For Your Further Reference

Related Posts
1 How to Choose: Kitchen Worktop
2 My Acrylic Worktop
3 Verdict: My Asuka Acrylic Worktop
4 DIY: Worktop Protector
5 Further Reference
6 Silestone FAQ
7 Maintenance: Granite Worktop

Interesting Read
There is no lack of information on worktops on the Net. You need however to wade through a lot of junk articles before you come across some useful info.

Below are two examples of forum comments posted by industry experts on the materials of worktops that I find useful and relevant. Hit the source link for the full reference.


2. MakingSense May 16, 2007 10:12PM

Interesting thread about choices of countertops. We sell all three types, granite, quartz and solid surface (corian type).

Granite always wins the beauty contest, till one of the polyester colors gets noticed. About half of the visitors at a home and garden show will think it is granite. Good granite can be a good countertop, if you do your homework on the

types available and are careful who you get to fabricate it. Heat however will occasionally crack a granite top, the local big box stores have placards warning of this, and it has been our experience as well, so we warn customers not to put hot pots on their top. Usually the crack occurs as the top cools. Some have posted on the heat sink abilities of stone, which causes it to expand locally while the rest of the top isn't moving. This sets up stresses that will cause a crack on occasion, especially in highly fissured materials.

Some mentioned the resined products, which have acrylic resins, the same as in solid surface, spread on one or both sides. Usually this is done to bring an unsuitable stone to market, because of cheapness or beauty of that particular vein. One thing to watch out for is an unscrupulous fabricator staining the edge of the resined tops in an attempt to get it to match the rest of the stone. It does wear off with time.

Make sure your granite is rodded both front and back of all cutouts. This isn't to prevent cracking, it won't, it is to hold the pieces together so the installer can patch it.

One in five tops gets broken prior to installation, one of the reasons why no one will warranty granite tops.

Make sure they use sink clips, not just epoxy for the sink mounting. The cross members are even better, but the clips are still installed by the best shops.

Staining, so many stones, so many degrees of tolerance by customers and so many standards of neatness by homeowners and cooks. We recommend that customers save the beautiful granite top for when the kids leave home. Too many pizza boxes get left out with kids in the house, peanut butter, anything with an oil base will mark the tops if it is not quickly wiped up. Most reputable stone sites will tell you this on their care and maintenance pages.

Two of the most notorious warnings about granite are radon and bacteria. Some say the radon is over rated, and it is just about what you would get from watching tv for eight hours, or sitting at a computer screen for the same, but the Chinese govt has classified granite into three grades, A, B, and C. The A grade have a small enough amount to put inside homes, the B's have more radioactivity and can be used in public buildings in moderation. The C grades are bad enough that they must be used only on exteriors of buildings. The Chines govt bans the export of A grade, if I remember correctly, so check the source of your granite carefully. There is a study online on Springer link if anyone is interested.

The bacteria, well that depends on who you ask. The stone industry latched onto a study done a couple of years ago by a stainless steel group that had stone ranked second in cleanability. Once you read the fine print, it actually a study of kill rates of bacteria on surfaces. Stainless and stone had higher kill rates, or worded another way, they had higher numbers of bacteria on them after being inoculated with bacteria, and when sanitized they rinsed off more dead bacteria than other surfaces.

The MIA, a stone group, redid the study in such a way that granite "won" the test, and have been publishing this everywhere. The first study, however left out not only solid surface (corian) but quartz surfaces, the market leaders in tops, and chose other materials that have less than eight percent market share combined. The second study also left out the market leaders of countertops. One should ask why they were left out. Also, do the math after you read the study, it would take 176 gallons of water to rinse off your countertops if you used their method, also they recommend you NOT use their sanitizing method on stone countertops.

Quartz is also not intended for hot pots, our warranty and template sheets all state this clearly, as does the manufacture manuals and warranty sheets. It will also scratch, which are near impossible to remove with out spending a half a day of

extremely high priced labor . That said it performs better with kids in the home than granite. It can be damaged by UV, which is not considered a warranty defect, it is expected to change color somewhat as it ages, but watch for putting things like toasters or cannister sets long term, it will leave light or dark spots depending on color. Also listed on the manufacturer sheets is oil, inks, permant markers and high pH cleaners or things like scotchbite or Comet. It is composed of about 35% solid surface with stone chips embeded.

