Frequently Asked Questions

Natural stone is found in countries all over the world… from Angola to Zimbabwe. Depending on the type of stone, it is found within the earth, mountains, and low lying areas such as plains, or former sea beds where the collection of sediment has occurred…..

Take care of your Natural Stone and it will last for generations. Some Natural Stones are already over 2500 million years old when quarried from the earth.

No. All Natural Stone is a product of nature. It is formed over millions of years within or on our earth’s surface through changes in heat and pressure. It is quarried from the earth in blocks of stone.  Engineered stone is man-made. It is manufactured in factories and is made of crushed natural stone and then bound together by acrylic or polyester resins.

A quarrier extracts natural stone from a quarry.  A quarry is the location where a deposit of stone is extracted from the earth.  Quarrying is the stone extraction process.

It’s not usually recommended. Chemicals contained in these cleaners can react negatively to your stone. They may etch some stones or even make them look dull and lifeless. It’s best to use care products made specifically for stone.

Apply a sealer if needed and clean your stone regularly. Don’t use acidic or abrasive cleaners.

This depends on the sealer you choose. Some sealers need to be applied every 6 months to 1 year. Others last for 4-5 years.

All natural stone is a product of nature and subject to variations. Characteristics such as veining and mineral deposits will affect each piece. Stone will not only vary from quarry to quarry but from stone to stone. All Natural stone is unique… no two stones are alike.

No, not usually. The underside of the stone isn’t readily visible and would add labor and cost to the project. It can be, it’s just not common.

Granite is defined as a visibly granular, igneous rock generally ranging in color from pink to light or dark gray and consisting mostly of quartz and feldspars accompanied by one or more dark minerals. The texture is typically homogenous but may be gneissic or prophetic.

Granite, is quarried at different locations throughout the world. Hundreds of colors and patterns are available from such countries as Italy, Spain, France, China, Brazil, India and The United States. Typically, blocks are extracted from the granite quarry located high in the mountains on the outskirts of a major city. These blocks, averaging 9 feet by 5 feet by 5 feet deep in size are transported down the mountain to the fabrication plant in the city. Once at the plant, these blocks are either cut into tiles or slabs. Tiles are usually cut to standard sizes of 12″ x 12″, 16″ x 16″, 18″ x 18″ and 24″ x 24″. Tiles range in thickness from 3/8″ to 3/4″. Slabs sizes usually vary depending on overall block size. Average slab sizes are usually 9 feet by 5 feet and are typically 3/4″ (2 cm) or 1 1/4. (3 cm) in thickness.

After the tiles or slabs are cut, they are sent through a large multi-head polishing machine, which puts a natural shine on the face of the stone using abrasive compound bricks or diamond polishing discs. Tiles are usually beveled as a final finishing step. Several other finishes can be applied to the slabs or tiles at this time such as a honed finish or, on some granite, a flamed finish. By far, the most popular finish tends to be the high polish.

Granites are available in a wide range of colors and veining. There are beige colors, Emerald green tones, Reds, Blacks, Violets, Mauves and a host of others. The color of the stone is dependent upon what region of the world the stone comes from. Some colors have been in use for hundreds of years; others are fairly new to the market. Some stones are available in slabs and tiles; others are only available in either slab or tile but not both. The size of the quarry, its location, accessibility and demand for the material will affect pricing. Labor costs in various countries also affects material costs. Technology is not the same in all countries, so beware of stones manufactured with inferior and outdated technology. These materials are usually not difficult to spot.

When granite is purchased within the same lot or bundle, variations in color and veining should be expected and considered. In this situation, each slab or tile when viewed overall will look like it belongs with the remainder of the lot. In most cases, bundles of slabs are cut consecutively from the same block so as to keep color and veining consistent.

When granite is purchased at different times or from different lots and bundles, extreme variation in color and veining can occur. As quarrying continues, materials from different sections of the quarry or from different depths of the quarry can vary greatly. In certain cases, quarries have run out of certain shades or the veining has changed so drastically that current lots no longer match previous lots. For these reasons, it is important to purchase sufficient quantities at the same time or verify that additional material of the same lot is indeed available for a later purchase. Being a natural stone, variations from shipment to shipment or lot to lot cannot be controlled or predicted.

