FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What’s the difference between marble and granite?
Granite is a natural stone consisting of the minerals, quartz, feldspar and Mica. Natural veins, fissures and mineral deposits combine to give granite its beautiful and natural appearance.  Its extreme hardness makes granite uncommonly durable and extremely appealing for use every day in the home.  Fissures and small pits are common and in some cases can be filled during fabrication or installation.  Granite does require sealing annually if you choose not to add our permanent sealer.
Quartz surfacing is composed of 93% quartz crystals and 7% polyester resin.  Quartz has taken the best of what nature has to offer in terms of the durability and the beauty of stone.  Through extensive engineering, a manufacturing process was developed utilizing intense pressure and heat to increase the color consistency, stain resistance and strength of this stone product. Being non-porous, Quartz does not require the use of sealants, and it withstands typical wear and tear beautifully.  Professionally developed colors are computer-calibrated to maintain consistency, allowing designers and customers to make the perfect selection from samples.
Which is better quartz or granite? Which is more expensive?
It depends on what you mean by better.  Both are beautiful, durable materials that will last you a lifetime.
Each slab of granite is unique – no two slabs of granite are exactly alike.  Granite also has more depth and typically has a higher sheen than quartz.  Granite needs to be sealed annually if you choose not to add the permanent sealer.
Quartz is typically more consistent in patterning and coloring throughout.  Quartz can range from colors with a lot of character to solid colors that are very uniform.  Quartz is non-porous and therefore does not require sealants to protect it from staining.
The price depends on the color category you choose.  Typically the more exotic the stone, the more expensive it will be.  Please contact us for more details.
How many colors of granite do you carry at Hallmark Stone?
We have over 50 colors of granite in inventory at Hallmark Stone.
Do you perform background checks on your installers?
Yes. All installers are drug tested and background checked.
How thick is my countertop?
3 centimeters (1-1/8” to 1-1/4”). This is the most popular and readily available thickness of granite and quartz material in the Midwest. Some marbles, Dekton and Eco By Cosentino are available in 2 cm (3/4”).
Which dealers do you work with?
We work with a variety of Kitchen and Bath shops, Builders, Residential and Commercial Contractors, Remodelers, Interior Designers and Home Centers. To see a list of dealers, click here.
Will I have seams in my countertop?
Most granite and quartz countertops contain seams. Granite and quartz seams can be seen and felt. Stone with vein direction may require additional seams to ensure vein direction is consistent throughout the room. In addition, physical access issues such as stairs and doorways may require pieces to be made smaller.
Installers will attempt to make the seams as tight as possible. The acceptable industry standard for seams is up to 1/8” wide and 1/32” rise for every 12” of seam. Natural stone (Quartz and Granite) does not flex and is not perfectly flat, stone shrinks and swells over time, and slabs vary in thickness so it is not possible to always have a perfectly flat seam.
Can we hand pick the exact slab of granite for our countertops?
Yes you can! This step is completed about one week prior to template. Please contact us to make your appointment.
Do I need to be home for template/install? How long will it take?
Yes, it is important that you are on-site at the time of template. Templates are the basis for fabricating your countertops and the tops will be made to match the templates. The templater will review seam location, overhang, radiused corners and other issues which commonly arise. The person on-site at the time of templating is the final authority and has full responsibility for signing off on the templates and paperwork. It is not a good idea to request a relative or neighbor to take on this responsibility.
It takes about 2-3 hours to template a typical kitchen.
Do I need to remove the old countertops before template?
In most cases, no. We are able to template over existing countertops.
I have tile backsplash that goes to my existing laminate countertop. What do I need to know if I’m keeping my current tile backsplash?
If you are replacing your laminate countertop with stone, there can be a gap between the existing tile and your new stone countertop. The thickness of a laminate countertop is 1-1/2”. Quartz and granite thickness is between 1-1/8” to 1-1/4”. In a situation like this we will shim the tops to the existing tile and will caulk the tile to the countertop. The gap between the top and the cabinets can be covered by a piece of trim supplied by homeowner.
If you have a 4” laminate backsplash and plan to keep your existing tile, we will install the new stone countertops, then measure for stone backsplash to ensure a tight fit to the tile. We will return a few days later to install the backsplash.
Will you remove my existing sink if I want to reuse it?
No, we are not able to remove any sink or faucet that you plan on reusing. During the removal process the sink and/or faucet can get bent, scratched or damaged. It is recommended to purchase a new sink and faucet with your new stone top.
Can I keep my sink or cooktop cut out?
Undermount sink cutout – No – the cutout process puts a hole in these cutouts and the cutouts are sharp and misshaped. They are recycled immediately after they are cut out.
Drop-in Sink or Cooktop cutout – Possibly – In the event that you have a cooktop or drop-in sink, those cutouts are scored in our shop and finished in the home. These pieces are often sharp and misshaped and would require additional cutting and polishing if you would like to use them as a cutting board or side table. Additional charges will apply to fabricate anything with these cutouts. You must notify the installer if you are interested in keeping this cutout, otherwise it will be recycled.
