Q: Will you be creating a lot of mess in my house or driveway?
A: Alexis Granite Design is a custom fabricator of granite, quartz and marble countertops. We generally work with full sized “slabs” of material (approx. 5-6ft high by 9-10ft long) and 3cm (about 1-1/4”) thick. This means every countertop is custom-tailored specifically to your kitchen design, minimizing the amount of seams and maximizing the beauty! We do nearly all of the "messy" fabrication work in our shop, with the exception of small finishing work on-site to make your counters just right. You are guaranteed professional results from the initial design through fabrication and final installation. Watch out for anyone who says they will do work in your driveway off the back of their pickup truck. They may seem like a bargain at first, but will cut corners on the construction of your counters, and once they leave the premises you may never see them again if there is a problem.
Q: Will my countertop have visible seams?
A: Most kitchen countertop installations will require at least one or more joints called seams. During layout and design, Alexis Granite Design will always try to minimize the number of seams required and intentionally locate seams in places which make them less conspicuous. We have specialty seam grinding equipment in our shop and special seam setting tools that are used during installation. Finally, Alexis Granite Design installers are trained to color-match the joint filler material to enhance their appearance.
Q: Are there special cleaning requirements for granite and quartz countertops?
A: Maintenance of granite and quartz surfaces is easy. For daily cleaning, a non-abrasive dishwashing liquid is recommended. Although granite is very solid and nearly non-porous, spills left on the surfaces for an extended time period may leave some residual staining - even if sealed properly. Most stains usually dissipate over time on their own. If immediate removal is desired, a stain-lifting poultice powder can be used. Quartz surfaces such as Caesarstone and Silestone are billed as maintenance-free and do not require sealing – otherwise they feature the same ease of daily cleaning as granite. Marble, because of its mineral makeup, requires a bit more care and maintenance, although in a bathroom which is where we typically install marble surfaces, there are few issues.
Q: How often do I need to re-apply stone sealer to granite?
A: It’s hard to predict how our customers will use their countertops, so Alexis Granite does not advise any preset calendar for re-sealing, but in general, once every year or two is sufficient for granite. Over-application of sealer can build up over time and cause a haze on the surface of your countertops. The frequency for re-sealing really depends on the type of granite installed (lighter colors are more porous than darker ones) and the amount of use that the countertops see. An easy rule of thumb is to closely monitor the area around the sink. If you begin to notice that water does not bead up or soaks into the stone within 10-15 minutes, then it's probably time to re-seal. Applying sealer is easy; you simply spray it on, let it soak in for a few minutes, and wipe it away with a clean towel. Quartz surfaces do not require any sealing.
Q: Can I cut on my granite or quartz countertop?
A: Only if you want to ruin your good knives. Granite is harder than steel, and will dull knives very quickly if you use the countertop as a cutting surface. To be safe, always cut and chop on a wooden or plastic cutting board. Man-made quartz will likely scratch if you cut with a knife on it.
Q: Can I place hot pots and pans on my granite or quartz countertop?
A: Granite is nearly impervious to typical kitchen cooking temperatures, though you may wish to avoid any risk of damage by using hot-pads or trivets. Quartz surfaces such as Caesarstone and Silestone are not tolerant of high temperatures, so you’ll want to use more care around them with very hot cooking surfaces.
Q: My sample of granite has pits on the surface – will I have these on my kitchen counters?
A: Granite, which is crystalline in structure, always has tiny pits – spaces between the various mineral crystals. You don’t see them on a larger piece because the overall appearance is polished and mirror-like. Granite sometimes has natural fissures as well, which may look like cracks, but are not structural defects and are a naturally occurring result of the immense heat and pressure which formed the granite eons ago. These characteristics are part of the natural beauty of stone and will not impair the function or durability of the material. A product of nature cannot be expected to look manmade. Fortunately the process of “Resining” can greatly reduce the appearance of pits and fissures, as well as help repel stains.
Q: What is “Resining” stone?
A: Resining natural stone is a procedure meant to fill fissures and pits in the stone. The slabs are first honed to allow the surface of the stone to evenly absorb the resin. The stone is then dried and resin is spread over the entire surface of the stone, and then cured in special ovens. After the resin has cured, the slabs are polished. All excess resin is removed from the face of the slab, leaving only the resin that has filled any fissures or pits - the resin does not "coat" the surface.
Q: Will my granite look like the online sample?
A: The samples you see on the computer have been scanned and saved as digital images. The color tones may not be absolutely correct due to variations in computer systems and monitors. Granite also has naturally occurring variations in color, tone, granularity, pattern, etc. These variations are expected and are the source of its natural beauty. Although sample stones are intended to be representative of the quarry’s product, the material quarried at one time may differ slightly in color and veining from the sample. Moreover, even a single granite slab will possess a certain amount of color variation from one end to the other. Interior designers and architects have come to view this tendency of natural stone as an advantage. Slight irregularities can be pleasing, introducing an element of the natural into human-designed spaces, whether residential or commercial.
Q: Will I be able to hand-pick my slabs?
A: You will always hand-pick the exact granite or marble slabs used for your counter tops at one of our slab suppliers. Quartz surfaces such as Caesarstone and Silestone, because they are very consistent in color and texture, are ordered directly from the samples.
Q: Do I need to remove my existing countertops first?
A: Yes, your kitchen needs to be ready for us to install your new countertops on the day we come to make a template. Demolition is another job entirely and can take several days, so plan ahead. We can quote your demolition if needed. In most cases, we can demo your existing countertops the same day we install your new countertops.
Q: Can you re-connect my electrical and plumbing connections?
A: Alexis Granite Design is a highly trained contractor for countertops, but we are not electricians or plumbers. We cannot assume any liability for making electrical, gas, or plumbing connections. We do, however, have a list of reputable electricians or plumbers that we can recommend and coordinate for you.