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Sealing Natural Stone Countertops

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granite countertops in PasadenaIt goes without saying that natural stone countertops are an investment; not just of money, but also of care. However, if you take good care of your natural stone surfaces such as granite or marble, they will remain strong and beautiful for decades.

Wipe the Countertop Clean
Before applying a stone sealant, wipe the countertop clean with a disinfectant and dry it with a clean rag. Allow the countertop to sit a few hours after drying.

Apply the Sealant
Using a clean rag or brush, apply the relevant stone sealer to your natural stone countertops one section at a time. Wait about five minutes for the sealer to seep into the stone, and then apply another layer. Wipe off with a clean cloth. Repeat this step on the remaining sections.

The Marble Institute of America states that it is unnecessary to seal granite, as it has natural stain-resistant properties. However, many prefer to still seal it to enhance the resistance. Keep in mind that lighter-color stones tend to be more porous than darker ones, which may mean that you will need to reseal them more frequently. You can tell if your marble or granite countertops in Pasadena need to be resealed if you notice water or other liquids absorbing into the stone (rather than beading up on the surface).

Choosing the Right Stone for Kitchen Countertops

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natural stone supplier in California­­­Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen or building one from scratch, there’s no doubt that your countertops will be a central part of the finished look. You may be intimidated by the large array of surface options available from a natural stone supplier in California, so we’re suggesting some of the most popular to help get you started.

Granite
Granite is the leading choice in countertops. It is available in a variety of shades such as blacks, whites, beiges, and corals. No two pieces of granite are exactly the same. You can choose to have a polished finish to result in a shiny look, while a honed finish will result in a softer, matte appearance for your countertops.

Marble
Whether it has a polished or honed finish, perhaps no other stone looks and feels more glamorous or elegant than marble. Marble is softer and more porous than granite. If you choose marble for your kitchen countertops, be sure to cook and entertain with care.

Epic Porcelain Slab
StoneMart has always been synonymous with quality materials, as well as offering careful and timely customer service. These aspects have led us to own Epic, a special and exclusive Porcelain slab that looks just like marble. While we are always in the pursuit of the great quality of our products, Epic goes even further beyond. The benefits are not only quality and logistics, as it is in fact possible to process this new material using the same machinery as natural stone, changing only the tools.

Crema Marfil: timeless beauty for your home

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Crema Marfil is a beige marble produced in Spain that is very popular because of how it elegantly blends with wood and many other different surfaces.

 

Located in Eastern Spain, “El monte Coto”, which is about an hour drive away from Alicante and two hours from Valencia, is home to the largest natural stone quarry in the world: the original Crema Marfil quarry. There, hundreds of marble blocks are extracted daily and sent to the local factories where they are transformed into slabs or tile.
Crema Marfil is the most popular marble in the world due to its mild beige tones that make it suitable for any ambiance, modern or traditional, and that enhance the beauty of the surfaces and colors around it. It has been produced for over fifty years during which it has been the stone of choice for many prestigious architects and designers in their famous buildings and mansions around the world.
Crema Marfil is classified into three different categories based mainly on the amount of veins displayed by the stone. First of all, we shall remind the reader that Crema Marfil is a natural stone and, as such and regardless of its category, it will always have veins and movement. The base category is called “Classic” and it typically features larger and more numerous veins. The “Standard” category is the most popular because it is cleaner than the classic but still displays the natural touch of veins. The “First” category is the cleanest and most rare and expensive.
Crema Marfil’s tone can range from a lighter and even whiter background to a darker and browner color. Tone does not affect quality; it really depends on personal preferences.
A darker shade of Crema Marfil
A lighter shade of Crema Marfil
Crema Marfil is produced in three different finishes. The most popular is the polished (shiny surface) finish. The honed (matt) finish is always a good choice for those who want a different look. The Antique finish is the most exclusive and rare but it is growing in popularity because it enhances the natural feel and touch of the stone as the slight carving on the veins makes the surface rugged but still smooth. The antique finish can enhance the beauty of any floor (both outdoors and indoors) and any vanity top.
Crema Marfil Antique
Regardless of the category and finish you can be sure that Crema Marfil will fit perfectly in your home and will display its timeless beauty through the years.

White kitchen countertops

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If you are looking for a white stone for your new kitchen counters you are not alone; white is in fact one of the hottest colors for kitchens and bathrooms everywhere. White countertops make your kitchen look larger and more spacious and they fill it with light. Since white is a neutral color, it combines beautifully with other tones and it can fit into virtually any style.

There are many options available depending on pattern, tone and stone type. White marbles* have been a classic for centuries. Quarried in Carrara, Italian white marble was used by the elite in Ancient Rome and it remains a symbol of status in today’s homes. From the simplicity of Bianco Carrara, to the magnificent beauty of Calacatta Gold and Statuary White – whose name comes from its original use in statues. Calacatta and Statuary are timeless pieces of natural art so versatile that can enhance most types of ambiences: from traditional to contemporary and the most modern designs.

