Frequently Asked Questions

Natural Stone

General Care and Precautions

Use coasters under all glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices. Many common foods and drinks contain acids that will etch or dull the surface of many stones. Do not place hot items directly on the stone surface. Use trivets or mats under hot dishes and placemats under china, ceramics, silver or other objects that can scratch the surface.

 

Floor Surfaces

Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that will scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a non-slip surface. Normally, it will take a person about eight steps on a floor surface to remove sand or dirt from the bottom of their shoes. Do not use vacuum cleaners that are worn. The metal or plastic attachments or the wheels may scratch the surface.

 

Other Surfaces

Clean stone surfaces with a few drops of neutral cleaner, stone soap or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Use a clean rag mop on floors and a soft cloth for other surfaces for best results. Too much cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on marble or limestone. Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the soap solution and dry with a soft cloth. Change the rinse water frequently. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.

 

Bath and other wet areas

In the bath or other wet areas, soap scum can be minimized by using a squeegee after each use. To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover or a solution of ammonia and water (about 1/2 cup ammonia to a gallon of water). Frequent or over-use of an ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface of the stone.

Vanity top surfaces

Vanity tops may need to have a penetrating sealer applied. Check with your installer for recommendations. A good quality marble wax or non-yellowing automobile paste wax can be applied to minimize water spotting.

Food Preparation Areas

In food preparation areas, the stone may need to have a penetrating sealer applied. Check with your installer for recommendations. If a sealer is applied, be sure that it is non-toxic and safe for use on food preparation surfaces. If there are questions, check with the sealer manufacturer.

Outdoor Pool & Patio Areas

In outdoor pool, patio or hot tub areas, flush with clear water and use a mild bleach solution to remove algae or moss.

Stone Colors

How many different colors of stones are available?

About 700 distinct, different types of Natural Stones, from around the world, are sold in the USA today.

Can I specify the exact stone color I want?

Today, almost all colors in various shades are available in Granite, Marble and Slates, keeping in mind there will be some tolerance of differences in shading. Not all stones are available in all colors; Travertines are mostly found in shades of Beige, Yellows and Golds.

What criteria should I used to select stone color?

It really depends on the purpose of the application. Colors make a dramatic impact on the room.

  • making small rooms seem larger, and larger rooms seem smaller. Consider the following characteristics to select the color of the stone.
  • Lighter colors tend to make a smaller room seem larger.
  • Dark colors tend to make a room more intimate and cozy.
  • Solid colors and smooth/polished tiles show more dirt.
  • Patterned material, in honed finish is easier to maintain.
  • Dramatic patterns help highlight portions of the room.

How much variation can I expect from the sample of the stone shown?

Being a product of nature, each piece of the stone is unique in its own way and the variation levels will differ from stone to stone. The professionals at Distinctive will work with you on choices, budgets and options to help you create the look and feel you’ll love for years to come.

What is grain structure and vein formation in the stone?

The crystal and flowery pattern that are seen on the surface of the stone are grains. Some stones have lots of veins on the surface while others will have less – they will also vary in color.

Cost of Stone

Why are some stones more expensive than others?

Quarries are usually in remote areas and the distance from processing plants is an important cost factor. Underground quarries are costlier to operate than over ground.

Why are bigger sizes more expensive?

The larger the size of the stone, the more difficult it is to process, handle, pack and transport. Larger sizes tend to have a higher wastage (or breakage) making them more expensive.

Do I get lower prices for larger quantity?

Stone availability has more to do with the pricing then any other factor. Additionally, handling and transportation cost drops slightly for larger quantity.

Stone Sizes

What are typical stone sizes?

It depends upon the material. While the size of the stone is a personal choice the sizes of the tiles should be proportionate to the size of the room – or the visible area of the room. The smaller the size of the room, the smaller the size of the tiles should be. This helps in bringing out the colors and look of the stone.

How do granite counter tops differ from corian counter tops?

Granite is Natural Stone and Corian is a man made material with a plastic base. Granite is more durable and easier to maintain, as it is relatively scratch resistance compared to Corians, which are more prone to stains.

What is stone pattern?

A combination of different sizes can be placed together to make a pattern. This adds to the beauty and uniqueness of the stone installed. Of late the use of patterns has become trendy.

Natural Stone Maintenance

What is the recommended care and maintenance of the different stone?

See our Maintenance Page for more information.

What is an impregnator sealer and how does it help?

Impregnator sealer consists of microscopic balls of silicone that attach themselves to the crevices inside the stone. Once they are attached to the stone, these balls become a permanent part of the stone and act as a shield when any kind of liquid lands on them.

How often should a sealer be applied?

When applied for the first time, at least 2 to 3 coatings are recommended. Distinctive’s sealer does not need to be applied for 5-7 years per manufacture. All manufactures recommendations vary however.

Natural Stone Types & Uses

Granite

An igneous rock of volcanic origin, usually containing 10 to 50 percent quartz, at least 50 percent feldspar and some silicia. Most granites are resistant to abrasion, weathering and chemicals. Feldspar gives them their color. Volcanic flow that cools slowly has bigger crystals while flows that cool rapidly have very small crystals.

Quartzite

A sedimentary rock composed of fine grains of quartz sand (0.6mm to 2mm diameter) bonded by a cementing material, commonly silica, iron oxide or calcium carbonate. Quartzite is usually very dense, hard to scratch and abrasion resistant. If often features veins and complex color patterns similar in appearance to marble.

Serpentine

A metamorphic rock composed predominately of magnesium silicate. Typically green in color. Serpentines are thought to be formed very deep undersea by magma emerging through cracks in the ocean floor at temperatures up to around 500 degrees Celsius. Serpentines are very dense, abrasion and chemical resistant though they are typically classified as softer granites.

Soapstone

Soapstone is a serpentine containing talc white makes it feel like a bar of soap. The talc also makes it easy to scratch, a characteristic preferred in rustic décor. Often used as countertops in chemistry labs, where it’s resistance to acids is important, and on fireplaces where it’s unique heat retention characteristic is valued.

Limestone

A sedimentary rock consisting chiefly of the mineral calcite. Often contains fossils or shell formations, formed as bones and shells of fish accumulated on the sea floor. Ancient sea beds have become hills and mountains, allowing quarrying. Often very dense and durable, limestone has been used for paving, counters and wall cladding on exterior and interior surfaces for thousands of years.

Marble

A metamorphic rock consisting of coarse grained re-crystallized calcite. Most marbles were originally limestones that underwent tremendous pressure and heat, causing the limestone to meal then re-crystalize. In most cases the resulting stone, marble, is more dense and durable than limestone.

Travertine

A sedimentary rock, travertine is a type of limestone that formed by evaporation of hot water containing dissolved calcium, thus leaving finely crystalized calcite deposits. These deposits accumulate in horizontal layers over thousands of years. The holes in travertine are the pathways for the water as it passed up from the geothermal springs below. Its natural color is white. The other colors come from chemicals in the water and other debris, including ash from fires and volcanoes, animal remains and vegetation. Travertine is very durable, often used for exterior wall cladding and paving installations around the world.

Onyx

A compact sedimentary rock is a type of limestone that formed by evaporation of cold water containing dissolved calcium, leaving a translucent variety of calcile, often in the form of stalagmite and stalactites inside caves. Its natural color is translucent white. The other colors usually come from miute concentrations of chemicals carried by water dripping into the cave. Onyx is extremely dense but lacking in bending strength. It is often used for interior counters, wall claddings and flooring.

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