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Granite or Marble

steeltownchic's picture

Hi everyone,Any idea where I can get a relatively small piece of either granite or marble for a bathroom counter? The cabinet is only about 3ft wide. Are there any places in the Hamilton/Burlington area that you know of that would sell me a small piece for cheap, or even online places that have good deals? I'm trying to fix up the main floor powder room a bit.thanks!

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Elizabeth Ruda's picture
Elizabeth Ruda

Hello there,I think with the Marble you need to use a sealer on it because it is porous. Another option that is a little bit cheaper than granite is recycled glass and it looks a lot like granite and good for the environment!!Regards,- Elizabeth Ruda.

Nestor_Kelebay's picture

If you can't find a single slab of stone large enough, another option you might consider would be to buy marble or granite floor tiles from any ceramic tile dealer, and make a bathroom counter by tiling a plywood base with marble or granite floor tiles.Typically, most of the problems people have with any kind of tiling is associated with the cement based grout lines between the tiles.  I would minimize the problems you're likely to have with the grout by minimizing the amount of grout you have.  That would mean using the largest floor tiles you can with the narrowest grout lines, typically 1/16th of an inch wide.  You'd need to use an unsanded grout in narrow grout lines.Grout will either be cement based or epoxy based.  Cement based grouts are porous and need to be sealed with a "penetrating" or acrylic "film forming" sealer that prevent moisture and coloured liquids which will cause stains from being absorbed into the grout.  Epoxy based grouts are essentially a very hard plastic that dries non-porous and doesn't need to be sealed to prevent it from absorbing moisture or becoming stained.  Epoxy grouts have gotten to be much easier to use over the past 20 years.Wood is a natural material and swells and shrinks with changes in it's moisture content.  That moisture content is determined by the temperature and humidity of the surrounding air, and hardwoods (which are the wood of a deciduous trees that have leaves) swell and shrink more than softwoods (which are the wood from coniferous trees that have needles).Ceramic tiling and the cement based or epoxy grout between ceramic tiles simply doesn't have the elasticity to accomodate any dimensional changes in a wood substrate, so it's NEVER a good idea to set ceramic tiles directly over wood; either plywood or lumber.However, there are a variety of sheet goods available from big names in the ceramic tiling and flooring industries that allow for wood movement.  Schluter makes a product called "Ditra" or "Ditra mat" which is an orange plastic sheet, and Mapei makes an adhesive film that can be applied to plywood and tiled over.  Both products allow for movement of a wood substrate below the tiling.Also, you can also fasten a dimensionally stable "tile backer" material (like cement based Wonderboard or gypsum based DenShield (from Georgia Pacific)) to the plywood and then set ceramic tiles over the tile backer.  In that case, the tile backer (the Wonderboard or Denshield) doesn't swell or shrink, and so there's no stress on the ceramic tiling, and so there's no reason for any grout joints to crack.  Plywood is made from thin sheets of DRIED softwood, and will tend to swell rather than shrink after it's installed.  However, the alternating grain direction of the plys reduces the amount of swelling and shrinking so that plywood is much more dimensionally stable than lumber.Also, if it wuz me, I'd always choose granite over marble in every situation that I can think of.  Granite is a much harder, stronger and more chemically stable rock.  Consequently, granite will be less susceptible to nicks and scratches from hard objects and attack by acid based cleaners.You don't need to know the rest...Coral reefs are made from the accumulation of the calcium carbonate skeletons of various kinds of sea creatures.  "Limestone" is what you get when the weight of the ocean compresses that coral reef into a continuous material.  "Marble" is what you get when the heat of the earth and weight above compresses that limestone into a still denser material.  So, coral, limestone and marble are all primarily made of the same material, namely calcium carbonate or "chaulk".The active ingredient in many bathroom and ceramic tile cleaners will be phosphoric acid.  That's because phosphoric acid will cut through soap scum like a hot knife through butter, but won't harm chrome.  So, even at high concentrations, phosphoric acid can be safely used on chrome plated bathroom fixtures.  But phosphoric acid will dissolve calcium carbonate (chaulk), so it will also attack a marble counter top and leave it permanently etched.  (Buckeye makes a general purpose bathroom cleaner called "Sparkle" which is 40 percent phosphoric acid.  That's more than twice as strong as your average phosphoric acid based toilet bowl cleaner!)  The general purpose bathroom cleaner I use is only 6 percent phosphoric acid, but I can't say that I'm really satisfied with how well or quickly it works.  I'm just not dissatisfied enough to start shopping for a better cleaner.Granite is made when the semi-molten rock in the Earth's mantle comes to the surface and cools.  "Granite" actually gets it's name from it's "granular" structure, meaning that it's made up of "grains" of rock that are all fused together and interlock with each other.  The atoms of silicon, magnesium, calcium, oxygen and whatever else within each "grain" have the same regular and repeating pattern, but the orientation of that pattern changes between grains.  It's exactly like what happens when small towns grow and merge together into one big city.  The streets an avenues are regularily spaced and perpendicular to each other within each town, but their direction abruptly changes when you go from one town to the next.  In granite, each grain contains similar atoms in a regular and repeating pattern, but that pattern is oriented in a different direction in each grain.  Neither limestone nor marble has a granular structure like granite.Metals also have that same granular structure as granite, but the size of grains in metals like iron and steel is very much smaller and requires the use of a microscope.

spersaud's picture

Considering the piece you need will probably be from slab leftovers, I'm sure you'll be able to find a deal for it. Sometimes even the people who install the granite hang on to the extras from a particular home — so you could even try contacting someone who does that to see if they have any pieces you could choose from. Perhaps you could call up marble/granite companies in Hamilton to see what the price range would be for pieces that small?

Good luck!

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