To learn more about stone products, such as granite, marble and quartz, or how to choose a stone fabricator, click on one of questions below to view the answer.


FAQS – Natural Stone

What's the difference between marble and granite?

How is granite formed?

Does granite have any pits or fissures?

What do I need to consider when buying a granite countertop?

Is granite safe to use in a kitchen?

Can I cut on my granite countertop?

Can I set hot pot on my granite countertop?

Can granite cantilever?

How do I deal with sink and stove cutouts?

Doesn’t granite require seams and do the seams show?

How are seams made?

How is quartz different from marble and granite?

Is marble suitable for a kitchen countertop?

Where can I use marble?

How do I clean my granite countertop?

Can my granite top be damaged?

Can granite chip?

Can granite crack?

Can granite be repaired?

Does granite stain?

FAQs – Choosing a stone fabricator

How should I choose a stone fabricator?

What questions should I ask a fabricator to make an informed choice?

FAQs – About GMT

Why should I choose GMT?

What do you charge per square foot?

What are the pricing variables?

Where do I begin? How do I get an estimate?

How does GMT handle seams?

Do you have a showroom?

Do I need an appointment to come down to your place?

Where do you operate?

What if I can't find what I'm looking for at GMT?

Do I have to buy the whole sheet/slab?

 


 

FAQS – Natural Stone


Q. What is the difference between granite and marble?

A. The main difference between granite and marble is that granite is a highly dense material composed deep inside the earth's core while marble is formed from sediments under the seabed. Both solidify into stone after millions of years but the mineral composition of the two stones makes marble and granite react different to various chemicals and household cleaners. Marble chemical structure is calcium carbonate making it more reactive with weak acids. Granite chemical structure is more silica making it not reactive with weak acids or bases.

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Q. How is Granite formed?

A. Granite is an igneous rock of visible crystalline formation and texture. It is composed primarily of feldspar, quartz, and mica. It starts off as liquid magma deep within the earth's core where it is cooled and compressed over millions of years under tons of pressure. It is then quarried, cut and polished. After that process it can be applied in various ways like kitchen counter tops, vanity tops, fireplace surrounds as well as Jacuzzi surrounds and other custom designs.

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Q. Does granite have any pits or fissures?

A. Yes granite can have natural pits and fissures that are part of the stones natural structure. Some types of granite have more of such characteristics than other types.

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Q. What do I need to consider when buying a granite countertop?

A. Granite is a natural stone. It is very hard and durable, heat and scratch resistant as well as easy to maintain. Aside from the practical aspect, granite is very versatile in the design field. It comes in various colors and structural compositions. All stones are not exactly the same, each will have unique characteristics attributed to the specific granite.

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Q. Is granite safe to use in a kitchen?

A. In a word, yes. There has been some misinformation circulated by competing industries attempting to raise concerns about issues such as bacteria and radon.  We would be pleased to share the research that shows that these concerns are not only unfounded but granite actually ranks second to polished stainless steel in a study measuring the bacteria resistance capacity of six common countertop materials.  

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Q. Can I cut on my granite countertop?

A. 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.  

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Q. Can I set a hot pot on my granite countertop?

A. Granite is formed by extreme heat and pressure combined beneath the earths crust. It can not be affected by heat from a cook top or frying pan. A lit flame placed under the granite will have no melting effect and will not leave any burned or scarred marks.  

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Q. Can granite cantilever?

A. This depends on the material.  Some granites will allow up to 12” overhang unsupported.  Others will require additional support for overhangs as little as 6”.  We will guide you on the proper type and quantity of supports needed for your particular application.  

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Q. How do I deal with sink and stove cutouts?

A. With our latest technology we have the ability to cut any sink or surface unit cutout. Under mounted sinks (sinks that are mounted under that counter top so as not to show any rim) are fully cut out, then the inside of the hole is polished. The counter top is then flipped over and reinforced with metal rods for extra support.

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Q. Doesn’t granite require seams and do the seams show?

A. Because granite is a natural material and is mined from the quarry in blocks usually no more than 10 feet long, you will most likely end up with seams. Also, because granite is sold in rectangular pieces, you may want to use seams to reduce your costs, such as in an "L" shaped corner. Our professionals will work with you in planning your project to minimize the number of seams and choose the slabs best suited to your unique situation. The visibility of seams will depend on the granularity, color and pattern. A small, uniform grain will not be as apparent as a larger varied grain. A dramatic pattern with swaths of color will show more than a uniform pattern. Most customers have found that the beauty of natural granite outweighs the concern of seams. GMT takes pride in creating seams and edges that enhance the natural beauty of your project.

