Six Reasons Why Granite Products Make Sense

by Robyn T. Braley
Unique and Varied
Natural stone has been created by nature. No one piece is quite like any other. Whatever the project, you will be creating a distinctive look that can never be duplicated.
Highly Durable
You can use granite for projects that require strength and durability like countertops in the kitchen. In the event of scratches or other damage, natural stone can be recovered by repolishing at Calgary Granite & Marble.

Granite is ideal for countertops.

Variety of Colour
Natural stone offers many natural colors to choose from according to taste. Some are bold and aggressive and others are passive and quieter.
Natural Beauty
Natural stone is dynamic and extremely beautiful. It is the first choice for homeowners wanting to create aesthetically pleasing look using natural materials.
Design Options
As each piece of natural stone is unique, homeowners can create products that match the color and design of the entire room.
Affordable
While natural stone may cost more than some man-made material, the wide range of product means there is a stone available to fit most budgets. In the long term, stone products positively affect buyer appeal and overall investment value.

General Tips

Special care must be taken in areas like Calgary that have hard water. Spilled water often leaves surface water stains. To remove, use a micro fiber cloth. Micro fiber cloth is available in leading grocery or home supply stores.

Calgary Granite carries the DuPont™ Stonetech® Professional BulletProof® Sealer designed for all stone surfaces.

If you must wax, use ONLY a stone wax. Granite can be sealed even when the wax is on.

Types of Natural Stone

by Robyn T. Braley
Granite
...is the hardest natural material available for countertops. Granite countertops offer a unique, rich, natural look. The natural beauty of granite provides a lifetime of enjoyment. Granite comes in a wide variety of color options. It is composed of minerals like quartz, feldspar, and mica.
Marble
...is available in a wide range of color options. It is ideal for fireplace surrounds, bar-tops, vanities, and specialty products like conference or coffee tables. The popular stone has been used throughout the ages due to stunning natural patterns and colors. Marble is a relatively hard material, but not as hard as granite.
Limestone
...is popular for flooring and fireplace surrounds. Limestone is very porous and offers a rustic or aged appearance. Several color options are available. Caution must be used in choosing limestone for countertops or vanities as it stains and scratches more easily than granite. It is the softest natural material available.
Slate
...is a rustic material with a distinctive weathered look. Slate can have a honed or cleft finish and is ideal for flooring due to its natural beauty. It is not recommended for kitchen countertops as it is relatively soft, requires higher maintenance, and stains easily. Color options include: black, gray, rust, green, graphite, and plum.
Travertine
...begins as porous limestone that naturally fills in. It has large quantities of calcium carbonate formed by calcium rich hot springs that bubble up, and then cool down. Tavertine is an ornamental stone popular for flooring, vanities, or in bathroom applications in various colors.

Quartz (Engineered Stone)

Quartz countertops are made from a combination of crushed quartz, a hard mineral that forms in clusters, and resin, usually a 93% to a 7% ration. Quartz slabs are produced in many different colors and patterns, available through various suppliers. Our main source of quartz slabs is supplied by CaesarStone but we also have access to many other brands of quartz.

Stone History 101

by Robyn T. Braley

Knowledge is key

The three most appealing features of granite are natural beauty, life-long durability, and comparatively low maintenance. To fully appreciate the benefits of granite, it is helpful to understand the characteristics of stone and what makes it superior to man-made products.

Installed granite may not be exactly like the showroom sample. Each product has unique natural patterns, markings, veining, and darker or lighter spots. Most people view these characteristics as part of stone products natural essence.

World sources

Thousands of stone types have been quarried through the centuries from quarries located around the world. The majority of natural stone comes from Italy, Spain, Turkey, the United States, Mexico, China, Taiwan, India, Greece, Canada, France, and Brazil. Calgary Granite & Marble imports primarily from Brazil and Italy while offering some domestic product from Quebec.

Geology 102

Stone is a natural solid formation that may be comprised of one or many minerals. Composite minerals come from the same liquid and gas minerals that formed the earth.

