When beginning the process of picking a stone for your home or business, it is important to factor in the different characteristics of the natural stones. Some natural stones are softer than others, which makes the stones more susceptible to etch. The process of etching takes place when there is a reaction between an acidic substance and the calcite and dolomite in a natural stone. There tends to be more calcite and dolomite in marble’s and quartzite’s, which makes those stones more susceptible to etching.
The pictures below show the testing we conducted using lemon juice, which is a commonly used acidic substance. The four samples shown here from left to right are Super White marble, White Carrera marble, Burlesque quartzite, and Taj Mahal quartzite. We sealed the left half with Miracle Sealants Company’s 511 Porous Plus sealer, and kept the right half unsealed.
After we sealed the left half of the samples, we placed a few drops of lemon juice on both sides. The following pictures show the results of leaving the lemon juice sit on the stone for 45 minutes. As you can see, there are etch marks on both sides of the samples. This shows that etching can occur even when the stone is sealed.
In the second picture below are the Super White marble and White Carrera marble with the etch marks on both the sealed and unsealed sides. Both of these stones are marble, which tends to be softer than granite’s and most quartzite’s.
In the third picture below are the Burlesque quartzite and the Taj Mahal quartzite. In the Burlesque, the etch marks can be clearly seen on both the sealed and unsealed sides of the sample. However, the Taj Mahal quartzite that does not have any etch marks. It is likely that the Taj Mahal is made up of different minerals than the Burlesque, which makes the stone harder than the others.
Outdoor patio with SmartDesign Architecture
Hopefully in Buffalo the weather will begin to change and all the snow will start to become sunshine. With this in mind many people are beginning to plan their outdoor patios, outdoor kitchens, and other outdoor living spaces. When making selections for your outdoor patios their are many things to keep in mind when determine what surfaces to use:
1) The type of stone. Many people like quartz, but for the most part you cannot use it outside. Quartz cannot be used with heat, such as a firepit, and it cannot be exposed to the outdoor elements like rain and sunshine. This is due to the fact that there is dye used to produce the stone and the elements can change the color of the stone. Granite and soapstone are the most recommended for the outside, soapstone being the best material. The soapstone can handle heat the best, where as some granite are too brittle for outdoor use. This is especially important in Buffalo. Buffalo experiences all four season therefore the stone will be expanding and contracting with the weather.
2) Color of the stone should also be taken into account. Black stones can be very HOT during the summer. Think about getting your car in the summer with a leather black interior. Your black granite can be like that outside. Therefore if using black stone make sure it is not in the direct sunlight.
3) Consult your granite sales person/fabricator about the integrity of the stone outside. As mentioned earlier some stones perform better outside than others. Granite with a lot of crystal is not ideal for the outdoors because of the expansion and contraction as mentioned earlier. Let your sales person and fabricator be a part of the conversation when picking the perfect outdoor stone.
4) The temperature outside matters when installing the stone. Certain epoxy and glues only work in certain temperatures. Unfortunately that can mean delaying an install by a day if the the temperature decides to drop below 50 degrees.
5) Lastly, start planning early! If you are thinking you want to use this new outdoor living space for memorial day weekend, make sure you shopping now.
For those of you who are unsure of whether or not marble is the right choice for your kitchen, read this article!
It describes the different ups and downs this homeowner experienced during a year of heavy use of her marble countertops.
Many of our customers that come in wanting to install marble countertops are unaware of the traits of the stone, and what sort of things can happen to it. Marble can be stained, etched, and chipped, but this does not necessarily take away from the beauty of the stone.
In fact, some people want marble for this reason alone. They are excited to watch the marble countertops truly become their own.
This article describes this exact process, and speaks of the challenges and benefits of having marble countertops after a year of daily use.
Marble Countertops: A Year Later
We are wondering what surfaces you like best. Different people have different preferences, and we are curious what you like. So take our survey!
When most people think of a solid surface such as granite they automatically think of a polished looking surface. But, there are different finishes that a stone can have. For example, most marbles we prefer to put a honed finish on because scratches are less noticeable. Honing is a process that we only do to marble.
This is a picture of a honed piece of marble.
Granites can also have a less polished look. This different finish is called antiqued. The antiqued finish has a leathered feel to it. The shine is gone and the stone looks lighter. Also, the antiqued look will also lessen the visibility of small veins through out the stone.
This is a picture of African Tapestry Antiqued. Notice the lack of shine.
These looks can calmer and not as bold as the traditional polished look. They look great and are a wonderful option if you want something a little different.
Onyx is a stone that we just started to see a lot of people using in the last 7 years. We have been installing it in a lot of commercial places, as shown above. The pictures above are from two local restaurants in Buffalo New York, Sea Bar and Mike A’s Steak House. We have also been using it in public bars, but bartenders should be aware of proper cleaning procedures and maintenance.