Frequently Asked Questions
Click on the Frequently Asked Question below to reveal its answer:
- Where does natural stone come from?
- How is engineered stone made?
- What is the difference between marble, granite, limestone and travertine?
- Is marble more expensive than granite?
- How much is a granite benchtop per square metre?
- Can I use marble on my kitchen counters, or should I use granite?
- Can I use limestone in my kitchen?
- Why is granite good for kitchen counters?
- Can granite be damaged?
- Can I cut on my granite countertop?
- Are Granite stains permanent?
- Is limestone soft and chalky?
- Is it necessary to seal your stone?
- Does the sealer change the surface or look of the stone?
- How do I clean and take care of my stone?
- What sizes do tiles come in?
- In general, is the use of stone considered a good value for the money?
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does natural stone come from?
Picture of a quarry - click for larger image Stone comes from quarries (pictured on the right). A quarry is an open excavation or pit in a mountain from which stone is obtained by digging and cutting. This produces large blocks of stone, which are then sliced into sheets called slabs. Slabs are then polished on one side, which brings out the colour in the stone. Slabs coming from one block will be quite similar in colour and veinage. Slabs are a standard 20 or 30mm thick, however thicker slabs can be ordered.
How is engineered stone made?
Many different companies around the world make their own blend of stone. Each uses a combination of quartz, binding agents and colours. Please see Engineered Stone for more information.
What is the difference between marble, granite, limestone and travertine?
Please click on Stone Gallery to see the difference.
Is marble more expensive than granite?
There is a wide range of prices for marbles, limestone and granites with a lot of overlap. Cost of stone is determined not by type of stone or the look. Cost is mostly determined but by availability of material from quarries, accessibility and shipping costs. As a guide, mid-ranged priced granite and marble are similar in price.
How much is a granite benchtop per square metre?
Giving a square metre rate on a custom made job is inaccurate. The cost is effected by: material costs, edging and surface finishes, cut-outs, splashbacks, transporation and fixing costs. The best way to obtain a price is giving us a plan of your job, either in person or by fax.
Can I use marble on my kitchen counters, or should I use granite?
Yes, you can use marble, so long as it is sealed. The concern here is that because marbles (and limestone and travertine) contain calcium carbonate, the polished surface is more vulnerable to household acids including vinegar, mustard, citrus and a host of other food-related products. Additionally, marble and limestone can be scratched more easily than harder stones such as granite. However marble is still a very strong surface when compared to other materials.
This said, marble is still an excellent hygienic surface for kitchens.
The choice is a balance between aesthetics and practicality. If you seal and take care of your marble kitchen, then there is less of a chance of damage. The other choice is a engineered stone, giving choice of marble looking stone, with a very durable surface.
Can I use limestone in my kitchen?
Like marble, polished limestone is subject to surface changes or damage from kitchen acids including citrus juices, vinegars, mustards, and so forth. Unsealed, some of the more porous limestones can be subject to stains. All limestone benches leaving our factory are sealed, and we recommend resealing it with HMK S34 on a yearly basis.
Why is granite good for kitchen counters?
Because granite is a very hard stone that is formed at very high temperatures deep in the earth, its polish is not subject to etching by household acids, or scratching by knives and pots and pans. It’s unaffected by typical kitchen heat such as hot pans, or spilled liquid.
Can granite be damaged?
Like any solid surface, high impact blows can harm granite. Because of its crystalline structure, it can chip if subjected to sharp hard objects. Unsealed, granite can absorb stains such as oil, which can ultimately cause dark spots or discoloration. Heat from pots and pans or burning liquids will not affect granite under normal circumstances.
Can I cut on my granite countertop?
Only if you want to ruin your good knives. Always chop on a chopping board, its common sense.
Are Granite stains permanent?
Most stains can be removed. Even oil stains can usually be removed using a poultice or paste that will draw out the oil from the stone.
Is limestone soft and chalky?
No, not at all. There are some limestones that are very hard and dense, nearly as hard and resistant as granite, and extremely non-porous. Keep in mind, though, that these very hard limestones are still calcium-based and, if polished, are subject to damage from household acids.
Is it necessary to seal your stone?
Natural stone has been formed over millions of years but improper care can ruin nature's beauty. Although we usually think of stones as a hard material, it is a porous material that can absorb spills and stains if untreated. Sealing your stone with a quality impregnating sealer, such as HMK S34 will minimize the chance most spills from damaging your investment. However note that sealers are not a permanent means to preventing potential stains.
Does the sealer change the surface or look of the stone?
A sealer such as HMK S34 is a penetrating impregnator, meaning the sealer is absorbed by the stone and sits below the surface of the stone. It therefore does not effect the surface, unlike lacquer treatment.
How do I clean and take care of my stone?
Keeping your stone free of dust and sand will minimise any scratches and wear-patterns that can develop from everyday use of some natural stone, such as marble and limestone. Sweep or dust all natural stone surfaces regularly to remove loose soil and dust.
Clean your natural stone on a regular basis with warm water and a clean, non-abrasive cloth, sponge or mop. In addition, using a pH neutral cleaner specially formulated for natural stone will help remove soils that normal dusting or damp mopping leave behind.
A quality cleaner such as HMK R55 can be used at full strength or diluted depending on what level of cleaning is required. This cleaner is developed especially for natural stone and tile care.
Do not use general purpose cleaners or you may damage your stone. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar, or other acids as these may etch the stone surface and damage the polish. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.
What sizes do tiles come in?
Please click on tiles to see the range of sizes.
In general, is the use of stone considered a good value for the money?
All surface finishes, whether they be timber, stainless steel or stone will range in costs. Regardless of its finish or shine, marble creates an immediate impression of elegance. Today, the presence of marble or other stone anywhere in a residential or commercial property is a plus on the real estate agents checklist. A marble foyer or bathroom makes a tangible contribution to the value of one's property.