As the earth developed with massive bodies of gas and liquid, minerals slowly cooled and condensed to a solid core. Extreme pressure then formed the earth's crust.

Heavy minerals were trapped when they were forced down into the earth's core. As the crust thickened, it shifted the inner core creating intense pressure and heat from deep within the earth.

Over a one hundred million year period, the expansion and shift of the earth's crust produced extreme heat and pressure that pushed the solid minerals to the earth's surface. Many of the colossal rock beds that were formed at the beginning of time are today's stone quarries.

Crystals and other solids

Crystals and other solids form through the release of mineral vapours. Crystals come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be identified by their color, hardness, and crystal formation.

Quick scan "Do"s and "Don't"s

by Robyn T. Braley

Do:

  • Do dust granite finishes frequently.
  • Do blot up spills immediately as many foods and drinks contain acids that damage stone surfaces.
  • Do protect countertop surfaces with coasters, trivets or placemats to avoid heat damage or scratching.
  • Do use a cleaning solution that is PH balanced as minerals in granite and stone may react negatively to acidic solutions.
  • Do clean surfaces in warm water using a mild detergent or stone soap.
  • Do add rubbing alcohol if there are concerns about bacteria.
  • Do thoroughly rinse and dry the surface after washing.

Don't:

  • Do not place hot items directly on a stone surface.
  • Do not use vinegar, lemon juice or other cleaners that contain acids on marble, limestone, travertine or onyx surfaces (see PH above).
  • Do not use ammonia.
  • Do not use CLR as it damages granite surfaces and may dull the color.
  • Do not use cleaners with abrasive granules like dry cleansers.
  • Do not use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners, or tub and tile cleaners.
  • Do not use scratch pads.
  • Do not use glass-cleaning products like Windex products which rub off the granite sealant. Windex appears to give a shine but will damage the surface over time.

General tips

Special care must be taken in areas like Calgary that have hard water. Spilled water often leaves surface water stains. To remove, use a micro fiber cloth. Micro fiber cloth is available in leading grocery or home supply stores.

Calgary Granite carries the complete line of Stonetech non-toxic products designed for all stone surfaces including food preparation areas.

If you must wax, use ONLY a stone wax. Granite can be sealed even when the wax is on.

Sealant

Calgary Granite applies sealant to all tops after they are installed. For home use, the sealant should be good for up to a year.

To test sealant resilience, drop water on the granite surface. If the drops bead, the sealant is still active. If it seeps in quickly, it is time to re-seal.

Seal granite tops once a year with a penetrating or impregnating sealant like Stonetech Sealant.

Calgary Granite carries Stonetech Revitalizer that cleans and seals granite while giving it a shiny lustre. Revitalizer can be used daily or more often if necessary.

Stone Care 101

by Robyn T. Braley

Proper stone care only makes sense when you stop to think about it. You begin by spending hours searching for just the right stone product. Through the process, you discovered that granite and stone products are all "you."

There will never be another granite slab exactly like the piece you chose. It can never be duplicated. It has a unique pattern and stunning color that will be the focal point in your home.

Through the process, you almost forgot that the stone product will ad investment value to your house. So, why would you not want to take the best possible care of your investment? Proper care for your product will safeguard its unique character and lasting value.

View more work samples in the Gallery.

Stone-care knowledge

Stone-care knowledge begins by recognizing the natural product is formed within the earth and is made from various minerals. The wrong cleaner may have chemicals that may react negatively and compromise the surface or color. Improper cleaning agents may damage counter tops and other surfaces.

Always use coasters under glasses or cups, particularly those containing alcohol, citrus juices, or caffeine. Many foods and drinks contain acids that damage stone surfaces.

While granite and stone is resilient and durable, the surfaces may be easily scratched and damaged by sharp objects or abrasives if care is not taken. Most stones are a natural alkalis which tend to attract other alkali like dirt.

Due to the softness of most stone, it is imperative that grit (sand and dirt) be removed from all surfaces. Grit is the primary cause of scratches, especially on stone floors.

