Monthly Archives: October 2018

Do Natural Stone Countertops Have a Low Carbon Footprint?

stone countertop samples

Lower Your Carbon Footprint with Natural Stone Countertops

Looking to lower the carbon footprint of your upcoming kitchen or bath redesign? Natural stone countertops make for a green investment, with minimal environmental impact and none of the pollution-inducing off-gassing of commonly fabricated products.

Minimal Manufacturing

Natural stone such as granite, marble, quartzite, limestone, and soapstone, mined from solid rock, are sliced with diamond-tipped blades, then polished. Unlike man made laminate countertops and some engineered stones, the amount of energy used to craft the natural stone slabs for use as countertops is far less, producing relatively few carbon emissions.

Lasting Durability

Beautiful, safe, and relatively easy to maintain, stone countertops have many lasting attributes. With an enviably long lifespan of 30-50+ years, a natural stone counter is likely the last countertop you’ll ever have to buy – especially when compared to the frequent replacement, waste, and exponentially increased carbon footprint of downtrodden laminate. Changing tastes? Upcycle your stone and let someone else put it back into action.

No VOCs

Unlike the pollutants found in a wide range of building materials including laminate countertops, natural stone countertops won’t negatively impact your home’s indoor air quality, and concerns over radon have long since been debunked.

How Can You Ensure the Greenest Natural Stone Purchase Possible?

  • Shop local.
    Ask your premium stone retailer about countertop options sourced closest to you. Choosing a slab sourced closer to home minimizes the impact of carbon from transportation, making natural stone an increasingly green investment.
  • Make use of ‘waste.’
    Consider natural stone tile, which is made from the production remnants or natural stone slabs, resulting in less energy use in production, and minimize waste for disposal. If you opt for slabs instead, don’t toss off-cuts. Instead, repurpose waste cuts for other applications, such as seating, tabletops, or matching cutting boards.
  • Use a non-toxic sealer.
    Talk to your natural stone fabricator about low-VOC, non-toxic sealer options suited to your installation that won’t off-gas harmful pollutants into your home (and ultimately the environment).
  • Recycle.
    If your tastes changes, don’t toss your countertops. Keep them out of the local landfill by selling or donating them, allowing someone else to give them a new life.

Shop local. View the stunning natural stone collection at your area Granite Imports today.

Create a Show Stopping Centerpiece: Book-Matching Natural Stone

Looking for a stunning centerpiece? Book-matched natural stone slabs deliver. Achieved by merging two adjoining slabs in a book-like fashion, symmetrically matching patterns and veining so that slabs mirror one another, though industry-insiders are well aware of this technique, sadly, many end customers remain ignorant of its eye-catching potential. Best displayed in large open areas such as kitchen and dining room feature walls and shower and fireplace surrounds, book-matched slabs look like abstract art, showcasing patterns, shapes, and imagery for a riveting effect.
book matching stone slabs

How is Book-Matching Done?

When slabs of stone are cut, similar to the way a loaf of bread is sliced, they are typically laid flat for polishing, then bundled together in the same order. However, when slabs are book-matched, instead of polishing the same side of each slab, the slabs are butterflied and alternated for polishing on opposite sides. (The first slab polished on the front, the next polished on the back.) Thus, when placed next to one another, they open like a book, creating a mirror image design much like the open wings of a butterfly. In some instances, slabs can also be quad-matched or diamond-matched, merging four adjoining slabs to create a symmetrical ‘X’ or diamond shape.

book matching stone slabs

Can Any Stone Be Book-Matched?

While most stones can be book-matched, not all are ideal candidates. Talk to your natural stone supplier or fabricator for help identifying slabs that achieve optimal book-matching results, which typically include a few variants of granite and marble. For top book-matching results, slabs should be only of the finest quality and purchased in sequential order for close veining alignment. Uniformly patterned stones will not suffice. The best stones for book-matching feature strong veining, swirls, streaks, and waves, which when book-matched, highlight the naturally occurring beauty of the stone.

book matching stone slabs

Top Book-Matching Applications Include…

Book-matched stones should be showcased in large spaces, shining center stage in applications such as…

  • Feature walls
  • Full-height backsplashes
  • Kitchen islands
  • Open-plan showers and baths
  • Fireplace surrounds

Book-Matching Cost

Due to layout restrictions and subsequent waste, book-matching is often more expensive. There is typically only one layout option, and consulting an experienced fabricator prior top purchasing and installing a book-matched slab for your installation is strongly recommended. On the plus side, any off-cuts are easily used for other projects or areas in the room, such as backsplashes, seats, and table/vanity tops.

Searching for a stunning slab for use in a book-matched centerpiece? Gain inspiration for your next project or get the help you need identifying prime candidates for top book-matching results from the experts at your area Granite Imports today.

