Created from molten rock, compacted by the weight of the earths crust, granite is one of the most spectacular displays of nature’s beauty.a For thousands of years mankind have been incorporating natural stone into their homes, and now you can do the same. Unlike other work surface materials, granite because of its inherent toughness, is difficult to scratch, extremely hygienic and is virtually maintenance free, making it the not only the most practical but the most luxurious interior and exterior finish. While granite may be more expensive than some other materials, its longevity adds immeasurable value.
What is Granite?
Granite is a naturally occurring igneous stone found in various regions throughout the world. It is a tough composite of minerals, mica, quartz and feldspar, which together form the diverse and beautiful crystalline patterns one sees today. Granite is described as the perfect marriage of strength and beauty, which is found in no other rock. Its strength makes it the second hardest stone after diamonds.
The Versatility of Granite
After granite has been extracted, it is sawn into slabs of different thickness depending on the customer’s specification. Using an alliance of the most modern equipment available and our skilled craftsman, we can offer an infinite range of products, which is only limited by your imagination. Splash backs, upstands and windowsills are usually supplied in 20mm or 30mm thick granite.
Important Facts to be Aware of Before Purchasing Granite
The following characteristics will appear in granite worktops and it is important you are aware of these and accept them before deciding whether granite is the right worktop for you.
Fissures and Pitts
During the natural formation process of the stone, marks are formed, i.e. fissures which are wrongly perceived to be cracks. Pitting is a characteristic of all natural stone surfaces where tiny holes the size of a pinhead appear in the surface of the stone.
Variation in Colour
Like any other natural product, the irregularities and variations in texture, colour and lustre of the stone should not be considered as defects as these are natural characteristics of stone, which gives it its own unique beauty and individuality. It is wise to view the granite slab before it is manufactured as variation from batch to batch is guaranteed. We want you to be totally happy with your new granite worktop. If, however, you feel uncomfortable with the prospect of irregularities appearing in your worktop, we recommend that you arrange with your supplier to visit our factory and view the granite before we cut your worktop. Our helpful staff will be delighted to show you our wide selection and the slab you choose will be the one we process for you. Otherwise, as samples are only representative we reserve the right to choose from the stock available to us at a given time.
Silestone is manufactured by Cosentino, a company at the forefront of quartz design. This material is extremely hard, uniform in colour throughout a slab and manufactured to include microban which makes the counters more germ- resistant. This product is suitable for use throughout the house and comes in a number of finishes. Silestone is the premium brand in quartz material and you should accept no substitutes.
What is Marble?
Marble is a limestone and is not as hard as granite. Recently, its become “in vogue” for kitchen worktops. Marble can certainly be used very successfully as a kitchen worktop but more for the ‘show kitchen’. However, for durability and practicality we would recommend granite or Silestone for the ‘working kitchen’. Marbles are porous and generally lighter in colour making them more susceptible to everyday household stains particularly coffee, citrus fruit, dyes and red wine. Marble is not as hard as granite and therefore is more likely to be scratched. Marble is normally recommended for bathroom vanity units.
As each kitchen is completely unique your worktop area will be templated to get accurate measurements for cutting the stone, so that it fits precisely into position. Your kitchen supplier will usually liase with us when organising templating. We would recommend that you are present at the time of the survey. Sometimes the kitchen supplier will take templates on our behalf. If, however, our surveyor is taking the templates please can you ensure that the following has been prepared for him to avoid delays. It is necessary that all existing worktops be removed before the surveyor arrives. This avoids delaying the surveyor and ensures that templates can be made as accurately as possible. Sinks, taps and hobs must be on-site on the day of templating to record their details. During templating our surveyor may advise that certain preparation work may be required before the stone can be fitted. It is vital that this work is completed before the fitter returns to fit the stone. Generally, he won’t be able to fit the stone unless this work has been carried out. If you are supplying templates to us, please give as much detail as possible including sink and hob cutout dimensions and positioning, tap-hole sizes and positioning, polished edge details and any other relevant information.
The positioning of joints is normally dependent upon the size of the slab available and the layout of the kitchen. Slab lengths in stone are usually 2.5m to 3.0m long so there are usually joints in L-shaped and U-shaped kitchen designs. Positioning of joints can be agreed before production by liasing with our surveyor and your kitchen supplier.
It is compulsory that all worktops/temporary worktops be removed and sinks and hobs disconnected before the stone fitter arrives on-site to fit. Dishwasher and washing machine cavities should have batons placed front and back of the appliances to support the weight of the stone. If a worktop ends against a wall, which doesn’t have a unit fitted underneath, brackets would need to be fitted to the wall in order to support the weight of the stone. If worktops haven’t been prepared properly for the stone, the fitter may not be in a position to fit. This could mean that extra charges could be incurred or there could be a delay in fitting the worktop.
Sinks and Stone Worktops
We recommend that you use under-mounted or Belfast sinks with stone worktops. Any sink deeper than 485mm on a 600mm deep kitchen unit will require the unit to be extended to either 650mm or 700mm deep. This is to prevent the bar at the front and back from weakening and snapping – if the bars are only 80mmwide, there is a greater chance that the pressure of the weight of the granite in this area could cause them to break during handling. Please note: Our fitters will attach and seal under-mounted sinks. Our fitters do not plumb sinks or fit set-on sinks. It is very important that sinks are on site when templating to make sure they will fit properly. If you have a query about any sinks please liase with your kitchen supplier or send details (cut-out dimensions etc.) to us so that we can advise you on its suitability. It is advisable to do this at the design stage to avoid disappointment if the sink needs to be changed.
A recess drainer is produced by grinding into the face of the stone. It can add to the look of a kitchen, providing that finishing touch. However by recessing the stone there may be a variation in colour between the counter top and the area of the recess. This is natural and while the difference is normally minor, it cannot be seen to be a defect in production.
Depending on the size and positioning of a hob cut-out, granite sections may have to be ‘”barred”’ i.e. this is where a small piece of granite is placed front and back of the cut-out. This means that there are two small joints at the back of the hob, and two at the front. Please ask your kitchen supplier to explain this in more detail. Our staff will be happy to discuss in more detail any of the matters which have been outlined above. We hope that we can be of assistance in producing your unique countertop.
Need some advice or a Quotation? Then visit our extensive showroom in Dublin or call us on 01 867 1077. You can also download our information sheet here