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Frequently Asked Questions
Natural Stone Fireplace Surround Facing

Why should I choose a Natural Stone Fireplace Surround Facing Kit?
What do I need to consider when buying marble or granite?
What's the difference between marble and granite?
Should I use marble or granite for my fireplace surround facing?
What is the best way to clean marble or granite and other stones?
Can my marble or granite fireplace surround facing be damaged?
How do I clean my granite fireplace surround facing?
Will my marble or granite fireplace surround facing look like the sample shown on the website?
Why choose a natural stone surround facing kit over 12 x 12 tile?
What part of my firebox trim can I cover up with facing?

Why Should I choose a Natural Stone Fireplace Surround Facing Kit?
The fireplace is the focal point of every home. Look at any interior design magazine and you will always see a picture of the fireplace. Fireplaces are recommended by home building experts as one of the top three ways to improve the resale value of the home. In fact, the #1 upgrade item chosen by new homeowners is the fireplace. If this is truly the focal point, then let's upgrade from cheap ceramic or marble tiles to a slab surround.
  • Natural stone is recognized as one of the hottest building and design products currently available for upgrading the interior of the home.
  • The majority of new homes in the United States priced over $100,000 are currently using marble or slate fireplace surrounds.
  • Versatile in their application, stone products work beautifully with both traditional and contemporary designs.
  • Each piece of natural stone is unique in its characteristics; no other set is exactly the same.
  • Natural stone products bring years of enjoyment with very little maintenance.
  • It is readily available in a variety of different colors and textures to solve the most challenging design project.
  • Natural stone has been used for centuries to provide timeless elegance in cathedrals and palaces; this same product is now affordably priced for today's homeowner.
  • Unlike cultured marble, natural stone is nonflammable, meets all building codes and is guaranteed to be safer around a fireplace, especially when used on a vent free fireplace.
Natural Stone will not only increase the value of your home, but will enhance the beauty of your fireplace for years to come. The facings we offer have been carefully selected, cut and polished. With proper care and maintenance, your natural stone hearth and facing will bring many years of enjoyment.

What do I need to consider when buying marble or granite?
Marble and granite are natural stones that have been blessed with a remarkable natural beauty that has captivated humans throughout the ages. Inherent in such natural products is a certain lack of predictability that sophisticated architects and designers celebrate. Consumers who are less acquainted with the material expect the marble ordered to be identical to the picture or sample they were shown. Although sample stones are intended to be representative of the quarry's product, the material quarried at one time may differ slightly in color and veining from the sample. Moreover, even a single marble or granite slab will possess a certain amount of color variation from one end to the other. Interior designers and architects have come to view this tendency of natural stone as an advantage. Slight irregularities can be pleasing, introducing an element of the natural into human-designed spaces, whether residential or commercial.

What's the difference between marble and granite?
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. Granite is formed deep in the earth's core at extremely high temperatures, and is a very hard, resistant stone made of crystallized minerals. The marble family - limestone, travertine, marble, onyx - starts out as sediment – animal skeletons, shells, plant matter,and silt - at the bottom of bodies of water. After millions of years this solidifies (lithifies) into stone. Because its main component is calcium, acids such as vinegar and citrus beverages can affect it.

Should I use marble or granite for my fireplace surround facing?
Both marble (travertine too!) and granite are wonderful choices for the fireplace. Marble can scratch a bit easier than granite and is affected by acidic substances, such as vinegars. Granite in turn is considered one of the hardest stones, its polish is not subject to etching by household acids, or scratching under normal use.

What is the best way to clean marble or granite and other stones?
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 natural stone fireplace surround facing. 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. Note: Our natural stone facing kits are pre-sealed before leaving the factory.

Can my marble or granite fireplace surround facing be damaged?
Like any solid surface, high impact blows can harm natural stones. Because of its crystalline structure, granite can chip if subjected to sharp hard objects. Marble will tend to crack if hit with great force.

How do I clean my granite fireplace surround facing?
Polished granite is a very durable stone. Granite will withstand almost any element it comes up against including heat and cold. Granite itself is approximately 95-98% stain resistant but, we use a silicone impregnator on all our natural stone products. This will insure lasting life and beauty. Polished granite should receive the same cleaning care as polished marble, using a mild phosphate-free, biodegradable liquid dish-soap, soap flakes or powder which contain no aromatics. Follow cleaning with a thorough rinsing and drying with cotton-flannel or chamois.

Will my marble or granite fireplace surround facing look like the sample shown on the web site?
The samples you see on the computer have been scanned and saved as digital images. The color tones may not be absolutely correct due to variations in computer systems, monitors and compression algorithms. Also, marble and granite are natural materials with naturally occurring variations in color, tone, granularity, pattern, etc. These variations are expected and are the source of its natural beauty.

Why choose a natural stone surround facing kit over 12 x 12 tile?
12x12 tiles are cheaper than natural stone slab surround kits, but tile workmanship is often uneven, joints are numerous, unpolished edges show around the face of the fireplace and installation time is much longer and more difficult. In most cases, homeowners will choose the slab facing. It adds value and salability to the home. That's why homeowners never want granite tiles on their kitchen countertops - because of excessive maintenance with grout joints and lack of continuity in veining. Slab Fireplace Surround Facing Kits are a few dollars more but well worth the investment.

What part of my firebox trim can I cover up with facing?
Radiant front metal fireplaces have solid panels horizontally across the top and bottom. Unless the fireplace instructions state otherwise, fixed position solid panels can be covered by a non-combustible facing. Circulating metal fireplaces have louvered panels with air vents across the top and bottom. These panels cannot be covered by a facing. Do not cover panels that serve as access doors to gas, blower, or other controls.
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