Frequently Asked Questions
What is Granite?
Granite is a naturally found stone composed of several large mineral grains tightly packed together. The main components include Feldspar and Quartz with a mix of other minerals including Biotite and Muscovite.
The minerals Feldspar and Quartz, which are the major components of granite, are harder than steel. This is why throughout human civilization, granite has been used as a building material.
The mica minerals called Biotite and Muscovite are more minor components of granite and give it a glittery appearance.
Why is it so popular?
Granite has emerged as the most popular kitchen countertop material because of its natural beauty and durability.
- The elegance of granite countertops adds value to homes
- Heat, scratch, and stain resistant
- Granite outlasts even the life of the home it is installed in
- Very little maintenance is required
- It is more affordable than many people think because of the abundant supply
Where does granite originate?
Granite is naturally formed in most parts of the world, but it is quarried in significant quantities in Brazil, India, Italy, Africa, Norway, Finland, and China. A majority of the most desirable granite slabs used for kitchen countertops in the USA come from Brazil, India, and Italy.
Is granite high maintenance?
In fact, granite countertops require very little maintenance. You only have to clean them with a mild soap and warm water and apply a sealer as needed.
Does heat damage granite?
No, granite can withstand very high temperatures. Placing hot pans or a hot kettle will not cause any damage to the granite’s color or stability. However, it is recommended that you use trivets because of other reasons.
Can knives scratch granite?
Knives cannot scratch true granite. The only thing harder than granite is diamond. For example, diamond is scored 10 on the MOH’s hardness scale and granite is scored 7. Diamond blades are the only thing that can cleanly cut through granite. Other natural stones like Gneiss and Schist are commonly called granite, but they do not have a MOH score of 7, and they can be probably scratched by knives.
Is granite expensive?
Actually, the entry level granite countertop prices have become very affordable because of the abundant supply of natural granite and modern technology.
Can granite be repaired?
The answer is sometimes. Chips that occur from accidental impacts can be fixed. Cracked counters can sometimes be filled but the repair will be noticable.
Does granite harbor bacteria?
No, the center for disease control did not find any evidence to suggest that bacteria could grow in granite.
What is the thickness of the granite used for countertops?
We recommend using 3cm (1 ¼”) thick granite for countertop application. 1 ¼” thickness granite is sturdy enough to be placed directly on the cabinets. Granite also comes in 3/4″ thickness but requires plywood decking for support.
What surface finishes does granite come with?
- Polished: A shiny, glossy surface. This is by far the most popular.
- Honed: A matte finish.
- Brushed / Antiqued: A textured surface
What are the pits in the granite?
It’s not uncommon to see some small pits on the surface of the granite slabs. These pits are formed during the polishing process, when some of the weaker components of granite, like Biotite, flake off from the surface. This happens at the granite processing plants in different countries where the granite is quarried and polished.
The pits themselves do not make the granite less durable or inferior for use in countertops, but the look and feel of the granite with the pits may bother some clients. It is a better if you discuss these issues with the fabricators before you make the final decision on your stone selection.
We do not recommend that you have the pits filled because no compound can adequately or permanently fill these spaces without visually affecting the surface of the stone. The best practice is to discuss imperfections with your fabricator before selecting the stone, and if you really hate the pits you should consider a granite that has no visual imperfections.
What about the filled lines in the granite slabs?
A good number of granite colors that are very beautiful with a variety of colors and veins that flow in different directions, are not truly “granites” in strict geological terms. Though they are commonly called granites, they are actually Gneiss or Schists stones. True granite stones scale between 6 and 7 on MOH’s scale of hardness (diamond hardness is 10). Whereas, the MOH’s scale for Gneiss and Schist is less than 6.
In order to strengthen these stones to be used as countertops, they undergo a process called resinization, where epoxy resin is used to fill the weak spots of these stones. These slabs, with the visually filled lines, do not break or crack once they are installed, with proper care. If any problem does happen, it will happen during fabrication or transportation.
Mascarello, Copenhagen, Louise Blue, Barricato, Betularie, and many more popular stones belong to this category. A lot of customers do not mind the fill lines and visual imperfections because of the beauty of these natural stones.
If you are a perfectionist, and do not want any imperfections, then you should choose another type of stone.
