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The lowdown on Super White

Posted by karin_mt (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 26, 12 at 19:01

I am mostly a lurker here so far, and as our kitchen remodel plans take shape I have been enjoying seeing other people's progress and taking comfort that there is a strong community of kindred spirits who like to sweat all the glorious details of a kitchen!

I'm a geologist so perusing the slab yard is always fun. Rarely do you get to see so many fascinating rocks all in one place.

So today when I picked up my backsplash tile and put down a deposit for some small slabs (a separate story), I had a great time visiting various slabs with one of the fabricators. We talked about the minerals and textures that make some rocks winners in the kitchen, and others not so good.

I asked to see some Super White, knowing there is a lack of clarity about what this rock really is. He gave me a piece to bring home and I did some diagnostics. Maybe this is common knowledge to you all, but here's the lowdown.

The rock is dolomitic marble. It's not quartzite - it's not even close to quartzite in terms or hardness or resistance to acid.

Dolomitic marble is a sibling to regular marble. Regular marble is made of calcite. Dolomite is made of calcite plus magnesium. Calcite is CaCO3 and dolomite is CaMgCO3. So this rock started out as the sedimentary rock called dolomite then was metamorphosed (heat + pressure) to cause the grains to recrystallize into dolomitic marble.

My hunch is that this marble would be slightly more resistant to etching than regular calcite marble. But it is still just as soft as marble and has all the other requirements of caring for marble. It sure is a beautiful rock. But no way will it wear like granite or quartzite.

The decorative stone industry has a whole different way of naming and classifying rocks than geologists do. (The first time someone showed me a back granite I protested loudly. There is no such thing as black granite!) But I am coming around to understand how the rocks are classified from the countertop point of view. So yes, the terms are contradictory and confusing, perhaps even deliberately so in some cases. But at least in this case I am certain of what the actual rock type is.

I hope that's helpful or illuminating. And if you have questions about the real identity or geologic history of your countertop, I may be able to shed some light!

Karin


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Thank you so much for sharing your expertise Karin.
With all of the different stones, different sources, different names it is unbelievably confusing.
I'm looking at finding a black hard soapstone and some kind of a white marble looking, granite acting stone for the island and bath counters. This should not be difficult, but wow it is challenging!
Where are you located? And would you be available to come stone shopping with me ;)


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Interesting! I don't remember the specifics of who has what stone but from what I recall some here have SW and say it acts like granite (no etching, etc) and others have had the opposite experience and it etches.

Thoughts? Are these all different stones in reality and not all Super White?


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So what are the "black granites"?


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I would love your opinion of what type of marble is the hardest and most resilient. Thanks!


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Interesting - we will have to have you analyze more stones...
Thanks


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I'd also like to know what are the black "granite" stones? Thanks.


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That is really interesting about the Super White. That would explain why some people's experience with SW, which they bought thinking it was a quartzite, is that it etches easily. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.


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Well, I'm glad to see this is useful info for folks! I can answer a few questions before bedtime here.

What is the hardest marble?
Sadly, none of them. While I'm sure some are slightly better than others, they are all just 3 on the hardness scale. OK, maybe dolomite is 3.5, but quartz is 7, feldspar (the most common ingredient in granites) is 6. So there is no way to prop up a 3 to make it a 6.

For comparison, glass is around 5 and steel (like utensils) is around 6. So for a kitchen I would not be keen to have common kitchen objects be harder than the countertop.

That said, the hardness scale only addresses resistance to scratching. Hardness does not tell you how strong the rock is in terms of resistance to breaking or chipping. A rock's strength is based more on planes of potential weakness within the rock and in that regard marble is pretty good.

Etching is another matter altogether. Etching is a chemical problem and is not related to strength or hardness. Etching is also a fact of life for any rock with calcite or dolomite in it. Acids dissolve calcite and there's just no way around it. So this includes all marbles and limestones, travertine and perhaps some of the onyx type stones, although I have to figure those out some more. Dolomite is a little more resistant to dissolving than calcite, but not much.

Bottom line - in my geologic opinion, all of these stones require careful consideration before using them in a kitchen. But I will admit that I swoon every darned time I pass by a slab of white marble. I just love it! But I will have to come up with another place to use it, like as a mantle or a countertop on a china cabinet.

As for soapstone - it is even softer than marble. But you don't have the etching problem. But with soapstone it is easier to consider the scratches a patina and just let that be part of the rock. Soapstone has a warmth to it that somehow doesn't seem so bad with some scratches in it. There are some igneous or metamorphic rocks that have the same color or soapstone but they lack that warm quality that soapstone has.

What's with black granite?
This is mostly an academic concern not a usability issue. Black rocks that are called granite in the context of a countertop are just some other type of igneous rock. They are diabase, gabbro, diorite, anorthosite, and so on. No one wants to remember all those names. As far as use and durability in a kitchen, all those rocks will perform just as well as granite. In most cases, black granites and true granites are mostly feldspar - but they are different types of feldspar and different colors.

A true granite is an overall light color with some black specs. The overall color is grey, tan, pink, etc, but they are more light than dark. But igneous rocks range from pale to jet black and in terms of kitchen suitability they are all similarly robust. So I can see why they are all just called granite for the sake of simplicity.

Will I go shopping with you?
Absolutely! I love spending other people's money. :)
I'm in Montana. (where it is currently bedtime, so I will leave it at that for now)


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Interesting.

So I DO have marble. I guess the saying is true..

"If it looks like marble, and it acts like marble, it is marble." That's a saying, right?

Any info on why my extremely hard water etches it? Or leaves gray spots if that isn't really "etching"? (No water softener yet, but at last my dh is having some issues getting soap off during showers so it might be getting pushed up the priority list)

Thanks


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OK, now that I'm awake and accompanied by coffee, I will clarify that I really do love the marbles and stones like Super White. I am definitely not saying that someone should rule them out, or worse yet, that if you have them it was a bad choice. There is a reason those stones are so in demand and it's because they are wonderful and nothing else can quite match their aesthetic.

My point is just to warn folks to be informed, regardless of what a stone is called. But I don't want to make anyone feel bad about their decision!

Karin


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Yes, Beekeeper's Wife, you do have marble, albeit dolomitic marble if you want to sounds like a smartipants to your friends. :) That said, you have absolutely stunning marble!

The hard water thing confuses me. Are you sure that it's an etch rather than a small area where minerals have been deposited on the surface? (meaning an etch is a subtraction of materials but could this be an addition of material?)

Almost all tap water is slightly acidic, but hard water is not more so that soft water. I'll have to think more about the chemistry here. If this is a true etch, then there must be something going on with the minerals in hard water (which aren't all that different than the minerals in marble). Hmmm. Will think about it.


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karin,

That was a fascinating and well written bit of information. I hope you keep writing more about it.

We have "granite" in a green/black/gold color, all mixed together from different rocks. I bet it isn't "granite" but is some "feldspar" like I think you said.

I wasn't nuts about getting granite but I really love what we ended up with. It has lots of "rocks" in it and is performing and looking good. It was sold as Brazilian emerald green but doesn't look that much like any emerald green I've seen pictured.

Whatever it is, I like it very much.


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So interesting!! Thanks for sharing.


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Thanks for the info! What are your thoughts on Macabus quartzite? Is it a quartzite or marble? After Beekeeper's challenges with the etching on her SW I am leaning towards Macabus but wonder if it is just the same.


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Karin- another question about marble. So many people worry about how it will wear in the kitchen, but use it freely in their bathrooms from top to bottom. Between cleaning products, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, makeup, hard water, etc wouldn't it get even more beat up in the bathroom? I don't get it.

Donaleen- a couple of my friends have seafoam green granite and looks very similar to yours which is beautiful. They have no problems with theirs, Is yours easy to care for also? Can you share a wider view of your kitchen. I'd love to see more of how your white cabs look with the green granite. I love green.


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Thanks, Island. The "granite" changes a lot with the light. In the day, it is more green. With artificial light, it becomes more gold. I love it in both lights.

Here are LOTS of pictures.

Here is a link that might be useful: my kitchen


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Sorry, forgot to answer your question.

And, yes, very easy to care for. No issues at all. And we cook a lot.


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I am also wondering about Macabus quartzite. I can't tell without looking at it, but I can tell you how to easily find out for yourself if you see a piece. Take a glass bottle with you when you go stone shopping. Find a rough, sharp edge of the stone. Drag the glass over the edge of the stone. Press pretty hard. Try to scratch the glass with the stone.

Quartzite will bite right into the glass and will leave a big scratch mark.
Any feldspar will do the same.

Calcite and dolomite will not scratch. In fact you will be able to feel in your hand that the rock won't bite into the glass. It feels slippery, no matter how hard you press.

PS - don't press so hard that you risk breaking the glass bottle. You shouldn't need to press that hard!

So - next person to see the Macabus quartzite or any other quartzite, please try this and report back!

Island - agreed that a bathroom could also spell trouble for marble. A bathroom might be a little friendlier in terms of acids and metal objects. But you make an excellent point.

Donaleen, what a beautiful kitchen you have! Your granite looks pretty close to actual granite, but it's a little hard to tell in the picture. I can say for sure that it is an igneous rock (formed from a liquid magma underground). Each grain is a different mineral. All the minerals together make up the rock. Some rocks are made up of bits of other rocks, but this rock is made up of mineral crystals - I hope that makes sense and if not I will clarify!

I can't see the stone well enough to say what's what, but most likely the bulk of that rock is feldspars of different sorts. The white, grey or green minerals are likely feldspar. Quartz grains look glassy and translucent - you can actually see into the stone with quartz. So you might have some quartz in there too. The black is either hornblende or biotite. If you post a closeup of it I can probably give you a clearer answer. But for all intents and purposes that's granite. And it sounds like it's a winner for you too, so that is perfect!


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Karin, thanks so much for your thoughts and for admiring my kitchen. I think Island is right that it is usually sold as seafoam green granite.

I looked up seafoam green and the photos look like my counter top. However, it did NOT have a netting on the back. The link is for that info. It was mid priced and we actually got a discount since it was the last slab they had.

