The Process... The Material... The Quality
If you haven’t already installed stone countertops in your home, you’re most likely a bit behind the times. Very few newly built homes come without some type of natural stone material. According to recent statistics over 80% of homes in the US have a stone countertop material either in the kitchen or bathroom.
The reason? Natural stone is a durable material that is far superior in quality to wood or laminate counters. In terms of design, natural stone is beautiful and as genuine as it gets. On top of all that, it’s an abundant material in the earths crust thus making it an environmentally friendly material that you can be proud of having in your home.
This week we would like to help familiarize you with our process for stone countertop installation & fabrication so that once you are ready to begin your project you’re an expert on the in’s and out’s of it.
Selecting the best material
The best material depends on your taste and unique needs. No one stone is perfect in every situation so it’s important to spend some time learning what the unique characteristics are of each and basing your decision off of that. Let’s dive into the three main options that you have and take a look at what each has to offer… Granite, Quartz, & Marble
Granite countertops are made out of.. granite which is a type of natural stone. It is an igneous rock formed as a result of slow crystallization of magma beneath the earths surface. Basically it is a beautiful crystalized rock formation.
It is harvested from large stone quarries primarily in Brazil however is also found in other areas and certain types of granites are even harvested in China.
Once the granite is cut down into a usable slab form and is prepared to be used as a countertop material it is one of the strongest and most durable stones available on the market. It will resist against staining, etching, and can even withstand high or low temperatures (within moderation and without sudden changes).
Overall it is a wonderful material but the biggest turn off for many homeowners is the difficulty to get one uniform color or look. Each slab of granite is unique and has bizarre crystallization that is entirely random. If you want a more solid one color look… granite is not for you!
Quartz countertops are very similar to granite. The only difference… quartz countertops are engineered (man-made). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing however. The material is compromised of 90% ground quartz (which is a natural stone material) and 10% resins, pigments, and polymers.
It is a fairly environmentally friendly material as it is one of the most common found materials in the earths crust… meaning there is an abundant supply of it. The only negative environmental impact is in the production of the resins and polymers which often can create negative bi-products. Many manufacturers are however certified by GreenGuard as low emitting.
Quartz is a durable and hard material (like Granite) it is not porous and will resists stains and cracks. Quartz unlike granite does come in solid colors and is much more uniform as it is man made and not a naturally crystalized material. This means that as a homeowner you have much more control over design and looks.
Marble is a metamorphic stone (undergone transformation through heat or pressure) that is found most common in Spain and Italy. Like granite it is also found amongst igneous rocks like granite.
Marble is not the most durable stone material available as it has calcium carbonate in it and is often very porous. This means it has a chemical reaction every time it comes in contact with any acid causing staining and etching.
Although marble is a beautiful material in order to keep it in pristine condition you will need to ensure you wash out stains with warm water and dish soap. Be careful not to leave spills unattended and make sure to seal the marble every year or two.
Once you have selected the material you will need to find a fabricator that will be able to help you the rest of the way through your project. First off you will need to have someone come out to measure and template the countertops. The initial measurement will help determine just how much material you need. Since stone can’t just be purchased per square foot (it comes in giant slabs) you will need to see how many slabs will be required for your project.
The initial measurement will help determine the amount of slabs you need, how much fabrication is necessary, how many linear feet of polished edging, amount of sink cutouts and what types, as well as the price for the whole project.
Afterwards a specialist comes out with a laser measuring device to create a template of the future countertops. This template is created to be used as the guide for when actually cutting the stone. To ensure precision and a perfect cutout without any errors.
Even a single error during this process will result in a wasted slab which often costs thousands of dollars. Which is why precision and accuracy is of crucial importance.
Once the template has been created, the stone has been selected and delivered (which is a difficult task because each slab can weigh over 1,000 pounds) the fabrication can begin.
The template that was created in the last step is used to create a perfect cut out from the slab that will be used for your kitchen or bathroom countertop. At Divine Surface we recently acquired a robotic water jet saw that cuts the stone robotically based off of the template eliminating all room for error and ensuring that your stone is cut and installed in your home much quicker than traditionally.
What would take someone almost a full day to cut traditionally will be done by the robotic saw within minutes!!! Take a look.
After the stone is cut to perfection the surface and edges must be polished to a smooth surface that will both look and feel great.
The installation process for stone countertops is fairly simple. The only difficult part about it… the size and weight of the slab. Moving a thousand plus pound piece of rock that is already cut to shape and polished isn’t a simple task.
Installation must be done with great care and attention to detail. The stone whether it be granite, quartz, or marble is carried in and set on top of the ready cabinets or if installing a 2cm thick stone it is placed upon a piece of plywood that is on top of the cabinets.
It is siliconed into place and ready to go. Afterwards any sinks and faucets are installed, also siliconed into place and left to dry.
At this point you now have brand new countertops that are ready to use!
The stone countertop process isn’t very complicated, however it is labor intensive and requires precision and great care to ensure a job done right. In order to get a perfect countertop the material must be without blemish, the template must be accurate, and the fabrication must be flawless.
Each one of these factors requires professional experience and we are working hard to perfect our processes so that we can offer our customers the absolute best service and exceptional countertops every single time!
If you would like to have your new kitchen or bathroom countertops done by Divine visit our stone countertop page and request an in-home consultation.
We look forward to working with you on your next remodel :)
Request an Estimate for your project here!