Will My Countertops Have a Seam?

Will My Countertops Have a Seam?

For most natural stone kitchen countertops, seams — places where two individual stones are joined together — are often unavoidable. That sometimes seems strange to customers when they see the huge piece of stone their countertop will be made from. Can’t it just be cut in one piece? For smaller surfaces, like a bathroom vanity top, a seamless countertop is usually possible. However, larger kitchen countertops present more of a challenge. Let’s go over why seams are often necessary and how good stone fabricators can minimize their appearance.

Why seams?

For starters, natural stone (particularly granite) is quarried in 10-foot blocks. If you have a small kitchen countertop or just need a straight slab, it might be possible to cut it in one continuous piece. It really depends on the size of the countertop, the dimensions of the entryway and workplace, and also how many cutouts the stone will have. Cutouts, which you’d need for a sink or a cooktop, weaken the stone and can make the slab prone to breaking if it throws off the weight distribution of the piece. In this case, seams may be necessary to ensure the stone doesn’t break apart.

These considerations are especially important for L-shaped countertops. These pieces almost always need to be cut in at least two pieces, which can be done in a few different ways. Sometimes the stone will be cut on either side of the corner, making two distinct rectangular pieces and a single short, straight seam. In other instances, the stone will be cut on a 45-degree angle from the corner, which creates a mitered seam. If the fabricator can get away with it, the seams may be placed in a more inconspicuous place, such as in sink cutouts, under a cabinet, or near a column.

Another factor that will impact how and where your seams are placed is the pattern and coloring of the stone itself. Stones that have fine graining and more consistent, even color are easiest to seam, especially if the stone is dark. The epoxy used to fill the seams is tinted to match the color of the stone, and since the epoxy itself usually has a yellowish tinge to it, it can be difficult to color-match on lighter slabs.

Slabs that have large swaths of color, wider ranges of color and intricate veining can be much more difficult to seam. In order to make the two pieces look as continuous as possible, the fabricator needs to make sure that the color is relatively continuous from one piece to the next and that the veining and coloration continue to flow as naturally as possible. The pieces will look very distinct and somewhat sloppy and mismatched if the color changes dramatically between seams, or if the veining or patterning changes abruptly. While it’s not always easy to make a completely flawless transition, a reputable fabricator will do his or her best to make it look like one continuous piece of stone.

How is the seam sealed?

As we said above, the two pieces of stone will be joined and filled by an epoxy resin, which is colored to match the stone. If the stone has a lot of color variation, the fabricator may opt to use a clear resin or will use multiple colors to try to make the seam as invisible as possible. Generally, a seam should be less than 1/16th of an inch wide, and special machinery will be used to join and hold the two pieces to make the seam as narrow and tight as possible. After the epoxy is applied, any excess will be removed and the seam will be smoothed down.

Seams are often a necessary part of a quality natural stone countertop. Although you may worry that the seam will be obvious, a good fabricator knows how to make them nearly invisible. If you’re worried about how and where your countertop will be seamed, make sure you discuss your options with the fabricator to determine what will be the best option for your particular piece of stone.

 

Information provided by lgsgranite.com

National Donut Day

Happy National Donut Day!

Did you know that marble counters are beloved by bakers because it is ideal for keeping dough from sticking — particularly when you’re not keen on adding too much extra flour?

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Marble maintains a consistent temperature of approximately 62˚F, which makes it ideal for handling otherwise sticky items, such as dough and chocolate, that require cool temperatures to properly be worked with. If you’re an avid baker, it’s an essential tool to have in your kitchen. It will keep the dough cool, is nonporous (when properly sealed), resistant to bacteria, and it’s easy to clean and maintain although there is plenty of debate about how good marble countertops are when it comes to staining and durability. 