The black in it looks like obsidian to me. (I live in Portland and we have lots of lava flow rock about). It is a shiny black. And yes, I think it has quartz in it, too.

I love what you have to say. I like learning about geology.

BTW, I was born and raised in Eastern Montana.

Here is a link that might be useful: seafoam green granite


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That was interesting. I wish I had known more about the different qualities before picking mine. I did a search yesterday on sealers and Kashmir Gold and found a lot of sources that said not to even consider it in the kitchen because it stains so badly. Eeek.

But I'm curious. Which stone did you pick?


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I love your explanations, and thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge.


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Donaleen, you are a fellow Montanan, yay! Thanks for the additional photos. As far as I can tell in the photo, I'll stick with my original guesstimate.

The black is not obsidian, I'm sorry to say. Obsidian is a volcanic rock (and a very cool one at that!) which forms on the surface of the earth, so you can't find it in a granite which forms underground. But those black grains do look like obsidian. If you really want to know what they are, you'll need to study the shape of the grains. Hornblende is shaped like long, skinny rectangles. Biotite is actually little flakes, but often the flakes are stacked together. But occasionally you'll see one of the flakes on edge, about the width of a pencil line. It's also possible that both hornblende and biotite might be present too.

I'm glad that folks are finding this info is interesting and useful!

Ah, I figured the question would come up about which stone we picked. Well, hold onto your hats for this bit of heresy: our countertops will be gasp laminate! But don't worry, it's not one of those laminates that tries to imitate stone because that would clearly drive me crazy. And we are using stone for the windowsill and the bar top. Our kitchen will be sleek and modern (we hope) and most stones are just too busy for our small space. (more heresy, I know!) Quartz products would have been perfect but this is a moderately-priced resurfacing rather than a full fledged overhaul, and we just could not swing the price. Plus the countertop will be a snazzy silver which we are excited about. More about that in another thread.

The stone we're using for the windowsill and the bar top is Wild Sea. The windowsill has already been installed. It's over the sink and gets wet frequently so I've always wanted stone there. Now that the windowsill is in (and I love it daily) we agreed that more Wild Sea would be good as another accent.

Wild Sea is a quartz sandstone. It has cross-bedding, which is a swoopy pattern that forms when sand grains are deposited by flowing water. The cross beds are also what gives Wild Sea its name because they look like waves. I love rocks that have visible evidence of how they were formed. The cross-beds in Wild Sea do just that. You can even tell which direction the water was flowing when the rock was deposited. The pieces we're using for the bar top have particularly expressive cross-bedding and they will look so cool in that spot. Every visitor will get a mandatory geology lesson about the rock!

I have a bunch of questions about our kitchen which I will save for another thread. Just about all the decisions are made, but we've had a few stumbling blocks that I have questions about.


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Ooh - me me me!!

What was called "Blue Louise" or "Van Gogh" and supposedly quartzite...

Close up:

IMG-20121026-00014

Close up:
IMG-20121026-00015

Full slab:

photo (1)


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I don't understand how to identify a stone pattern that shows cross bedding. Is it something where the grain isn't in straight strata and it wiggles around? Our Azul do Mar is quartzite so it would have started out as sandstone then metamorphized by heat and pressure. Does it show cross bedding?

Photobucket

Photobucket

I'm fairly sure that quartzite is correct for this stone - our fabricator told us that it was taking longer to fabricate because they had to run the machine slower because of its hardness and we saw them dealing with that drilling the faucet holes on site.

I'm a bit confused about super white still because some folks that have it say theirs doesn't etch and that it is quite hard. Perhaps more than one stone is being sold under that name (as happens for absolute black).


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Donalean. Thanks for the additional pictures. Your kitchen is beautiful! My current kitchen is light maple cabs with silver sea granite which I still love, but our layout will change slightly and we won't be able to keep the granite. It took us forever to find the exact shade we wanted 12 years ago, but now if we run across it at all it's more olive than what I want. We're hoping to save the peninsula top for our home office countertop. It's indestructable. It's just my husband and I at home and I rarely use my DW. I'll often leave pots on the countertop to dry and not a mark. I want granite that's just as tough in the future. Don't kow if it's the stone itself or the sealer that makes it so durable.

Thanks for the seafoam green link. I don't know if my friends slabs had netting on the back, but the last time I saw it in a slab yard it did have netting. It was also one of the more expensive slabs and for that reason they wouldn't whack off a corner for a sample like they usually do. However I wonder if that's really the case or if it's more fragile. I've seen netting on the back of some quartzite too. Makes me nervous. Maybe Karin knows...

Karin Why do you think some slabs have netting on the back. Fragile material? If I see netting should I be concerned and consider something else?

My indestructable 12 year old silver sea green granite countertops... Do you think it's the stone itself or the quality of the sealer. Red wine, lemon juice, water, sauce, nothing leaves a mark and it has never been resealed. Thanks.


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Thanks for the compliment, Island. I think there are three things that "make" my kitchen: lighting, color, and all the eclectic furniture in it.

I knew so little about stone and I was very nervous about selecting the granite and whether I would even like it. I only got to see it in the stone yard, propped on its side, in harsh lighting. The day before it came, I was totally freaking out because if it was wrong, it would be a very expensive and hard to rectify mistake. I threatened to put a table cloth over the whole island if I hated it.

I was also really unsure about how sturdy/durable it would be. I feel lucky I DO really like it and that it is trouble free. I think we are all hungry for the knowledge Karin has about stone.


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Dr. Beanie,

That Blue Louise is amazing! Is it quartzite... million dollar question. Ok, maybe ten thousand dollar question. But Cloud Swift is on the right track.

If you totally trust your fabricator, they will know the difference the moment the saw hits the stone. Quartzite is even harder than granite (albeit not by much) and as Cloud said they will have to go slow and they will probably use up more blades in the process. Marble cuts easily.

If you aren't able to ask your fabricator, your next option, and frankly your best option anyway, is to do the glass-scratch test described above. Do you have a leftover piece from your project? Or can you get one from the stone yard? The glass-scratch is basically foolproof.

So try those things. I can't tell the difference between quartzite and marble from a photo. Much of the time I can't tell by looking at a polished slab either. You need a rough, broken edge to really see the character of the rock. (That said, my gut feeling on the Blue Louise is that it is a quartzite, but don't take my word for it!)

A few other things about telling quartzite from marble:

Some rocks have beautiful white veins running through them. Often those are calcite while the rest of the rock can be something else. So in those cases you could have one area of the rock that is soft and etchable while the rest is bulletproof. This can be true for any rock. So if possible, try the glass scratch on both the main body of the rock and also the veins.

There is also an acid test for calcite in rocks. But I doubt that any stone yard will let you dribble acid on their slabs! So you'd have to do this with a piece you bring home. But you can place a drop of white vinegar on the rock and see what happens. If little bubbles form, that is the vinegar dissolving the rock. Try that on a few places, especially white veins. If the first round of tests yield no bubbles, you are not in the clear yet. Try it all over again, but rough up the stone first. Take a nail, the tip of a knife blade, or some such, and make some nice scratches in the surface. (Note if you can't make a scratch in the surface, you probably don't have marble, as quartz and feldspar are harder than steel.) Leave the dusty stuff you've made while scratching. Put a few drops of acid on it and watch very closely. This is the test for dolomite. Calcite bubbles right away. Dolomite bubbles only if you scratch up the spot first. And any sealer could get in the way of this so try it on the edge if possible.

I really encourage any of you to try these tests, just for kicks. Even if you aren't worried about your stone, it is interesting to try the glass scratch and see how it does, just for your own knowledge. I am also imagining that we will start a trend of saavy shoppers who will bring glass bottles along while shopping and will be scratching and sniffing all around the slab yard....


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Cloud Swift,

That is another awesome looking rock, wow!

So cross-bedding... cross bedding is only visible in sedimentary rocks. When a rock gets metamorphosed, it erases the cross bedding. The swirly, taffy-like pattern in your slab and in other metamorphic rocks (quartzite and marble being two examples) is called foliation. It's a result of the rock being compressed to the extreme, which squeezes up the original layering in the rock and squishes it into ribbon-like patterns. Foliation is what makes metamorphic rocks mesmerizing, as it creates the swirls and bands of color.

The link below has a photo of cross bedding out in the real world.

Lastly - is it possible that Super White is actually more than one rock? Yes, that is very possible and perhaps likely.

OK, more later. Back to the garden now!

Here is a link that might be useful: Navajo Sandstone


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Oh, I think Blue Louise is a quartzite! It did have netting on the back.

One fabricator - not the one we went with! - said it was fragile because of the cracks, fissures, whatever that usually indicate rust in them. They said this with a great deal of smugness, explaining why they didn't have any and wouldn't carry it if they could.

We did have 4 different samples of our rock (our actual slab, it was evident), some with more white than others. I had already heard something of these issues with white stones, even white veining in not-altogether-white stones, and how they might be calcium and subject to etching. I'm a sloppy cook, and we use lots of tomatoes, lemons, limes, vinegar, etc., so I poured whatever I could think of on those samples and paid careful attention to the white bits. I left half a lime on one for days. Nothing made the slightest impact on the samples. I admit, I had not heard of the glass test.

So I WAS confident it was quartzite and that it would be fine with whatever we spilled on it. They did say it was a PITA to cut. I have to say, though, that when the backsplash piece was somehow a little off and they were trying to get it between the range top and the hood, and started whacking it into place with what sounded like a great deal of vigor, I had to leave!


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drbeanie, I don't know how you can even function with that beautiful counter staring you in the face whenever you're in the kitchen. It's just breathtaking!


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Karin...I can't believe we have a geologist in the forum. This is like the cooking version of Barefoot Contessa walking into my kitchen.

I can't resist. I have to ask you a question that's been bothering the OCD side of me for a few weeks. If you have a second to shoot me a super quick response it'd be greatly appreciated!

I have Vermont Danby. The island has an overhang (with small corbels) where we sit on bar stools--so there's about 12" of marble that hangs over with no corbel under it. My fabricator made me promise never to sit on it, for fear of it snapping off.

