.
Does Great Lakes Granite bring in new slabs for all jobs?
No, we only bring in new material for jobs that will use at least ½ of a slab. This generally comes to about 25 square feet of material. We have a huge inventory of remnants that will usually meet the needs of our customer’s smaller jobs.
What are granite remnants and are they less costly?
We carry close to 1,000 remnants in stock at any given time and we offer these for substantial savings. These are not seconds; they are just the leftover portions from other jobs and are usually large enough for vanities or islands.
What has Great Lakes Granite done to separate themselves from the other granite fabricators in Western Michigan?
We were the first granite fabrication plant located in the Grand Rapids area and we have been in business for over 10 years. We have hired and trained the very best stone craftsmen in Western Michigan. We have opened three showrooms to make it more convenient for our customers and have invested in the stone industry’s most sophisticated machines. (We were the first to own a stone cutting and polishing CNC machine in Western Michigan). We have made investments in our facilities and equipment to provide the very best quality and craftsmanship available while investing in our reputation every day by doing whatever it takes to please our customers. Ask around and you will hear for yourselves why we are the #1 granite countertop fabricator in West Michigan.
Can I buy granite from Home Depot and other lumberyards?
Yes, but you are essentially adding a “middle man.” You should ask yourself where their markup comes from. “You get what you pay for” should cross your mind and “Am I getting less of something in order for the lumberyard to make money?” You are never going to see your slabs before fabrication. You are going to hope it is done correctly and your lead-time will be determined by when it is convenient for them.
It will come down to price, not quality or customer service. Who will fix your job when it is wrong? Maybe they will change suppliers along the way to maximize profits; it’s not worth the risk. You substantially compromise quality and attention to detail using a mass producer of cut-to-size granite countertops. Breakage in shipping is common and can lead to delays. With Great Lakes Granite Works the same trained professionals template, fabricate, deliver and install your job.
What is the difference between granite and marble?
There is a huge difference in geological composition, but as far as countertop applications are concerned, granite is far more durable. Marble has a softer look and in certain settings is desired; however it is also a much softer product and should not be used for kitchen countertops.
Are there different finishes for granite and marble?
Yes. Granite can come in a polished top, honed top, flamed top, and brushed top.
When does it pay to put granite in a home?
We would like to say always! If you were putting granite in because you love it, then this would be true. However, normally a home valued over $300,000 would benefit from granite as it relates to resale. Residential appraisals always recognize granite countertops as an added value.
Can I take samples home?
Absolutely! We always have current slab samples available for you to take home and we don’t require them to be returned.
Can I look at the full slabs before Great Lakes Granite starts fabricating them?
This is always an option open to you. We will only require it if it is a color that has a lot of movement or unusual grain patterns. This offers some protection for both of us.
Does Great Lakes Granite Works do design work?
We are always willing to give opinions, but we are not professionally trained designers.