For many many years Europeans have used and loved white marble countertops for kitchen baking surfaces, understanding that the tops naturally age with use. In fact, they take much pride in the look and feel of their aged marble as they should, a well-aged marble countertop is like a well-aged wine – both are quite rare and valuable.  Although Europeans embrace the “aging” of their marble countertops, they also take great steps to ease the process by taking care of their surfaces.
To maintain the look of a beautiful white marble countertop, as seen in many European kitchens and magazines today, we recommend avoiding polished marbles for baking surfaces or entertainment areas and instead choose marble that has been honed (a matte or unpolished finish).  In addition, you should clean your white marble baking surface soon after use to avoid staining.
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Let’s talk surfaces! Not looking for marble? No problem! We also fabricate granite and quartz. Give us a call at 423-332-6540 to discuss all your options!

Decorating Small Spaces with Stone Remnants

Do you have a small space decorating challenge? Maybe a small bathroom countertop that really needs to POP? Or a pass-through between two living areas that could be a little wider (and more useful)?

We have a large variety of granite, marble, and quartz remnants available that can really make your small space one of a kind!

What is a remnant? 

A remnant is a term that refers to the leftovers stone manufacturers, such as us, are left with after cutting slabs for large countertops. Remnants are not suitable if you’re looking to re-do a whole kitchen work area, but they do have many other uses such as :

  • Kitchen Islands
  • Bathroom Vanities
  • TV alcoves – class it up with a bowed-front-edge
  • Built-in cabinets in a hallway
  • Topping short bookcases (anchored well to the walls!)
  • Shower bench seats and shower thresholds

Granite remnants can be a very cost-effective way to add class and a top grade material to many common home improvements.

Give us a call today at (423) 332-6540 and come by to check out our collection of stone remnants that can make your small space decorating job easy, fun and FABULOUS!

Bianco Antico Bathroom Install

 

Bianco Antico is a Brazilian granite that is loaded with character. The overall appearance is not uniform and the large grey / brown mineral deposits that are scattered all over the stone are easily visible. 

When you combine with dark cabinets, the contrast is very strong between the light granite and the cabinets. However, thanks to the stunning brown minerals throughout the entire stone, the countertops feel like they tie in with the room and do not look too stark.

Here’s a great example –  check out what it brings to the table in this stunning bathroom that we recently installed!

 

This color and more in stock now! Call or stop by with your measurements for a free estimate!

11280 Wall St. Soddy-Daisy, TN 37379 // 423-332-6540

FAQ Friday : Granite and Heat Resistance

A frequently asked question we get is:

Can I place a hot pot directly onto my granite countertop?

Here’s what we tell our customers:

Every once in a while, your granite countertop will be able to handle a dish taken directly out of a hot oven, but repeated exposure to high temperatures can eventually lead to discoloration of the stone or sealer or gouges in an extreme scenario. Granite is one of the most durable countertop materials you could choose for your workspace.

A major factor is a difference in temperature between the hot item and the cold surface of the granite countertop. The average house sits around 73 degrees Fahrenheit versus a pan out of the oven is generally going to be 350-500 degrees. This quick temperature shift of the counter can cause shock, which can cause cracks and/or chipping.

The best way to avoid damaging the surface of your granite kitchen countertop is to appreciate its durability – not take advantage of it. In other words, appreciate the fact that an occasional oversight will not harm the countertop. But do not assume that constant abuse will be forgiven, avoid placing hot pots or pans directly onto the surface when= possible. Have a trivet accessible when cooking to act as a barrier between hot pots and granite countertops.

Besides protecting your investment of new granite countertops, there are also several other reasons why Granite and Marble Creations recommends using hot plates or trivets. Hot pots or pans may take off the protective coat of sealant from the surface, especially with continued exposure, making your countertop vulnerable to future stains. Your granite will also pull heat away from things, such as a hot casserole dish, causing the dish and food to cool more quickly.

Feel free to call us at Granite and Marble for any assistance you may need in Chattanooga, TN area.

423-332-6540

The wonders of natural stone…

We find it humbling to be chosen for the ability to work with the glory of the natural world and bring a tiny sliver to brighten the homes and businesses of our own region.  The natural designs with the veins of color and shimmer in natural stone are breathtaking and leave us with a sense of respectful wonder.  It is an honor to be able to share this beauty with our clientele.