Solid surface is what I put in my kitchen. we work six days a week in the high end kitchen business with little free time for maintenance. Sinks five or six years ago could crack if exposed to ice and boiling water at the same time, but they fixed that about four years ago and now warranty it not to occur. They can be repaired in place or replaced easily. Same with scratches. In six years of selling tops, we have polished out six scratches in solid surface tops, all but one were prior to the homeowner moving into the home. Granite and quartz, well we do not offer scratch removal as it is impractical at best, solid surface scratch removal is free since it takes so little time.

One of the best things about solid surface is it's ability to stay sanitary. It and quartz are approved by the National Sanitation Foundation for food prep, one reason why you won't see too many granite tops in a fast food store. All materials in solid surface are FDA approved, don't believe that quartz or engineered stone can claim that since quartz chips are not FDA approved.

I belong to a group of countertop fabricators that fab and sell all types of materials. We are in the middle of a study on bacteria and materials that focuses on what is left after cleaning, since in our minds that is the important thing. True bacteria and stainless will allow more bacteria to grow, but that is a negative not a positive. So far, the tests have shown that granite ranks poorly if the sealer is worn, but even with new sealer it retains and allows far more growth of bacteria than solid surface. Even after sanitizing, the results show that solid surface was NSF approved for a reason.

Here is a link that supports this, done by microbiology experts. Note the difference between granite and polypropylene when measured with different strains of bacteria, but the important one was raw chicken juice which the granite soaked up three times more than any other surface. The MUSC variety was cultured from chicken breast meat, and is far less dangerous than the EMB cultured from juice.

Good luck on your choice of tops, if cared for and maintained, you will enjoy any of them. Be sure and seal granite often and sanitize even more often.

Carpentershop May 08


jean larosa May 08, 2007 06:31PM

1. re: jean larosa

Jean, sorry for the late reply, but get your sealer from the place that you bought your granite from. You don't want to mix the water based sealers and the solvent based sealers. If in doubt, use acetone to strip the old sealer before you reseal.

The big box stores are all about margin on what they sell, not what is best. Your stone fabricator will have a vested interest in selling you a good sealer.

That said, there is one that has been a favorite with many shops. It is called Miracle 511 sealer / enhancer. Another called STT SB is showing quite a following, but it is new. I like the 511 personally, but the new one might do just as well.

Do your research on your type of granite, go to a good stone site first and ask if they recommend sealer on it. Thing you have to watch for is the double talk that many are good at. Some stone guys think that telling people that granite needs sealing is bad for business, others are more interested in making sure they get no callbacks on stains, so they will recommend the sealant.

You can also overseal which is the cause of many customer complaints on granite, people will write that every time they use their stone tops, they leave a new mark.

What the real problem turns out is that they have put a coating on a harder surface, the softer of the two will get marked up easily.

Darned if you do and darned if you don't, which is why we recomend solid surface for many families. As long as you understand that granite will stain and look at it as a character mark, distressing so to speak (the rest of the world looks at it this way), can live with less than perfection on the surface, you will enjoy your granite top.

One interesting thing happened on our latest round of testing. The sealed products bred bacteria by a huge factor over unsealed granite. So much so that we are repeating the test to look for errors. Another result that was not going to be appreciated was a microban infused quartz product that performed poorly, very poorly although it grew mostly general coliform bacteria, it grew a lot of them. It will be re tested as well. So much can go wrong when you are dealing with microbiology testing, it pays to retest and be conservative.

Related Posts
1 How to Choose: Kitchen Worktop
2 My Acrylic Worktop
3 Verdict: My Asuka Acrylic Worktop
4 DIY: Worktop Protector
5 Further Reference
6 Silestone FAQ
7 Maintenance: Granite Worktop


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