Frequently Asked Questions

Many people are unsure about updating their home with granite. Granite is a natural stone that can last a lifetime and is well worth the investment. Being an informed buyer, however, will ultimately save you time and money. In this section we have tried to answer some of the most commonly asked questions in a short, but detailed manner. If you do not find the answer to your question please contact us. We would love the opportunity to help you. Select a question below and click on the plus sign to see the answer:

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1. What is granite?

Granite is igneous rock, which provides a clue to its origins. "Igneous" come from the Latin igneus meaning "fire" (also the root word of ignite) and indicates that it was formed by liquid, fiery magma and melted just like volcanic lava. In fact, its chemical composition is similar to that of lava. However, unlike lava, the molten rock never reached the surface. It solidified deep inside the earth, where it slowly cooled and crystallized. The granite that comes from the Canadian Shield is estimated to be approximately 3.8 billion years old. Splits and rifts caused by the earth's plates shifting (due to seismic activity) forced the granite to the surface in the Precambrian age, more than 570 million years ago. Luckily for us, the Canadian Shield is known around the world for producing some of the most beautiful, durable granite in the world.

2. Granite and marble; how are they different?

Marble is a metamorphic rock. It was once limestone, but over time, the combination of intense heat and pressure caused the limestone to re-crystallize. Foreign substances entering the stone during this process, creates an infinite variety of colors, asters, and veining.

Granite is an igneous rock, which means that at one time during its development, it was melted like volcanic lava. Unlike lava, however, this melted (or molten) rock never reached the surface. It remained trapped below the earths surface, where it slowly cooled and crystallized, resulting in, speckled stone that varies with veining and ranges in many different colours.

3. Is granite indestructible?

No. Nothing is indestructible. But granite is probably the most durable countertop on the market, and with reasonable care should last and be beautiful for a lifetime. Granite is one of the longest lasting and toughest natural stones on the market, making it the perfect choice for any outdoor or indoor project. In 1822, an Austrian mineralogist named Friedrich Moh created a measurement of relative hardness based in a stone's ability to withstand scratches. It looks like this:

  1. Talc
  2. Gypsum
  3. Calcite
  4. Fluorspar
  5. Apatite
  6. Feldspar
  7. Quartz
  8. Topaz
  9. Corundum
  10. Diamond

Because granite is composed of mainly feldspar and quartz, it has an exceptional resistance to scratches, which is why it is chosen for high traffic areas and has been considered one of the best building materials for thousands of years.

4. What makes granite the hardest building stone?

Granite is formed by solidification of liquid magma (molten rock) under the pressure of earth's crust. It is composed of Feldspar, Quartz, Mica, and other minerals, making it one of the hardest stones in the world. It has been used for building and decorative purposes for centuries. Granite resists wear-and-tear applications remarkably well, making it ideal for interior or exterior flooring. When used outdoors, granite's mineralogical structure is not influenced by freeze-thaw cycles. Next to diamond, sapphire, and ruby, granite is the hardest natural product on earth. Once polished, natural granite will maintain its high gloss virtually forever. Normal use of kitchen knives, cutlery, and cookware leaves no scratches. Heat has almost no effect on natural granite, making it much safer than synthetic surfaces with polyesters and resins. Pots and pans heated to 900 degrees Fahrenheit will not dull natural granite's lustrous finish, but the use of trivets is recommended to keep your granite counter clean.

5. Is granite a cost effective choice?

Absolutely. We won't pretend that you don't pay a little more for genuine granite that for other stone options, or man-made materials, however, when you think about granite's incredible ability to last forever as well as resist freeze-thaw cycles, it becomes a smart, sensible choice. Other materials will crumble in high-traffic areas, or deteriorate due to pollution, salt and other urban factors. Granite does not. It combines incredible resistance to wear and tear as well as a natural beauty and charm that other materials simply do no offer.

6. What additional costs are there to purchases?

The provincial Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) of 15% is applicable to all purchases.