Do you attach drop in sinks?
No, we will cut the opening for a drop-in sink and confirm the sink fits in the cutout. We do not permanently attach the sink to the countertop – this is completed by the plumber.
If I want to add an additional top later on (such as an island) will I be able to find the exact color?
Quartz – Most likely – Quartz colors are pretty consistent and can be matched closely later on. Colors can be discontinued so make sure to check with us regarding availability.
Granite – Maybe – The colors of each slab can vary depending on many reasons (the block of stone it is cut from, the quarry it came from, etc.). Sometimes you are able to match colors.
What happens if you find my cabinets aren’t level when you are installing my countertops?
• If your cabinets are out of level 1/8” – 1/4”, shimming will be required.
• If your cabinets are out of level 1/4” – 1/2”, the countertops can be shimmed but the gap will have to be caulked or covered with wood trim by the homeowner. The homeowner can request the installer to caulk this gap.
• If the cabinets are more than 1/2” out of level, your install may have to be postponed until your carpenter is able to level the cabinets.
Why are there shims underneath my countertops?
The countertop needs to be level when installed so shims are added to do this. This is completely normal and just about every job requires a shim somewhere.
What is a Step 2?
A Step 2 is basically the second step to your job. Steps 2’s are needed when you have full height backsplash, backsplash going between your countertop and an upper bar or backsplash going up to existing tile. After your new countertops are installed, we measure for the Step 2 that day to get a tight fit and return a few business days later to complete this portion of your installation.
I have a chip in my stone countertop. Is this normal? What should I do?
Yes, this is normal. Small chips are found in most Granite and Quartz countertops. One of the final steps in the installation process is to fill small chips. Epoxy combined with natural stone is used to fill these chips. If you find a chip after installation is complete, please mark it by placing a small piece of masking tape by the chip and call us to schedule a follow-up.
Can I cut directly on my new granite/quartz tops?
Both Granite and Quartz are extremely scratch resistant. They are not scratch proof – anything can be scratched if you really want to scratch it. Granite is above stainless steel on the Measure of Hardness scale, which means that stainless steel shouldn’t be able to scratch it. Based on recent testing, Granite and Quartz are the toughest countertop surfaces available on the market today. It bears mentioning that due to the hardness of granite and Quartz, it will most likely dull your knives. We recommend using a cutting board to keep your tops looking great for many years.
Can I put hot pots directly on my new granite/quartz tops?
Granite and quartz can withstand high temperatures; however, it is possible to crack granite by shocking the stone. Setting a hot pot on a piece of stone which is cold (from a bag of ice or an Air Conditioning vent) may cause a thermal shock that can crack your countertops. Stone absorbs heat very quickly and takes a long time to cool. Setting a 400-degree pot on stone will quickly heat the stone. When the pot is moved, the stone may be hot enough to burn someone for 15 minutes or longer. We recommend you use a trivet or hot pad.
Which products do you recommend for cleaning quartz/granite?
For daily maintenance of your granite or quartz countertops, any pH balanced general-purpose household cleaner or mild soap and water may be used to clean your tops. Care should be taken to make sure that the product is non-abrasive. In order to maintain the sheen on your granite or quartz countertop, it is recommended that you thoroughly rinse and dry the surface after washing.
If I seal my granite myself is there a certain brand you recommend?
We recommend using any penetrating stone sealer to protect your countertop. These can be purchased from any home center or tile shop.
If you are interested in applying a permanent sealer after your tops are installed please contact us.
Which quartz brands do you fabricate?
We fabricate Silestone, Caesarstone, Viatera, Zodiaq, VicoStone and Hanstone.
Why do different stones cost different prices if all of it is granite?
There are a variety of factors that go into the price of the stone – availability of material, difficulty in quarrying, breakage, supply and demand, etc.
Will granite stain?
Granite can stain if it’s not sealed properly. It is recommended to seal your countertops annually to prevent stains. You can choose to add a permanent sealer to your tops for an additional charge. With this sealer, you never have to seal your granite countertops again. Quartz does not have to be sealed because it is non-porous and stain resistant.
What is the typical size of a slab of stone?
Quartz – 118” x 53” is typical. There are some Silestone colors that are available in larger sizes. If you have a top wider than 53” and want quartz, please request a list of these colors.
Granite – Slabs will vary in size, but a good rule of thumb for maximum useable space is 110” x 65”
Do I need to make an appointment to visit your showroom?
We strongly encourage you to make an appointment to visit our showroom. This allows us to block out time for your visit and make sure we have the material you are interested in available for viewing. Click here for more information.
What is your turnaround time between template and install?
From template to install our lead time is approximately 7-9 business days.
What advice can you give me about seam location?
Several things will affect seam location:

