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 often entered the stone during this process, creating an infinite variety of colors, asters, and veining. Marble is a lot like snowflakes, no two pieces are exactly alike.
Granite is a 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 inside, where it slowly cooled and crystallized, resulting in a very uniform, speckled stone that ranges in color from black and gray tones to pinks, browns, and reds.
Marble and Granite is quarried through-out the world with a large portion of it shipped to Italy, the hub of the world for the natural stone industry. Once in Italy, a gang saw is used to slice the large blocks into 314" and 1-1/4" thick slabs. The faces of these slabs are then polished to a high gloss finish. The slabs then get crated in the original order in which they were cut from. Each crated bundle contains approximately 8-12 slabs. Once they are crated they await shipment to fabricators around the world.
It depends on the effects you want to achieve and how much use or abuse the stone will be subjected to.
Marble is the most elegant and luxurious of stones. Marble's beauty will last for generations. It is versatile enough for use throughout the house, such as fireplace facings, ornamental furnishings, walls and window sills.
Marble shines best in the bath. You can use it on almost every surface, including vanities, shower walls, tub decks and flooring.
Granite is striking, functional and durable. These traits make granite ideal for kitchen counter tops, accents islands, bar tops and everyday dining tables.What About Cost?
Initially marble and granite may cost more than other solid surfaces, but price must be weighed against performance. The durability and longevity of marble and granite will make any additional cost average out over time.
Marble and granite are far more valuable than synthetics in much the same way that diamonds are more valuable than rhinestones. The natural depth and character cannot be matched by any man-made surface. Natural stone does not depreciate with time and adds value to your home.Why Should I Choose Marble or Granite Rather Than One of the New Synthetics?
Because even the finest synthetics can't match natural stone's:
• Beautiful range of
colors and textures
How are Marble and Granite Tops Fabricated and Installed?
Marble and granite surfaces should always be fabricated by skilled stone cutters and installed by specialists.
In the fabrication shop, the stone is cut to size from slabs that average 4' x 8' for marble, and 5' x 9' for granite and 3/4" in thickness.
The front edge of the counter top is normally built up to 1-1/2" by cutting and folding the 3/4" stone to the underside, creating a book-matched edge. This edge is then epoxied and clamped to create a very fine seam that is virtually unseen. A shaping wheel is then used to accomplish specified edge details. (Full Bullnose, Half Bullnose, Ogee, etc.) Under-mount sinks are milled using stone routers which follow templates supplied by the sink manufacturer. Unique shapes and radius' are achieved by using specialized equipment in the shop.
All fabricated tops are delivered to job sites on designated installation dates. The installation crew requires 2-3 men due to the weight of the natural stone pieces. Granite countertops are placed using a silicone adhesive, then shimmed and leveled. Joints are then pressed tightly together and filled with a silicone based caulk. This prevents any liquids or build up from penetrating into the seamed areas. Drop in sinks and cook tops, are cut and finished on site. Undermount sinks are finished in the fabrication shop and fastened at job site. The new counter tops are then cleaned and waxed. Our customers receive a complimentary can of spray wax, and instructions on the care and use of the new stone surface.
Do Marble and Granite Require Special Care?
Marble and granite are easier to maintain then you'd expect. Warm water and a soft cloth clean up most spills on both surfaces.
• Marble - Special Precautions:
Marble isn't quite as worry-free as granite. It has a softer, less stain-resistant surface than granite and should be treated like a fine piece of wood. Spills should be wiped up immediately, coasters should be placed under beverages to avoid staining and etching. Marble is especially susceptible to damage from citric acids, alcohol's, and oils. With proper care it's beauty will last for generations.
• Granite - Special Precautions:
Granite is a worry-free surface, requiring few special precautions. It is extremely durable, stain resistant and easy to care for. Hot pots and pans won't damage it. It won't chip, crack, or scratch under normal use. Cutting boards are recommended when slicing bread, meats, or vegetables to protect your knifes from becoming dull!
All marble and granite fabricated through the shop is sealed using HMK S-34 Silicone Impregnator. This creates an invisible below surface seal which adds an extended resistance to water and grease, and has no effect on the stone's natural appearance.
Routine maintenance should include dry dusting with a soft cloth as needed. A weekly application of a silicone spray wax to clean and enhance shine. Silicone Impregnator may be applied annually.
A full line of HMK Stone Care Products are available for your convenience. Please contact your marble/granite dealer with any maintenance questions or if irregular conditions occur.