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What material is the most durable, granite or manufactured quartz? (examples of quartz products: Caeserstone, Silestone, Cambria, Zodiaq, etc.)

Granite and manufactured quarts are extremely durable and composed of natural stone, making both products the best choice for a durable and long lasting counter top.


What are the differences between manufactured stone (quartz) and natural granite?

Granite is a natural stone formed deep in the earth billions of years ago, consisting of primarily feldspar, quartz, and many various crystallized minerals. Manufactured stone (quartz) consists of approximately 93% natural quartz, approximately 3% polymers, and the balance consisting of miscellaneous pigments and materials.


What are the pros and cons of natural stone versus manufactured stone?

Natural granite has become extremely popular recently for two main reasons, one being affordability, the other maintenance. In recent years, due to high demand, there has been an increase in quarrying worldwide, driving the price down, thus making common granites less expensive than most solid surfaces or quartz products. With the introduction of dry treatment products, such as Diamond Seal, natural granite has become virtually maintenance free. In the past it was recommended that granite be sealed annually, however the dry treatments are engineered to “last a lifetime”. Natural granite is not affected by heat from a cook top or frying pan, even a lit flame placed under the granite will have no melting affect or leave burn marks. Granite counter tops are your best choice for outdoor use, since it is not affected by moisture, heat, cold or UV rays. Manufactured stone, or quartz products, are very strong and durable, however, they do have polymers which hold the material together that can be affected by high heat (over 400 degrees Fahrenheit) and are affected by UV rays, therefore are not recommended for outdoor use due to fading of color. Quartz has two distinct advantages over natural stone. One, it is sealed all the way through the stone, making it completely non-porous, therefore, not needing any additional sealers or treatment. The second advantage is the almost unlimited color and pattern options from a wild bright orange or green to a subdued pattern, the choices allow from contemporary to warm color choices for any home design.


Will we be without a kitchen during the process?

When we template over your existing cabinets, we usually disconnect your plumbing and remove your existing counter top. If you happen to have a laminate top, we can re-install it and reconnect the plumbing, allowing for a temporary top until your stone is installed. If you have an existing tile counter top, we can arrange for use of a temporary top with sink if you need one. Once your new counter top is installed, we request that you not use your sink for 24 hours, allowing time for the silicone to properly adhere (for under mounted sink). If you choose to use a drop-in sink, there is no waiting period.


What do I do for a backsplash?

For years before granite or engineered stone became the “norm”, most counter tops were made of laminate or solid surface plastics. These counter tops allowed for a backsplash to be molded into the counter top. We can duplicate the 4” or 6” splash design by fabricating the strip and mounting it to the wall. We have found that the most popular choice for backsplash is more of a custom look, utilizing natural stone, glass, or porcelain tile. In some cases, full height stone backsplashes can be installed for a specific design scheme, and are commonly marble or granite with interesting patterns or movement. United Stoneworks has many sources for tile and we utilize multiple showrooms to provide our customers with many options to fit any lifestyle or design. Our employees are trained to assist through this very important stage of design for your particular project.


Why do stone counter tops need seams?

Because granite and quartz are made of stone and weigh approximately 20 pounds per square foot, there are limitations for mining and/or producing slabs larger than 10’ long and 7’ wide. In large kitchens, islands, or large “L” shaped designs, one or more seams may be necessary. Our staff will work with you to ensure proper seam placement and best use of material for a world class job. Our fabrication shop utilizes laser guided diamond saws for razor sharp cuts, which give a seam less than 1/16”. In addition to having thin seams, our installation crews are trained to colorize the material used to bond the stone together, which in turn hides the seam even further.


Why is it important to have matching slabs of stone?

In most cases, more than one slab of stone is required to properly configure a job. Because two pieces in a run may need to be seamed together, it is important that any “movement” in the stone is matched at that seam, as well as having island pieces flow with the main runs of counters. It is important to not only have slabs from the same block of quarried stone, but also book matched (almost identical face to face), or consecutively cut, depending on the layout.


What is a viewing?

United Stoneworks invites all of our clients to preview the template layouts on the actual slabs prior to the fabrication of your counter top. Since many types of natural granites, marbles, and onyx may have minerals or movements that may have more or less visual appeal, this process allows our client to see what the counter tops will look like finished. In addition to picking out areas that are more appealing than others, our fabricators will explain sink placement, faucet offsets, radiuses, and seams. Our fabricators do their best to accommodate client requests, while utilizing the slab efficiently.


What if I want my vanities or bar top in a different color material?

No problem! We have a fully stocked remnant yard, jam packed with smaller, or leftover pieces from large jobs. We offer any piece of stone, whether natural or quartz, at a significantly reduced price that includes template, fabrication, and installation. Remnants change daily and consist of everything from exotic to classic granites to onyx, quartz, and marble. Our yard is located at our fabrication shop and available for viewing 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and Saturday by appointment only. Picking your piece of stone is like going to the pet store and picking a puppy, so many options, and they all look great. Bring a sample color for your cabinets, floors, or walls and it will help make your selection easier.


How do I care for my counter top once it’s installed?

Care depends on the type of material used and the sealers that may have been applied. If you have a manufactured stone, no treatments are necessary to seal it. For cleaning quartz, it is recommended that you use a biodegradable liquid dish soap, however, any mild surface cleaner is ok with the exception of products such as “Soft Scrub”, since they can destroy the surface polish and void the manufacturers warranties. For natural granite, we strongly recommend having a dry treat product, such as Diamond Seal, applied to your granite. Diamond Seal is a trade name for a compound originally developed for military aircraft windshield applications to repel water deposits and debris, and has recently been found to be an excellent sealer for granite, and is warranteed for 15 years. You can also find topical sealers, which work fine, but need to be applied every six to twelve months. Cleaning your sealed granite is virtually the same as cleaning quartz. Mild, soapy water will not harm your sealers, and you will find a myriad of non amonia stone cleaners available at your local grocery store that will clean and shine your granite beautifully. Marble has always been a popular choice for counter tops, and due to the porosity of this sedimentary stone, it is prone to staining. It is important that marble is sealed properly, and spills should be cleaned up immediately, especially citrus or acidic liquids such as coffee or wine. Another sedimentary stone is onyx, which like marble is porous. In addition, onyx is more sensitive to heat, making it a poor choice for kitchen counter tops, but can be used on vanities, fireplaces facades, etc. Sealing is important for onyx, and mild cleaners only should be used to clean it.