Due to its high density, acid resistance, low absorption rate, and scratch resistance, granite can be used for a wide range of applications including floors, fireplaces, furniture and kitchen counter tops. One of the leading uses of granite is for kitchen counter tops. Hundreds of colors and patterns are available as well as numerous edge details to allow granite to fit in with any kitchen design scheme.

Granite is a stone and because of this, seams cannot be “melted” together. There will of course have to be seams in a typical granite project but if a quality fabricator and installer is used, these seams will be minimized. The location and quantity of seams depends on the project design and slab sizes. It helps to have some idea of typical slab sizes during the design stages of a kitchen. Seams are normally filled with a color matched polyester adhesive to blend as close as possible. If seams are cut and filled properly, they will not stand out and be an eye sore.

Not all granites are alike. Different minerals polish out differently. Some minerals will not shine as much as the quartz and feldspar found in granite. When shopping for granite, take a close look at the shine and surface texture. Some granites have minute fissures in between the various granules which is normal and will not trap liquids or food particles. If this is a concern, please direct questions to the stone salesperson or your fabricator/installer prior to fabrication and installation.

The first and most important step is to make sure your granite counter tops are sealed using a good grade, silicone-based, impregnating sealer. A good coat of sealer will help prevent staining from liquids that are spilled on the surface. A good stone soap or stone polish should be used for ongoing maintenance. Do not use abrasive cleansers or harsh ammonia based cleaners. If you do not have access to stone maintenance products, a mild soap such as dishwashing soap and water will suffice.

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 entrance to your foyer and a carpet or area rug inside to capture the abrasive grit and dirt tracked in form 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.

* Granite can withstand heat up to 1800 degrees

* Granite can be used as a cutting board (although we don’t recommend this as it will dull your knives).

* For those who love to bake, granite is the perfect prep surface for all your pastries.

* With your granite counter top your kitchen will look as beautiful as the day it was installed for many, many years to come.

* Unlike plastic counter top material, (remember the yellow Formica from the 1960′s?!) granite is not a “dated” counter top material. Natural stone has been used throughout the centuries and has maintained “timeless beauty”

Granite is the next hardest material to a diamond. There are some granites that are more porous than others however, all of our granite countertops are sealed during the fabrication process and again upon installation. The rule of thumb is that when the water no longer beads up, it’s time to re-seal. For some folks that’s 6 months, for some it’s 2 years. It depends upon usage.

Granite does not generate or “breed” any more or any less bacteria than your average countertop surface.

Regular maintenance of your tops is easy, just use mild soap and water. When properly maintained, your granite tops will last a lifetime.

No. Granite is a very durable work surface and has proven itself over the centuries. The only things that can scratch granite are carbide, diamond or another piece of granite.

No. There is a wide range of colors to choose from to match any decor and compliment any cabinetry. You can find granites with white, green, blue, yellow, beige, taupe, mauve, pink, peach, gold, red, black, gray and brown.

Granite is highly resistant to scratching, cracking and staining, and is impervious to heat. Daily kitchen activities pose no problem and it can take a hot pot without the use of a trivet. This makes granite an ideal choice for countertops.

Like any solid surface, high impact blows can harm granite. Because of its crystalline structure, it can chip if subjected to sharp hard objects. But repair is possible – a chip can be filled with a granite dust and epoxy mixture.

Not with ordinary use. Granite is most susceptible to cracks during shipping and installation. Normal use will not overstress this durable material. (Normal use does not include standing on the counter tops!)

Only if you want to ruin your good knives! Granite is harder than your knife blades and will dull them very quickly if you use the countertop as a cutting surface. Always cut and chop on a wooden or plastic cutting board.