Anyway...a few weeks ago, my husband was opening a childproof cap on a medicine bottle (where you press down really hard and turn). The bottle was, of course, on the marble overhang.

I was standing like 3 feet away, and I actually *saw* the marble bend!! I screamed and he released the bottle and shot his hands up in the air like a pinched criminal.

It only bent a tiny bit, and there were no cracks or damage, but nonetheless, I've been wondering ever since whether the marble might be "weakened" in that area, or whether the very fact that it "flexed" means it those little molecules are arranged to give it a little wiggle room and it's no worse for the wear.

I was recently wishing I could pose this question to a real marble expert (as in geologist, not slab salesman)...anyway, thanks :)


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Dr Beanie, you sound like you were very thorough in your shopping, good for you! Sounds like it most likely is quartzite after all. I imagine you would know by now if it wasn't.

So, assuming it is quartzite, Blue Louise began life as a sandstone that was made of mostly quartz, but had other ingredients in it too. Probably it originally had some clays in it. That sandstone got buried deeply, then more deeply and was subjected to enormous heat and pressure, as you can imagine would happen if something was kilometers down within the Earth's crust. The pressure took the original horizontal layering and folded it in on itself. The heat allowed the rock to be pliable and the whole thing was sort of taffy-like. Just looking at the rock you can imagine taffy, right?

Meanwhile the rock was hot enough for the minerals to reorganize themselves, but not hot enough to really melt. The sand grains recrystallized so that became interlocking, rather than individual rounded grains like in the original sandstone. This interlocking nature is what makes quartzite so tough - each grain is perfectly interlocked with all its neighbors.

The other colors come from other ingredients in the rock. If the rock has a slight silvery sparkle to it, that's muscovite, which is what you get if you metamorphose clay. The green and the reddish orange come from iron, magnesium and other elements mixed with silica. Hard to say exactly what minerals those are, but you get the idea. Cool rock!

Next questions:

Netting on the back of slabs.
I wouldn't worry about this. It's good insurance for the fabricator while they are moving the slab around and cutting it. I think the netting comes off as part of the fabrication process. Anyway, no need to worry.

Durability of granites
Granite and all the other igneous rocks are similarly bombproof. At least, this is true from the geologic point of view. Those rocks are generally free of weak planes and are made of minerals that are all (or mostly) harder than glass and steel and are not affected by household acids. They also have an interlocking texture, meaning each mineral grain is thoroughly embracing all its neighbors. That means there is almost no pore space in the rock - no place for liquids to go or for stains to form. So I'd be happy with any granite or so-called granite in a kitchen. Now, that said, I have zero experience field testing these in a kitchen. I suppose it's possible that certain stones could be prone to stains in an unusual way. But as a category granite and igneous rocks are good bets for kitchen durability.


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Madeline-

Ahh, Vermont stone. I think it would be neat to have a US stone, which few of them seem to be.

How thick is the slab?

Honestly, I'm having a hard time imagining the stone visibly flexing, but not showing any cracking or other signs. Rocks are not elastic at room temperature. They can't bend without breaking. Is that edge still perfectly level? That's worth checking out.

When you stand back and view the rock, does it have a directional grain? As in, do most of the streaks point in a similar direction?

And if so, is this direction parallel to the edge of the countertop?

Marble is a strong rock (meaning resistance to breaking not resistance to scratching). But any metamorphic rock is weaker along the grain, just like wood.

So let us know the answer to these questions.


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Thanks, Karin!

The slab is 3cm, and the streaks are parallel to the island. It looks to still be perfectly level and in perfect condition.

It's such a crazy thing...I didn't think anything of it when he started pressing down, but sure enough, the slab flexed the slightest bit...

I really appreciate your taking the time to offer some insights :) :)


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Karin,
I too am loving this thread.

I wanted to share that I do think Superwhite (which goes by several names) is perhaps more than one stone. Here in the Pacific Northwest, I found it as Moon Night, and had a bid placed with our fabricator. They charged more for it than the other granites including the standard Steel Gray or the Dynamic Blue we chose. They said it was because Moon Night was a quartzite and was much harder physically and required more labor.

Here's my granite, Dynamic Blue. I don't want you to feel you need to analyze it, just enjoy!

Dynamic Blue


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Karin,

Thanks so much for all of the great information. This is an incredibly helpful thread! I was wondering if you have any thoughts about lighter/whiter granites. Are they more likely to stain? I am looking at a white-based granite called white ice, and I can't get a sample to test at home. I'm worried that it will stain and I have no idea how to find out before purchasing. Any ideas?


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Yay, more rocks!

Madeline - I think your Danby is OK. I suppose if it worries you you could add more supports underneath, but for now you are safe, phew!

Colorfast - I sure hope there is some legit Super White somewhere. I don't like the notion of deliberately using the wrong rock type to describe the stone. And you are exactly right about the added fabrication time/effort. That will be a hallmark of working with any quartzite.

Your Dynamic Blue is a really interesting rock. I know you said I don't need to analyze it but I will anyway. :) It is a metamorphic rock called gneiss (pronounced "nice"). So when people look at your fabulous countertop and exclaim, "Nice!" they are exactly correct. :) The raspberry colored bits are garnet. Garnet is a diagnostic mineral. It only forms in certain conditions (extraordinarily high pressures associated with deep burial) so that tells you that the rock was formed under intense metamorphism. As a result of the high pressure, all the mineral grains aligned themselves in a similar direction. The other minerals in the rock are similar to granite: feldspars, quartz, horneblende and some micas (muscovite and/or biotite). Gniess is strong and robust - ideal for kitchen use. The reason it is classified as a granite is because it is similar in composition and is similarly tough.

Soilbean,

Now that is a really white granite - the whitest one I've seen. This is pretty close to an actual granite. The composition is 90% felspar and in this case the faldspar is white. The black bits are biotite and there is a tiny bit of quartz which is a glassy, clearish grey color in this rock. I can't see any reason why it would be prone to staining - it ought to behave just like any other true granite. BUT, I can only say that from a theoretical point of view - you definitely need to test it out. The rock yard just has to give you a sample, no way around that. That's like a car dealer expecting you to buy a new car without allowing a test drive.

You can think of this rock as the white version of rocks like Blue Pearl. It's almost the exact same rock except the feldspar is white in this case and in Blue Pearl the feldspar is black. This stone is an ideal substitute for white marbles because the effect is similar but the performance ought to be better.

Hope that helps!


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This is the most fascinating thread ever. While a good student in other subjects, I was always terrible in science. And yet, I'm so drawn to it. I think the difference is presentation, and karin really makes this fun and easy to grasp.

I keep thinking about Madeline's flexing counter. I trust that rock is not plastic at room temperature and yet I believe her when she says she saw it bend. Could it have been something else? The base on which it sits? Something below it gave a tiny bit, while the counter remained rigid? A sleight of hand?


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Thank you Linelle and others for the warm reception.

One of the best jobs I've ever had was teaching geology. I especially enjoy teaching it to non-science students, because the reward is so great to open up a whole new perspective for people. I agree, the presentation and perception is key!

DH and I had a long talk about the flexing marble last night. Hard to say what actually happened, I don't know. But I'm very glad all is OK with the beautiful Danby Marble. (can you imagine the shameful call to the builder....)


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karin,,

great thread...thank you so much for all your time and knowledge..

so interesing and informative!!

thanks again!!


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Thanks so much to Karin for this great thread.

"Rocks are not elastic at room temperature. They can't bend without breaking."

I think what Karin meant here was they cannot bend much without breaking. Everything can temporarily bend a little (elastic deformation) before it breaks (ruptures) or deforms permanently (plastic deformation). Obviously, rocks cannot bend much, but they can bend a little.

More to the point, it would take a pretty hefty load to cause a visible deflection. In Madeline's case, I roughly calculate that if her DH pressed down with 100 lbs, on a countertop with 15" overhang and 24" wide, it should have deflected only about 0.005". It is not impossible to see this scale of deflection with the naked eye, but it is tough. I suspect that linelle is on the right track -- probably the cabs flexed a little.

I directly witnessed bending of my soapstone slabs twice. I constructed wooden platforms to support them , as shown in this picture:


As you can see, I did not support the center of the middle slab. One day, I looked out and thought "Gee, it almost looks like that middle one is bent!" I ran out and put a 2 m (~7 foot) straightedge on it. Sure enough, the center of that slab was bowed down by a fraction of an inch. I just calculated that it should bend about 3/32" under such conditions. I hastily put some 2x4s in the middle of that platform! I verified that the slab unflexed after putting in that support.

I also got to see it bend while I was installing it. I had left the slab a fraction of an inch too long, so I wound up temporarily having it supported only on the ends while I cut it to length:
Photobucket
I could visually see that it was bent, but I didn't measure it.

Boy, was I scared those two times! Got away with it, though.


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Thanks, Karin! And thanks for a fun & informative thread :-)


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Angie is totally correct! What I meant was that rocks are unlikely to visibly bend. Those are interesting observations and I'm surprised that the soapstone was able to bend that much. The mineral chlorite, which can be in green soapstones is renowned for being elastic, but I don't think that is at play here, I think the rock was just flexing, which is pretty neat to observe.

Good catch in propping it back up though!


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Wow very interesting. That makes sense now why my "moon night" etches. Thanks so much for sharing.


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Sorry, I'm a little late to this thread, but wanted to share that I have a sample block of Arabescato quartzite which I understand also goes by Super White. I was able to etch a glass bottle with no problem. I have applied vinegar & then lemon juice on my sample with no etching problems noted the next day. I suspect there are different types of stone out there labeled Super White.


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Thanks for following up with that info, that's very helpful! I agree, it sounds like there are multiple stones with the same name. That makes it all the more clear that it's up to the buyer to do a little homework with glass and vinegar. Nice work! And thank you for reporting your findings here.


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Thanks so much karin_mt. This is very helpful. Any ideas about Princess White? I found it at two places last week. One person called it granite, the other quartzite. Will get a piece and do the glass test to see what I learn. Honestly, it seems more like marble to me, but I'm certainly no expert.


