Alameda – Marble & Granite

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1910 Republic Avenue
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 200-0445

Serving all of the Bay Area and all of Alameda County including Berkeley, San Leandro, Oakland, Fremont, Hayward, Castro Valley and Emeryville.

Services include marble, granite & quartz sales & installation, countertops, custom fireplaces, showers, custom designs and cabinetry. Brands include CaesarStone...
License 881848 | DCID5106670588
Map of these Diamond Certified companies
Cities: Albany, Berkeley, Dublin, Emeryville, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Newark, Oakland, Piedmont, Pleasanton, San Leandro, Union City
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Researched Articles
Why Trust Diamond Certified Marble and Granite Companies Rated Highest in Quality?
High quality marble and granite countertops and backsplashes in Alameda County.

A kitchen with granite countertops and a granite backsplash. You'll have confidence when choosing a quality granite and marble supplier listed above because each has been rated Highest in Quality and has earned Diamond Certified. For more information on how best to choose and work with a marble and granite contractor in Alameda County, read the following articles. Photo: Amazing Stone, Inc. (2012)

By DIAMOND CERTIFIED PROGRAM STAFF WRITERS
Topic: Finding High Quality Marble & Granite Contractors in Alameda County

OAKLAND — You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a marble and granite company that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified granite and marble company. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated marble and granite contractor

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a marble and granite company that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified granite and marble company. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated marble and granite contractor and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you'll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you'll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

How to Choose
If You're Considering Marble and Granite in Your Alameda County Home
Grey marble bathtub and countertop installed by a local marble contractor.
A grey marble bathtub enclosure and sink topper. Photo: Amazing Stone, Inc. (2012)

Marble and granite remain popular with many consumers in Alameda County, whether they live in Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, Fremont, or Pleasanton.

These natural stone products add beauty to kitchens, bathrooms, floors, and other surfaces throughout the house. Marble and granite come in many different colors and their natural differentiation makes them useful across the house. While admiring their beauty, you may want to know a little bit more about them before you invest....

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Marble and granite remain popular with many consumers in Alameda County, whether they live in Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, Fremont, or Pleasanton.

These natural stone products add beauty to kitchens, bathrooms, floors, and other surfaces throughout the house. Marble and granite come in many different colors and their natural differentiation makes them useful across the house. While admiring their beauty, you may want to know a little bit more about them before you invest.

First, a few words about marble and granite merchants. You may visit a marble and granite shop that both supplies the material and fabricates it - fabricating refers to cutting and polishing the stone to the customer's specifications.

Or you may choose marble and granite at a warehouse or supply yard and have a fabricator or installer to cut the granite or marble for you and install it. If you plan to choose marble not supplied by the fabricator, it's a good idea to talk to the fabricator first.

Often, the fabrication shops have relationships with marble and granite suppliers so that you can get a better deal by going through the fabricator. The fabricator will often also make the arrangements to move the stone from the supplier to the fabricator. Ask your fabricator or installer how they source supplies, what services they offer - like moving the materials to their location, and be clear on who is responsible for what. Use the articles below to understand a bit more about marble and granite and the possibility of using them in your home or office.

Choosing Marble and Granite in Alameda County
Now that you've decided to upgrade your home or office in Alameda County, whether in Newark, Dublin, Union City, Alameda, or Albany, you need to choose what material you will use. Your choice of material may depend in part on the characteristics of the stone itself.

Granite is the most popular material for countertops. Some of the materials used may not be actual granites as defined geologically, but they share the same characteristics as true granite. They are the hardest stone available, which allows them to resist scratches or other abrasion marks. They are made up of minerals that are not too affected by most household chemicals, though some trace minerals in the granite may be susceptible to some acids.

Marble is often desired for its veining and strong colors. Serpentine and onyxe stones also share the same characteristics as marble, though some serpentines are as dense as some granite. In general, marble and similar stones are less strong than granite. Marbles scratch easily, and they can be marked by acids, including lemons, vinegar, and tomatoes. Household cleaners may also scratch natural marble surfaces.

