HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN MARBLE, GRANITE, AND QUARTZ PT 1

You've started your kitchen or bathroom remodel, but find yourself with a sea of options for every countertop, floor, and another surface. There are pictures of beautiful home kitchens and baths with custom countertops, cabinets, and flooring everywhere you look.

You may be wondering what type of stone countertops are made of or what type of stone is best for your kitchen.

Three commonly used stones for countertops are Marble, Granite, and Quartz.

Which of these is the best for you? And how can you tell the difference between these materials?

Characteristics of Marble, Granite, and Quartz

- Marble
The marble is mined and reaches your home 100% naturally. As a classic choice for architecture, marble has been used in statues to bathrooms. Marble often comes in various colors with wonderful veining.

When the marble is free of impurities or other stones, it becomes an immaculate white. However, it is often porous and requires frequent maintenance, making it less resistant to damage than other stones on the market.

- Granite

Granite comes straight from the ground and does not require much processing before it is ready to be purchased and installed in your home. A countertop made of granite is one of the strongest and most beautiful surfaces to be found on this planet.

There is an endless rainbow of colors to choose from, including tans, greys, golden browns, blues, whites, and many more. Granite is durable, stain and heat-resistant.

- Quartz

A quartz countertop has to be fabricated unlike marble and granite, which are quarried, polished and sold. The reason is that the quartz used for countertops is about 90% natural quartz that has been melted and mixed with about 10% polyresin. Since these countertops are manufactured, their appearance can be customized to mimic the look of marble or granite.

The importance of having adequate equipment to cut dekton and porcelain

Dekton, among other alternative stone materials, continues to grow in popularity for applications such as countertops, flooring, and both interior and exterior wall cladding. Being a hard dense product, it is crucial to use appropriate tooling during the fabrication process. Carlos Sustaita, production director for STA Granite, provides several important tips of advice for those working with compact sintered stone.

Why do products such as Dekton need special/different tools than those that are used for cutting granite and marble?

Material hardness is the key to understanding why you need different tools to fabricate Dekton. The material has a
very high density (ultra-compact), which means that if you don’t use proper tools, you can either break the tool or the material or even worse, damage the machinery.

The cutting process requires trimming the edges to release tensions. Then you have to follow cutting recommendations, which include using plenty of water, the proper speed, feed rate, etc. Once you follow the rules, it’s a piece of cake.
When doing edging on Dekton, What is the difference in the process compared to a natural stone?

In this sense, Dekton’s edge is very easy to work with since the material is very homogeneous, and it is easy to get very good results. Any fabricator can do it well on the first attempt.

What are some common mistakes that fabricators are making when it comes to cutting this material? And, what are some common mistakes with doing edging or doing sinkholes or something?

The main mistake is trying to fabricate Dekton as if it was a granite or quartz composite. You will fail if you use the same tools, speed rates, and so on. Another common mistake is trying to cut Dekton in uneven support. It is a common source of problems too.

Sometimes people ask about what machine is best to cut Dekton. I believe the key is not the machine but the tools and proper maintenance. I have seen people with very modest equipment doing amazing things and the other way around.

7 Keys for Cutting Ultra-Compact and Sintered Dekton and Porcelain Materials

1. Water

It may seem too simple or too intuitive to matter, but less than adequate water AND hoses positioned incorrectly is the most common error causing headaches among cutting these materials.
2. Check your table level

One of the more overlooked aspects of successful cutting is, to the degree that your table is not level in the horizontal plane, vibrations will occur. This unevenness can result in chipping and likely breaking the edge of your slab.
3. Buy the right blade

As cliche, as it may sound, choosing the right blade for the material you are processing, is critical.
4. Removing tensioning strips

While each manufacturer of ultra-compact and sintered porcelain materials may, or may not have tensioning strips built into the perimeters of each slab, if they are not removed before cutting, the slab is at higher risk of cracking or breaking.
5. Feed rate and RPMs

Using the same feed rate and RPMs you may be accustomed to when cutting other materials can be a recipe for trouble. Unlike fabricating more common materials such as marble and granite, we’ve seen the most success cutting ultra-compact and sintered porcelain materials when following a systemized approach is used.
6. Avoiding Plunging

While plunge cutting tends to be of little concern for most sawyers when cutting ultra-compact and sintered porcelain materials it can pose big problems resulting in cracking or breaking your slab.
7. Cutting Sinks

Projects requiring a sink cut-out can be an obstacle many fabricators dread. Since we already know plunging is not the ideal way to go about this, what are your options? When preparing a sink cut-out, it is advised to drill each of the four corners with a 1/2” core bit before to start initiating cutting.
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