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Laura, I don't know that rock, but you are on the right track with the glass test. Since stones seem to go by many names and people have reported different results with the same stone, it all boils down to your own tests and observations. Luckily this is simple to do. Let us know what you find out!

Karin


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I got a small sample piece of White Princess and ran a glass bottle over a sharp edge. It mostly felt slippery but there were small, slight scratches. I also put some lime juice on it and it left a small mark - it's a polished sample so it looks like it took the polish off. I'm guessing it's more of a marble.

I was really hoping to find something that was durable that didn't require much maintenance or chemical sealing. We were planning on quartz for the perimeter counters but I wanted something a little different for the island. Maybe a honed finish will be better if we stick with the Princess White and I will just have to get used to the natural "patina" that comes from use.

Thanks!!


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Nice work! The slippery feel when scratching glass is the giveaway, and the removal of the polish (which is what etching is) corroborates the glass test. It's marble!

A honed finish is better for etching since there is not a highly polished surface to mess up. I think that's a good choice if you are set on White Princess. Another option would be to look for a true quartzite like White Macabus.

Good luck!


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I tested it further with some hot sauce, red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. The etching wasn't that bad but it did stain a little. It was more like a patina - a very slight brownish hue that actually looked like part of the stone. I suppose that if the sample were sealed it might not stain. As beautiful as it is, it might not be the stone for my heavy use island. Alternatively, I'd need to learn to simply "let it go". :)


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Hi karen_mt - Hopefully I can upload a photo of my Super White samples. The background marble on counter is Calcutta Gold, I believe. My quartzite sample is beautiful, & I'll probably have it installed on my counter. Just can't decide to go with same for perimeter or a black granite....decisions, decisions!


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Those are beautiful Terzen! Do you know if they are quartzite or marble? They could be either one. If they are marble then I would definitely go with granite on the perimeter so that you have a more bombproof surface to work on.


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Oh my, that fellow in the middle is gorgeous.


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karin_mt - This is quartzite with which I've been able to etch bottles, & stand up to overnight dousings of lemon juice & vinegar. It's always good to test as I've read in other posts that some quartzites have had an etchable (think I made up that word) resin applied by the originating stoneyard.

linelle - I agree, the lightly veined quartzite is my fav!


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Nice work and thanks for the report. Now I see that you reported these results earlier, but I didn't connect the dots. Anyway, congratulations for finding a stone that is both beautiful and durable. I also vote for the middle of the three samples.
Looking forward to seeing the progress!


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I'm loving this thread!! So interesting with Karin our resident Rock Whisperer weighing in! Thanks Karin.


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That is so interesting that many types of stones can be called Super White and to be educated before making a decision. Super White is so gorgeous from the stones I have seen.


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Island - you crack me up! I read that aloud to DH and we shared a good laugh. That is an awesome nickname. :)

Lynn, yes, that's exactly the problem. Super White is a beauty. At our stone yard the Super White slab is sitting front and center when you pull into the lot. Every time I see it I just love it and can only imagine how beautiful it would be in a kitchen.


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karein_mt - will add photos of our kitchen "rocks" once they are in place. Making this decision has been like the ice age creeping thru our kitchen (little geologist humor, no?). I think my DH is ready to shoot himself rather than be dragged to one more stoneyard. :~)


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karin_mt wrote...And if you have questions about the real identity or geologic history of your countertop, I may be able to shed some light!
Karin

Jackpot!!! Finding this thread is so timely for me as I've found what I believe to be a quartzite that I love and I am going to do the bottle test. I am meeting with my fabricator tomorrow at the stone yard to get his opinion too. Karin I want to thank you for your informative posts here. You rock, you are a gem, pun intended! I've been lurking here for a while, really drooling over the quartzite here on GW. I think I've found a beauty, but the stone yard is insisting it's a granite slab called White Macauba. I've seen pics of installed White Macauba quartzite here on GW and it clearly is not. My google searches lead me to believe its is a quartzite called Gold Macauba or Giallo Macauba. He insists it's not quartzite. What do you think? I know you said it's hard to tell from a photo but can you make an educated guess? If it passes the bottle and acid test you recommended I will be buying it tomorrow. I cook every day and am a very messy cook at that, so marble is out for me. I love, love, love the flow of quartzite but have been unable to find a suitable color as my cabinets are warm tones. I think this one fits the bill. Also, those fracture lines (which I adore), are they what you refer to as "planes of potential weakness"? Not that anyone will be jumping on it. What potential problem do you see in general kitchen use with a potential plane of weakness. Thanks for your input. You are very generous with your knowledge.

This post was edited by halfwaythere on Thu, Dec 13, 12 at 3:35


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island


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Perimeter. That W shaped white stringy thingy is removable.

This post was edited by halfwaythere on Thu, Dec 13, 12 at 7:36


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Just something to add for OP -- you are absolutely correct that the natural stone industry (fabricators & wholesalers) often times do not correctly classify the stones geologically as they should be. While I don't have the knowledge of geologist, I suspect that Super White is what my import manager calls Brazilian Marble. Brazilian Marble has different specs than Italian Marble. It is suitable for kitchen countertops (as opposed to the more calcite-based Italian Marble) but there's more maintenance involved since color is very light and material not as dense as normal granite. For example, we classify our stone called Classic White as this "stronger" marble. We say it's not a granite, not a quartzite, and not a regular marble. Kind of in-between granite and marble, is what we say (well at least I know I do). We have to explain it in layman's terms like this, so it's easy for clients to understand. These very light marble-looking granite-like stones are HOT on the market right now for kitchen countertop application. EVERYONE wants a "white granite" and desperately look for it, although in reality (with correct classification) it does not really exist. However, there is confusion in the industry because of all this, as some fabricators do classify colors such as the Classic White I've shown as a "granite" because it has pretty similar characteristics. Because of this, sometimes customers get countertops installed with this material without knowing the real maintenance involved (thinking it's like a regular granite) and then are unhappy when it stains or chips or something. I hope this provided some helpful insight.

Here is a link that might be useful: Classic White

This post was edited by marble_com on Thu, Dec 13, 12 at 10:11


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Halfwaythere - that slab of Gold Macauba? looks beautiful with the stained cabinet panel. Good choice & I hope it works out for you maintenance wise.


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Halfwaythere - (your name makes me curious what you are halfway toward?)

I can tell you 100% that your rock is not granite, that part is certain. It is only one of two things: marble or quartzite. I don't have a hunch one way or the other. The glass test will tell you unequivocally which one. Now, the stoneyard may call it granite but they are just plain wrong! :) But that's OK, it's more important that *you* know what it is. Good luck with the glass test and I hope it turns out to be quartzite.

As for the little faults in there, yes they are or were planes of weakness. But they have healed up by filling in with minerals. Of course it's hard to say just how strongly they are bound together. If it were my kitchen I would not put those in a place where they are cantilevered out, but aside from that I bet they are fine. The stressful part will be the fabrication and the installation and if it lives through that you'll be fine. And if it doesn't live through that, well that is the responsibility of the fabricator, so you are covered. My hunch is that it will be fine. I don't think that weak rocks make it very far in the stone trade since fabricators lose money on them.

Good luck and please report back! My fingers are crossed that it works out for you. I know how exciting it is when you find just the right thing and you realllly want it to work out. :)


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Derek,

Thanks for your post. I am going to sound mean here, and I don't intend that. But what you are saying is not correct. Perhaps you are trying to make it easier for customers, but IMHO you are making it much, much worse by saying something that is simply not true.

There is no such thing as a marble that is halfway between marble and granite. That's just wrong. Marble is marble. The minerals don't behave differently if they are from Brazil or Italy. Marble can be made of calcite (hardness = 3) or dolomite (harness = 3.5). In either case that is very soft, softer than glass, softer than knives, softer than pots and pans. It is also soluble in acid, period.

For rocks like Super White/Classic White and others that are similar, they are either marble or they are quartzite. They aren't granite! I think you would help out the industry tremendously if you dropped that term altogether.

Now, the question that keeps coming up: is it marble or is it quartzite? Well, you have the tools to determine which it is. So I would encourage you to go ahead and do that and then tell your customers exactly what it is. Customers are smarter than you give them credit for and honestly telling someone about Brazilian marble compared to Italian marble is a whole lot more confusing than just saying it's marble or it's quartzite.

I agree that in the long run we want customers to love their kitchens and to be thrilled with all of their choices. I think the easiest way to assure that is to explain carefully and factually so that folks really do understand which rock they are buying. As you can see I have taken this on as a public service mission so pardon my strong feelings here! I really don't mean to be obnoxious, I just love rocks! :)


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Bless you, Karen. We are so appreciative of your expertise and assistance. It is so hard to get good information from stone yards and fabricators, and very often they contradict each other. I try to ask specific questions, but get answers like "it's between marble and granite," or, "all white stones will stain." Yes, but is this quartzite or not? Will it etch or not? I can't tell you how many people won't even distinguish between staining and etching when you ask. And they won't give samples either. Your glass scratch test has been invaluable for me, and for others as well, I'm sure. It's nice to know what you're getting before you plunk down thousands of dollars. Keep up the good work!!


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Hi Karen,

I'm simply trying to provide some helpful insight into how the granite fabrication industry generally behaves. I know it's not right, but it's just the way it is. Just to give you an example, 99% of the time a salesmen does not know Absolute Black is not really granite, and they say it's granite. It is a common and accepted practice by many people in the stone industry to use the name "Absolute Black Granite". Geologists would disagree that Absolute Black Granite and most other black granite are not granite at all! From what I understand, it is made of silica, black sand fused under extreme heat to become a form of glass.

If you ready my previous post carefully, I did not say that Brazilian vs. Italian marble have different "minerals" or anything like that, I simply said that they have a little different specs (technical information) such as absorption by weight, density, compressive strength, abrasion resistance hardness. This technical information are tested and checked by the quarry and come as a material data sheet when a fabricator direct imports the slabs.

Lastly, maybe I didn't understand you correctly, but I thought you had said in your original post that there is a difference between dolomitic calcite marble vs. calcite marble, which probably creates some level of difference between care and maintenance of the stone, and perhaps the technical specifications. I was simply making the correlation that this sounds like what my import manager said about brazilian vs. italian marble.