7. Does granite stain?

Generally speaking, no. Granite is very stain resistant because of its density and the polishing process also helps to smooth the surface and make it non-porous. Honed granite is not recommended for counters because the unpolished surface remains porous and it will stain easily. Water and oil will soak into anything. Your granite counters have been treated with a high-density impregnator so that water will bead on the surface and not soak in. This impregnator lasts for years and is simple to reapply. Oil and grease should not be allowed to sit on the counter for hours but should be wiped up. If a darker area appears from oil or grease, it can often be reabsorbed by applying baking soda to the area, wetting it and taping plastic overtop to keep it wet overnight.

8. Can I cut on my granite counter top?

The only thing that will cut into or scratch granite is diamond or another piece of granite. You can be rest assured that common kitchen knives and utensils are no match for the absolute hardness of a granite top. Granite is harder than stainless steel and so will not be scratched by most knives, but cutting on granite will dull the knives and shorten their service life. Granite is also scratch resistant because it is so hard. However anything as hard or harder than granite will scratch it. Examples of things that are hard enough to scratch are granite, diamond, and fired ceramics with broken rough edges.

9. Can I set a hot pot on my granite counter top?

Granite is formed by extreme heat and pressure combined beneath the earths crust. It cannot be affected by heat from a cook top or frying pan. A lit flame placed under the granite will have no melting effect and will not leave any burned or scarred marks.

10. How can I make sure my countertop will suit the rest of my decor?

When choosing your countertops remember:

1st Cabinetry
2nd Countertops
3rd. Flooring/Tiles

Because there are limited styles and colours available for cabinetry we recommend when choosing a countertop, to decide upon your cabinet colour and style first, this makes it easier to move on to choosing your countertops. Granite and natural quartz can vary in colour which can slightly alter the look that is desired, so matching your countertops to your cabinets will make it easier for everything to come together. Lastly, choosing from the many varieties of colours and styles in flooring to match your cabinets and counter tops makes it a breeze to bring your decor together.

11. Why choose granite over laminate?

Laminate countertop is a popular and economical countertop choice but has several drawbacks. Because it is manufactured by gluing plastic sheeting to a chipboard base, water can cause laminate to swell if the chipboard gets wet. In addition, hot pots can scorch it, and knives can cut and scratch it. The colour and pattern of a laminate countertop are only on the surface of the countertop, so extended use and time will fade its appearance.

12. How do solid synthetic surfaces like Corian, or Avonite, or engineered stone products like Cambria or Zodiac compare?

Both of these products offer advantages over laminates. Let's look at them individually.
Solid Surface products like Corian or Avonite have an advantage over laminate in that the colour and pattern penetrate the entire thickness of the countertop. As a result they have no chipboard base to get wet and swell and they are available in a wide range of colours and patterns. However, because they are plastic composite, they will burn, and they are soft enough that they can scratch.
Engineered stone countertops like Zodiac and Cambria are made by combining quartz chips in a synthetic binder. The manufacturers of these products claim that, like natural stone, engineered stone will not burn or scratch easily.
Granite is one of the most durable and beautiful materials that can be used in your kitchen or bath. As one of the hardest naturally occurring materials on earth, hot pots will not burn it, and knives won't scratch it. When sealed properly as part of the installation process, it requires very little maintenance. Granite is available in an astonishing range of vivid colours and unique patterns. Combinations that only nature can conceive and industry can only try to imitate. Once found in only the most expensive homes, choosing granite will crown your kitchen project and add lasting value to your home.

9. What maintenance does Granite require?

Your granite countertops will be sealed with a very high quality protective sealer upon installation. This process will help prevent oil, acids and other materials from staining the stone. Some sources advise homeowners to reseal their granite annually. Annual resealing may be more than necessary and so we don't recommend that. Instead, we suggest that homeowners take note when water begins to penetrate the stone instead of beading on the surface. When this happens, simply contact us and we'll arrange for the stone to be re-sealed.

Is there a question here that has not been answered? Please let us know.

Classic Granite Countertops serves Nova Scotia from Bridgewater to Halifax, Mahone Bay, Lunenburg, Chester, Liverpool and beyond.
Copyright 2009 Classic Granite Countertops. All rights reserved.
(902) 527-2425 - Shop Address: 175 Lower Branch Road, Lower Branch, NS B4V 4M5