US Granite Countertop Makeover Frequently Ask Questions


Granite Frequently Asked Questions

Largest Study of Granite Countertops Finds No Stones That Pose Health Threat

Who do you supply to?
We supply to the private and commercial markets.

What do I need for a quotation?
We can provide a quotation based on an architect drawing, template or alternatively one of our experienced fitters can measure on site.

How do I order?
Having agreed the final details, we will provide you with an installation lead time. Upon completion we will deliver and install.

Do you provide measuring and fitting services?
Yes, we do.

What are the payment terms?
Having agreed the final details of your order, we must have a deposit up front before commencement of order. We then require the remaining balance on day of installment or collection.

Do I need to be there when the worktop is being measured and installed?
It is advisable you are there when the template is being measured so you can answer any questions our fitters may have. Also if you are there when it is being installed so you can confirm that you are happy with the installed countertop or vanity unit.

What should I have on-site when fitters arrive to measure for the template?
All kitchen cabinets should be fixed. Also have hob, sink and taps on site for measurement purposes.

What do I need to consider when choosing a countertop or vanity unit?
- Colour / Type of stone - Design - Cut outs for hobs and sinks - Drainer grooves - Recessed drainers - Splashbacks - Return Ends - Upstands

What's the difference between marble and granite?
The mineral composition in both stones means that they react differently to various household cleaners and chemicals.

Why is Quartz different to Marble and Granite?
Quartz is a man made stone while Marble and Granite are natural stones. As Quartz is a man made stone, it is always consistent in terms of colour and patterns. As Marble and Granite are natural stones, colours, shades and patterns may vary. [more Quartz different to Marble and Granite]

How is granite formed?

Why should I choose granite?

One of the oldest but most durable natural stones available. It is the ultimate in kitchen design and no man made material can match its elegance and durability.

What do I need to consider when buying a granite countertop?

Where can I use granite?
Granite is suitable for kitchen countertops, vanity units and other custom designs.

How should I clean granite?
Use a neutral cleaning agent or warm soapy water and finish with a dry cloth. Do not use acidic, abrasive, wax or bleach based household cleaners and sprays on granite or marble. (See Aftercare and Maintenance section)

How is marble formed?

Why should I choose marble?

Is marble suitable for a kitchen countertop?
Marble is not ideal for a kitchen countertop. It is more suitable for vanity units in bathrooms etc. Even when sealed, marble is not as dense as granite. This makes it more porous and more prone to staining especially in a highly used area such as a kitchen.

Where can I use marble?
Marble is suitable for vanity units in bathrooms etc.

Is it necessary to seal marble?
Yes, marble can be sealed however even when it is sealed it is not suitable for kitchen countertops.

How is Quartz formed?
Quartz is made up of 93% natural quartz and 7% resin, pigments and fillers. It is one of the hardest naturally occurring materials.

Why should I choose Quartz?
Quartz has many benefits and advantages. These include:

Where can I use Quartz?

Do I need to apply sealer to Quartz surface?
No, Quartz surfaces are non-porous so there is no need to apply sealer.

How should I clean my quartz worktop?
Clean with damp cloth or paper towel and if necessary a small amount of non-bleach, non-abrasive cleaner. Although quartz is generally stain resistant, clean up all food and liquid spills immediately.
Do not use cleansers that contain bleach !!!!!!!!!!!

How well does Quartz withstand heat, scratches and stains?
Quartz is resistant to heat, scratches and stains, however use of trivets or hot pads is recommended for placing roasting pans or hot saucepans on. Also use a cutting board for chopping, cutting and slicing. Wipe all spills immediately. Like most products, extreme or excessive exposure may change the surface.

What is the best way to clean and maintain granite and marble stone surfaces?

What are impregnators?
Impregnators are invisible protective treatments, which prevent dirt from penetrating the surface. Impregnators do not form a film or layer on the surface, but penetrate into the pores or capillaries thereby maintaining the material's water permeability. With impregnators, surfaces can be protected against water or against water and oil.