Does granite need to be resealed regularly?
If you use high quality impregnating sealers like DuPont Bulletproof sealer, you should have to reseal your granite every couple years. However, using the wrong type of cleaner on your stone countertop can break down the sealer prematurely.
What are prefabricated granite blanks?
Granite slabs that are cut into particular sizes and have one edge that is polished. They are typically fabricated in countries with cheap labor, like China, and if you decide to use these, you will not have a custom fabricated countertop. Some lower end fabricators use granite blanks to entice customers with a low price.
How much can I extend the granite overhang?
Granite countertops can often be extended beyond the cabinets to give an added functionality to kitchen spaces.
The standard overhang is 1 ½” from the face of the cabinets.
The actual overhang may slightly vary depending on how straight the countertops are installed. Having the cabinets not installed in a straight line is not an uncommon problem. Your salesperson can discuss these issues with the homeowners to come to a clear understanding of what variances can be expected.
We can extend the 3 cm granite countertops up to a maximum of 10” from the cabinets unsupported and 6″ for 2cm granite.
We have to be careful when we install upper bar tops that sit on a 5” knee wall. These overhangs have to be supported by steel braces placed under the countertop and then screwed into the wooden studs in the knee wall.
Any granite countertops with more than an 10” overhang for 3cm and 6″ overhanf for 2cm should be adequately supported by steel braces. Please see our option on our Supports Page.
Extended islands, higher level bar tops, and peninsulas are some of the areas of the kitchen that may have an extended overhang, up to 18”. The placement of wood or metal supports that extend from the cabinets, sometimes called corbels, can hit your knees and are not visually appealing. The ideal solution is to place steel bars, secured adequately, and is a permanent support that is almost invisible and does not hit your knees.
What is the ideal overhang for my bar top or breakfast area?
12” is the ideal overhang for comfortable seating without hitting your knees on the cabinet, however, the overhang does need to be adequately supported.
Can I keep my existing tile back splash?
The answer is Yes and No. We cannot guarantee that the existing tile will not break or chip while removing the old countertops. Secondly, if the granite being installed is a different thickness than the counters being removed there could be a gap between the existing tile backsplash and the new countertop.
Do seams in Granite show?
Yes, seems are visible if you look carefully at the countertops. However, the goal of a good granite installation company is to make them as inconspicuous as possible. Some stones tend to hide the seams better than others.
How much does granite weigh?
Granite weighs about 16 to 17 pounds per square foot.
How do you attach the granite countertops to my cabinet?
The stone countertops are places on the cabinets and, after ensuring that everything is leveled, a bead of silicon is applied at the intersection of the cabinets and the underside of the stone. This is sufficient to hold the countertops in place in a normal situation.
If the cabinets are not leveled, which is not uncommon, we have to place shims underneath the countertops to level them.
Can you level my cabinets?
No, we do not level your cabinets. You will need the help of your carpenter or your contractor for that.
How do I prepare for template?
On the day of template our technician will use a laser templating device to create a digital template of your countertops. He will need an unubstructed view of the entire countertop so we ask that the counters are clear from any objects.
Will you dispose of my old counters?
Yes, We will haul away your old counters. We will however leave sinks so that your plumber can salvage any necessary parts needed for the reconnect.
Will there be any dust?
Creating cut-outs for sinks, cooktops, and faucet holes do create dust if and when these must take place in the home. However, our installers will do their best to minimize dust.
When you give me the arrival window for my measure and/or install does that mean you will arrive at the beginning of the time frame and be completed by the end of the time frame?
No! We give those windows as an “arrive between” window. We will NOT be there at the beginning of that window always. We try stay on time as much as possible but sometimes things arise at the job site that is beyond our control and may cause us to be at a job site longer than expected. We will do our best to call and let you know if that happens and that we may be arriving later than our expected window. We feel this is the best way to go about the scheduling so we don’t give people windows of 8am-8pm like so many other repair, cable and delivery companies do.
Who disconnects my plumbing and electrical connections before you come to install my new tops?
We are not licensed plumbers or electricians. Therefore, we can not disconnect your plumbing or electrical connections. All plumbing and electrical connections need to be disconnected BEFORE we arrive on the job site. If you have paid for us to remove and dispose of your old tops but wish to keep your old sink or faucet YOU will have to have them unattached from the old tops before we arrive. If you are fine with us disposing the sink and faucet along with the tops they may still be attached to the countertops.