It is great to talk to a geologist and I hope to learn new things from you to be a better person in the stone industry! :) I know I already have!

This post was edited by marble_com on Fri, Dec 14, 12 at 10:29


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Hi Derek,

Thanks for being such a good sport. I know you are only reporting how it is! :)

On Absolute Black and the use of "granite."
I understand that the word granite is applied across many rock types. I have no problem with that. From what I've seen, granite is meant to mean any igneous rock, whether black, white or otherwise. Granite also is the name used for most metamorphic rocks that contain a similar mixture of minerals. Most of these metamorphic rocks are called gneiss ("nice") but they have the similar minerals and almost the same texture so it really doesn't matter. In these cases there is no difference for the consumer; it is purely academic, so I am happy to leave that as it is.

As an aside, Absolute Black did not form from silica or black sand fusing together. That is actually way off, I'm sorry to say! Absolute Black is formed from liquid magma that pooled underground but did not erupt. It's what geologists call an intrusive igneous rock: it "intruded" as a liquid into the earth's crust and then cooled in place. This is the same way many of the kitcheny granite-like rocks form. The colors are just different variations of the minerals but for kitchen purposes it doesn't matter because they all have similar properties.

Brazilian vs Italian marbles
Yes, I agree they are not different minerals. But since they are the same minerals, they also share the same (or very similar) properties. Sure, the specs will vary within a range. But for kitchen purposes they are all marble and they all need to be kept in the same category for consumers. There is a slight difference between calcite and dolomite, but not enough to make a difference for the consumer. Either one will scratch and etch.

If I were selling someone a countertop (which I think would be fun because I have abundant enthusiasm for them all!) I would point to a slab of Super White/Classic White and say: "This is marble. It is harder than soapstone but much softer than granite. It will etch from contact with household acids. But it is stunningly beautiful. If you love it and you understand the risks, you should buy it and you will come to embrace it in your home. But know that it is not like granite so that you have the correct expectations. We want everyone to be in love with their choices, both for the looks and the utility."

Then I would show them a REAL quartzite and I would say: "This is quartzite. It looks like beautiful marble but it is way stronger. It's harder than granite! It won't etch. It's awesome. But it costs one million dollars per square foot. (insert correct price here). But it's the best of both worlds so it costs more. It also costs more because it's a PITA to fabricate because it is so darned hard. There is much misinformation in the industry about quartzite, but this is the real stuff. I will show you the difference with two rocks that look similar (marble and quartzite) but perform dramatically different." (perform scratch test, show results of acid tests).

Then I would show them granites: "These rocks are all called granite. They come in many different colors and patterns. But they will all wear similarly. They are made of nearly the same thing despite their different look. If you want to learn more about what makes them different colors, then I can find out more for you." (At that point come to GW and ask and I will tell you!)

So that's my recommendation. I think this is clear enough so that any consumer could understand it. Plus, soon you will be viewed as heroes by your customers since you are giving them the straight dope. As you can see by the many comments here, customers are frustrated with the lack of clear information.

I hope that helps!


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karin,

i always read your posts and i am past selecting countertop materials... you are just so fun and informative.


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Now, not to resurrect the Facebook thread but.... I sure wish there was a like button for this thread! Thanks Karen


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Thanks Ladies, that makes me smile! :)

Donaleen, you are a candidate for a geology course then!
Wouldn't it be fun to teach a one-day seminar on geology of countertops? We could tour the slab yard, glass bottles and lemons in hand, and have a wonderful time.


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Karin-you make me want to go out and spend a lot of money on a countertop. We're building a house in a year or two, and I was all set on DIYing a soapstone. Now enter quartzite. Even the crazy Picasso quartzite. Just beautiful.

I remember my college geology class fondly and was green with envy when my teacher came back from spring break after studying an erupting volcano in Hawaii. It was the math that got me though.


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Very useful information. We've been looking at Super White for weeks at different stone yards. They've all referred to it as granite or quartzite. One did have a stone that they claimed to be quartzite with a different name and not from Brazil, but it looked exactly the same to us as Super White. I can't remember where it was from.

Yesterday we picked our slab and chose a fabricator. The first thing the fabricator told us was that regardless of what the stone yards were telling us that Super White is a marble. He said if we were choosing it for a kitchen, they would require us to sign their marble acknowledgment regarding etching and staining. It's for our master bath. I thought maybe he was wrong as we've been to 5-6 places and no one else told us this even when we told them we wanted white, but definitely did not want marble. Looks like he is the only one who knows what he is talking about.

Now we've both fallen for the super white and have decided it is worth the risk.


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Update on my Gold Macauba quartzite. True story LOL. I went to meet with my fabricator at the stone yard . On the way he called me to say he got it for me at a cheaper "fabricators" price...$27 sq/ft as opposed to my quote of $34. I need 3 slabs and this is a significant savings of $1,400, so I am very happy. We get there and they take us to the slabs. My fabricator agrees it's quartzite and the salesman is still insisting it's granite. The two of them get in a pissing contest over who knows more about stones, who's been in the business longer, blah blah. So then my fabricator says lets go and pay for it. Salesman writes it up for $34, my guy explains that he just called and got a quote for $27. They get into a screaming match! It nearly came to blows. They were within an inch of eachother's face screaming in Spanish. I don't speak Spanish but I know the bad words when I hear them LOL. Turns out the guy wouldn't give me the fabricator price because it was quoted over the phone by someone else. My guy couldn't understand why he wouldn't just write it up in his own name for to get the fabricator deal. Anyway, the argument was broken up by a supervisor and we ended up getting the deal. I love my fabricator. For two months this guy sent me cell pics of quartzite slabs from various stone yards around Miami. Before I pay, I do the bottle and lemon test and it passes. It was an extremely quick lemon test as I was so shocked by what just happened and just wanted to get the heck out of there. I sure hope it doesn't etch. The slabs are in my fabricators shop in Miami just waiting for the kitchen to be finished, which will be Thursday. Wish me luck! If anyone needs a fabricator in the South Fl area I would definitely recommend him. This is the 2nd kitchen he's done for me. And if anyone in So Fla wants to look at some gorgeous quartzite, I can recommend a few places too.


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And Karin, halfwaythere refers to my home remodel and my life in general LOL. No matter how much is accomplished there is still so much more to do, and I am perpetually "halfwaythere" :) It also is a track off the new Soundgarden album (my favorite band). It's my least favorite track on the album, very solo-Cornell-ish, but still good. Thanks everyone for the compliments on my stone. Derek you offer a nice perspective on this thread! Welcome and thank you!


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Wow! The Quartzite vs Granite throwdown! Who knew this stuff would nearly come to blows? I'm glad you prevailed, got the good price, and had a moment to do the diagnostics and see that it passed. You definitely win the drama prize for this one.

Hopefully things will go smoother from here on out. I'm looking forward to photos!


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Yes, The Rock Whisperer! Perfect description! Karen_mt, thank you for sharing your knowlege. And thank you for making it accessible to us non-geologists! Your writing style is so engaging...I'm learning so much!

And learning about rocks is the perfect pick me up! Can't wait to see pictures of your Wild Sea.


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I absolutely love this thread. For the longest time I wondered about the real difference. Were my father alive, I am sure he would have helped educate me more (he was a geologist for 50 years with the USGS).

I had lovely White Princess Quartzite on my counters at my old house and my fabricator said that he blew through more blades than he had ever gone through with one job. Six slabs and a whole bunch of headache to make sure he wasn't going to mess up the slabs, and he made beautiful counters for my kitchen and bathrooms.

We are now remodeling another home and I am stuck again trying to figure out what material to choose. My supplier says that the really pretty White Princess has dried up and the only thing left at the quarry he used to buy from does not have the white color that it had a few years back. It has turned much more gray as they excavate over the years. I am not as happy with the color, so am starting to think about marble for our new project. If only I could find more White Princess like these other ones.

What a gift that we have you here on the forum!

Here is a link that might be useful: My White Princess


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firsthouse mp,

Your White Princess looks a lot like Arabescato quartzite but with less veining. Do you have a photo of the quartzite after installation? Wish I could find a slab like yours!


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Terzen: Here is the White Princess Quartzite. See also my thread of Rancher Remodel...

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firsthouse mp,

Your counters in your ranch remodel are stunning! It must have been difficult to walk away from that home. I can't wait to see the results of your new remodel. I've debated marble over quartzite, too. Unless you change your user name to secondhouse, I'll be looking on GW for your new remodel. Good luck!


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I wanted to thank everyone here for contributing the information in educating me about quartzite. I just recently started looking for the slab that I like. Came across this "Super White" quartzite from the stone yard yesterday. Brought a couple pieces home to do the stain test (didn't have glass bottle to test on site). After letting the lime juice sit on the sample for 12 hours, you can see the surface was etched (see the two roundish patches on the top edge). This obviously is not quartzite, in contrary to what the stone yard people told me. I am glad that I am sort of educated about the mis-nomenclature issue so I will just keep looking for the right slab.


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Awesome. Sorry that this is not the right slab for you, but I am happy to hear that tragedy was averted because you were able to discover that it's not quartzite. Good job with your analytical skills! You may want to share your results with the stone yard so they can be better informed (assuming they want to be).


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my testing

I've had mixed results with my testing of a sample of "Super White".

* I tried to cut a glass test on a jar of pickles :) slightly slippery and only a little scratching. Bad sign.
* Tried running a knife... unable to mark the surface. Hmmm..
* Lemon juice. Only tried a short time and there was no etching. I guess I need to try for 12 hours.
* Accidentially dropped the sample on some laminate floors. Took a chip and dent in the floor! Don't know what this means, but it was pretty shocking.

Testing Results: Inconclusive. I'll have to do a long term acid test.

My sample is not nearly as gray as the one just above.


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Breaking with a shock such as dropping reflects brittleness which is different from hardness.If you couldn't scratch it with a knife and it didn't etch, that Super White was probably quartzite. Marble and similar stones would scratch easily with a knife.