Do I need to seal my Quartz countertop?
No, Quartz surfaces are non-porous so there is no need to apply sealer.

How should I clean my Quartz countertop?
Clean with damp cloth or paper towel and if necessary a small amount of non-bleach, non-abrasive cleaner. Although quartz is generally stain resistant, clean up all food and liquid spills immediately.
Do not use cleaners that contain bleach !!!!!!!!!!!

 

Largest Study of Granite Countertops Finds No Stones That Pose Health Threat Study Samples Measure Less Than Background Levels for Radon, Radiation

source: http://sev.prnewswire.com/health-care-hospitals/20081117/CLM91817112008-1.html

CLEVELAND, Nov. 17 /PRNewswire/ - The most comprehensive scientific study of health threats from granite countertops did not find a single stone slab that poses a health risk. Quantities of radon and radiation emitted by stones included in the analysis all fell well below average background levels commonly found in the United States.

The scientists conducted more than 400 tests of 115 different varieties of granite countertops, including stones cited in media reports as being potentially problematic. The stones tested include types of granite that comprise approximately 80 percent of the annual U.S. market share for granite countertops, based on the most recent market data available. The study specifically included types of granite most commonly used in countertops in the United States and more exotic stones that represent a tiny share of the market. The study found:

-- Not one stone slab contributed to radon levels that even reached the average U.S. outdoor radon concentration of 0.4 picocuries per liter -- one-tenth the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency level for remedial action within a home. The stone slabs found to emit at higher levels -- though still well below average outdoor background levels -- represent a tiny share of the U.S. market for granite countertops, less than 1 percent of sales.

-- Not a single stone emitted radiation levels that even approached a radiation dose of 0.3 milliSievert per year (mSv/year), the level determined by the European Commission to be negligible for human health risk; the U.S. has no such standard. However, this European standard is just 30 percent of the 1 milliSievert per year annual dose limit recommended for the general public by the National Council for Radiation Protection & Measurements.

Unlike some media reports of questionable scientific accuracy, this study evaluated a large variety of stones and used a number of complementary, well established scientific techniques to assess the exposures that people could have to radon and radiation in real-world environments and to determine whether the presence of these specific stones could compromise consumer health.

"The study showed that you are more likely to have a fatal fall from bed than to develop a health problem related to the most common granite countertops," said Dr. John F. McCarthy, president of Environmental Health & Engineering, the independent environmental testing firm that conducted the study. "Stones were selected for the study based on their prevalence of use as countertops and media reports suggesting specific types of granite pose health risk.

"Our research program was designed to assess exposure and risk to individuals in real world conditions. The scenarios that we evaluated were selected to ensure that they represent what people will really encounter in U.S. homes," McCarthy said. "Our research shows that some of the reports published by the media significantly exaggerate risk because they report raw data without considering real-world conditions as commonly defined by the scientific community. It is very important to put the results of these product evaluations into a context that is meaningful for the consumer."

Study findings are consistent with an earlier review of the scientific literature, which assessed results from every identified study of radon emissions from granite published in the scientific literature to evaluate potential exposures in homes.

The new study is being submitted for peer review and publication in a scientific journal, a process that can take several months.

"Our study included detailed mapping of radiation emitted from various stones that had areas that we identified as being elevated above levels for typical granite countertop material. We found that it's easy to get what appear to be high readings of radon or radiation from a small fraction of granite countertops, but those readings do not reflect the actual risk to consumers because they do not assess the real exposure, only isolated, extreme measurements," McCarthy said. "As with any other type of environmental measurement, assessing the real risk to consumers must take into account more than isolated readings from small spots on a countertop. It must reflect real- world exposure scenarios and be interpreted using well established principles of environmental health."

