top shop faqs

Top Shop FAQ's

1. Will the slab used for my counter be exactly the same as the sample given me by my countertop fabricator/installer? -  Samples are ONLY a small area of the stone, and are usually not a complete representation of all the variations in coloring, texture, and veining that may occur throughout the slab, block or batch. They only serve as a close approximation. Because quarried stone is a product of nature, the colors, veins and textures, are formed through geological processes that have happened over several hundreds and thousands of years. Unlike engineered stone, which are manufactured in a closely controlled environment, natural stone may vary, sometimes greatly, from slab to slab and block to block.

Additionally, samples you see on the computer are also ONLY an indication, as the accuracy and the quality of the image may depend on several factors, ranging from the skill of the photographer and computer equipment used, to the light conditions

We urge all of our customers to view and even tag the slab(s) of the natural stone, before they make the final decision.

2. What determines the color and texture of the natural stone? The color and texture is mostly determined by the geological process responsible for the formation of the stone deposits found at a certain location. Geological processes may be broadly classified as

i. Sedimentary – where organic elements, such as glaciers, rivers, wind, oceans, and plants, accumulated, formed rock beds, and were were bonded through millions of years of heat and pressure – Examples are Limestone and Fossil-stone, Sandstone, Soapstone and Travertine.

ii. Metamorphic – or “shape-changed” is what happens when sedimentary and igneous rocks become changed, or metamorphosed, by conditions underground. The four main agents responsible for metamorphism in rocks are heat, pressure, fluids and stress. These agents act and interact in an infinite variety of ways, to cause the rock to change its form or bring about  metamorphism. Most of the rare minerals known to science occur in metamorphic rocks.

The Basic Metamorphic Rock TypesThe sedimentary rock shale metamorphoses first into slate, then into phyllite, then into a mica-rich shist. The sedimentary rock sandstone turns into quartzite.  Intermediate rocks that mix with sand and clay, metamorphose into schists or gneisses. The sedimentary rock limestone re-crystallizes and becomes marble.

Igneous rocks give rise to a different set of minerals and metamorphic rock types; these include serpentinite, blueschist, soapstone and other rarer species such as eclogite. Metamorphism can be so intense, with all four factors acting at their extreme range, that the foliation can be warped and stirred like taffy, and the result is called migmatite. With further metamorphism, rocks can be turned into something appears very similar to plutonic granites.

iii. Igneous - the word “igneous” comes from Latin for fire. Igneous rocks begin as hot, fluid material and may have been lava erupted at the Earth’s surface, or magma (unerupted lava) at shallow depths, or magma in deep bodies (plutons). Rock formed of lava is called extrusive, rock from shallow magma is called intrusive and rock from deep magma is called plutonic.

Igneous rocks are classified by the minerals they contain. The main minerals in igneous rocks are hard,  and primary consist of feldspar, quartz, amphiboles, pyroxenes (collectively refered to as “dark minerals” by geologists), and olivine along with the softer mineral mica.

The two best-known igneous rock types are basalt and granite, which differ in composition. Basalt is dark and fine-grained and is the result of lava flows and magma intrusions. Its dark minerals are rich in magnesium (Mg) and iron (Fe), hence basalt is called a mafic rock. This makes basalt both mafic and either extrusive or intrusive. Granite is the light, coarse-grained rock formed at great depths and exposed after deep erosion. It is rich in feldspar and quartz (silica) and hence is called a felsic rock. Granite is both felsic and plutonic.

3. What are veins, fissures or small hairline cracks and pits? …and are these normal for natural stone? Because of the crystalline structure of the material, tiny pits or spaces develop between the various minerals crystals. You may not see them on a larger piece because the overall appearance is polished and mirror-like.

Fissures, which sometimes look like hair-line cracks, and veining are a result of the immense heat and pressure which formed the granite over thousands of years. These fissures may sometimes look like cracks, but are not structural defects and are a naturally occurring.

These contribute to 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.

All stones have some veining, fissures and pitting, but are actually indigenous to the stone.

4. Does natural stone emit radiation? If so, is it harmful?

Please click on this link to access an article, based on studies done, by The Marble Institute of America:

To quote a statement by The Marble Institute of America – “Radiation: It’s All Around Us. It’s in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, in the soil and rock we stand on, and in the sun’s rays we like to bask in! Added to this is the radiation we get from man-made sources, such as x-rays, medical treatments, building materials, etc.”

Typical Contributions to Radon Content of Indoor Air (pCi/L)

69.3% Soil around house

18.5% Well water

9.2% Outdoor air

2.5% Building materials

.5% Public water supplies

To quote two FAQs answered by The Marble Institute of America:

Q. Is my countertop safe?

A. Studies conducted by respected scientists have found that the granite most commonly used in U.S. countertops is safe for use in homes. In fact, the highest radon emissions ever reported in these studies would create concentrations that are significantly lower than EPA guidelines to take any action. The primary source of radon in any structure is most likely to be the soil beneath it. If, however, you are concerned about the radon concentration levels in your home, you should have the overall air quality tested by a reputable radon testing organization.