To scratch a softer material something needs to be harder than the material and have a sharp edge. Just like a dull knife will have trouble cutting something even though it's harder than what it's trying to cut. If your sample didn't have a sharp edge, it wouldn't scratch the glass much even if it's quartzite. If it scratched the glass at all, it's harder than the glass.

I don't think being greyer or whiter makes a difference to what the material is. Both marble and quartzite get color from trace minerals and can be grey, white or other colors.

This post was edited by cloud_swift on Sun, Dec 30, 12 at 19:20


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2nd try

cloud swift: Thanks. It really did surprise me that the stone made such a divot in the laminate. I've dropped pans, ceramics, knives, glass, etc and nothing has dented or cracked through. Probably due to the weight, the sample made the divot and chip, without splintering itself.

I tried the knife test again with the point of a much thick knife. I was able to make a scratch after some grinding and pressure in the surface. This took some effort, however. I've read that strengthened steel can be quite hard.

Need to get some more lemon juice before I try the acid test again.


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FirstHouseMP- RE: The lowdown on Super White

FirstHouseMP, I am in love with your kitchen and I am in love with your White Princess Quartzite! That is one of the prettiest counters and backsplashes! I also love your cabinets and island. Can you please post the link again to your kitchen reveal with all the details as I am in love. Thanks for sharing.


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Gooster, vinegar an alternative acid you could use for an etching test. Distilled vinegar is usually about as acidic as lemon juice. Some other vinegars are a bit less acidic but still should be strong enough to cause etching.

Quartzite is at 7 on the hardness scale and steel is about 5.5. A knife shouldn't be able to scratch quartzite.


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

My gawd that whit princess quartzite is spectacular! My gold macauba quartzite was installed this week and it's so beautiful. I can't post any good pics because I have no lighting in there and they don't come out well. Something annoying happened on install though. My installer told me beforehand that the plastic legs my cabinet maker was using would never hold my 900 lb slab. I told my cabinet guy and he never changed them. Granite guy assumed he did and once the granite was laid on the island, all of the legs collapsed! Thankfully no damage was done. They removed the slab, went to Home Depot for 2x4s, framed out the bottom of the island and reinstalled. All at no extra charge. I love my granite guy. Cab guy and GC are ob vacation so reno has stopped. Hopefully us will be finished soon and I'll get pics up.


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RE: ugh, it etches...

Just to follow-up on my post of a few notes back, my long term acid test was a fail! My Super White sample is not quartzite, it appears (or possibly, there is a resin applied). I either have to live with this or now go re-open the hunt for a different slab. I've seen Alaska White and White Ice in the area, but no true White Princess or White Macaubus, and Namibia White only in pre-fab. Sigh.

This post was edited by gooster on Wed, Jan 2, 13 at 13:34


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Oh bummer, I was leaning toward it being actual quartzite. Good for you for being so thorough. There needs to be an "I can't believe it's not quartzite" club. :)


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Thanks, "rock whisperer". I went back to the slabyard and explained my test to them. They claimed every stone will etch like that. The samples were unsealed, so they are relatively stain resistent, I've found. Etching is another thing. Their slabs are from a different lot than the samples, however. The same distributor, but different samples (the samples were 3 cm and the slabs in stock were 2 cm). They did give me a sample of Carrara so I could run side by side comparisons. Interestingly, they had a stock of Pietro del Cardoso that they labeled as "hard rock" and were not recommending for countertops.

Interestingly enough, in my search for replacements I found slabs of "Super White" labeled as Marble at another slabyard across the city. Based on prior threads, this is the same place where cloudswift picked up their Azul quartzite. The looks of these Super White "marble" slabs were substantially similar to the ones at the other slabyard.

This post was edited by gooster on Sun, Jan 6, 13 at 13:35


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Oh Gooster, I'd encourage you to consider taking your business elsewhere. To say that "every stone will etch like that" is simply wrong! They are either clueless or deceitful and in neither case would I want to give them thousands of dollars and trust them to a critical aspect of my kitchen.

I am saddened by the misrepresentation of basic rock types in the industry. It's just not that complicated!

Sigh.

Good luck on your continued search. Keep us posted!


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hi Karin, could I ask you to shed some light on my stone?
Some sites say it's a quartzite and some say its granite. My fabricator said granite but he did not sound convincing.
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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hi Jterrilynn,

As best I can tell that looks like the metamorphic rock called gneiss, which is in the granite category. Can you either tell me the name of the stone or post a more close-up photo?


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Karin, I just wanted to thank you for being so informative and generous in sharing your knowledge with all of the GW's. I am not in the market for any kind of stone at the moment since we just remodeled the exterior of our home but the day will come when I finally will get the kitchen of my dreams and I will have this thread book marked for the future. Thank you so kindly!


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Karin mt,

I found an earlier post and would appreciate your thoughts about quartzite etching:

eeeek...etching on new quartzite counter


HI all
Our hearts have been set on Quartzite Bianca (aka Luce de luna, Aspen White) but I just found out from our fabricator who called the Marble Institute of America, the reason some quartzites are etching is because... the supplier applied resin to it prior to shipping it to the distributor, which makes it highly susceptible to etching. They apply resin or sealer to it before shipping to "enhance" certain physical characteristics of the stone. Either they don't know or care about how they also make it highly susceptible to etching!!

I also found out from the Marble Institute of America that using cleaners that contain hydrofluoric acid will etch quartzite (as in, cleaning your stainless steel sink and some gets on the countertops).

So... ask the place where you bought your quartzite if the supplier (company that deals with the quarry) applied resin or sealer. If so, that's what's making your countertop etch when say lemon juice gets on it. At least according to my fabricator, there is nothing that can be done after the fact because the resin (or sealer--not to be confused with the sealer your fabricator applies for stain protection) has impregnated the pores and no amount of polishing can reverse it.


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hi Terzen,

Off the cuff that doesn't sound right to me. I don't know the chemistry of the sealers but the idea that a sealer would etch seems counterproductive, doesn't it? Isn't that sort of like a car polish that makes your car rust?

The reason "quartzites" etch is because often they are not quartzites. We've seen many examples of that right here on this thread. A true quartzite really won't etch, and I think the rest is just smoke and mirrors!

The blessing in all of this is that it is so easy to tell the difference with the glass test. It makes me happy to see GWers making this a routine part of their shopping. That is by far the best solution!

And Memo, thanks for your kind words. I'm very happy to have a practical use for my love of geology. :)


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hi Karin, UPDATE: My stone is called Capolaboro and is supposedly from Italy although there are similar stones in Brazil and several different names for both areas. The funny thing is that several years ago when first planning my little kitchen I did not want a shiny stone countertop and I did NOT want a stone with much movement. After placing my RTA cabinet order I went on a trip to Madrid and Italy. When I came back I fell in love with the Capolaboro at a stone yard here in Florida. I still did not want it shinny but gave into husbands wants (glad I did). I was certainly influenced by my travels at the end with my kitchen picks.
I did find one picture that was close to my stone with a reference to the Pompeii entrance gneiss floor. However, I noticed that that stone was missing the quartzite looking veining and quartzite looking dots here and there as mine has. My stone also has some yellowish with a tic of green veining.
So, your clue of gneiss sent me on an online search to learn more. It's all in Japanese to me but is still very interesting. The part I find most intriguing is trying to figure out an area and age as well as imagining all the life that the stone has lived.

I thought maybe the Orange bits might give me a clue... is the orange a Calcite , iron oxide Acquaresi mine, Nasua, Sardegna or Botryogen? Or, orange spherical aggregates found in a Libiola Mine, Genova or Dachiardite Red rosette found in basaltic rock in Val Duron. It is a typical specimen from volcanic rocks in the Dolomiti area or Grossular var Hessonite found near Carboneri, Val Pellice, Piemonte or a maybe it's a Mordenite or Valentinite or Metastibnite typical of Grosseto. Italy?
Perhaps it's none of the above! My head is spinning!
Anyway, you have a very fascinating line of expertise. Here are a few more pictures of close-ups you requested.
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This is the mix I used the stone with in my kitchen.

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RE: The lowdown on Super White

What a nice story of a travel-inspired kitchen, I like that.

Attached is an image that points out a few features of your rock. It's gneiss, which is a metamorphic rock. It's not quartzite because it only has a little bit of quartz in it. The white veins are pure quartz. They formed when small amounts of the rock melted while the whole rock was undergoing metamorphism. Metamorphism means deep burial, intense squeezing, and temps not quite hot enough to melt the rock, but still hot enough to cause changes in the rock. For example, the heating and compression of the rock caused all the minerals to align into bands of color. That is the hallmark of gneiss.

In one spot you can see the rock is actually bent into a folded u-shape. That is another sign of the compression and torture the rock went through while in a heated, plastic state.

The orange/pink/apricot color mineral is feldspar. That color is diagnostic of potassium-rich feldspar. That's a common mineral in both granite and gneiss.

The lower photo shows an area where the rock was fractured and water traveled through the fracture, carrying other minerals and altering the chemistry. That's why only that area has the green color.

It's a neat rock with a lot of interesting features that tell us a bit about its story. Thanks for sharing it with us!


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hi Karin, thank you very much! You have inspired me to learn a bit more. Of course this is all elementary to you but I thought I would share with others.

Here is a link that might be useful: knowing our stone counter top - Metamorphism and Metamorphic Rocks


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hi Jterrilynn,

That's an excellent resource you posted - great photos, not too much detail and accurate info. Looks like they are slides from a college-level physical geology course. Thanks for sharing!

And in related news, the templater came this morning to measure for our stone bar top. Install will be next Monday. So excited!


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

After registering for an account on this site to do this, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone on this discussion, and Karin especially, for re-igniting my interest in geology and long-forgotten concepts like the hardness scale!

On a practical note, thank you for providing me with the information that changed our kitchen countertop decision. Our sample of Super White was called a "dolomite granite" by our fabricator (just outside Toronto, ON). A little sleuthing involving a sample piece of Super White, a sample piece of granite, and a piece of glass has shown that the Super White I was given does indeed behave more like marble than granite. It can't scratch glass, but the granite certainly can.

