Q: We’re remodeling our kitchen and installing new countertops. Synthetic countertops cost slightly less than granite, but how do they compare in the long run?
A: As the saying goes, imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Countertops made from acrylic and other manufactured materials may have the look of granite, but the similarities end there. For resistance to bacteria, heat, scratches, stains, and overall performance, granite is unsurpassed. Some marbles with honed or matte finishes also make high-quality kitchen countertops.
Q: We’re building a new home and would love to put a marble floor in our foyer, but we’re concerned about the heavy foot traffic it will receive. Any suggestions?
A: Marble has been used as a flooring material for more than 6,000 years and continues to be a popular choice for bringing beauty to entry foyers and other areas of the home. You need only take some simple precautions to protect your investment. Use a non-slip mat outside the foyer entrance and a carpet or area rug inside to capture the abrasive grit and dirt tracked in from outdoors. Dust mop your marble floor frequently to remove dirt and dust particles that can scratch the surface. Use warm water and a small amount of mild detergent to wash. Then rinse and dry thoroughly.
Q: Is there any truth to the rumor that granite emits dangerous levels of radon gas?
A: No, there is completely unfounded. Not a single instance of radon has been reported to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. Nevertheless, the Marble Institute of America consulted several of the nation’s leading in geology and geochemistry scientists to evaluate the
Research has shown that actual levels of radon gas emissions from granites are insignificant and generally represents no threat to the health and well-being of people who live or work in buildings with granite countertops, floor or wall tiles, or any other granite furnishings.
Q: After a recent party, we discovered a dark red stain, possibly red wine, on our sandstone hearth. What can we do to remove the stain?
A: Because all natural stone is porous, it tends to absorb stains. But it is this same porosity that gives homeowners an edge in stain removal- you simply reverse the process by applying a chemical poultice, which reabsorbs the spill. When thoroughly dry, the poultice is removed, as is the stain. Consult our "Stubborn Stains" advice for more information.