 

Bianco Carrara

 

Calacatta Gold

 

Statuary White

White quartzites are quickly becoming some of the most demanded stones for kitchen countertops in Southern California for a reason: they are harder and more resistant than marbles to stain or scratch, requiring less maintenance – without compromising on beauty. White quartzites can also enhance a variety of kitchen styles. While White Macaubas is the quite essential expression of classic beauty, Madre Perla, with its shiny tones of gold, brings a touch of fresh air to any contemporary kitchen.

 

White Macaubas

 

Madre Perla

 

There aren’t too many white granites but, the ones do exist, remain true to the very essence of granite in style and pattern, combining darker veins or dots of other colors over a mostly off-white background. From the smooth, grayish lines of White Quartz, to the dark crystals spread across the snow-like background of Alaska White.

 

White Quartz

 

At Stone Mart we carry a big selection of whites that will offer you the perfect touch.  Our expert staff are trained and pleased to assist you in the selection process.

* Please note that marble is porous and is not recommended for use on Kitchen counter tops.

Stone Mart’s unique semi precious stone collection

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When it comes to exclusivity and luxury, no other surface compares to semi precious stone. It provides your home with a subtle touch of distinction, decorating it with real home jewlery.

Semi precious stone slabs are made of the same stones used in necklaces, rings, bracelets and other jewlery. Each slab is therefore treated like a jewel, from the initial raw material selection process, to the moment it is hand picked by Stone Mart, passing through the most select and precise processing methods.

Stone Mart stocks an unmatched selection of semi precious stones of all types and colors, guaranteeing you will find at least one you will absolutely fall in love with. Apart from seeing and touching each slab, you will be able to appreciate its beauty within the unparalleled context of Stone Mart’s signature showrooms.

Some semiprecious stones are translucent and can therefore be back lit to enhance the richness of their colors. From ice-blue stones like Blue Agate to stunning red stones like lava-resembling Carnelia.

 

Blue Agate        

                                                                                                              

Carnelia


Some others are natural works of modern art that could very well hang on the wall surrounded by a frame. Golden Caramel, with its unlikely combination of surreal and contemporary tones of shiny red and yellow, mixed with the tradition brought by fossil shells represents a very exclusive option. On the other side of the range, Jungle Jasper provides a much more organic look, sustained by the prominence of green and brown tones that create a jungle-like atmosphere.

 

Golden Caramel

 

Jungle Jasper

 

The large diversity in Stone Mart’s semi precious range is not limited to color pattern but it also manifests itself in the variety of visual textures available. From the modern, crystal looking appeal of Classic Quartz, to the more rustic and traditional built of Desert Petrified Wood.

 

Classic Quartz

 

Desert Petrified Wood

 

Regardless of your preferences or of whether you already had a preset idea of what you wanted for your kitchen or bath, Stone Mart’s semi precious range is a must see for everyone desiring to enhance the luxurious look of her house with a touch of unique elegance.

White marble countertops Los Angeles

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“We just got our kitchen remodeled and, after visiting several local distributors, it was pretty clear to us that Stone Mart was the right company to get our marble from. After a few seconds in their showroom it was pretty clear to us that they are by far the most high-end marble and granite store in the North Los Angeles area. Their selection of gorgeous stones was so comprehensive and diverse that it almost made it hard to choose one. Honestly, we were really impressed by the beauty of the products they had at their store. Their service was just as good as the rest: they were very informative, understanding that we were completely new to the world of natural stone and very helpful. We would definitely recommend Stone Mart to anyone considering a kitchen or bathroom remodel.”

Martha & Jack

White marble kitchen in Beverly Hills

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“We wanted to renovate our kitchen because we were tired of the countertop we had and our cabinets had not aged well. Our previous countertop was made of a pretty basic lame green granite and we were looking for something white to fill the room with light (which, by the way, we combined with white cabinets and ended up being a jack pot). We couldn’t be happier with our experience with Stone Mart. They have done an amazing job throughout the process helping us find what we wanted and teaching us how to best care for it. The stone we ended up choosing was a marble called Calacatta Gold. We love our new kitchen!”

Ashley & Gary

Stone Care And Maintenance

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Acid Etching 

Etching is a chemical reaction generated by an acidic substance (wine, vinegar, coffee…) in direct contact with certain stone types such as marble, limestone, travertine or onyx. The consequences are permanent “glass rings”, marks and spots on your countertop. This doesn’t mean these stones are not suitable for kitchen countertops or other areas with lots of traffic or constant exposure to acids. They do however, require more attention and immediate cleaning in case of an acid spill to prevent etching from occurring.

In case of slight etching, you can buy an etch remover that will most likely repair your countertop. Worst case scenario, there are stone professionals who have the tools and the expertise to easily fix the marks caused by etching and make your countertop look brand new.

