Select Your Stone
The selection of stone is a very personal choice. Stone in the home speaks to the homeowner’s appreciation of beauty and style. While granite continues to be the most popular choice, marble, travertine and soapstone are gaining in popularity. Quartz products, a composite product of natural quartz and resins, are also popular due to the microban properties. It is important to understand the properties of each type of stone and its durability before making a final selection.
Granite: There are over 300 colors of granite available today. Mines in Brazil, Iran and Europe produce most of the granite that is currently being sold. Granite is cut in 2cm and 3cm at the quarry and is shipped to wholesaler stone yards that sell directly to fabricators. Variations in color and pattern can occur in granite, depending on where the stone has been mined. Dark colored granite is typically more dense but tends to show scratches, while lighter granite may show stains if not cared for properly. Many of the exotic granite stones have a grain or movement, meaning all pieces must be cut in the same direction to have a unified look. Accent Granite strongly recommends that granite is selected before cabinets or flooring so as not to compete with patterns from either wood grain or flooring designs.
Most stone yards and fabricators categorize granite to make selection easier. Grade A is the least expensive, with Grade E, the exotic patterns, being the most expensive. Representative colors in each of the groups are as follows:
• Group A: These are the most uniform in pattern.
ARTIC PEARL, BALTIC BROWN, DURANGO TRAVERTINE, GIALLO FIORITO, NEW CALEDONIA, PEACOCK GREEN, TUSCAN BROWN, UBA TUBA, AUTUMN HARMONY
• Group B:
BRECCIA SARDA MARBLE, EMPERADOR MARBLE, INDIAN ABSOLUTE BLACK, MADURA GOLD, NEW VENETIAN GOLD, ORNAMENTAL, SANTA CECELIA
• Group C: largest selection of colors
BLACK GALAXY, BLUE PEARL, COLONIAL CREAM, CRÈME BORDEAX, KASHMIR, LAPIDUS, RAINFOREST GREEN, CREMA MARFIL MARBLE, SOLARIUS
• Group D:
YELLOW RIVER, COPPER BORDEAUX, GOLDEN CRYSTAL, HURRICANE, JUPERANA PERSA, MOMBASA, SNOWDRIFT, TYPHOON BORDEAUX
• Group E: Exotics include semi-precious onyx and stone with extensive pattern & color variations
APHRODITE, BLUE LOUISE, CALCUTTA MARBLE, EXODUS, MAGMA GOLD, COSTA ESMERALDA, STARRY NIGHT, VENUS
****Accent Granite provides an extensive stone reference list for our customers, along with a list of the largest stone yards in the area. Please contact our office for this information.
Travertine: Travertine is natural stone from the limestone family. It is very porous and requires sealing before use in any construction projects. Travertine is highly susceptible to heat, scratching, staining and acidity; therefore making it more difficult to care for. Travertine is available in different colors: natural, creamy white, beige, tan and reddish brown. Honed, polished and tumbled finishes can be applied to travertine: honed travertine is smooth and has a matte finish. polished travertine is smooth but can be buffed and polished until shiny; tumbled has a rougher, textured finish.
Marble: Marble is more porous than granite and is generally a softer stone. It can scratch easier than granite and can break if exposed to high heat; therefore not making it a good choice on kitchen countertops. Most frequently it is used in bathrooms and as a decorative accent throughout the home. Just like granite, marble often has a “grain”, which must be considered when selecting the appropriate stone for the project.
Soapstone: Soapstone is a dense non-porous stone used to compliment various architectural designs. There are several differnt forms of soapstone: Artistic soapstone is lighter in color, very soft to the touch, has little veining and can be easily carved. It is not recommended for countertops. Architectural soapstone is denser; it is typically much darker and has more pronounced veining. It is durable enough to be used in kitchens. Soapstone ides not need to be sealed; is not polished, allowing for a matte finish. Most soapstone is gray/black in coloring.
Sustainable/Quartz Surfaces: All quartz surfaces used in both residential and commercial applications are a composite of 93% quartz and man-made resins. Because the “slabs” are man-made, they are more uniform in color and size than natural stones. These products are gaining in popularity because they are extremely strong, stain resistant, and do not allow bacteria to grow on the surface of the stone. There are a number of quartz manufacturers—Caesarstone, Silestone, Zodiaq, Hanstone, LG Viatara, and Vetrazzo.
All natural stone is absorbent. Accent Granite always provides a protective sealant for our installations which will last a minimum of 10 years for granite. Marble and softer stones will require the sealant to be reapplied at least once a year to maintain the beauty of the stone. Basic weekly care is the best way to keep your stone looking its best.
Do’s and Don’t’ for Proper Stone Care:
Do blot up spills immediately, before they can penetrate the surface. Common foods or drinks that contain alcohol, citrus juices, vinegar, or even oil can etch the stone.Do use a coaster under all glasses.
Do clean stone surfaces with a few drops of neutral cleaner or stone soap, available in hardware stores or from a stone dealer. You can also use mild dishwashing liquid and warm water. Rinse after washing and dray with a soft, clean cloth.
Do — Just as a precaution, always use a trivet for hot items.
Don’t use abrasive cleaners or cleaners with ammonia—such as Windex. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids.
Don’t use too much cleaner or soap—which may leave a film and cause streaks.
Do not place hot items directly on stone surfaces.
To Make Your Own Cleaner:
Use a mixture of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, water and a drop or two of Dawn Dish liquid. Isopropyl alcohol has a pH of 7.0 and is the main ingredient in many stone cleaners.
For more information on how to clean a particular stain, check out these websites: