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Frequently Asked Questions

You asked them, now we've answered them! Here's the low-down on some of our most popular inquiries. Submit yours using our contact form.

How do I purchase your products if I do not have a contractor to buy through?
You can buy material through one of the many distributors throughout the North West. You can use the Distributor Locator to find a distributor near you.
Is honed granite less durable than polished granite?
Honing granite opens up the pores of the material, so sealing is critical. As long as your material is well-sealed with a penetrating sealer, the durability isnít affected by the finish.
Can I get tiles and slabs that match?
Some materials come in both tile and slab. Oftentimes to cut costs, clients will use a slab on their center island, and tiles on the outer countertops. Be sure if you choose this option that the tiles and slabs are a close enough match. Slabs and tiles are cut from different blocks, so chances are the color between the two will be slightly different.
Can you use marble for a kitchen counter?
Yes, but because marble is a soft material, acids (i.e. lemon juice, tomato juice, wine, vinegar) will etch the surface. Etching is more visible on polished marble than it is on marble that has either a honed or an antiqued finish. While marble in a kitchen is more likely to etch, stain and scratch, this "patina" is what's appealing to clients who want that "old world" look.
How many different textures are there available in stone?
  • There are several. The most popular finishes are:
    • Polished. This is a shiny smooth finish.
    • Honed. Semi-polished to a matte finish, but still completely smooth.
    • Antiqued/brushed: Brushed to a very textured "leather-like" finish.
    • Tumbled: Very rustic look with rough edges and corners. Material is actually put into a rock tumbler to get this look.
  • Other less popular rough finishes are; sandblasted, flamed, and chiseled.
Can I buy from you?
We are open to the public and encourage everyone to come and take a look at our showroom. However, we only sell to the trade: tile installers, fabricators, designers, architects, builders, remodel contractors, and floor covering stores. If you don't already have a professional for your project we have a list from which you may choose.
Can I cut on my Granite Countertops?
Yes, you can. Granite is a very hard surface though, and in most cases it's harder than the material your knife blades are made of, so expect that you will dull your knives quickly if you use them to cut on your countertops.
Can I hand select my natural stone tiles?
No. Every piece is unique and adds to the overall beauty of each color selection. If you are trying to control the color within a selection of stone, order more than what you need and donít use the pieces you donít like.
Can I hand-select my slabs?
Yes you may hand-select your slabs. However, Intrepid doesn't take deposits or hold material for homeowners. You must have a fabricator in order to put material on hold. Making an appointment to choose slabs is not required, but is very helpful.
Can I seal my own stone or do I have to have someone do it for me?
Depending on the size of the area you're sealing and your ability, you can usually seal the stone yourself by following the manufacturer's directions carefully. If you have a lot of square footage to seal, you might want to hire a professional.
Can I set hot things on my Granite Countertops?
Yes. Granite generally withstands heat up to about 900 degrees. Softer stones can't handle the heat like granite, so on those surfaces, it's recommended that you use a trivet.
Can I use honed slate for a floor?
Honed slate can be used for a flooring material, but it's not recommended for high-traffic areas, because it scratches easily. It's more appropriate for vertical surfaces.
Do you do any fabrication or installation?
No, but if you don't have an installer/fabricator, we have a list that we can provide for you.
Do you have remnant pieces of slab?
Since we don't fabricate material, we don't have remnants, but any fabricator will have remnants.
Does the fabricator seal my stone for me?
Check with your fabricator before they install your stone. Most fabricators seal the stone once it's installed. If that's not part of their contract, make sure your stone is sealed before you use it.
How do I care for my natural stone surface?
Most types of stones need to be sealed just after installation prior to regular use and are very easily maintained after that. We carry the full line of StoneTech Stone Care products to seal, clean, and maintain your natural stone.
How is the stone cut?
The huge blocks of stone are excavated from the earth and hauled to manufacturing locations where they are cut by a series of large saws. They are then polished and shipped to us by boat.
How long will it take my fabricator to install my kitchen?
The actual fabrication and installation might take a week to ten days from start to finish, but getting on a fabricator's schedule is the more critical issue. Some fabricators are booked several months out.
How much does a slab weigh?
It depends on the thickness. At 13 pounds per square foot, the average 2cm slab weighs 600-700 pounds. At 20 pounds per square foot, the average 3cm slab weighs 1000-1200 pounds.
How much is granite slab?
Most material cost only fluctuates a few dollars per square foot. A typical budget allowance is $60-80 per square foot installed (material, fabrication, installation). Factors that affect the cost of your project are: Slab size, an intricate edge detail, an under mount sink, radiuses, or other special requirements. It's important to get more than one bid and references before hiring a fabricator.
How often should my stone be resealed?
Depending on the brand of sealer you use and whether your stone is on an interior or exterior surface, your stone should be re-sealed anywhere from every six months to every five years. If your stone isn't beading water, or if you can see that water is absorbing and making the stone darker, you need to re-seal the stone. Intrepid carries StoneTech™ Professional sealers and cleaners. StoneTech™ suggests re-sealing stone every three to five years for interior use, and every one to three years for exterior use (or in a shower where there is constant exposure to water).
I want to do more than just replace my counters and floors. How can I get help understanding the process of remodeling my kitchen or bath?
Homeowners can call the NARI national hotline toll-free at 1-800-611-NARI and request a free copy of NARI's informative brochure, "How to Select a Remodeling Professional," or visit www.RemodelToday.com and click on the homeowners guide for more information. There are also many local trade associations: American Society of Interior Design (ASID), Northwest Society of Interior Design (NWSID). Oregon Remodelers Association (ORA) and Home Builders of Oregon Remodelers Council (RC). To see a list of associations that we are affiliated with, please follow MORE: link below to the About Us page.

If I special order something that you don't stock, what is my time frame for delivery?
If I special order something that you don't stock, what is my time frame for delivery?
My fabricator told me I need book matched slabs. What does this mean?
A block of material is put on a large saw at the factory and cut into slabs (similar to a loaf of bread being cut into slices). Slabs are cut and numbered in a systematic order (1,2,3, 4Öetc.). Book matched means that the first slab in a block is polished on one side, and the slab right next to that slab is polished on the back side. If these slabs are laid out end-to-end, the pattern continues from one slab to the next with no break in the pattern. It's important if you're choosing material that has movement to choose slabs that are next to each other in the block. This will enable your fabricator to match color tones, veins, and characteristics of your material.
What are the differences between 3/4" (2cm) and 1 1/4" (3cm) slab material for countertops?
There is no difference in the durability of one thickness over the other. The choice of thickness is personal/fabricator preference. The cost of the 2cm material is less, but the labor is more because the most preferred edge details require a laminated edge. The cost for 3cm material is more, but the cost for labor is less because a laminated edge isn't necessary to achieve the desired look. Usually, the cost between the two thicknesses FINISHED, is comparable.
What does gauged mean?
Gauged means the back of the tiles (usually slate) have been ground down so there is less variation in thickness (usually +/- 1/16 of an inch).
What happens if I donít need a whole slab?
In most cases you still have to buy a whole slab. Check with your fabricator.
What is granite?

A coarse-grained plutonic, or intrusive igneous rock composed largely of feldspar, quartz, and some common mica. Provides a heavy crystalline and granular appearance with mineral grains. It is the most abundant rock in the earth's crust, and ranges from 6 to 8 on the MOH* Scale.

Used for flooring, kitchen countertops, showers, baths, and exterior cladding. Used in both residential and commercial applications, for interior or exterior surfaces. Available in various sizes, including slab.

Seal with Impregnator Pro. Use Revitalizer cleaner for regular maintenance.

What is limestone?