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Q. How are seams made?

A. Seams are done where the two pieces of stone are put together. The seams are joined with epoxy that is mixed with the color that closely matches the stone.

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Q. How is quartz different from marble and granite?

A. Quartz countertops are sold under brand names such as Zodiaq™, Hanstone™ and Silestone™ and are man-made stone surfaces. Quartz products offer consistency in patterns and colors that natural stone cannot. Quartz surfaces do not offer the uniqueness and varied random patterns of natural granite and marble.

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Q. Is marble suitable for a kitchen countertop?

A. No, marble is not a good choice for a kitchen counter top. Although it can be sealed, it is not as dense as granite and therefore it is more porous and susceptible to being stained in a highly used area like a kitchen. It is much softer and it will chip and crack under frequent use. However, if these are the characteristics you want, we will be happy to install it for you.

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Q. Where can I use marble?

A. Marble can be used for a number of various applications like fireplace surrounds, tabletops, saddles, and shelves. Ideally it can be applied to a number of projects in the bath area like Jacuzzi surrounds, vanities, floor, and shower paneling. Generally you can safely use marble in low traffic areas. Since ancient times, marble has been used in all areas of the temples; from furnishings to floors. These Greek and Turkish marbles have proven as durable as materials traditionally considered to be sturdier with the added benefit of creating a warm welcoming atmosphere.

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Q. How do I clean my granite countertop?

A. Granite is a very durable stone. It is also much harder than marble. Granite has been used in the past in the commercial industry. Some of the obvious applications have been panels on the outside of buildings, walls, and floors of "high-traffic" areas. Granite will withstand almost any element it comes up against including heat and cold. Polished granite should receive the same cleaning care as polished marble, preferably using specially formulated GMT granite cleaner or using a mild phosphate-free, biodegradable liquid dish-soap, soap flakes or powder which contains no aromatics. Followed by a thorough rinsing and drying with cotton-flannel or chamois. If you are going to go with just plain soap and water, keep in mind that this can lead to soap build up. This, in turn, will dull your countertop’s finish significantly and you don’t want that. Also, plain soap and water will not bring your countertop to a beautiful shine like our GMT granite cleaner will. When using a granite cleaner, follow the instructions on the label.

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Q. Can my granite top be damaged?

A. Like any solid surface, high impact blows can harm granite. Because of its crystalline structure, it can chip if subjected to sharp hard objects. Unsealed, granite can absorb stains such as oil, which can ultimately cause dark spots or discoloration. Heat from pots and pans or burning liquids will not affect granite under normal circumstances.

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Q. Can granite chip?

A. Only in cases of severe abuse. A chip can be filled with a granite dust and epoxy mixture. If a chip occurs on your countertop, do not throw out the chipped pieces. We can use them to repair the countertop..

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Q. Can granite crack?

A. No, not with regular use. Granite is most susceptible to cracks during shipping and installation. Normal use will not overstress this durable material. .

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Q. Can granite be repaired?
A. It is very hard to damage granite. If any damage occurs it can be sealed with a mixture of epoxy and ground up chips of granite.

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Q. Does granite stain?

A. In general, no. All stone, however, is porous to some extent, but Granite has very little porosity. Most colors will never show stains. A few colors may show some moisture if exposed for a period of time. For example, a puddle of water left on the counter for 30 minutes for some colors, may show a dark spot when the water is wiped away. This spot will then dry up and no evidence will show. Only a few colors demonstrate this trait. Our fabricators will seal the countertops before they are installed. Also if GMT granite cleaner is used there will be little need to reseal the countertops because the cleaner contains some sealer and every time the countertops are cleaned they are also being sealed.

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FAQs – Choosing a stone fabricator


Q. How do I choose a stone fabricator?

A. The process of purchasing custom stone is more detailed than, for example, buying carpeting. As with any purchase, you need to determine what criteria are most important to you.  Be prepared to ask tough questions< to determine the proper fit with a reputable source.  

  • Are you searching for the absolute lowest price or looking more for overall superior value?
  • Is timely completion important?
  • How fussy am I about quality workmanship of both the fabrication and installation?
  • How heavily do you weigh the quality of materials used?
  • Will the company provide prompt answers to my questions and issues?
  • Do you value responsive service, integrity and the caliber of people that you deal with and will have working in your home?
  • Can you effectively communicate with the people working on your project?

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Q. What questions should I ask a fabricator to make a more informed decision?