Can granite crack?
Not with ordinary use. Granite is most susceptible to cracks during shipping and installation. Normal use will not overstress this durable material. Normal use does not include standing on the countertops.
How do you clean Granite?
Warm soapy water will do the trick. You can always use cleaners specifically formulated to help clean and protect stone surfaces as well.
Will my granite look like the sample?
Granite is a natural stone created by the forces of nature. It is composed of various minerals and is susceptible to wide variations in color, texture, spotting, veining and cracking. These variations are expected and are the source of its natural beauty. Therefore, no 4” x 4” sample can completely represent the changes found throughout a whole slab of granite. If you select a color that has a lot of movement and varies in color you will select your actual slab to be used in your kitchen by either selecting at Texas Custom Granite or one of our many suppliers.
Why is some granite more expensive than others and are the higher priced granites stronger?
No! It is simply supply and demand and rarity of color. More attractive stones are in higher demand and if they come from a distant land in small quantities the price will be higher. Some of the toughest stones are also quite cheap and some of the most expensive can be very fragile. Also note that all natural stone contains small “pits” to varying degrees. These are simply small voids between grain boundaries and some of the most expensive stones can be full of them.
Will my granite countertop have visible seams?
Most granite installations will require at least one or more joints called seams. During layout and design, we will try to minimize the number of seams required. Additionally, our care in manufacturing ensures that edges fit together very tightly to help lessen the appearance of visible seams. You will however be able to see and feel all granite seams.
How should I prepare for installation and how long will it take?
The Average 2 slab kitchen installation usually takes about 4-6 hours from start to finish.
Recommendations to Prepare for Installations:
- Installation Preparedness: Access: Granite countertops are extremely heavy, and installers need clear access to entry ways. Please have your walkways and driveways as clear as possible.
- Cabinets: We recommend that you empty the cabinets under the sink base because they will be drilling the faucet holes on site. Even though we have one guy drilling and another holding the vacuum it is impossible to catch all dust. We will vacuum up our mess, but do not wipe down the cabinetry.
- Safety: Please remove any breakable items and cover items to protect them from dust. Granite installation can create a lot of dust. Our installers do try to control the mess the best they can, but please remember that this is construction and it is by definition a messy business.
- Faucets: Please have ready any faucets, soap dispensers, disposal switches, reverse osmosis spigots and any other items that need to be drilled into the countertops. Your plumber will NOT be able to drill extra holes.
- Sinks: Top mount sinks will be cut on site inside the home after the tops have been set in place. Under-mount sinks are cut and polished at our shop and attached at the job site.
- Cook Tops: These will be cut out inside the home once the top has been set on the cabinets. Even though we do our best to lessen the dust it is the responsibility of the homeowner to remove any soft glide hardware or anything they fell the fine granite dust will damage.
- Dishwashers: These need to be in their final position. We install a metal bracket across the top of the cabinet that you can screw your dishwasher tabs into the following day.
- Refrigerators: These need to be in their final position.
Is there a chance that my walls will be dinged during the installation of my counter tops?
Yes. This is a construction site and granite does not flex, so in order to install the tops you may have damage to your walls and they may need to be touched up by the homeowner. We do everything we can to minimize the dings but occasionally damage does occur to the sheetrock and paint.
Will the underside of my granite be smooth like the top?
No. We do not touch the top of the surface of the granite. It comes to us from overseas like you see it in our yard and showroom. We do not touch the underside of the granite either. We radius the bottom edge when we polish the edge to your edge selection, but we do not polish the under side of the slab.
What is your warranty and repair policy?
Texas Custom Granite has a 1 year workmanship warranty. This warranty covers seam separation for one year from the date of installation.
The warranty will not cover fissures and pits in granite. Because it is a natural stone, granite may have fissures which look like cracks; these pose no actual structural problems. When selecting your granite, please look for these carefully in your slabs if you wish to avoid them.
Although Granite is one of the hardest substances on earth so sitting, standing or hitting with a meat clever is not recommended. Texas Custom Granite will not warranty against breakage after installation.