Most Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is granite?
A: Granite is a natural stone, formed many years ago when molten rock from the center of the earth’s core was pushed towards the surface. Granite’s extreme hardness, which approaches that of diamonds, makes it an uncommonly durable surface. It has a natural beauty which makes it appealing when used a countertops or other surfaces at home. Granite’s natural beauty endures forever. Nations through the ages have chosen granite to memorialize their significant achievements. You can be sure that the granite you choose will stand the test of time and provide many years of enjoyment and service in your home.
Q: I have heard that granite has small cracks and pits in it. What are these?
A: Fissures occur naturally and in many stone types. The term “fissures” is used commercially in the stone industry to describe the visible separation along intercrystalline boundaries. This separation may start and stop within the field of the stone or extend through an edge. A fissure differs from a crack in that it is a naturally occuring feature in the stone. All granite contain some degree of fissure. Some contain more than others. Fissures occur naturally in granite and are not a flaw. Countertops will not be replaced due to the presence of fissures within your tops.
Pitting of the countertop surface, particularly in granite, is a commonly seen characteristics of natural stone. Granites are made up of several different minerals, each mineral having a different hardness. Granites contain quartz, feldspar, biotite, amphibole, ferrous titanium oxides, and other mineral combinations. On the Mohs Scale, diamonds are the hardest mineral with a rating of 10. Quartz and Feldspar have a hardness of 6.5-7 and are very durable. Biotite (small, black minerals found throughout the slab) on the other hand is very soft (2.5) and flakes easily. All true granites have biotite in their composition. Because biotite is soft and flakey, the first few layers can be removed during the polishing process. The pits do not make the granite less durable or otherwise inferior, and do not in themselves qualify the slab for replacement. Pits are common in all granite and should be expected when dealing with natural polished stone. Countertops will not be replaced nor will any financial compensation be allowed due to pitting in the surface of any granite countertops.
Q: My neighbor has granite and there are small chips along the seam. Is this normal?
A: Chipping will occur, particularily in the igneous stone varieties, as a result of sawing operations. The exiting poriton of the diamond blade used to cut granite will create many small chips. A small chamfer, called an “arris” of appoximately 1/16″ x 1/16″ can be used to eliminate most of the small chips. The use of an arris will make the seam appear wider than its actual dimension when filled. Larger chips may be repaired with epoxy or polyester resin if the completed repair is consistent in color and texture with un-repaired areas of the slab. Knoxville’s Stone Interiors does not use arrises when installing granite countertops, as it makes the seams appear much wider. Seams are assembled and small chips are filled with polyester resin. Countertops will not be replaced nor will any financial compensation be allowed due to chipping along the seams of granite countertops.
Q: I have seen some seams that are not perfectly smooth, why is this?
A: The term “lippage” as used in the stone industry, is the planar offset of the finished surfaces of the two adjacent stone units. Due to the relatively tight seams used in countertop installations, even minor amounts of lippage are noticeable. Lippage may be unavoidable due to the permanent warp in the slab stock. There should be no detectable lippage at the front or rear edge of the countertop. Maximum lippage at the center of the countertop is 1/32″ (.8mm). Countertops will not be replaced nor will any financial compensation be allowed due to lippage within the acceptable industry standards.
Q: Will my granite match the sample I saw in the store that I purchased the countertops from?
A: The sample used to make your color selections may not exactly match the salbs used to produce your countertops. Some granite colors, due to the different types of mineral in them, are more consistent than others. We recommend you schedule a time to view the lot of material that your countertops will be cut from. Unlike other fabrications, KSI will allow you to pick the exact slabs that will be used in your project. Slab viewing is by appointment only. Please call 865-751-5800 to schedule an appointment. Countertops will not be replaced nor will financial compensation be allowed for countertops that do not match the sample that was used to make the selection.
Q: I have heard that my countertops will need to be sealed every year, is this true?
A: The sealer that KSI recommends for granite is the 15 year sealer with a warranty backed by Dupont and is trasnferable one time to a new homeowner. This sealer is good for one year on marble or in outdoor applications. If you waive this sealer, you will receive a one year water based sealer which has no stain warranty. Quartz does not need to be sealed.
Q: Some of the walls in my kitchen are bowed and inconsistent. Will the granite follow this bow and conform to the wall?
A: Granite is extremely rigid and can not bend to follow the irregularities of walls. No wall is perfectly straight. there will be areas where small gaps are visible. The size pf these gaps is determined by the severity of the bows in the wall. Knoxville’s Stone Interiors will not caulk any gaps between the wall and the granite. Countertops will not be scribed in an attempt to follow the irregularity of any wall. Countertops will not be replaced nor will financial compensation be allowed due to gaps between the walls and granite countertops.
Q: I would like to increase the overhang of my new granite countertops on my island or peninsula to allow for bar stools and an eating area. Can I do this?