I adore the Super White look, but with little ones underfoot, I don't want to be nervous for the next many years about what keys, glasses, not to mention lemons could potentially do to my kitchen.

I'm relieved to find this out now rather than after it was installed. But it is a beautiful look and maybe we can find another use for it elsewhere in our home!


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hi Rob,

Nice work! I just love hearing stories like this, since the truth can be found out by simple means. And the bonus is that you get to dredge up those long-lost skills from your Rocks 101 class. So thanks for chiming in to report your experiences!

I love white marble and I also hope I can use it somewhere else in our house, as we slowly remodel and redecorate our way through the house. I imagine you can do the same.

And now that you've joined the community you can sweat all the other decisions with like-minded kitchen folk here.

Today is a big day here. Our Wild Sea arrives!


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Congratulations on the arrival of your Wild Sea, Karin. How exciting! Do you have any idea what makes Super White Extra different from Super White? I have come across both stones in MD. But, this was before I found this informative thread so I need to return to the stone yard with my glass bottle and perform some tests.


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Super White Extra? Oh no, I wouldn't cheap out on that one. I would settle for nothing less than Super White Ultra.

Seriously, who knows what the difference is when the rock is already so misunderstood and misrepresented. You are doing the right thing by figuring out the answers on your own!

Let us know if "extra" adds anything of interest to that stone.

(Will post some Wild Sea photos in a separate thread.)


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

I love this thread! It's fascinating to learn more about this (and about how the stone countertop industry works). So if marble is a 3 on the hardness scale and granite a 5 (I think that's what you said waaaaaayyyyyyy up there ^), do know where quartz (the manmade composite stuff like Cambria, Caesarstone, etc.) falls?

I'm just curious. Thanks!


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

I just googled "Caesarstone hardness scale" and found this:

Hardness: Mohs Hardness Scale is used to determine the hardness of the engineered stone. And according to this scale Silestone has the rating of 10 whereas, Caesarstone has the rating of 7.

Here is a link that might be useful: hardness scale


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Linelle: the claim on that website is patently bunk. Quartz itself has a mohs hardness of 7. Silestone is quartz+plastic binders. There is no way it could have a hardness of more than 7.

I don't know if there is a sensible way to ascribe a hardness to a heterogeneous material other than just giving it the hardness of the softest of its constituents. I imagine you could manage to scratch Silestone with, say, a piece of jagged quartz; you would be scratching the plastic part, it seems to me.

(Edited to show that I think the website is bunk, not Linelle!! :-)

This post was edited by Angie_DIY on Fri, Jan 25, 13 at 12:58


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Angie, thanks for the clarification and setting me straight. I should have explained that I grabbed the first thing I found and didn't do any due diligence. If course, it can only be as hard as its softest component. I have quartz and it really feels like stone to me. I know some people disagree.


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Oh, engineered quartz definitely feels stone-like to me, too!

The thing that made that website's claim soooo egregious is the mohs hardness scale is highly nonlinear. A "10" means diamond, and a "9" means corundum. But a diamond is about 3 times harder than corundum. It looks like diamond is about 6 or so times harder than actual quartz (let alone Silestone).

I do not know how accurate this graph is, but it is a start:


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Very interesting, Angie. Reminds me of the Richter Scale where just a slightly higher number of an earthquake means actually magnitudes larger. Hard for my scientifically-challenged brain to even grasp.


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Nice going Angie! With a graph and everything, fabulous.
Yes, Moh's scale is based on common minerals and is not absolute. Shame on Siletone to say their product has a hardness of 10. Puleeze. A diamond countertop would be neat though, wouldn't it?

Mineral trivia: Corundum, holding the 9 spot on Moh's scale is the mineral name for the gemstones sapphire and ruby. The names sapphire and ruby are based on what color they are but they're the same mineral.

Yes Linelle, the Richter scale is another example of a non-linear scale. However, the Mohs scale jumps around unevenly while the Richter scale goes up by a factor of ten with each number on the scale. Good for you to recognize the parallel! I'm guessing you aren't as non-scientific as you think. :)


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Karin, thank you so much for all of this! I just read through the whole thread in one sitting and it has been a fascinating education.

You posted briefly, I think in December, and said that Absolute Black is pooled magma that never erupted. Cool! Can you talk a bit more about some of it's functional aspects? How does it compare to marble, granite and quartzite when it comes hardness, staining and etching?

Thanks!


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hi Marcia,

Wow, that's impressive that you read this whole thread! You must really like rocks, countertops, or both.

Absolute Black is a sibling to granite - the minerals are pretty similar and it forms in the same way. Functionally, Absolute Black will behave just like the others in the granite family, which is to say it is hard, minimally porous and resistant to acids. It won't etch. Absolute Black is much harder than marble and a tiny bit softer than quartzite. Staining would be the one thing I'd want to check because that seems to be something that is hard to predict based on rock type alone.

If I were going to buy granite for our kitchen it would be Absolute Black. I always pause admiringly when I walk by it at the stone yard.

I hope that helps!


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hi.. Such an interesting and informative thread here so I am hoping for some insight on these slabs that I am considering for my kitchen in progress.. The stone yard calls it Mother of Pearl marble however my fabricator cautioned me against this stone because of the "fracture" lines (SEE large vertical line at bottom of stone). I was told any spills when wiped would seep into the stone through these lines and be impossible to get out. Is this true?


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

I can't quite see what you are referring to, but if the fabricator has seen it and touched it and has rendered that opinion, I would go with his word.

Is the fracture open? That is, can you see a little void in there? Can you feel it when you run your fingers across it?

Sealer won't heal large fractures, so that won't do enough. The resin-type fillers could work, but that would also be a question for your fabricator. There is also a possibility that the stone would fail in that spot during fabrication.

Is there a way to use the slab while avoiding the trouble spots?


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

There are several throughout, the large vertical one I was referring to is right above the small white sticker which is below the grey mark. My fabricator has not seen the stone yet, I told him about the marks and he told me to stay away. I could not feel them nor did they appear open to me. They looked like thin hairline fractures. I would still like to try to use the stone because I love the color, but I do worry about stains getting between or seeping into these cracks.


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

There are several throughout, the large vertical one I was referring to is right above the small white sticker which is below the grey mark. My fabricator has not seen the stone yet, I told him about the marks and he told me to stay away. I could not feel them nor did they appear open to me. They looked like thin hairline fractures. I would still like to try to use the stone because I love the color, but I do worry about stains getting between or seeping into these cracks.


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hmm. If you can't feel the fractures, then they may be healed up. If you really want that slab I'd suggest having your fabricator look at it in person. Sorry I can't be more helpful from afar!


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

I appreciate your input greatly, thanks!


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hard to tell from the pic.
I agree with Karin that if the fracture or fissure are hairline they can be filled. There are several adhesives that would work well for this situation. Water clear products that would be applied cured and ground flat using abrasives. Then using abrasives to hone and polish matching the original finish.
It may sound easy but can be quite difficult. I havent had the pleasure of working on this stone but onsite refinishing is different and much harder than polishng the slab on a machine. This stone is a quartzite and could be tricky to polish-maybe your fabricator is aware of that.


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

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This is an ivory stone, it's very flowing, not speckled all over evenly like the giallo is. It's is loaded with little quartz type things and black pepper like spots. It actually sheds the little pepper dots, they are tiny but if you run your hand over it it feels just like you have course ground pepper on your hand. = fail for kitchen countertop. It was gorgeous in the showroom with heavy lights beaming on it. It was all sparkly and neutral and different. The colors and sparkle are much different in person, but I'm too lazy to take a better picture. These are poor cellphone fare.

I wondered because of it's poor surface if it might be a schist or something like it. It is so nicked up and rough on the surface and the tiny quartz particles are prone to flake out. Leave it to me to pick out the crappiest piece of granite in town, this after searching for a year. The guy told me ah, that will polish out, you won't even recognize it....he is out of business now. It is the only time I have ever seen it and have never seen it since. It's definitely unique but I could not be more disappointed. Maybe for my headstone. They could carve on it, she liked to be different it finally did her in...


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hi Gr8day,

Oh dear, this is a sad story. I'm so sorry you've had this bad experience. It sounds like this particular stone is not well-suited to a life as a countertop. Over time (a long time) all these rocks do break down. The mineral grains come apart just as you describe. Usually that is, you know, a million years after you are gone so it doesn't matter!

I wonder if some sort of epoxy or resin treatment might keep the grains in place? It might be worth it to ask a reputable fabricator? What a shame that your original shop is out of business, but I suppose that is not a surprise given this story.

I wish I had some insight to offer you! Maybe you need some plexiglass covers like Beekeeper's Wife used for her Super White. :)


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

double post post!

This post was edited by karin_mt on Wed, Jan 30, 13 at 23:50


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Karin, Thanks for all the information! I am so glad I found this thread, since I am about to make my kitchen counter selection. Just to confirm the confusion... I was told that "SUPER WHITE" is way more durable than marble and same durablitity as granite. I have attached a photo of my slab. But now I am really worried....I DO NOT want to deal with staining/scratching....
I am so torn, because I really like the quartzites and really want to use them, but do not want to make the wrong decision. What do you think of sealing them?

I will do the test as suggested, but to confirm, to make sure it is quartize, it should etch a glass jar? And Acids should not stain it? YES? Maybe if this goes well, then I am good to go??

Also , now I saw a White Macauba, and I am loving that.... will this also fall in to the "not so durable" catagory for kitchen counters?

UUHHGG! Any feed back will be greatly appreciated! THANKS!!


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hi Kathouse,

That photo looks to me like Super White and yes, it will etch from contact with acid. It will also scratch with a knife blade. Sealer will not change either of those problems, but it will prevent stains. To determine if it is actually quartzite, do the glass scratch test. Quartzite will easily scratch any piece of glass and marble will never scratch glass no matter how hard you try. Make sure you use a sharp edge of the stone to do the scratching.

White Macabus is a real quartzite and I would recommend that over Super White. But no matter what you should do the scratch test to verify for yourself. As you have observed there is plenty of misinformation out there, so your best bet is to try it for yourself.

