Granite Countertops FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions

Where does your granite come from?
Factory Plaza imports stones from many different countries, for example, Brazil, India, Italy, Mexico, China, Norway, Madagascar or Turkey.

What is granite?
Granite is an igneous rock, which means that at one time during its development, it was melted like volcanic lava. Unlike lava, however, this melted rock never reached the surface, it remained trapped inside the earth, where it slowly cooled and crystallized. The end result is a very uniform, speckled stone that ranges in color from black and gray tones to pinks, browns, reds, greens, and whites. Granites are quarried throughout the world in the form of huge blocks and then reduced into slabs. These slabs are then carefully crafted by fabricators who process them into the final product.

What is the thickness of the stone?
The stone is available in two thickness sizes: 3/4” and 1 1/4” (2cm and 3 cm respectively).

What are some characteristics of natural stone?
Stones are a natural-honed or polished rock; they are not manufactured. There are many inherent variances in all stone – color and shade variations, geological flows, irregular markings, voids, pitting, veins, fissures and lines of minor separations. However, these characteristics are part of the natural beauty of the stone and will not impair the function of wearing qualities of the material.

Are veins weak spots in the stone?
Not necessarily. Some veins are strictly color variations in the stone. However, in some materials natural flaws can exist within the vein, which enhances the color and is characteristic of that stone.

Is granite more expensive than man-made materials?
It depends on the granite. Availability, color and country of origin are major factors that affect the price of granite. If the supply of a particular stone is short and demand for it is high, the price will reflect that. Given that stone is a natural product imported from all over the world, the price spectrum is wide. However, many granite colors are offered at the same price or sometimes less than man-made products.

Why is there such a variation in the prices of natural stone?
There are many factors affecting the price of stone, mainly availability, supply, color and freight. Some stones are readily accessible, while others exist in remote locations. Due to weather conditions, some natural stones are only accessible during certain times of the year.

How durable is natural stone?
With a simple, regular maintenance program, natural stone will last far longer than the building in which it was installed.

How do I maintain my granite countertops?
We will provide you with detailed instructions but the bottom line is just soap and water. We seal all of the slabs before cutting even begins and this protects your stone from staining. You should re-seal after the first year and then every three to five years as needed.

What is bacteria-resistance capacity of granite?
According to a recent study conducted by the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management in Minnesota (an organization that develops educational materials and research for the retail food industry), if bacterial contamination of the kitchen countertop is a concern, granite is a good choice. The study measured the bacteria-resistance capacity of six common countertop materials. Each surface was contaminated with E.coli (nearly 2 billion of the microorganisms), washed and rinsed with soap and water and then sanitized with a vinegar-and-water solution. The results speak for themselves. Surface microorganisms eliminated by cleaning: Stainless Steel: 85,113,804 Granite: 79,432,823 Laminate: 498,884 Ceramic Tile: 293,765 Concrete: 32,810 Wood: 2,080

What do I need to consider when buying natural stone?
Because it is a natural stone, granite has been blessed with a remarkable natural beauty. Inherent in such natural products is a certain lack of predictability. Clients who are less acquainted with the material expect the granite ordered to be identical to the picture or sample they were shown. 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 marble or granite slab will possess a certain amount of color variation from one end to the other.

Do I need to use a cutting board on my granite countertop?
We don’t advise that you do any cutting on you granite countertops. Granite is extremely hard, which results in the quick dulling of your kitchen knives.

Can you remove my old countertops, or do I need another contractor to do it?
We remove old countertops for a small fee.

If I perform my own existing countertops removal, how much do I have to remove?
Old countertops, build-up, screws, nails, and backsplashes must be completely removed. If wall patching is needed after everything is removed, it will be easier to complete before the granite countertops are installed.

Can I re-use my existing sink?
Yes, you can, but we don’t recommend it. The countertop installation is the perfect opportunity to replace your existing plumbing fixtures. In addition, once the countertops are in place, it will be very hard to replace it later.

What styles of edges do you have?
We have a wide variety of edge styles. We have several default edges as well as more elaborate, custom edges that you can upgrade to for an additional price. Please see our Edge Profiles for more information about the edges we offer.

How many seams will I have in my new countertop?
We will do our best to get the most accurate dimensions and least amount of seams for your kitchen or bathroom. Our installers are artists and perfectionists who try to avoid seams as much as possible. When a seam is necessary, our installers will match the granite so it flows as if it was one piece.

How do I get a quote?
You can call us at: 1-630-616-9999, file our online free estimate, fax or email your countertops layout. Granite prices vary by color. See Granite Colors we carry at our website. You will also need to provide the dimensions of the area that you would like the granite countertops to be fabricated for. The actual dimensions rather than total square footage will be necessary for us to give the most accurate estimate possible.

After I pick out my colors and approve the estimate, what happens next?
If we are installing the countertops, we will contact you to schedule dates for an appointment to get a precise measurements of your countertops as well as the date for installation. It usually takes from 7 to 10 days to fabricate and install the countertops. If we do the fabrication only, without installation, we fabricate the countertops as soon as the payment is received and we ship them or you can pick them up.