A: Unsupported overhang can not exceed 1/3 of the supported top, to a maximum of 6″ on 2cm material and 10″ on 3cm material. Supports such as corbels or brackets should be installed by the homeowner or contractor after the granite installation. Knoxville’s Stone Interiors will not install these supports. We do however offer an option called an I-brace for bar tops or a Mega Brace for islands and peninsulas. These are available for purchase at KSI but installation is the responsibility of the homeowner.
Q: I am planning a large party, how quickly can I get my granite installed?
A: Customers planning events in their home should be cautioned to provide several weeks of cushion before hosting an event in their homes, as delays in major construction projects are common, and occur for many unforeseen reasons. During transportation, a top can sometimes break. Tops can also break during the installation process. Should a granite top break during transportation or installation, Knoxville’s Stone Interiors will repair or remake the top and prioritize the installation of the new top as quickly as possible. No compensation will be provided for delays or for the impact these delays may have on events planned by the customer.
Q: Do I need to be there during the measuring / templating of the countertops?
A: Yes. The customer or a responsible representative over the age of 21 who can sign paperwork must be present during the process to review items such as seam locations, overhangs, radius corners, and other such issues which commonly arise. You will be asked to sign the drawing of your countertops which will indicate the approximate location of the seams and other specific information of your project.
Q: Do I need to have the existing countertops removed prior to the templating date?
A: While it is highly recommended we measure without existing countertops, Knoxville’s Stone Interiors recognizes that being without a working kitchen for several weeks would be very difficult. Although it is more accurate to measure for tightest fit with the existing tops removed, it is not mandatory. However, occasionally the measurer will not see something that becomes visible after the existing tops are removed. It is the customer;s responsibility to make sure that the cabinets are level, in good shape and have adequate support. KSI does offer a plumbing disconnect and tearout for an additional fee. If you purchase an Expedited package your countertops will be scheduled to remove on a Monday morning, measured on Monday afternoon and installed Thursday IF all of your color and sink final decisions have already been made and are in stock. Any leveling or cabinet repair needed after the tearout are the responsibility of the homeowner and must be completed before we return to install. KSI will not disconnect any hardwired electric or gas lines! Those must be disconnected prior to our arrival for tearout. No financial compensation or replacement will be allowed for delays in installation due to pieces being measured incorrectly if existing tops are not removed.
Q: What other items do I need to know prior to templating?
A: – Final pricing will be based on actual field measurements and conditions
– undermount sinks, faucets, and cooktops must be onsite during templating
– it is the customer’s responsibility to make sure that the sink and cooktop fit into the base cabinet and that faucets will fit and be functional in the space behind the sink and any backsplash material. This is KSI’s #1 cause of remade countertops at the homeowner’s expense. Please alert your salesperson prior to meaure if you have any unusual depths/configurations on vanity cabinets or kitchen base cabinets less than 36″ wide
– Existing countertops should be cleared of all items prior. They will interfere with the measuring process and KSI is not allowed to move any of your items.
–The appointment to template is the last chance to make changes to the original order. Changes must be made in writing and be given to your salesperson in person, by fax or by email. They can be reached at 865-971-5800. There are no over the phone changes. Changes must be made in writing. Some changes may delay the installation.
– Cabinets must be fully installed, including all finished panels, before templates can be made. Some cabinets are installed with finished panels on the ends and some are not. No panels may be added after templates have been made. Cabinets must be finished as if the new countertops were being installed that day.
– Upper cabinets must be installed if the job requires full height back splash.
Q: What are some of the things I should know about the tearout of my existing countertops?
A: It is the homeowner’s responsibility to have countertops removed unless you pay for this service with KSI. Prior to removing your countertops; the sink, faucets, and dishwasher will need to be disconnected. Most homes have a shut off valves under the sink. If your home does not have shut off valves, a plumber should be contacted to have them installed. A countertop installation, in rare cases, may take a few days to complete and shut off valves for the kitchen faucets must be in place to avoid having to water completely shut off to your home during this process. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure all cutoff valves are in working order and do not leak. Knoxville’s Stone Interiors will not be responsible for leaking plumbing or shut off valves that break when turned. KSI will not disconnect any hardwired electrical or gas lines or move appliances.
There will be some unavoidable damage during the tearout to surrounding walls, existing tiles, and possibly cabinets. Countertop installers are not responsible for this damage. This type of damage occurs with most installations and the customer should be prepared to make touchups and repairs once the countertops are installed.
The removal of existing countertops and the installation of new countertops is a major construction process. There will be minor damage to surrounding areas and large amounts of dust and debris will be created. No financial compensation will be allowed for this type of damage during the tearout process.
**KSI now accepts American Express! We have always taken VISA, MC, Discover, checks and cash but are pleased to announce we can now accept Amex. (Please note: there will be a 4% credit card convenience fee added to all orders. If you choose to pay by cash or check instead a 4% discount will be taken)**
If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask your salesperson or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of our Customer Expectations booklet!