In general, no. All stone, however, is porous to some extent, but granite has very little porosity. A few colors may absorb some moisture with prolonged contact compared to others. For example, a puddle of water left on the counter, for some colors, may show a dark spot when the water is wiped away. Usually, no evidence remains once the liquid is removed and the granite dries. A stone sealer is highly recommended for all granite after installation. Some stones are more porous than others, so it is important to use a penetrating sealer to prevent stains from oil, wine or other liquids from soaking into the surface.

No. You can’t burn granite with ordinary use. It is perfectly ok to set hot pots or pans directly from the stove or oven onto granite.

Granite, which is crystalline in structure, always has tiny pits – spaces between the various mineral crystals. Granite sometimes has natural fissures as well, which may look like cracks, but are not structural defects and are a naturally occurring result of the immense heat and pressure that formed the granite eons ago. These characteristics are part of 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.

Although both are stones and both are quarried from the earth, granite and marble (and marble’s relatives – limestone, onyx and travertine) are very different from each other. The greatest difference lies in the porosity.

We do not recommend the use of marble as kitchen counters because marbles (and limestone and travertine) are calcium carbonate, and their polished surface is more vulnerable to household acids including vinegar, mustard, ketchup, citrus and a host of other food-related products. These acidic substances cause a chemical reaction, which will remove the polish. Additionally, marble and limestone can be scratched more easily than harder stones such as granite.  Marble is, however, sometimes used in the kitchen as a pastry slab; it’s perfectly smooth, cool surface is ideal for rolling out dough and piecrusts.

The old rule of thumb is never to use anything you wouldn’t use on your hands. Never use powdered cleansers or abrasive pads to clean your stone. Even “soft scrub” type cleaners contain pumice, which is powdered volcanic stone, and might damage your stone countertops or floors. Never use any product which is acidic; this includes substances like ammonia or many common liquid cleaners such as Windex. You should always use sealers and cleaning products designed specifically for natural stone. There are excellent stone-friendly (and user-friendly).

Limestone is sedimentary rock consisting mostly of organic material such as skeletons and shells of marine creatures and sediments. It is formed by material that settles to the bottom of bodies of water, and over millions of years, solidifies into solid rock. Earth movements over extremely long periods of earth’s history can lift limestone miles into the air. The summit of Mount Everest is limestone that started out on an ocean floor.

Like marble, we recommend avoiding the use of limestone in kitchens. Polished limestone is highly susceptible to surface changes or damage from kitchen acids including citrus juices, vinegars, mustards, and so forth. Unsealed, some of the more porous limestone can be subject to stains. If the limestone is polished or semi-polished, you will see a rough spot where the substance sat on the stone.

Slate is fine-grained rock formed by the compression of mud and stone sediment.

Slate, being a natural material, is found beneath the earth’s surface in many countries throughout the world. Most of the slate used commercially comes from quarries in India, China, Africa, Brazil, U.S.A. and Italy.

The life span of slate is virtually endless. In India, there are many buildings over 1000 years old which still have their original slate floors and roofs intact.

Availability, locations of quarries in the world (due to transportation expenses), the rarity of the color, and the amount of labor required to extract the stones all affect the price of natural stone. Higher price doesn’t mean higher quality. All natural stones that Southland Stone carries, regardless of price, are of the same high quality.

Granite, Marble, or limestone that is honed has a matte or satin finish, rather than a high reflective polish. One feature of honed marble is that it doesn’t show etching as readily, or wear patterns on floors. It is preferred by some because “honed” stone has a less formal, softer appearance than polished stone.

Granite, Marble, or limestone that is honed has a matte or satin finish, rather than a high reflective polish. One feature of honed marble is that it doesn’t show etching as readily, or wear patterns on floors. It is preferred by some because “honed” stone has a less formal, softer appearance than polished stone.

Etching happens when acid in some form comes in contact with a polished marble or limestone surface. This causes a chemical reaction, which removes the polish, or roughens the surface of honed marble or limestone. Green marbles, such as the “jades” from China are resistant to etching, and granite is impervious to any common household acids.