Q. I’ve seen pictures of Geiger counters clicking on a granite countertop. Doesn’t this prove the countertop is dangerous?

A. No. Geiger counters do NOT measure radon gas. They only measure radiation, and are not capable of identifying the sources or types of radiation measured. Different levels of radiation are all around us every day. The leading source of radiation is the sun, which means that people in Denver, living at a higher altitude, are exposed to higher levels of radiation than people living in Des Moines. Some elements found in granite can emit radiation, though the mere detection of radiation should not be confused with levels and/or types of radiation that would be considered health risks. Health risk is not simply a function of radiation – it requires an analysis of the level of radiation, the nature of the radiation source and the exposure levels and durations. Some radioactive elements, for example, have such a short half-life that they pose no health risk to anyone standing literally inches away. Common sources of radiation in homes include such things as concrete blocks, smoke detectors, television sets, Brazil nuts and even bananas and potatoes.

To summarize, all the above literature and studies informs us that though traces or very small quantities of radiation may be present in natural stone, it is not significant enough to pose a threat to our health. In fact, most tests show that the levels are far below the levels already existing all around us.

5. What guarantees do you provide? The actual stone is not manmade, but a product of nature, and cannot be guaranteed. We do, however, stand by our workmanship, and endeavor to provide the highest quality workmanship.

6. Once confirmed, how long does a countertop project take? Once deposits are received and the order is confirmed, from the date of “templating”, the fabrication, fitting and installation could take anywhere between 1 to 2 ½ weeks or more, subject to the availability of material, back-orders and the size of the job. Please confirm this with our sales team.

7. Will my natural stone burn/stain/scratch/crack? Natural stone can take a lot of abuse. However, different types of natural stone resist abuse at varying levels.

It pays to care for your stone surface, as, if properly cared for and maintained, a natural stone surface can provide you with several years and decades of satisfaction, both aesthetic and utilitarian. Care and maintenance of natural stone is easy. Here are some tips:

·          Keep your stone sealed;

·          Though stone is highly tolerant of extreme temperatures, do not keep hot plates and pans in direct contact with the stone surface;

·          Wipe up spills immediately; and

·          Do not use knives directly on the surface of the stone without a cutting board as a buffer.

As a rule of thumb, sedimentary stones such as sandstone and slate are the softest and easiest to scratch or stain because of their soft, porous nature. Next in line are the metamorphic stones such as limestone and marble. These stones are still fairly soft and will scratch easily, so they are not recommended for high abuse areas such as kitchens. The igneous stones, such as granite, are the hardest and most resistant to abuse. For kitchens, granite is the most recommended stone due to its hardness and resistance to staining and burning. No matter which stone you choose, however, proper care techniques must be employed in order to protect your investment and ensure many years of natural beauty. Additional info can be found on our “Tips“ and “Repair & Maintenance” pages.

8. My granite countertop cracked – can it be repaired? Usually most cracks can be fixed, but can be determined/confirmed with any certainty, ONLY after one of our technical personnel inspects it. This is because the response will depend on the size, and type of crack. The more minor and smaller cracks are easily fixed with some form of caulk or epoxy filler. These fillers can then be tinted to match the stone and often are barely visible. If necessary, the stone is then re-polished to smooth any seams created by the repair.

9. My antique stone table top was broken in a move. Can it be fixed? Most broken pieces can be repaired depending on how fractured it is. However, do not expect the piece to “look like new” since, most likely, a colored caulk or epoxy filler will be used to repair it, and may be visible. Depending on the stone and degree of damage, the repairs can range from good to amazing.

10. How do I protect my stone from abuse? Sealer is the first line of defense in the fight against damage. A clear sealer will be applied upon installation and need only be re-applied when water no longer beads up. The re-application can be done by the customer. Color enhancing sealers (silicon impregnating) are also available. These sealers will help the stone to resist staining, but are not foolproof. Precautions such as barriers from heat (potholders) and knives (cutting boards) are a must. The stone must be cleaned often with a soft rag and a neutral, non-ammonia based cleaner. Liquid or solid food should never be allowed to stand on the stone for any amount of time, because even granite is slightly porous and will absorb moisture, resulting in a dark colored water spot or even a stain. Additional info can be found on our “Tips“ and “Repair & Maintenance” pages.

11. Can I get tiles to match the slab? Though tiles may usually be available for most natural stone slab colors, because of the differing, sometimes tremendous varying, hues, tints shades and tones, even within the same color group, the tiles may not be an exact match for the slabs you have chosen. Also tiles are often cut from lower “grade” material that is not suitable for slabs. It is highly recommended that you pick your slabs first and then find tiles to match.

(508) 909-5105


Disclaimer: Please note that the colors above are only a sample, as they may vary (sometimes considerably), as with all natural material. Also, all colors and material listed above is subject to availability, and must be confirmed with us before commencing the project.
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