Countertop Spotlight: Tips for Using Granite Outdoors

granite countertop outdoor kitchenGranite’s stylish looks and array of colors and patterns make the stone a longstanding favorite for both indoor and outdoor counter and tabletop use. But just how tough is this revered stone? Granite Imports takes a closer look into what granite slabs will stand up to, helping you with tips for ensuring the lasting looks and beauty of your granite season-to-season, year-after-year…

Granite vs. the Weather

Eco-friendly and naturally durable, granite is capable of standing up to sun, rain, snow, and wind. Working in conjunction with Mother Nature, sunshine and rain will naturally wash away stains from food. Unlike other natural stones, such as marble, which will naturally weather and lose their shine when used outdoors, granite maintains its luster, its variety of finishes standing up to the abuse of time and weather with proper care.

Granite vs. Sunshine & Heat

Granite slabs can withstand extreme temperatures including sunshine as well as the heat from a grill or fireplace. But this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to leave granite countertops exposed to the sun. Shading your kitchen area and countertops with a pergola or awning will ensure a surface that isn’t hot to the touch on a hot summer afternoon. Overheated countertop surface? Cool carefully with lukewarm water to avoid rapid temperature changes that could cause hot granite to crack.

Granite vs. Snow, Sleet & Freezing Temperatures

As with sun exposure, minimizing exposure to snow and sleet will help prolong the life of your counters. As the Colorado area is also at the mercy of frequent cycles of freezing and thawing, take care with installation, relying on the professional expertise that includes adequate space for expansion and contraction that could negatively impact the stone.

Granite vs. Maintenance Effort

Simply hose-off your granite countertops before and after use, relying on a non-abrasive detergent to remove food and outdoor buildup from pollen, dirt, and outdoor grime. Protect against spills such as those from wine or mustard with regular sealing. Want to extend the use of your outdoor granite countertops? Keep countertops covered when they are not in use, or consider a covered outdoor kitchen design, such as a pergola or awning. Though granite easily stands up to the elements, protecting the stone from the wear of weather such as sun, rain, hail, and snow will extend its longevity.

Premium Granite vs. Cut-Rate Imitations

Geologically speaking, many stones qualify for classification as granite, so doing your homework before investing in a slab is key to maximizing return-on-investment. As with many purchases, you get what you pay for, with substandard stone wearing far faster than premium natural stone options.

Which Granite Slab Shade is Right for Your Outdoor Kitchen? (use the product search feature)

  • Monte Cristo
    Veins of jet black against a soft white backdrop provide dramatic flair.
  • Black Pearl
    The matte or brushed finish of Black Pearl Granite emanates elegance. Consider coverage with these darker shades, however.
  • Luna Pearl
    Shimmery and opalescent, Luna Pearl adds luxurious looks.
  • Santa Cecilia
    A popular stone for nearly a decade, its rich brown tones and blacks accents add just the right amount of movement.
  • Bianco Antico
    The perfect balance of light and dark, this stone works well with a variety of kitchen tones.

Looking for ways to maximize your granite countertop investment? Granite Imports is here to help, with the latest industry information and access to an array of stunning, premium natural stone. Shop our amazing selection in-store or online today.

What’s the Best Stone for My Outdoor Kitchen?

best stone for an outdoor kitchenSearching for the best stone for an outdoor kitchen addition? Outdoor kitchens materials require careful selection and attention to detail to ensure they not only stand up to frequent use, but also the rigors of the outdoor environment. Which stones are capable of taking on such a gargantuan task?

Granite

The toughest natural stone countertop option for your outdoor kitchen, granite offers both looks and durability, coming in an array of color and pattern options. Though the stone does require regular sealing, it won’t fade or lose it shine. Granite also readily stands up to stains as well as the abuse of weather, and does not scratch or etch as easily as other natural stones.

Quartzite

Another great countertop contender for your outdoor kitchen, quartzite slabs bear similar qualities to granite, offering a hard, durable surface that can stand up to heavy use and the outdoor environment with very little fuss.
NOTE: Be careful not to confuse this stone with engineered quartz, which is a manmade stone that is not compatible with outdoor use.

Soapstone

Porous, like other stone options, soapstone slabs can make a beautiful addition to any patio kitchen when properly maintained. What does soapstone maintenance involve? Whether it is used inside or outside, keeping this natural stone properly oiled or sealed is recommended to prevent darkening from spills and fingerprints. Another plus: Soapstone stands up to heat and staining well. It does, however, scratch a bit more easily than other stone options, though these blemishes can be easily sanded out.

Limestone

On par with soapstone, limestone slabs function well as an outdoor kitchen countertop. Like other stone options, it likewise requires regular sealing to guard against darkening from oil and fingerprints, as well as to improve resistance to staining and etching.

Marble

Though it feels hard to the touch, marble slabs are actually softer than other outdoor stone options, such as granite, and will develop a natural patina, weathering over time. This does not have to be a negative thing, as the stone will last for many years to come, however, if you’re looking for a continuously shiny surface, there may be better options to suit your style. Love the patina of weathered marble? Look to honed or tumbled finishes from the start and embrace the aging process, which this rougher finish will help camouflage. Don’t forget regular sealing, however, to ward off etching and stains on this classically beautiful stone.

Ensure a lasting return on your outdoor kitchen addition. Shop the selection of beautiful, durable, premium natural stone at Granite Imports today.