Natural Stone Is A Terrific (Not To Mention Beautiful) Material To Use In All Areas Of Your Home. Knowing The Different Types Of Stone, Their Finishes And Applications Will Help You To Make An Informed Decision On Which Stone Is The Best For Your Project.

There Are Many Finishes And Options Available. Here Are The Most Widely Used:

Polished – A High Gloss Surface. Honed – Smooth With Squared Edges And Without A Polished Surface. Tumbled – Lightly Tumbled To Achieve Rounded Edges And A Surface That Is Not As Smooth As Honed. Antique Tumbled – Medium Tumble Edges And Surface To Achieve A Slight Rustic Look. Cobbled Or Distressed – Heavily Tumbled Edges And Surface To Achieve An Aged Or Ancient Look. Brushed – Acid Washed And Wire Brushed For A Smooth Textured Surface. Flamed – Blow Torched For A Rough Textured Surface.

Granites – Granites Usually Have A “Spattered” Or “Swirled” Grain And Can Contain Many Colors (Minerals). Generally, Granites Have A Polished Finished And Have A “Busy” Look, But To Keep Up With Current Trends, More Manufacturers Are Producing Honed (Smooth & Unpolished) And Flamed (Rough Textured) Surfaces. Granites May Be Purchased In Slab And Dimensional Tile Form And Can Be Used In Almost Any Application. It Has Become Ever Popular As It Is Being Used Frequently In Newly Built Tract Housing, Apartment/Condominium Complexes And Commercial Buildings. Granites Are Imported From Many Countries And Have Just As Many Colors And Sizes To Choose From. A Note In Using Polished Granite Is To Know That It Can Be Slippery To Walk On Until A Patina Builds On It. As With Any Other Commodity, Stone Is Also Graded For Quality Standards. Be Wary If It Is Extremely Inexpensive. The Price Ranges In Granites will depend on The Color, Rarity And Where The Stone Comes From.

Marble – Most People Are Familiar With Marble In Many Uses. From Greek Statues To Roman Baths, Marble Has Been Used For Centuries In Just About Every Possible Application, Both Interior And Exterior. Marble Has The Same General Properties Of Limestone And Can Stain, Etch Or Scratch, But It Only Becomes More Beautiful Over Time And Use. It Is Readily Available In Just About Every Color, Size, Finish And Texture Known To Man. Most Marbles Have A Veining Of A Mineral Throughout Them And Are Generally Thought To Be From , But It In Actually It Is Quarried From All Over The World. Tumbled Marble Has Become Extremely Popular In The In The Last Few Years For Backsplash, Flooring And Shower Areas. Prices Range From $6.00 – $30.00 Per Square Foot, Again Dependent Upon The Rarity, Color And Country Of Origin.

Limestones – There Are Many Types Of Limestone Available And Vary To Many Degrees, Depending Upon Where It Comes From. Unpopular To Belief, Limestone Is Also A Perfectly Suitable Stone To Use In All Areas Of Your Home. Most Limestones Have Softer Earth Tone Colors; May Contain A “Swirl” Veining Movement Throughout; Can Contain Fossils; Or May Have A Light Speckled Grain. Limestones, Just Like Granite Or Any Other Natural Stone Can Stain, Etch Or Get Scratched, But Again, You Should Not Use Natural Stone If This Will Bother You. Limestone Also Is Widely Available In Dimensional Tile And Slab Form. This Stone Is Used Most Frequently In Higher-End Homes, Architectural Designs And Commercial Applications As It Is Easy To Work With, The Colors Are Muted Compared To Granites, It Is Available In As Many Finishes And Textures As Granite. Some Limestones Can Be Somewhat Porous But Are Perfect For Flooring, Backsplashes, Fireplace Surrounds And Outdoor Uses.

