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Granite Tops Pro Professional advice on natural stone countertops

Frequently Asked Granite Counter Questions

Here  are some granite counter questions that I'm asked often . . .

Where does granite come from?

Granite is found in many places around the world. Usually, granite comes from a quarry. Some rare granite is mined under the ocean floor.

Most of the granite used for granite counter tops in the US comes from Brazil. We also get much of our granite from India, Italy, and China. See Granite and Marble.

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Will my cabinets support granite counters?

The weight of the granite is spread over a large area and should pose no problem. Cabinets seldom need reinforcement to support granite counter tops.

Does granite stain?

Marble and granite, as well as limestone are all porous stones and can stain. Granite is much less porous than these other stones. Light colored granites usually require an application of penetrating sealer to protect them from stains. Dark granites do not require sealing and will resist stains by their nature. See Sealing Granite.

Does granite scratch?

Granite is very durable and can only be scratched by something harder than granite. Diamonds, corundum, and other pieces of granite are usually the only things that will scratch a granite counter.

You can but it will dull your knives.  It won't hurt the countertop.

Can I put hot pans on granite?

Yes, granite can withstand heat up to 1200 degrees F. Unlike Corian or laminate countertops, granite won't burn or mark. You should avoid placing hot items on seams though. Granite counter seams are filled with special glue that may be affected by heat.

Can granite countertops break?

Granite is hard and durable, but it's also fragile. All natural stone countertops must be handled carefully to protect them from breaking. Once installed, the granite tops are fully supported and very strong. Steel rods are glued into the back of counters where sink holes are cut. This gives the stone extra protection against cracking. See Rodding Granite.

How do you clean granite counters?

You can clean your kitchen granite counter top with dish soap and water. Eventually, this will leave a film on your tops unless you rinse off the tops very well after cleaning. It's best to use a cleaner made for granite and natural stone. See Cleaning Granite. 0000 steel wool can be used to buff dull areas on granite counters too.

Is granite better than limestone or marble for my kitchen tops?

Generally, granite is the best choice in a kitchen. It is much more durable and stain resistant than other stones. Limestone and marble are calcium based stones. Professional stone sealer may help protect from some staining on these tops, but nothing can keep acids like vinegar and lemon juice from etching them. Granite is a better choice.

Where should I buy my granite countertops?

You can buy stone countertops from marble and granite fabricators, large retailers like Home Depot and Lowes, and from kitchen & bath retail stores. You can usually find discount pricing at the big retailers, but chances are you can't choose your own stone slabs. High quality fabrication and installation are typically available only through a fabricator/contractor. See Choosing a Contractor.

Should I look at granite slabs before ordering my countertops?

If you choose granite countertops based on a 4" by 4" sample, you may be disappointed with the finished counters that show up at your home. Stone varies from piece to piece, sometimes dramatically. I recommend every customer look at the granite slabs for their counters and approve them. See Choosing Stone.

How long will it take to get my granite tops?

After all your selections are made and cabinets are installed, fabrication should take 1 to 3 weeks. Installation usually takes less than a day.

How much do granite counters cost?

The price of granite tops has a broad range. Your price will depend on the rarity of the stone, type of edge profile, number of holes and cutouts, and region of the country you live in. Granite prices range from $25 per square foot including installation to over $100 per square foot. Granite is cheaper in certain parts of the country. Usually, the lower price comes at a cost - lower quality. You do get what you pay for. See How To Get The Best Granite Price.

What are granite remnants?

When a granite fabricator cuts countertops from stone slabs, remnants or extra pieces are left over. You can often buy these remnants at a discounted price and use them for smaller tops like a bathroom vanity. Here's some insider secrets you should know that will get you the best price on granite anywhere.

What is the best granite sealer?

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How heavy is granite?

Granite counters are typically made from 3/4" (2CM) or 1 3/16"(3CM) thick sheets or slabs of granite. 2CM granite weighs about 12 lbs. per square foot. 3CM weighs about 18 lbs. per square foot.

Black granite (not true granite) is denser than light colored stones and weighs more. This extra density is why most black granite countertops are less porous and resist staining.

