Stone Masters Granite, Soapstone, Marble and quartz Counter top Blog.

Everything about granite, soapstone, marble and quartz countertops! Blogs are written about countertop material selection, the fabrication, their installation, pricing, and use and care for them once they are in your home!

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Posted by on in Natural Stone Counter Use and Care

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Posted by on in Countertop Selection and Design

Finishes have been trending as we're seeing increased popularity in matte finishes like, Honed, Leathered, and Brushed. Natural Stone typically comes in a polished finish, but these unique matte finishes also lend a texture to the stone. Honing a stone is something a fabricator can do in-house, it simply removes the resin or "shiny" part of the stone and doesn't add much texture. White Leathered and Brushed finishes are done at the quarries and will be noticeably have a textrure to the touch. Care and maintenance for all finishes are comparable if the stone is properly sealed. Honing, Leathering, or Brushing a stone can sometimes take off a layer of necessary protection, so its important to look at the SR-Rating (stain resistance) on an individual stone. 

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Posted by on in Uncategorized

Granite is cut from the quarry in a block, that block is then shipped to a slab producer. There they slice the block into 3cm (apprx. 1 ¼”) thick slabs using a 30' diamond blade or diamond wire (this process is much like cutting a block of cheese). These slabs are kept in order as they are sliced so they can continue through the process in the same order as they came from the earth. Next the griding/ polishing process beings, the use of diamonds from coarse grit to fine grit are used to achieve smoothness and eventually a polished surface. In between the different stages of polishing, most granites are coated with an epoxy resin. They are then placed in a vacuum chamber so the resin can be vacuumed through the granite and into the micro fissures and natural cracks of the stone. The slabs are then baked in an oven so the resin can cure rock hard inside of the stone. One of the first noticeable affects of the resin is a darkening effect on the whole surface of the slab. This byproduct enhances the color of the slab and allows for a better polishing effect as a final result. The resin has the double effect of assuring the strength of the slabs (so they can ship from anywhere in the world to the US) and providing a clean feeling touch to the end users.

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Today more than ever, when selecting slabs for your stone countertops, you will notice that some slabs contain a mesh backing. That’s because over the years, the quarrying process has improved allowing for some stones that were never able to be removed from the earth in block format, to be cut, polished, and shipped to suppliers and fabricators (I.E. Quartzites). With better technology and equipment, quarriers have been able to remove more fragile and exotic stones from the earth, that may not have been able to be removed previously that way without them breaking, or crumbling. The mesh backing is added by the block/slab fabricator (the one who cuts the blocks into slabs) for added support, or reinforcement for the shipping and handling process. 

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Posted by on in Uncategorized
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Posted by on in Quartz Countertops

Quartz's most popular colors and styles are the marble look-a-likes. Follow closely by grays and then less speckled patterned. Natural stone lacks durable options in these areas so quartz manufactures have skillfully filled in the cracks. Quartz is doing a great job of looking like marble, going so far as to mimic natural marble's imperfections and veining characteristics. It seems every few months, there is a new quartz that outdoes what we previous thought was the best imitation. 

 

In the last few years quartz has come a long way. Previously the colors and patterns were limited, but due to advances in manufacturing technology its become more desirable. This desirability has caused the prices to dramatically reduce and quartz has become far more affordable. While options like granite can still be less expensive, many quartz colors have come down to mid-range pricing and it is no longer a premium only product. From its current trajectory it looks like the quartz popularity can only continue to grow. 

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