A sedimentary rock formed from calcareous remains of plants and animals or precipitated from solution. It is natural calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and will yield lime when heated. Does not show much graining or crystalline structure. It has a smooth granular surface. Varies in hardness. Some dense limestones can be polished. Color tones are typically neutral.

Used for flooring, walls, vertical surfaces, vanities, and showers. Used in both residential and commercial projects, for interior or exterior applications. Available in various sizes, including slab.

Seal with Impregnator Pro. Use Revitalizer cleaner for regular maintenance.

What is marble?

Marble is a recrystallized limestone that formed when the limestone softened from heat and pressure, and recrystallized into marble. The main consistency is calcium and dolomite. Wide range of colors and usually heavily veined. Hardness rates from 3 to 4 on the MOH Scale.

Used for vertical surfaces, vanities, and flooring. Used in residential and commercial applications. Available in various sizes including slab.

Seal with Impregnator Pro. Use Revitalizer cleaner for regular maintenance.

What is quartzite?

A common mineral, silicon dioxide (SIO2), usually colorless or white, although it may be colored by impurities. It has a vitreous luster, conchoidal fracture, and a hardness of 7 on the MOH Scale. There are several varieties of quartz, including rock crystal, amethyst, chalcedony, and agate.

Used for countertops, flooring, showers, and vertical surfaces. Suitable for interior or exterior use, both residentially and commercially. Available in various sizes.

Seal with Impregnator Pro to maintain a natural color. To deepen the color of the stone, seal with Enhancer Pro. Use Revitalizer cleaner for regular maintenance.

What is sandstone?

A porous, durable sedimentary rock composed of cemented sand-sized grains, predominantly quartz. Usually formed in light brown or red colors. Categorized by the most popular sandstone bonding agents such as silica, calcium, clay, and iron oxide.

Used for flooring, countertops, showers, and vertical surfaces. Suitable for interior or exterior use, both residentially and commercially. Available in various sizes.

Seal with Impregnator Pro to maintain a natural color. To deepen color, seal with Enhancer Pro. Use Revitalizer cleaner for regular maintenance.

What is slate?

A fine-grained metamorphic rock formed from shale by regional metamorphism. It is harder, more lustrous than shale and when split, yields approximately plane surfaces.

Used for countertops, flooring, showers, and vertical surfaces. Suitable for interior or exterior use, both residentially and commercially. Available in various sizes, including slab.

Seal with Impregnator Pro to maintain a natural color. To deepen color, seal with Enhancer Pro. Use Revitalizer cleaner for regular maintenance.

What is soapstone?

A very soft stone made of a variety of impure talc. It is a dense mineral that develops a patina as it wears and is often stain resistant.

 Used for countertops, sinks, flooring, and vertical surfaces. Available in various sizes, including slab.

Surface may be left natural or treated with mineral oil to deepen color. Use Revitalizer cleaner for maintenance.

What is the difference between natural stone and quartz-based countertop material?
Many sellers of these products make claims about being more durable and that they do not require the same maintenance (sealing) as natural stone. At a recent trade show, Robert Contreras of Cosentino USA, one of the leaders in bringing engineered stone to the US market, talked about the properties of engineered stone and made the following points:

  • Products are comprised of 92% quartz, the balance is binder and additives (polymers)
  • Heat damage can happen at 360-400 degrees
  • Prolonged heat exposure will cause cracking as hot area expands next to cold area
  • 3cm material is very expensive compared to granite
  • Typical slab size is very small increasing seams
  • Color variation from slab to slab due to manufacturing process
  • Surface inclusions (defects) can be present
  • Lower gloss rating (40) compared to granite (80+)
  • Wears fabrication tooling out faster
  • Need more water and slower RPM to reduce heat during fabrication process
  • Harder to source, limited availability
  • Branded material has higher cost of $2.50 to $3.50 per sf
  • Sealing is actually recommended to enhance cleaning of the finished product
What is the fiberglass mesh for on the back of some slabs? Does this mean those slabs aren't good quality?
Some materials that have more veining and are more delicate are meshed so that during shipping and fabrication they donít break. Once these materials are installed, they're fine.
What is travertine?