The study also concluded:

-- Radon levels associated with emissions from granite countertops in homes are low in comparison to typical background levels of radon exposure. In other words, natural stone is a minor contributor to concentrations of radon gas within homes. These findings are consistent with an earlier review of the scientific literature that EH&E performed.

-- Absorbed dose associated with radiation emissions for all of the slabs tested are well below health-protective guidelines, including the exemption limit of 0.3 mSv per year recommended by the European Commission. The United States has yet to establish an exemption level for building products based on radioactivity to our knowledge.

-- A portion of stones used as countertops may contain limited areas that are enriched in radioactive materials relative to the remainder of the slab. The areas of enrichment in the stones evaluated for this study make up a small proportion of the stone, on the order of less than 10 percent of the surface area. Detailed measurements of these enriched areas showed that they make a negligible contribution to potential doses of ionizing radiation.

-- Assessing exposure to radon and radiation requires accounting for duration and frequency of exposure, not just absolute magnitude. Additionally, careful consideration of several key parameters is warranted. For radon, measurements of radon flux from a countertop must account for variability across the countertop surface, the effect of any backing material on the stone, and diffusion through the slab. It is critical that ventilation is accounted for when estimating radon concentrations in indoor air from measurements of radon emissions from stones. For radiation, distance and geometry must be incorporated into dose assessments.

-- While significant variability was observed across stone types, the stones at the lower end of radon emissions were found to account for the vast majority of sales and also exhibited little variability among slabs. The varieties of granite countertop that exhibited the greatest variability of radon flux among slabs represent a small fraction of the U.S. market.

"You can never rule out anything, but [the likelihood of a granite countertop posing any health risk] is as close to zero as you could hope to get about a risk in your life based on what I know," said David Ropeik, risk consultant and author of the book "Risk." "Cumulatively, we have a huge body of evidence that suggests that this particular risk from granite is negligible."

Marble Institute of America President Guido Gliori said, "This study once again proves that granite countertops do not pose the risk that some exaggerated media reports would suggest. While some organizations that benefit financially from consumer concerns about granite attempt to spread panic, this study was designed to withstand the closest scientific scrutiny and should reassure the public about granite countertops."

In the absence of comprehensive, independent scientific analysis of granite countertops, the Marble Institute financed the study as part of its continuing effort to define a standard test protocol to assess radiation and radon emissions from different stones. The goal is to develop protocols for testing granite in the home, in showrooms or fabrication shops and at the quarry. The fact that no single protocol exists has allowed individuals to make claims about granite countertops based on inconsistent and often incorrect tests, methodologies or analyses.

The MIA is working with the scientific community to develop a single, acceptable standard for the proper testing of granite countertops and other granite building material. Work on the standard will involve scientists and several independent and governmental agencies.

A copy of the study's executive summary can be downloaded from the Marble Institute's Web site, www.marble-institute.com.

About EH&E

EH&E (www.eheinc.com) has provided an extensive range of environmental and engineering consulting services for 20 years. The EH&E team consists of more than 60 experts with an outstanding record of providing business-focused solutions for issues that affect the built environment. EH&E has a depth of knowledge and credibility unmatched in the industry. The firm's wealth of readily-accessible information is a powerful resource for its clients.

About the Marble Institute of America

For over 60 years the Marble Institute of America (MIA) has been the world's leading information resource and advocate for the natural dimension stone industry. MIA members include marble, granite, limestone, sandstone, and other natural stone producers and quarriers, fabricators, installers, distributors, and contractors around the world.

Website: http://www.marble-institute.com/
Website: http://www.eheinc.com/

Granite Makeover

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We have great tools to help you to design your kitchen with the virtual kitchen designer. When you are ready to see pricing select the instant Estimator feature to get an idea of what it will cost for the stone that you choose. If you dont see the stone listed here be sure to check out the stone color selector where you can view over 1000+ stones from all over the world. In the case that we do not have a local service provider in your area we offer you the option to connect to a local stone professional through a partner connection.

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