Check out this Granite Weight Calculator to see what your tops weigh.

Watch this video to see how easy it is to clean and seal your granite tops.

How to get the lowest granite price

Make sure you get the best stone countertop price possible. It starts by knowing how your contractor prices jobs.  The majority of granite countertop contractors are small businesses that have the ability to negotiate price. With large retailers like Home Depot and Lowes, this is not the case. So here's how to negotiate . . .

Ask your contractor how you can save money on your granite counter price. Does he have a deal on stone in stock? Is there a similar stone that is less expensive? Does he have the ability to make a certain edge treatment easier than others? Can you get a better price if you buy additional tops from unused portions of granite slabs from your job?

Ask your contractor for a cash discount.  Pay for your tops with cash and your contractor realizes savings that can be passed on to you. The contractor pays no credit card fees and has no carrying cost. There are other savings that cash payments offer too. Cash should be worth an easy 5% discount.

Ask what it takes to get a wholesale price.  Many contractors charge retail and wholesale granite prices. Wholesale price is lower.

Ask for a deal on remnants.  If your project is small like a granite bathroom vanity or just a small kitchen, your contractor may have leftover granite pieces in stock called  remnants. He should be dying to get rid of these, since contractors pay for every square inch of stone in a slab. You can make great deals on remnants sometimes saving 50% off the cost of new stone.  See Granite Remnants to learn more about using remnants for countertops.

Ask for a quantity discount. If you plan to use granite in multiple areas, you can sometimes get an overall discount.

Offer to provide a referral or be a reference site to show others the contractor's work. Sometimes this may be worth a discount. If not, you might negotiate free bottles of granite countertop cleaner

Payment Options.  Typical payment terms for granite countertops include a deposit up front with the balance due at the time of installation. Deposits are generally 50% of the total price. You can pay with cash or check and, many times, with a credit card. Be sure to ask your contractor if prices are different when paying by credit card

Granite Sinks - Many times granite contractors offer a selection of sinks as well as countertops.  Ask to include the sink of your choice in the price for your countertops.

Don't be afraid to ask for a deal on your granite. Contractors have several money saving options for you and the market is becoming more and more competitive all the time. Take advantage of this to get a great countertop price.

See Granite Fabricators for qualified makers of granite in your area.

See Granite Seams to learn to spot a good seam or make your own.

See Granite Support Brackets for unique ways to support your counters

See Rodding Granite for the secret to countertops that don't crack.

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Don't Clean Your Granite With Dishwashing Soap!

What you read about granite care products can be misleading and vastly overstated.  Cleaning granite countertops should only be done with specialized cleaners, not Windex or ammonia and never plain soapy water.

The best performing product I've found and use in my granite countertop company is MB-5 Marble, Granite and More Spray Cleaner from MB Stone.

Effortlessly and effectively clean your stone countertops without leaving any streaks.  Safe to use on stainless fixtures and sinks as well.  You should clean your counters daily using a specialty product for stone, such as MB-5.

We provide this to all our customers as part of a stone care kit when we install new countertops and when we show them how to clean granite.

Only $14.45

Is Your Granite Sealed Properly?

As professional granite installers, we provide MB-4 to all our customers as part of a stone care kit.

We researched and tested several stone sealers before choosing MB-4.  With more than 10 years of proven performance using MB-4, it's the only sealer we'll use.

Don't trust your granite investment to anything else . . . but MB-4.

Why should you seal granite?  Granite is a natural product and inherently porous.  It can stain.

Many granite companies use poor quality silicon or siloxane based sealers that require re-application every 6 months to a year.  These sealers create misconceptions about sealing granite.

MB-4 is a fluorocarbon alphatic resin sealer.  Unlike silicon sealers, it will not evaporate or go through any type of natural deterioration. MB-4 sealer for granite prevents liquids from being absorbed by all natural stones - marble, granite, travertine, and limestone - and comes with a 10 year warranty.

Applied properly, this sealer will last 10 to 15 years and you don't need to reapply before then!

Full instructions and you're done in minutes!

Only $47.45

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