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Alexander's Stone Art will be glad to answer any of your questions about natural stone, the processes used to create finished countertops, chimneys, fireplaces, waterworks, and any of the other types of work we provide to our clientele. Over the years, we have answered hundreds of questions, including some pretty bizarre ones. Here you will find some of the answers to common questions in our field. If you have any other questions about our service, the products we use, the fabrication process, or any other questions related to natural stone, tilework, or masonry please give us a call at 425-483-0932 or email us and we will be glad to help.

What are the types of stone and what is best for my project?

There are several different types of stone and each has it's own properties and uses:

Granite is strong, durable, and heat resistant, making it the best choice for high traffic areas such as kitchens.

Marble is softer than granite and can be somewhat easier to scratch. This type of material is used most often for vanity tops in bathrooms, powder rooms, and other lower traffic countertop surfaces.

Limestone & Travertine are similar to marble in hardness and are most frequently used in areas where you would find marble.

Soapstone is an extremely dense material that is easy to shape and scratch. Often times it is used as an alternate countertop surface in kitchen areas where the "patina" of use is desired.

Sandstone is a hardy, if porous material that is often used for fireplace hearths and outdoor flooring.

I have heard that natural stone is an inferior product, is that true?

There is alot of half-truths and misinformation about stone and it's propeties.

Most often the misinformation is generated by man-made stone surface substitute manufacturers who falsely apply the weakest characteristic of one specific type of stone to all stone materials in general.

Some types of stone are almost as hard as diamond, some can resist damage from acids and staining. Most importantly, natural stone materials cannot burn and easily stand up to hot pans, which would require trivets to protect a man-made substitute material.

This does not mean that man-made stone is not a viable solution for countertops, but choosing between natural and man-made countertop materials is more of an aesthetic choice that should be based upon usability, uniformity of color, stain resistance, sealing frequency, and heat resistance considerations.

If you have any questions or concerns about a specific type of stone, or would like suggestions about types of material best used in an upcoming project, please [contact us] for more specific information.

I have heard that my stone countertops can emit radon, is that true?

Alexander's Stone Art has spent several hours researching the possibility of radon in countertops, and of all the leading scientific researchers and professional geologists, not a single one has found any evidence of a higher than nominal radon emission in any materials tested. Radon usually comes from the ground under a home, not from the countertops inside of it. There are several ways to reduce the danger of radon to you and your family. For further information about radon, where it comes from, it's possible dangers, and related information, please take a look at our [radon information] page.

Do I need to use a general contractor, and if so where do I look to find a good one for my job?

Although Alexander's Stone Art does a lot of subcontracting work, it is not necessary for each client to have a general contractor for us to provide work to them.

General contractors provide carpentry work as well as overseeing and coordinating your project if you will need more than a couple of the following; electricians, plumbers, cabinet makers, window installers, roofers, and painters, as well as masonry experts, tile setters, and countertop fabricators such as ourselves.

Alexander's Stone Art will gladly provide you with contact information for some of the general contractors we work with once we know the scope and location of the work to be done. Or if you prefer, you can also find good information about several general contractors in your area by going to the Master Builders Association (MBA).

The MBA has been serving consumers and contractors alike since 1909 and have a lot of helpful advice for consumers who are researching for their upcoming project. On top of being commited to providing consumer adivce, they list many questions you can ask a contractor to make sure that they are right for your needs as well as more specific information on the contractors in your area who specialize in remodeling by visiting thier remodeling council pages.

What Does Alexander's Stone Art need to get me an accurate estimate?

In order to generate an accurate estimate for you we will need you to provide us the following information about your project:

1- Your specific selection of materials.

2- A dimensioned cabinet plan.

3- The edge details you would like.

4- The number and type of cutouts.

5- Backsplash height (if desired).

6- Your contact information.

for more detailed information about the specific things we will need and the choices available to you, please visit our [starting a project] page.

Where do I go to find the best selection of stone to choose from?

Alexander's Stone Art works with several wholesale stone importing companies in the Seattle area who provide slab materials to us from around the world. We strongly suggest taking the time to choose specific slabs from one or more of the several stone wholesalers we work with. For more information about the stone importers we work with, and their contact information see our [affiliates page].

If you are looking for materials for smaller projects such as vanities, smaller tabletops, end tables, etc... Alexander's Stone Art has an extensive selection of remnant materials available to you for these types of projects, at a reduced cost.

I have visited some of the wholesalers and they use pricing scales, what does that mean?

Stone importers and wholesalers do not provide finished countertops, much like aluminum sheet manufacturers do not provide finished automobiles. In order to provide some sort of costing information to the public each wholesaler uses a scale of their own devising to provide relative cost information for thier product. These scales vary from wholesaler to wholesaler, and a price range of "C" from one wholesaler may not match the price range "C" from another wholesaler.

Alexander's Stone Art cannot price directly from any wholesale pricing scale, instead we will need to know specific materials you would like to use in your project in order to get you accurate pricing information.