It is a hard decision so take your time and learn as much as you can. Good luck!


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

karin_mt,

What do you know about Lemurian Supreme or Blue Labradorite? I live 2 hours from a large city, and I am having trouble locating a fabricator and stone yard. I hope this thread keeps going. It is very informative. Thanks, Peke


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Just adding again.
Out super white scratched. No idea how - it certainly wasn't a knife blade.

I called our fabricator and they are sending someone out to look.

I do love the look of our counters but I would not get Super White in order to have a more durable stone. If you love it and treat it like marble, fine. But getting it as a durable alternative to marble may lead to disappointment.

It hasn't stained yet, but it's temperamental. I miss our Mother of Pearl indestructible quartzite!!


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

We fell in love with this slab of lumix quartzite but found out it's only 2cm thick. I'm having trouble picturing an island countertop being that thin! What do you all think?


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hi Peke,

Blue Labradorite is a cool rock. The mineral labradorite is a variety of feldspar that has an iridescent blue-green color. It is found in Labrador, Canada so that's where the name is from. Much of the commercial stone is from Madagascar and sometimes from Russia. Some of these commercial slabs have extra large crystals so the blue color reflects off a large face, which is really neat looking.

The popular rock Blue Pearl has the same minerals, but smaller.

It's an igneous rock that is formed in a manner similar to granite. In the kitchen world, it is classified as granite, which is loosely correct (only in kitchen terms, not in geologic terms). It's similarly hard, scratch resistant and acid resistant like all the other rocks in the granite family.

Hoboken, sigh, sorry to hear about your Super White. It is so beautiful, but it's disappointing from the maintenance perspective. Thanks for your update and at least you can help others by reporting your experiences.

Brooks, that is a lovely slab! It looks like it has a luminous quality to it that will be incredible with undercabinet lighting. Personally, I think the thinner slabs have a sleek, contemporary look that I really like. That may or may not be what you are going for, but I like it.


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Karin,

Is Blue Labradorite the same as Lemurian Supreme?

So it would be as hard as granite but there are different hardnesses of granite, right? I just love the blue/green that comes through.

Does real quartzite come in only light colors? I don't like most of the granite colors like the browns, gold, etc. I would rather not have darker colors unless something pops out like the blue/green. Is it mica?

Thanks,
Peke


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Karin,

Is Blue Labradorite the same as Lemurian Supreme?

So it would be as hard as granite but there are different hardnesses of granite, right? I just love the blue/green that comes through.

Does real quartzite come in only light colors? I don't like most of the granite colors like the browns, gold, etc. I would rather not have darker colors unless something pops out like the blue/green. Is it mica?

Thanks,
Peke


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Yes, they are basically the same thing. But there is always the caveat that different dealers name things differently and of course there is variation in each lot. But essentially they are the same rock.

All granites are very similar in hardness. The primary mineral is feldspar in most cases, even though the rocks have different colors and textures they are still mostly made of feldspar (there are lots of color variations in feldspar, from white to pink to grey and even blue in the case of Labradorite). So the blue/green mineral is feldspar, not mica. And yes, Labradorite/Lemurian will have the same hardness as "regular" granite.

Yes, quartzite is almost always light in color with a whitish undertone. OK, I hate to say "always" with anything in geology, but I really can't think of a dark colored quartzite. At least in the kitchen realm, I have never seen a dark quartzite.

Happy shopping!

This post was edited by karin_mt on Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 9:16


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Thank you! That helps so much!


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

It depends how dark you mean. Quartzite gets its color from trace elements in the stone. I've not seen any that is very very dark like absolute black but there are very colorful quartzites. When we were doing our kitchen, most of the quartzites on this forum were the colorful ones. I don't recall anything like white macabas back then.

Some of them are:

Azul Macabas - which usually has white and aqua blue areas - kind of like a summer sky with clouds. Someone had a darker version with more and darker blue which they found for less.

Azul do Mar - our stone - you can see some pictures above - true to its name it looks like the sea - lots of blues, flecks of white, some darker brownish bits (sea weed) and some greens. Ours has a lavender greyish current slanting across part of it too.

Van Gogh or Blue Louis - kind of looks like a Van Gogh painting with a variety of colors sweeping through - usually some blue and reddish browns but there can be other colors too.

Wild West Green - mostly green with some other colors - I've never seen it in person but it sure looked nice in the kitchen that used it.


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

They sound beautiful.

When posters refer to the "stone yard" are they talking about a store that sells granite or an actual outdoor place that sells granite.

We only have distributors and fabricators here. I haven't been able to see much of a selection at all. I have driven 2 hours to see what little I have seen. Nothing is close to home.

Thanks,
Peke


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hi Peke,

I think the actual type of store varies. To me, stone yard means a place with lots of slabs for sale and often these businesses do fabrication as well. There are also kitchen/design showrooms that have granite slabs on display too, but they don't necessarily do the fabrication. I really don't know much about how the business is set up in other parts of the country, but that's a shame that you don't have easy access to view slabs. I can't imagine being able to make a decision in that circumstance.

Good luck,
Karin


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hi Karin,

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge...it is fascinating and so very helpful. I read this thread in one sitting and actually joined gardenweb to ask you this question!

We are doing a kitchen remodel and are going for a farmhouse feel with cream-colored cabinets and dark countertops. We love the look of soapstone but are concerned about the scratching and patina especially given the amount of baking that I do. So, we are starting to look at dark-colored granite instead. The problem is that most granites have too much shine and movement for us. So after doing alot of research, we have found that many people use dark granites such as Virginia Mist or Jet Mist in a honed (mostly), leathered, or antiqued finish to mimic the look of soapstone with the durability of granite. However, we have gotten mixed feedback regarding durability once the surface is honed. From what we have read, the antiqued or leathered finishes seem more durable than the honed although there are others who have lived with the honed finish without any problems. We saw a slab of black cosmic leathered early today ... it was very subdued, mostly black and just a gentle wave of white. However, my husband was concerned about whether or not it was more porous than the non-leathered/shiny slab next to it and the person really did not convincing answer the question as she just kept saying that it was the same granite with a different finish! We would love to know what your thoughts are on these finishes and whether or not you think they are durable or if there are other options you would recommend.

Thanks so much!


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hi Caitlinsredpup,

Welcome to GW!

I think you are going in the right direction and it makes sense that you are going for a look that is reminiscent of soapstone without the maintenance or patina issues.

For a given stone, the type of finish does not affect its durability. So if you are truly comparing apples to apples with the same type of stone, the fact that it is polished, honed or leathered won't change the porosity, resistance to acids or hardness. That said, they all respond differently to cleaning - in some cases the polished slabs are harder to keep super clean because that high gloss shows every spot. In other cases (with Absolute Black, for example) people have reported problems with the honed slabs but I can't for the life of me understand why that would be. I think there is something odd going on with Absolute Black.

As usual, the best approach is to bring home a sample and abuse the heck out of it. :)


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hi Karin,
As everyone else has, I thank you for generously sharing your knowledge with us!
So I visited a stone yard yesterday and I must really like the one slab I saw because I literally have the feeling I want to go visit my slab just to see how its doing...weird?!
I am no where near ready to pick out my counters but I can't stop thinking about this one, likely bc they only have 2 slabs left.

Anyway, the woman told me it was quartzite but sure enough I took a sample home and it does not etch glass.
I haven't read this entire thread, though I have read most of it, so I'm sorry if the answer is here, but if it dosent scratch glass does that mean it's a type of marble and therefore not a very durable choice?
I will post my picture and if you have any idea what it is and can attest to it's durability I'd be so grateful. They called it "truffle". It was really nicer in person, the sun was beating down on it here, it looks way brighter than it really is...Thanks so much for any insight.


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Hi Homebuyer,

That's a pretty slab. But I can't tell much about it with that photo, sorry. (other than that it's pretty!)

If you can't get the slab to scratch glass then yes, it's probably marble. Be sure to use a sharp edge of the stone and press hard. If need be, take a hammer to the sample to produce a sharp edge. Otherwise, yes, the results are pretty black and white.

Try lemon juice and see what happens with that.

Karin


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Thanks for looking Karin, I have a close up I'll post and also a better picture indoors of my sample.

Just looking for any good reason to not now rule this out. I'm so bummed, thought at first that if it didn't etch glass it might just be regular granite which I could live with. But if its marble, I suppose it's out of the running. I will try the lemon juice, but heres the other pics if youre interested or if they tell you anything else interesting.


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

And heres the sample they gave me...also a sample of jet mist honed.


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

This wonderful thread is approaching the end. :( I hope Karin will start another one, part II.

Just to update about our Super White for those interested. We don't have any stains. As has been said over and over it does etch, but the etches are not immediate, like when we tested a sample of marble. So, if you love it, and you do clean up, then go for it. The etches we see do just blend in with the gray, they are not rough to the touch. The only etches that make me the crazy are the perfect circles from glasses that leave a ring. (Still not sure why that happens).

I've often wondered if I'd do it again. I do love it. But with the amount of care I need to shower upon it, I think "next time" I might just have to go with my true love - calacatta. And yes, my dh has said that same phrase, "next time"..... I can't even get the 90 day list completed by the builder--and we've been here 8 months already--so how can we actually say "next time", this one isn't even done yet!

Anyway, very informative thread. It really should be added to the sticky thread.

Thanks again Karin_MT

Bee


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Oh no, there is a limit to thread length? I'd love it if we could save this too and if Karin could start a new thread. Like "Karin The Rock Whisper Is In" !


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

You guys are so great. Who knew folks would enjoy rocks so much.

The all-new Rocks 102 thread has begun!

Here is a link that might be useful: Continuation of this thread is here!


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RE: The lowdown on Super White

Homebuilder,

At a glance your rock looks like gneiss rather than marble or quartzite. But pictures can be misleading, so don't take my word for it. Try the glass test again and also the lemon juice. It would be a shame to give up your TLS (true love slab), but if its marble then it's better to know now.

You'll have to report your results in the continuation thread, but I'll be there! I love this Rock Whispering business. :)


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