 

Scratching caused by harder materials

Different stone types have different molecular structures, some are harder and more resistant to scratches and others are softer and more likely to be scratched by a harder material. Quartz, quartzite, and granite are hard stones ideal for the kitchen and other areas with high traffic. They are not scratched by steel, allowing you to safely cut food on them and removing all risk of scratching.

Softer stones such as marble, limestone or travertine, are easier to scratch and are therefore ideal for less used areas. As we mentioned before, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t choose marble for your kitchen countertop, but rather that you should be aware of the risk of scratching it with knifes and other cutting objects so you can take the necessary precautions.

 

Chipping and cracks caused by accidental or improper usage

Once again, the molecular structure of each stone defines it’s resistance to breakage. More resistant stones like granite, quartz and quartzite are harder to break. You can carelessly perform your everyday tasks and routines on them without running the risk of breaking them.

Less resistant stones like marble, travertine, sandstone or limestone require more care and could be chipped by using a knife to cut on the edge. These stones are not delicate or easily breakable; they are still very resistant.

Chips and cracks are harder to repair than scratches but can also be fixed by skilled stone professionals.

 

Stains on unsealed stones

Stains occur when a colored fluid penetrates the stone through its pores and changes the color of the surface on the affected area. Almost all natural stones are porous and are therefore subject to this risk. Sealing your countertop does not guarantee that it will not stain but it will make it more resistant to stains. Sealing a countertop is simply applying layer of a liquid substance that fills the stone’s pores so that it is not as prone to absorbing liquid substances.

Some of the hardest stones like certain quartzites and granites don’t need to be sealed, especially if they have been treated with resin when they were processed at the factory. However, most stones need to be sealed at least once before being installed and some need to be sealed periodically. To learn if the stone of your choice falls under the latter category, ask your stone professional.

In any case, these sealers are easy to find and they are very affordable.

 

 

Cleaning granite, marble and other natural stones

You don’t need anything special to clean stone; you can clean your granite countertops with soap and water. However, beware of using acidic products such as windex or ammonia, especially if your countertops are made of a softer stone, because they can cause etching.

There are stone specific products you can use that will make your counter glow and look better. Some of those products contain sealer to fill the pores of the stone.

 

The quest for the right look

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Choosing between stone types

Each natural stone type has different structural properties that have an impact on its look and feel. From up close, granite, as its name indicates, has a more granular look as opposed to marble or quartzite’s smoother feel. From a distance, granite and quartzite constitute the epitome of natural stone’s beauty: lots of movement, veins and variation with a rich combination of colors that make each piece unique. If a friend picks the same granite for her countertop, it may look like yours but it will never be the same.

Marble, in some of its more high-end options like Calacatta and Statuary White (which have been quarried for centuries Carrara, the heart of the Italian Tuscany) also present those beautifully and naturally crafted veins. Combined with the luminosity that their white background brings, Italian marble always delivers the wow factor. Most marbles, limestones and sandstones, however, have a more standard, one color look with occasional veins and spots making it perfect as a background choice on floors and walls.

Onyx and natural quartz share a unique quality that adds to their magnificence: they are translucent. They are often installed with light bulbs behind them that, when turned on, make the stone glow and enhance the radiance of its colors. Onyx is a more delicate stone often used in table tops, bar tops and occasionally, bathrooms. Quartz is very hard and resistant and it is therefore suitable for any application.

Semi precious stones constitute the ultimate choice for luxury homes. Uniquely stunning pieces of jewellery for your home that never go unnoticed and are easy to fall in love with.

 

Discovering your favorite combination of color and pattern

Color is the attribute that makes natural stone such an interesting choice because of the variety of options and combinations available. It’s not a question of whether you’ll find the exact color you are looking for, it’s whether you’ll be able to select one of the many matches you’ll find. Furthermore, natural stone has the ability to surprise you. It’s not unusual for our customers to enter our showroom with a stone in mind and to walk out selecting something different. That is because walking around our exclusive Stone Gallery they found that stone that touched something deep inside of them and made them change their mind.

 

Selecting the finish that enhances the beauty of the stone you have picked

The most popular finish for natural stone is and has always been the polished finish. It’s that shiny and smooth look that always delivers and never gets obsolete. The other traditionally popular is the honed finish; the standard for limestone and sandstone and commonly used in marble and travertine, it stands as a non-reflective alternative to polishing stone.

In recent years and since honing granite never became too popular, a new and improved non-reflective finish has been growing in popularity: the leather finish. It’s called leather because, rather than presenting a smooth and uniform surface, it enhances each granite’s natural veins and movement by slightly carving the softer areas of the surface. The result is a leather-like feel that makes your granite countertop look more unique and natural.

The antique and tumbled finishes on marble and travertine generate an effect comparable to leather on those stones.

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