All natural stone countertops are made from natural stone that has been quarried from mountains all over the world. As a natural product they are prone to variations in color, pattern and density that actually adds to the beauty and charm of the material. Each natural stone is unique in its kind because no two places on earth have precisely the same geological composition or precisely the same geological forces. This means that natural stone of the same type can also vary widely. While granite is a hard stone capable of withstanding the harshest of domestic environments, marble is softer (but can be denser) and can function better in less used areas. Natural stone materials can be scratched if abused and can stain if not cleaned up immediately. Additionally, the surface finish selected will affect the properties of the stone selected. Please note that many stones are known by more than one name. Buyer acknowledges that Seller has no control over Buyer’s selection or use of any stone.
A1 Quality Stone guarantees installation of natural stone (including but not limited to granite, marble, limestone, travertine, soapstone, onyx, as well as engineered stones) countertops. However because of the natural composition of stone as well as issues such as settling, we cannot guarantee that the stone will not crack on the countertop. We will however repair any cracks free of charge that occur within 1 year of installation. Any cracks that occur after 1 year will be repaired on a service charge basis.
Granites and gabbro as well as gneiss stones: Granite and gabbro are igneous rock that started out as molten magma and has slowly cooled. The primary difference between granite and gabbro is the silica content (gabbro has less silica than granite). Gneiss stones on the other had while resembling granite in its crystalline structure is actually a metamorphic stone that has metamorphosed from schist. These differences (how they were formed, mineral content, density, porosity, etc.) are why not all "granite" countertops perform the same. However, with proper care & cleaning this should not be an issue in most cases. It may be interesting to note that lighter colored gneiss tend to be less dense than darker stones and true granites. Most of the stone commercially known as granite are quite hard regardless of their density and will be fairly scratch resistant.
Marble simply evolved from limestone (by a metamorphic process that develops the veining, color, and texture) composed primarily of calcite and dolomite. The coloration of marble is due to the presence of other minerals in the stone. Some minerals and colors they produce are listed below.
Mineral: Hematite is Coloration: Red
Mineral: Biopsied is Coloration: Blue
Mineral: Serpentine is Coloration: Green
Mineral: Limonite is Coloration: Yellow
Some marbles can be as dense and or denser than some of the granites. This makes them more stain resistant, however even the densest marbles are not as hard as granites. So marble is more prone to scratches. Also since marble is polished by a chemical reaction, the polish can be removed by chemical reactions. This happens primarily by almost any acid (i.e. lemon juice, vinegar, etc.) and is known as etching. By honing marble the potential of etching can be reduced (especially for lighter colored marbles) and if necessary can be easily buffed out by the homeowner.
Limestones & Travertines
Both these stones are sedimentary stones. While limestone is composed primarily of calcium carbonate (>50%) it contains other minerals too. If the magnesium content is >50% then it is considered a dolomite rather than a limestone. Travertine is a crystalline form of calcium carbonate that develops in layers near cold and warm mineral springs. The holes in the travertine are formed from the percolating action of the mineral springs. The majority of these stones cannot be polished and are delivered with lightly honed finish. Limestones and travertines can both vary greatly in their hardness, density, and porosity.
Schist’s & Soapstone’s
Schist’s are another metamorphic stone. However, schist’s started out as a slate (which metamorphosed from shale and clay) rather than a limestone or sandstone. These stones (schist’s) can be either medium- and/or coarse-grained and sometimes retain the distinct layering of slate. The layers are less likely (depending on the material) to have a natural cleft than slate however due to the metamorphism that has occurred.
Soapstone is a sedimentary stone composed of talc and chlorite. Chlorite is what gives soapstone its green coloring, hence the more chlorite present, the greener the stone will look. Talc is the mineral that will, if not oiled dry out causing the soapstone to become flaky. Talc also gives the soapstone its slippery feel. Soapstone is very dense, but also easy to scratch and carve. It is chemically inert, non-reactive to harsh chemicals, and extremely dense, even denser than granite. It does not stain, and liquid can’t permeate its surface. Soapstone is soft and scratches easily; the scratches will create a patina on its surface over time which should be expected after every day wear. It is the material of choice for chemistry lab countertops and also well suited for ornamental carvings.
Quartzite is hard, dense, and is abrasion and chemical resistant, quartzite is a metamorphic stone where quartz grains originally belonging to sandstone have recrystallized.
Onyx is a sedimentary stone formed in caves from microcrystalline quartz building up to being stalactites and stalagmites. It is more fragile than other types of stone, vulnerable to both chemical and abrasive deterioration, and therefore more suitable for low traffic areas or vertical applications. It is admired for its translucency and breath taking beauty can be magnified by backlight. With colors ranging from white, to honey colored neutrals, to stunning blues, greens, red, and gold.