A light-colored, compact form of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) formed from several cycles of sedimentation in limestone caves. It contains holes that were formed from decomposing vegetation within the layers of sediment, and from sulphurous gases rising to the top of the limestone mud in the form of boiling bubbles.

Used for flooring, vanities, showers, and vertical surfaces. Suitable for interior or exterior use. Used both residentially and commercially. Available in various sizes, including slab.

Seal with Impregnator Pro. Use Revitalizer cleaner for regular maintenance.

What makes one material more expensive than another?
There are many factors that drive the cost of each material: Materials that come from countries with extreme temperatures like parts of Norway, Newfoundland or Africa are more expensive because the quarries are only open certain times of the year; material that contains Labradorite, Lapis, or other semi-precious stones can also be more expensive. There are many other factors, but the cost of natural stone is directly affected by how much effort it takes to get the material to its final destination; transportation cost; and the value of the US dollar.
What makes up the different colors?
There are a variety of factors that make up the color, pattern, and density of any given stone. The types of minerals and other impurities in the stone are big factors in the color hue of a material. The method of formation is a determining factor in the pattern and density, which ranges from igneous, meaning it was once molten and formed as it cooled, to sedimentary. Come in to our showroom for more detailed information on the different types of stone we carry in stock.
What should I use to clean my stone?
Either use mild soap and water, or a pH neutral cleaner like StoneTech™ Revitalizer. Revitalizer is FDA approved for food surfaces and has a small amount of sealer in the mix to help extend the life of the initial seal. Acid or alkaline products can seriously damage some stones, so using those types of products is not recommended.
When looking for bathroom material (vanity, flooring, shower) can anything be used such as Travertine, Marble, Granite?
Any natural stone that we stock can be used for those surfaces. Polished surfaces can be slick when wet, so polished stone might not be the best choice for a flooring surface in a bathroom.
Where can I use slate?
Slate can be used anywhere because of its textured finish, however, countertops might be questionable because of the uneven surface. Slate is a popular flooring material because it offers slip resistance. Some slates are dense enough to be used for exterior applications. Please consult a technically knowledgeable staff member for all exterior application questions.
Where can I use travertine?
Travertine, like marble, is more susceptible to acid etching so it might not be the best choice for a kitchen countertop. It's a durable flooring material that doesnít show a wear pattern like polished stone, and it's a popular choice for all surfaces in a bathroom. Exterior applications of travertine can be questionable depending on your climate. As with any other stone, it must be sealed periodically.
Where does most of your stone come from?
We get material from countries all over the world: Brazil, India, Canada, Italy, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Madagascar, Greece and Norway, to name just a few.
Why is there a glue-like residue on the edges of marble and granite slabs?
A coat of epoxy resin is either rolled on by hand or applied by high tech machinery, then heated to harden. The slabs are then sent through a series of diamond and synthetic abrasive lines that remove 99% of the resin, leaving a highly polished product virtually free of defects. This enables consumers to have colors of stone not available in years past, as well as a product unmatched by man-made solid surface products.
Why wonít you tell me the price of just the slab?
Your project is determined by many factors other than the material cost: How many polished edges; how many cutouts; if you have a top mount or an under mount sink; if your material has movement, and the waste factor. Every job has a waste factor. Slabs come in all different sizes so square foot costs can be deceiving. The waste factor may be higher on a less expensive per-square-foot material than it is on a more expensive material. On an average, the material cost ranges from 15-25% of the overall cost of the project. A similar analogy is comparing the cost of cabinetry. You may know that one type of wood is more expensive than another, but what you really want to know is the cost of the finished cabinet that has the details you prefer.

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