Travertine – Travertine Is Marble, Except It Is Filled With “Holes.” To Understand What Causes The Holes, Think Of It This Way. Wherever A River Or Stream Was Prior To The Marble Being Quarried Is Where You Will Find Travertine. Because Of The Holes, People Can Be Scared Off Because Travertine Is Generally Thought To Be More Porous And Not Suitable For Residential Use. This Is Not The Case, As All Of Those Holes Become Filled In With Grout During Installation, Giving It A Very Unique Look. The Same Travertine Can Be Used In Two Separate Areas But Appear Another Way Just By Using Two Different Grout Colors!

Slates – Slate Used To Be Used Mainly For Chalkboard, Billiard Tables, Science Lab Areas And Roof Tiles. However, In Recent Years It Has Become More Popular For Residential Use In Most Applications, With The Exception Of Fabricated Counter Tops. Slate Tiles Are Generally Rough In Surface Texture, With The Exception Of The Tumbled Version. Most Slates Are Available In A Wide Variety Of Sizes In Dimensional Tiles; A Few In Slab Form And Most Can Be Gotten In Crates Of Random Pieces Like Flagstone. It Is A Perfect Stone For Water Areas Such As Showers & Spas, Patio/Driveway Areas, Pool Surrounds And Roofing Applications. Most Slates Contain A Huge Variation Of Color, Even Within The Same Lot And Some Will Even Look To Have Been Stained From Spills Of Red Wine, Which Is Not The Case. This Is Caused From Earth Minerals Such As Iron And Only Adds To The Beauty Of The Stone. Slate Holds Onto Heat Well, Which Is Another Reason Besides Being Fire Proof; It Is Widely Used As Roofing Material. (Use Light Colors In Outdoor Areas Where You May Be Walking Barefoot!) Since Slates Have A Softer Property.

Be Aware That It Can Shale Off The Surface More Easily. This Will Not Harm It Per Se, But May Cause You Concern If You Are Not Aware That It Happens. One Of The Difficulties Of Slate Is That It Is Varied In Thickness. Because Of The Shale Properties, It Is Very Difficult To Cut Evenly. Generally, Manufacturers Will Cut Them With A “Gauged” Thickness Or “Sawn Back” Treatment, Leaving One Side Smoother. Because Of The Varied Thickness Between Each Piece Of Tile, Specific Sized Installations May Be More Of A Challenge.

On The Whole, It Is Not More Difficult To Install. There Are Exceptions Of Course Such As The Difficulties With Thickness Gauges, Which Takes More Time In Lying Out And Whether A Complex Pattern Is Being Used. As For Cost It Is Generally Not More Expensive Except For Time Spent On Laying Out Patterns And The Thickness Gauging.  The Setting Supplies And Procedures Are The Same, But Stone Is Heavier To Work With.

Absolutely! The Possibilities Are Endless. You Can Incorporate Stone With Ceramic, Porcelain, Glass, And Terracotta. Anything You Can Think Of, Even Mixing Different Types Of Stones Together.

Lobby – Entry Areas: The most preferred material is Marble or Limestone. Considering the use and traffic, it may be advisable to use Granite.

Bathroom Floors & Kitchen Floors: Marble and Limestone have been used for Baths and Kitchens. Keeping in mind the heavy use, moisture and heat, Clay Tiles and Porcelain tiles may be a better product.

Kitchen & Bathroom Vanity tops: Granite is the most favorable. Easiest to maintain and will last a lifetime.

Exterior Patios: Slate, sandstone or quartzite. These are more durable, and have a rusticated look and feel.

Pool Decks: Quartzitic sandstone or Slate. Specially with the Chlorine we do not recommend using and Calcium based (Limestone or Marble) products.

Exterior walls: Granite, Sandstone or Slate are the best for this application. They will be most suitable for weather conditions and durability.

Roofing: Slate is the oldest traditional material of choice. It is by far the best material for the use.

Cladding: (In building construction, cladding may refer to the application of one material over another to provide a skin or layer intended to control the infiltration of weather elements, or for aesthetic purposes.)

Granite, Quartzitic Sandstone and Slate are the most extensively used products for Cladding. These are the hardest materials and most recommended for this application.