A. The best customers are the most informed, so ask lots of questions of your prospective fabricator. Here are several helpful questions:

  • Do you use your own installers or third party contractors?
  • How do you stand behind your work?
  • How current are your fabrication techniques?  Why does that make a difference?
  • What measures do you take to assure there are reputable people working in our home?
  • Will your quoted price include everything we need, or might we be surprised by extras and add-ons after we commit? 
  • When it comes to edge polish quality, what measures are taken to assure a quality finish?
  • When it comes to seams, what do you do to assure minimum visibility?
  • What is your on-time delivery record?
  • If I should have a problem, what is your company's policy for providing a remedy? 

Your understanding of the difference in prospective fabricators can make the difference between lasting satisfaction and remodeler's remorse.  

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FAQs – About GMT


Q. Why should I choose GMT?

A. Thanks for asking! While our pricing is competitive, our customers are looking for something more. They value how we handle all of the details that go into producing a superior quality product and our responsive service. They don't want to be pressured to make a purchase. They want to work with professionals in every step of the process especially with those who perform work in their home. They want their project completed on-time with minimum disruption to their home and their lives.  GMT has a proven track record for assuring these results.

  1. At GMT, we are frequently called upon to repair the mistakes of our lower caliber competitors.  
  2. We continuously measure our customers' perceptions of our core values: quality, responsive service and integrity.  
  3. We stand behind our work with a limited lifetime warranty
  4. Our pricing is fair and competitive -- and always in-line with our estimates.

Our customer testimonials say it better than we ever could … read what our customers have to say about our service and quality of work.

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Q. What do you charge per square foot?

A. For the same reason that new cars are not priced by dollars per pound, the most fair answer is: It depends.  While the amount of stone required for your project is a significant part of the price, there are other variables.  For this reason, we prefer to first understand the variables of your project and then issue a prompt preliminary estimate.  We are careful to avoid any appearance of bait and switch marketing that can occur on the low end of our marketplace with square foot pricing.  

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Q. What are the pricing variables?

A. They include the complexity of your project, the type of stone required, the edging design selected, the number and type of sinks, faucets and cook tops used, the removal of existing countertops. We also offer services that can make your project unique: fancy cuts, special features, scalloped corners, clips and corbelled corners, radius arcs, additional installation and removal services.  

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Q. Where do I begin? How do I get an estimate?

A. At GMT, we work to make it easy for you to participate in the process of selecting your stone and your options.  You will need to start by providing us with some measurements, or by setting up an appointment for one of our experienced staff members to do a free in-home consultation.   

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Q. How does GMT handle seams?

A. We believe that superior seam quality is part of The GMT Difference. By combining superior cutting and forming equipment with meticulous, well trained installers, GMT provides the cleanest seams available from a stone fabricator. Unlike some of our more cost conscious competitors, your GMT Project Manager will be happy to show you the planned location of the seams for your project.  Also, our layout designers work to minimize the number of seams required for your project, another GMT Difference.  All GMT seams are hard epoxy bonded. We do not use soft seam bonds employed by less stringent installers. In addition, our advance fabrication processes provide more flexibility for minimizing the need for seams wherever possible.  

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Q. Do you have a Showroom?

A. We do! The purpose of our showroom is to educate, not to sell. Our staff will assist you in making educated decisions on color, style and edge design. In addition to the showroom, we have an inventory of stone slabs for you to examine indoors. When you're ready to buy, you can select the actual stone slab(s) that will be used for fabrication of your project. We also work with several stone distributors located around the Des Moines area where you can visit and select the stone slabs for your project.  Visit us at 1333 SW Ordnance Rd., Suite 1, Ankeny, Iowa. Our showroom hours are Monday-Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm. and Saturday 9 am to 12 noon. We can also schedule appointments at other times.

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Q. Do I need an appointment to come down to your place?

A. No appointment is necessary; GMT is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm and Saturday from 9 am to 12 noon. We can also schedule appointments at other times.

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Q. Where do you operate?

A. GMT operates within Iowa and the surrounding states. We are a direct fabricator and installer of kitchen countertops, vanities, fireplace surrounds, and other custom stone designs.  

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Q. What if I can't find the color I'm looking for at GMT?

A. For unique and hard to find stone colors and patterns, we will assist you by working with our affiliated local distributors that give us access to thousands of slab choices.

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Q. Do I have to buy the whole sheet/slab?

A. No. We will determine how much material is needed for your countertops. We do not charge you the price of full slabs. You pay for what is required to fabricate your tops.  

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