Design and Fabrication Considerations for Granite and Marble Countertops
Granite and marble are popular options for countertop surfaces. They are both natural stones that offer unique characteristics and bring value to your home. When deciding which stone material to use for your project, there are some design and fabrication considerations you should be aware of. Granite and marble have very different qualities and characteristics that may make one more practical than the other in certain situations.
Granite and Marble Countertop Design
In order to properly fabricate your stone slab, you must articulate a cohesive design that fits your space. Once you create a space that is functional and flows, you can decide on your stone.
Working with a design consultant can help to provide insights and understanding of what stone will perform best in the space it is being designed to fit. Usage and practicality are design factors that need to be considered when deciding between granite and marble countertops.
Design Considerations for Granite Countertops
Prior to choosing a stone, you should understand its strengths and weaknesses. Granite is a popular option for countertops because it offers:
- Heat resistance
- Easy maintenance
- Availability in an array of colors
When in doubt, go with granite. In terms of design and usage, granite has few limitations. With a high-end sealant, your granite is not susceptible to liquids or staining, making it perfect for interior or exterior applications. It is one of the hardest and most heat resistant elements on earth. Granite can be used anywhere, including in kitchens, bathrooms, powder rooms, and for outdoor spaces.
Granite can be kept clean with warm soap and water or a stone intended cleaner. Aside from a good sealant and typical cleanup, granite countertops do not require much preventative maintenance.
The variations of granite slabs are limitless. Each stone slab is truly unique because of how it formed from the earth. Contrary to what you may think, not all granite has the typical speckle look. Granite comes in nearly any color or pattern, so you have the freedom to choose a slab that fits your design style.
Design Considerations for Marble Countertops
Many people are incorporating marble in their stone projects. Marble is modern and elegant, offering:
- Timeless beauty
- Added value
Marble is typically white with gray and neutral veining throughout. It can complement a white aesthetic or create a beautiful contrast with dark or bold colors in your design. Marble is an investment that adds value to your space and overall appeal.
With regular maintenance and upkeep, marble can be used for kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, fireplace surrounds, or other stone applications. Similar to granite, marble is heat resistant to an extent. It does not easily scratch or chip. However, depending on its use and place, it may or may not be feasible for everyone.
Marble has some downsides when it comes to practicality. Marble is extremely porous and can be stained from substances such as wine, spaghetti sauce, lemon juice, or other acidic liquids. Spills and messes must be cleaned promptly. For this reason, you should clean your marble countertops regularly and apply a stone sealant often.
Before choosing between granite and marble countertops, you should keep in mind the expectations for marble and consider its usage.
Stone fabrication is the process of cutting and shaping quarried stone slabs into unique specifications to fit a space or surface. The process itself is performed by a team of professional fabricators and requires special tools and equipment.
Different stones may react slightly differently when they undergo the fabrication process. Stone fabrication is an extensive process and is generally the same for all stones. However, certain slabs in some stones such as granite and marble have characteristics that may make certain fabrication techniques slightly different depending on the slab of stone and its mineral make-up.
Fabrication Considerations for Granite Countertops
Some stones, such as granite, are harder than others and can be easily cut and shaped. Granite is relatively easy to fabricate because it does not easily chip or crack. Most granite slabs can be cut with a water jet saw or bridge saw machine.
The ability for these high tech and specialized machines to cut stones such as granite, has allowed fabricators to reshape stone into almost any design. Granite does not have many limitations when it comes to its fabrication process, which makes it a great choice for all stone projects.
Granite Edge Profiles
Granite countertops can be given just about any edge profile. It is the perfect stone for a straight or mitered waterfall edge. However, there are few granites that you cannot fabricate certain edges on. A schist granite is extremely difficult to give a chiseled edge or sharp defined edge due to its mica content. It could easily chip and begin to flake out while being cut and reshaped. If you have a specific edge in mind for your stone countertops or application, make sure it’s achievable for your slab in particular.
When it comes to the finish on your granite countertops, there are many to choose from. Textured finishes for granite include polished, leathered, tumbled, and honed.
Fabrication Considerations for Marble Countertops
Natural stones come from places all over the world and are classified by their mineral makeup. Marble is a natural stone that is primarily made up of grains and minerals such as calcite, dolomite and limestone. Due to the different formation processes of marble, some marbles may be softer than others. For this reason, your marble slab may not be able to undergo certain fabrication techniques.
Marble Edge Profiles
Marble is an elegant stone that looks beautiful with a traditional ogee edge or modern beveled edge. Marble is often used for sculpting and can be cut and carved into all different shapes. However, you should know that there are some soft and sugary marbles that you would not be able to give a mitered edge to because they would crumble at the fine point of the cut.
Marble can be given finishes such as polished, honed, leathered, and tumbled. A polished finish creates a beautiful shine while a honed finish creates depth in your stone. The textured finish of your marble can completely transform its appearance and feel.
Finding the Right Fabricator for Your Project
First and foremost, it’s important to find a fabricator who knows what they are doing and how to handle the type of stone being used in your project. There are many fabricators who work with natural stones, but few fabricators use the new and advanced machinery that is necessary to create clean cuts and edges.
With all the natural stones out there, it’s tough to know all of their limits, so fabricators must take it slab by slab. Natural stones are made up of different minerals and elements that make cutting certain slabs intricate and complex. Not every stone slab is the same, and it takes an expert fabricator to understand the stone slab being worked on and how it may react when it undergoes its fabrication process.
Some jobs are more technique sensitive and require special tools or equipment. Popular trends such as full stone slab kitchen islands and shower surrounds are not doable by all fabricators. Not all fabricators have the machinery and ability that allows them to handle full stone slabs without cutting them because of difficulties related to lifting, moving, transporting and installing them. Be sure your fabricator is qualified for the job and be picky choosing the right one.
We Design and Fabricate Granite and Marble Countertops
From concept to fabrication to installation and completion, Granite and Marble Designs can work with you to achieve your stone design. We design and fabricate granite and marble countertops using the most high tech and advanced machinery.
Request a quote or call us to schedule a walk-through of our warehouse and brand new showroom.