Do I need extra support added to my cabinets to support the weight of the granite?
Most cabinets should be strong enough to support the weight of granite countertops.

How much overhang can I have without additional support?
If you have 30 inches of stone on top of the cabinets then the maximum safe overhang is 10 inches following the 2/3rds rule.
Another example, for overhangs less than 1/3rd the depth of the top no additional support is required.
Keep in mind that this may not apply to exotic granite with fissures, marble or onyx that are soft and brittle. On the other hand you can get away with 16 inches overhangs if the material was Blue Pearl that is fissure free and highly hard.

How much span can I have without additional support?
Spans should always be kept to a minimum to prevent deflection of the stone. According the Marble Institute of America, you can span up to 2′-0″ for 3/4″ thick granite and 3′-0″ for 1-1/4″ thick granite.
For structures with support on 3 sides, for example dishwashers or desks, it is recommended adding support to strengthen the unsupported side.

What is the whole process of getting new countertops from FactoryPlaza.com?
1. Select your material. To select the color you can: A) click on Granite Colors. B) order a sample from us. C) visit our slab warehouse.
2. Get a rough estimate. To get an estimate, you can fill out our online free estimate form or you can call, fax or email it to us. We can send a representative out to your home or business and measure your existing countertops.
3. Sign a sales order. Once we receive a signed Sales Order we can put you on our calendar. We usually have about a 10-day turnaround time.
4. Template. On the specified date, our representative will come out to your location and create an exact “template” of your countertop to ensure the best possible fit. You will need to be all ready by this date – all appliances should be on-site for accurate measurements. The home owner (or designated decision-maker over the age of 18) must be present during the entire template process.
5. Installation and completion. We will install you new countertops on the specified date. The home owner (or designated decision-maker over the age of 18) must be present during the entire installation process for walkthrough and signoff on the job. Installation of natural stone surfaces does not include removal of your old countertops unless agreements have been made to do so. After installation is complete, the crew will clean up the work area to leave your home or business as it was found before installation. During the final walk through, the crew will explain proper care and maintenance of your new countertops. Once you are fully satisfied, the crew will collect the remaining balance due.

How to remove stains from granite?
There are different types of granites, different hardness of each granite and lot of different colors. In addition, there are different surface finishes like polished, brushed, honed or antiqued. There are also sealed granites, unsealed granites, site-sealed and factory sealed granites and about a half dozen of different sealers on the market. Not only is there a variety of sealers there are even more types and varieties of stains.
Every piece of granite is different based on country, color, grade and pattern. One sealant or method of stain removal may work on one stone and not on another. Before applying any cleaning solutions on granite it is recommend to test it for discoloration of the granite. Test a tiny area of your countertop first.

DISCLAIMER: All advice given in the below paragraphs is on a totally independent basis and we don’t endorse any stain removal method and we can not be held responsible for any problems that may arise resulting from advice taken.
These are some tips on removing stains from granite:

To remove oil or grease from granite use Oil Stain Remover made by DuPont StoneTech Professional. Apply as directed a layer of the paste that will remove oil stains. From our experience this is the best oil remover from granite.

Use a paper towel folded several times and soak with acetone, cover with plastic and then tape this over the stain so that it does not dry out. Leave it overnight.

To remove rust, wine, juice and other stains use Greased Lightning stain remover made by Home Care Labs. Apply the cleaner on a dish cloth and rub the stain and soak the cloth, cover with plastic and leave it overnight.

Using a blowtorch, gently playing the flame over the stain can remove it. Do not overheat the stone because it may crack.

To remove red wine stain mix OxiClean and a little bit of water, brush the stain with a toothbrush and leave it to dry for several hours. Repeat this twice.

Mixture of acetone and baking soda (toothpaste like consistency), spread on stain, cover with plastic wrap and tape down. Leave the paste on the stain for about 3 hours or until the powder is dry. Wipe away powder and wash with water, at first there might be a stain on countertop but it will lighten.

Sprinkle some cornstarch on the cleaned, dry surface, covering the stain completely. Let it sit overnight/ 24hrs.

Thickly layer dry baking powder on top of the stain, cover with plastic wrap. Keep a hot towel over it for several hours.

Ammonia mixed into a paste with chalk or corn or rice flour. Cover stain with paste overlapping about an inch, then cover with plastic wrap and tape down.

Put Shout gel on a Q-tip and massage the oil stain, wipe off with wet towel. Make sure to be careful while applying Shout on the stone because discoloration to the surrounding area can occur.

Apply 50% bleach to 50% water in a poultice powder, mix together until it is a damp mud consistency. Set on the stain cover with plastic. 24 hours later pull off the plastic wipe clean and let it dry for a day.

Rub dry baby powder with a dry dish cloth.

Mix one cup of unbleached flour with three table spoons of Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid and water. Add water to the consistency of yogurt. Apply as poultice to countertop approximately ¼ inch. Cover with plastic and allow to sit overnight or longer. Wash off poultice.