Do not place hot items directly on the stone surface. Use trivets or mats under hot dishes and placemats under china, ceramics, silver or other objects that may scratch the surface. If granite is scratched, Calgary granite can repolish and refinish the countertop's surface.

Cleaning products

Standard household cleaners are not formulated to clean your natural stone. Do not use acidic tub and tile cleaners, acidic toilet bowl cleaners, ammonia, powered abrasive cleaners, soft paste cleaners, vinegar, alcohol, window cleaners or abrasive cleaning pads. Even water alone can cause damage.

Cleaning

Granite and stone surfaces can be cleaned with a few drops of PH balanced cleaner or stone soap available at most home supply stores or from Calgary Granite & Marble. A mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water can also be used.

Use a soft cloth for best results. Too much cleaner or soap leaves a film and causes streaks. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on marble or limestone. Do not use ammonia cleaners as they may dull the surface.

After washing, thoroughly rinse the surface with a soft cloth. Do not use powders or creams as they contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.

More serious stains can be removed using a poultice made using an absorbent compound such as powdered whiting mixed with hydrogen peroxide. Place the poultice on the stain to draw it out. Check with Calgary Granite about cleaning recommendations for specific stains.

Bath & other wet areas

Remove soap scum from bathrooms and other wet areas with a squeegee. Built-up soap scum can be removed with a non-acidic soap scum remover. Wipe down all water-exposed areas. Do not leave standing water on granite tops or other areas.

Vanity top surfaces

Vanity tops require a penetrating sealant application. Applying a quality wax will minimize water spotting.

Food preparation areas

Use a penetrating sealer application for granite surfaces in food preparation areas. Use only a non-toxic product that is safe for use on food prep surfaces. If uncertain, contact Calgary Granite and ask for advice.

Marble Maintenance

by Robyn T. Braley

Many feel that no stone can match marble for natural beauty and grace. Polished marble is used to accent commercial buildings, for furniture, or as decorative art.

However, marble also requires special care. Because marble is porous, it is easily stained and can be etched by acids. Wipe off any spills immediately, as you would on a wood surface. Avoid setting beverage glasses directly on marble as they leave rings.

Seal marble with a paste or sealer to prevent stains and soil from being absorbed into the porous surface. Acids must not come in direct contact as they will etch the surface. Alkaline solutions will be absorbed by the marble and break down the surface leaving it rough.

If properly sealed, marble can be cleaned easily. Wash with a solution of mild detergent and water, then rinse thoroughly. Remove stains immediately. Ask Calgary Granite & Marble recommended cleaners for stain removal.

Removing stains from marble

Make a poultice using white absorbent material such as a napkin, blotter, paper towel or facial tissue. Dampen with a recommended chemical to dissolve the stain; mix whiting with the chemical to make a soft paste to cover the stain.

The poultice should be left on the stain from 1 to 48 hours, depending on the age and depth of the stain. Plastic wrap, held in place by masking tape, can be put over the poultice to keep it damp. Mix only enough poultice for immediate use; a fresh batch should be mixed if a second application is needed.

Organic Stains
Tea, coffee, colors bleached from paper, textiles or soft drinks. Make poultice soaked with 20% peroxide (hair bleaching strength).
Oil Stains
Oil stains may result from butter, hand cream or lotion. As soon as possible, cover the surface with an absorbent fine powder such as whiting or even cornstarch. After a short time, carefully brush to remove. Reapply more powder and let stand for 24 hours.
To remove
Scrub with hot sudsy (detergent) solution and soft brush or wipe with an ammonia-dampened cloth. In either case, rinse and wipe dry. If all the oil alkaline solutions are not removed using these alkaline solutions, ask Calgary Granite & Marble for a stronger cleaning agent.
Rust Stains
Usually caused by metal items such as a lamp, metal containers in which plants are placed, etc. Use a commercial rust stain remover. Follow directions precisely and do not leave on the surface for long periods as acid in many rust removers can etch the surface.
Acids
Fruit juice, carbonated beverages or other acids will etch (remove shiny surface) if allowed to remain. Wipe up the acid spill immediately, and wipe the surface with a wet cloth. If the surface is etched, polishing may be required.