What thickness of stone should I use for my project?

There are two thickensses used for countertops, two centimeter and three centimeter. 2cm materials have the advantage of being less costly per square foot as opposed to their 3cm counterpart. This can be offset by the linear footage of edgework, as edging a 2cm material will usually need to have an additional laminated piece under it to make it look right and this process is more expensive per linear foot.

Without knowing your specific layout we can only say that 3cm materials are usually more cost effective only if your layout includes a large amount of edgework like an island, penninsula, or a raised breakfast bar, whereas 2cm materials usually end up less expensive when your counter will need less edgework.

It should also be noted that 2cm materials do not recess an undermount sink as much, and 2cm material for backsplashes does not need to be gauged down so it does not "feel" too thick.

How long will it take to complete my job?

After an estimate is accepted and deposit is taken care of, we can schedule templating.

Templating is the process of making accurate full scale representations of all of the pieces we will be making. This is needed because cabinets and walls are are not usually quite square and we want to make sure that the finished pieces will fit correctly.

Fabrication comes next and includes the process of cutting the slabs to fit the templates, grinding cutouts into areas as specified, and applying edgework to the pieces before installation.

Lastly, we bring all of the pieces to the jobsite, install them in place, and apply the initial sealant to the finished product.

Usually the whole process takes around two weeks from acceptance of the bid, but these times may vary based on the size/scope of the work we are doing for you and the current work-load already in progress at the time of bid acceptance. [view guide]

How do I take care of my stone surfaces?

Alexander's Stone Art provides the initial application of sealant to all stone surfaces we install. We generally suggest applying sealant around four months after installation. After that your sealing schedule will differ depending on the specific materials used in your project.

Re-sealing stone surfaces is simple to do and takes little time. All it takes is to clear off the countertops to be sealed, and clean any dust from them. Apply the sealant with a soft rag or sponge, wait about five minutes, wipe off any excess sealant, and it's done!

Alexander's Stone Art recommends that you follow the sealant manufacturer's instructions, as the instructions for any given sealant may vary slightly from the process explained here.

Please remember to never apply any chemical stone sealants to soapstone materials. Soapstone must be sealed with mineral oil and may be damaged by chemical sealants.


If you have any questions about your stone, proper sealants for it, or any other questions about the sealing process feel free to give us a call at 425-483-0932 or you can also either e-mail us at asakenmore@hotmail.com or use the message form on our [contact us] page.

Can I use any type of cleaner on my stone surfaces?

Even though some types of stone are more succeptible to damage from improper cleaners than others, Alexander's Stone Art always suggests using only non-abrasive non-acidic cleaners for everyday cleaning.

Amonia and bleach based cleaners as well as "stain removing" cleaners like simple green and pine sol as well as cleaners like comet can damage the finish of, or cause discoloration to a stone countertop.

For most stone surfaces using non-amonia window cleaner or products like mild hand and dish soaps with water will keep your countertop clean and looking new.

My stone surface is stained or damaged, what can I do to fix it?

There are several ways to fix damage or stains in stone surfaces. In order to provide a recommendation we will need to know the exact type of material, what has stained the surface or damaged the material, as well as the type of finish the stone has. Unless we have all this information, it can be very difficult to recommend the correct solution to bring your stone back to it's original look.

We at Alexander's Stone Art can offer solutions once we have all of the above information for free, or we can send one of our experienced professionals to the site ascertain the damage and fix it for you.

Alexander's Stone Art does not recommend attempting to fix any stained, or damaged stone surface without first knowing proper solution, as using incorrect procedures or the wrong cleansing compounds can make stains permanent or damage the stone further.

Does the fabricator I use really make any difference and how do I know what stone fabricator to use?

Although Alexander's Stone Art is a fabricator ourselves, we would like to give you some suggestions to help you find the fabricator that is right for you.

Each fabricator uses different calculation methods to generate an estimate, so if a company's bid is less expensive than other companies for a project, that doesn't mean that every estimate from that company will be less expensive.

Estimate comparisons are only accurate if the same exact material choices, edge details, and square footages are requested.

Seeing a potential fabricator's past work is essential to judge their pricing vs. the quality of their work.

Some fabricators are geared towards cheap and quick mass production, where other fabricators provide higher quality custom work to fit specific needs and non-standard dimensions.

Quality craftsmanship in any product is more costly, hense the expression: "You get what you pay for".

Field seams are much more noticable, so ask a potential fabricator where seams will be.

Disallowing selection of specific slabs may lead to dissatisfaction in veining, coloration and even in some cases material selection.

Allowing customer input in the cutting layout process can assure that the coloration and veining will be the way a client wants.

We hope that these answers have helped you get an insight into our company as well as the stone fabrication industry. If you have any remaining questions, if you think there is something missing from the above Q&A, or if you would like further information about any of the questions listed here, please give us a call at 425-483-0932, e-mail us, or use our [contact us] form to send us a quick message.

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