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Granite Countertop Finishing

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Granite and Solid Surface Countertop

Accents a contrast, outline or highlight added for detail and emphasis. See “inlays”.


Apron front sink - is a sink with a large apron in front that sits on a short cabinet. This may also be referred to as a

“farmhouse sink”.


Backsplash is the wall protection at the back edge of the countertop; designed to seal the counter and protect the wall from spills and damage; can be integral to the counter or applied directly to the wall.


Build-up are strips of material that are sometimes attached to the under-side of countertops to raise it flush with the cabinet tops.


Bull-nose is a finished edge on an otherwise unfinished natural or mad-made tile.


Butcher block – wood countertops or butcher block countertops come in a variety of hardwoods such as maple or oak. Seldom used for all the countertops in a kitchen, instead they are often used on islands or inserts.


Caesarstone us a nab-made stone that is many times harder than natural stone, making it scratch and stain resistant.


Cambria is a manufacturer of natural quartz countertop material also sold under the name “Cambria”.


Cantilever is a beam projecting beyond its supports, for instance, the area where a countertop overhangs a cabinet by a few inches.


Cook-top is an assembly of stove burners that fits into a countertop.


Corian® - is a brand of solid surface material made by DuPont which offers a non-porous, repairable, renewable surface with the ability to integrate sinks.


Drain board – are depressions in a countertop which allow water to run into the sink.


Drop-in sink – is a sink which contains a rim that fits over the countertop.


Edge return – is a thick countertop edge that gives the appearance of a thicker slab.


Edge profile – is the profile that defines the shape of the front edge of a countertop.


Engineered stone – is a man-made substance usually composed of crushed quartz and polymer binders used to emulate natural stone.  It is sold under many labels such as Silestone, Cambria, CaesarStone, Zodiac etc.


Gloss is a way to describe a finish which has a deep shine and smooth texture.


Granite is an igneous rock, formed by volcanic action and composed chiefly of feldspars and quartz usually with one or more other minerals.  It is relatively hard and dense and will polish to a high gloss. It is an excellent choice for kitchen countertops, floors and other heavily used surfaces. Granite, quarried from the mountain of Italy, the US, India and dozens of other countries around the world, is one of the most popular natural stones on the market. Available in a striking array of colors, granite’s durability and longevity make it ideal for kitchen countertops and other heavily used surfaces, including table tops and floors.


Grout is the material used to fill and seal the joints between ceramic tiles.


Honed finish – is a satin rather than a high-gloss finish that is achieved by remove the highly polished surface.


Impregnating is the technical term for “sealing”.


Impregnators are designed to penetrate below the surface of the stone. The application of impregnators restricts water, oil and dirt from entering the stone.


Inlay is the use of a contrasting color placed in or between elements of the main color for decoration.  This can be simple trim or complex company logos or diagrams.


Island is an independent segment of cabinetry that doesn’t touch any walls and is typically centrally located within the kitchen floor plan.

Integral sink – is a sink made out of the same material as the countertop to form a continuous surface.


Laminate is a thick material adhered to particle board substrates. They may often be referred to as brand names such as “Formica” or “Wilsonart”.


Limestone is any stone consisting wholly or mostly of calcium carbonate.


Lip-mount refers to a lip-mount sink which is designed with a lip around the top edge and to drop into a cut-out in your countertops, resting on the “lip”.


Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of limestone in a crystalline state. It is capable of being polished to a gloss. Marble is a popular choice for countertops, floors, foyers, fireplace facings and hearth, walls and windowsills. It is less commonly used for kitchen countertops because it is more susceptible to scratching and staining than granite and other alternatives.


Matte is a smooth finish with very little shine.


Melamine is particle board coated with a plastic material which is used in concrete countertops because of its smoothness.


Mitre is a seam in a countertop, usually in a corner, where the counter changes direction.


Mosaic is a pattern formed by inlaying small pieces of stone, tile or other material into a cement, plaster or mortar matrix.


Non-porous is a material that won’t stain.  It isn’t affected by chemicals, acids and temperatures; therefore it is easy to clean and resistant to bacterial buildup.


Penetrating sealer – see “impregnators”.


Profiling is an edge detail applied to stone.  See “edge profile”.


Quarry is the location of an operation where a natural deposit of stone if removed from the ground.


Quartz is a rock countertop material which, unlike granite, never has to be sealed or polished.


Quartzite is a compact granular rock composed of quartz crystals, usually so firmly cemented as to make the mass homogeneous.  The stone is generally quarried in stratified layers, the surfaces of which are usually smooth. It’s crushing and tensile strengths are extremely high. The color range is wide.


Sandstone is a sedimentary rock consisting usually of quartz cemented with silica, iron oxide or calcium carbonate. Sandstone is durable, has a very high crushing and tensile strength and a wide range of colors and textures.


Sealer is a solvent used to protect and enhance the appearance of a countertop surface. See “impregnators”.


Sealing is the process of using a clear solvent-based product to protect the stone from stains.


Shim is a thin piece of wood used during installation to insure that countertops are level.


Sink reveal – is used to describe the size of the hole cut for an under-mount sink. A bigger cut-out reveals the top edge of the under-mount sink.  A smaller cut-out hides the top of the sink because the stone overhangs the edge of the sink.  Applicable to under-mount sinks only.


Slab is a lengthwise cut of natural stone approximately 5’ x 8’ in size.


Slate is a fine-grained rock that tends to split along parallel cleavage planes. Slate is relatively soft and porous.


Soapstone is a naturally dark gray, yet smooth countertop surface made of talc-quarried, metaphoric stone.  It is non-porous and easily maintained.


Solid surface – is a manufactured product that emulates stone, created by combining natural minerals with resin and additives. Often referred to as “Corian”, a DuPont product.


Stainless steel countertops – is a countertop made from stainless steel. Usually found in commercial kitchens, but can create a contemporary and industrial look in a home. These countertops are heat resistant, durable and easy to clean but are easily scratched and very expensive.

Template or templating – is the process of making a full-size mock up or duplication of your surface to be made out of granite/marble.


Travertine is a form of limestone.  Travertine is a product of chemical precipitation from hot springs.  Some that take a polish are sold as marble and may be classified as “travertine marble”.


Tumbled is a surface finish produced by tumbling stone in sand, pebbles or steel bearings to round off corners and create a rustic, matte finish.


Under-mount sink – is a sink that physically mounts beneath natural/engineered stone countertops. An alternative to an under-mount sink would be a lip-mount sink.


Vessel sink – is a sink which sits on top of the countertop.


Zodiac is a product of DuPont®.  It is a Natural Quartz surfacing material and contains 93% natural quartz.


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