Thickness of stone required varies on the type of installation. This is also determined by the Building Code in the area. However, as a guide we recommend the following:

Tiles up to size 24″x 24″ – ½”~ 5/8″

Adhered Veneer Max size 720 ½”~ 5/8″

Anchored Veneer 3 cm

Paving: Flamed Granite and Slate are most frequently used for pavers. Granite Cobbles are alsom used for special applications. The most recent development has been the “Riverwash” finish for Granite. While it maintains the color of polished granite, it provides for a textured surface similar to Granite.

Thickness to suit application:

Granite for normal foot traffic 2 cm

Heavy Traffic or Vehicular traffic 3 cm

Slate tiles up to 24×24  X 12-15 mm

There are certain Slates that are not suitable for colder climates that experience freeze thaw conditions. We recommend that you should consult with us or do the required testing to ensure the suitability of the product for a specific use.

Every Natural Cleft material has different amount of Clefting – Heavy, Medium and Light. Please check for what is suitable for each application. Typically, Heavy Cleft materials are suitable for exteriors and the Light cleft for Interiors.

Natural Stones also have a different range of color variation. While we try and sample representative pieces, we recommend that you should see the full color range. There is also a lot of variation from lot to lot.

While selection of Natural stone is more an aesthetic decision, there are certain stones, more suited than others, for certain specific applications.

In order to get a better material for a specific application, we recommend that you keep in mind the Hardness of materials comparative to each other.








After installation, the tops should be washed and cleaned thoroughly. We recommend that the material should be sealed with a silicone impregnator. This will make the material impervious and protect against any staining or spotting. Follow the instructions recommended by the manufacturer for the sealer, application; please comply with manufacturer’s recommendations (Process and number of coats).

Cleaning should be done on a regular basis with a mild cleaning soap and water. Do not use strong detergents for regular cleaning. Strong detergents will affect the grout, and joints will come apart very quickly. These will also affect the life of the impregnator.

We recommend that occasionally the tops should be washed clean with a cleaning compound, using compounds recommended for cleaning of granite tops. Subsequently, resealing of tops may be necessary.

It is recommended that the tops are thoroughly cleaned and resealed at least ONCE EVERY 18 – 24 Months. This will keep the tops looking clean and also, extend the life of the product.


2CM (3/4”) & 3CM (1- ¼”)


12″x 12″x 3/8″

16″x 16″x 3/8″

18″x 18″x ½”

24″x 24″x ½” OR 3/4″

In the case of slates and quartzites, the sizes are nominal sizes and not exact sizes.

4×4         – 0.111 sqft

6×6         – 0.25 sqft

6×12       – 0.50 sqft

8×12       – 0.67 sqft

12×12     – 1.00 sqft

16×16     – 1.78 sqft

18×18     – 2.25 sqft

24×24     – 4.00 sqft

36×36     – 9.00 sqft

48×48     – 16.00 sqft

Generally, Tile And Stone For A “Field” Area Is Figured By The Square Foot. To Figure Square Footage, Measure The Area That You Will Be Putting The Tile With A Tape Measure. Examples:

  1. You Measure Your Room And It Comes Out To Be 10-1/2 Feet Wide By 15-3/4 Feet Long. You Would Calculate It By Multiplying 10.5×15.75 = 165.38. Round This Number Off To The Closest Whole Number (165). It is Suggested Adding On A 10-15% Overage To Plan For Cuts, Breakage And A Little Extra To Store In Case A Piece Needs To Be Replaced Later In Time.
  2. You Measure Your Wall Area To Be Covered And You Get 18″ Tall And 33″ Long. Multiply 18×33 = 594″. Now Divide That Number By 144, Resulting In 4.13sf. (There Are 144 Sq. Inches Per Square Foot). Again, Round It Off And Add On For Overage).
  3. When Figuring For Decorative Tile Or Trim, It Is Usually By The Piece And Calculated By The Lineal Foot.
  4. For Slabs, It Is Best To Let Your Fabricator Figure The Quantity For You.