1. Slab size
2. Veining – stone with vein direction may require additional seams. The vein direction should be consistent throughout the space.
3. Location of cabinets and/or appliances will affect seam location. Seams should be located over a supported area
4. Weight and installation limitations (through doorways, around corners, etc.).
5. Final seam location will be determined by templater and approved by customer at template (customer is required to sign off on all templates and paperwork).

What do I need to do to prepare for template?
• Cabinets must be fully and permanently installed including all finished panels before templates can be made. No changes can be made to cabinets after template. Cabinets cannot be removed and then reset after template. As even minor changes can result in tops not fitting correctly. We like to compare this to taking something that is perfectly packaged in a box out then trying to get it back in the exact same way.
• New sinks, faucets and appliances (cooktop or slide-in range) must be on site at the time templates are made.
• All items should be removed from your countertops and inside your sink cabinet.
• All breakable items should be removed from the immediate area.
• Stone selection and edge selection should be complete and confirmed with the templater.
I have an apron front sink. Is there anything special I need to do?
Yes, apron front sinks need to be installed in the cabinet prior to template.
Do I need to remove my laminate backsplash prior to template to get a tight fit?
In order to get an accurate fit, our templater may have to cut off your existing backsplash at the time of template.
Do I need to remove my appliance garage?
Yes, the appliance garage will need to be removed or raised in order to get an accurate template. Since there is a difference in the thickness of laminate verses stone a trim piece (supplied and installed by homeowner) will need to be added to the appliance garage to cover the gap.
What is the overhang of the stone for undermount sinks?
Stone will overhang sink by approximately 1/8” to 1/4”.

Expectations for Natural Stone Countertop Installations
An Understanding of Templating, Tear Out, Fabrication, Installing

You are considering purchasing one of the most beautiful and durable countertops on the market.  We have created a booklet to ensure that you understand the features of Granite and Silestone and are familiar with the templating, tear-out, and the installation process.  In making sure you are informed, we hope to ensure your satisfaction.

CLICK FOR EXPECTATIONS BOOKLET

One More Question?

If you have more questions, send us a message
and we will answer you as soon as possible.