If you choose marble, you will want to use cutting boards to protect the surface and non-abrasive cleaners. Some sealants will protect the marble from a degree of acidity, but will never completely eradicate the problem. For these reasons, you may be warned away from using marble as a kitchen countertop.

Slate falls somewhere between marble and granite. It is very resistant to chemicals, but it is softer than granite, and hence it can scratch easily. Slate in its natural state is not smooth. If you want smooth slate, also called a honed surface, be sure to request it. Like marble, slate requires that you take care to prevent damaging it.

Like marble, travertine and limestone are calcium-based stones. This means you can scratch them easily, especially when they have a polished, or shiny, surface. They are also vulnerable to acids and abrasive cleaners. All the calcium-based stones are porous to one degree or another. They absorb water, so a sealant can be applied to help them resist absorbing water.

Any tile made from a stone will have the same requirements as the stone from which it is made. Also be aware that the grout, epoxy, resin, or plastic sealant used to join tiles or large stone panels will have its own care requirements.

When you actually choose your piece of stone, take time to examine the specific piece or pieces you want. Since stone is a natural material, there may be pitting, veining, cracks, mineral deposits, or other characteristics that you do not want. Your supplier should point these out to you so that you are aware of them. You should also consider that the stone may look different when the stone is in a different position, for example, moved to the horizontal instead of the vertical. Brighter or dimmer light may also affect how predominant these features are.

Measuring to Install Marble and Granite for Your Alameda County Home
Getting a quality installation in your Alameda County home, whether in Berkeley, Oakland, Fremont, San Leandro, Hayward, or Komandorski Village, depends on good information and accurate measurements. You should know what appliances, including sinks, will be in place along with the marble and granite. You need to know the kind of sink, as well.

A top-mounted sink will place a load on the countertop, since the rim sits on the countertop. A bottom-mounted sink may be supported by a subtop or may be attached to the underside of the stone counter. When the sink is especially heavy, for example, a cast iron sink, subtops or additional supporting material may be required. You also need to know any other appliances you want to set into the countertop, so that cutouts can be designed to accommodate them. You should know where everything will be placed, and you should have the layout of your kitchen.

You can bring rough sketches of your layout with you when you look for stone, so that you can easily discuss possibilities with your supplier. Before your actual design is complete, however, your space will be measured by a technician from the supplier or fabricator. Your space must be in a certain state of readiness before the measuring can occur. Let's take a kitchen, for example.

The cabinet doors and hardware must be installed, as well as the end panels. Electrical outlets and plumbing outlets must at least be roughed in. The sink and cook top should be in place or should be available for measurement, if they will be installed after the countertop.

If you want a full-height splash, the exhaust vent should be installed or available for measurement. If the refrigerator will be affected by the countertop, it should be installed or available for measurement.

Once the measurements are available, your fabricator will prepare a shop drawing. The shop drawing shows where the stone will be placed, where the seams will be, and what the corner and edges will look like. The shop drawing represents the finished product, so this is the time to ask all your questions, especially about items like seam placement, placement of cutouts for sinks, etc., and any other detail that will affect the final outcome of the project.

The shop drawing will show the final product, so be sure it represents what you want. You should be asked to approve the shop drawing once it is final. Once the shop drawing is complete, some fabricators go on to make a template, or pattern, that will be used to cut the stone.

You should be present when the shop drawing is used to decide what stone to place where. Especially if your material is very highly variegated, you will want some say in which pieces are used where, and how the pieces are fit together. Most good shops request that you are present when it comes to matching the stone placement to the shop drawing or template. You should ask to be present if they do not.

Designing Marble and Granite Layout for Your Alameda County Home
Among the choices you will have to make are the edge designs. Edges can be handled as simple squares, or as fancy curved pieces. Your edge selection will also be one of the biggest factors when it comes to the cost of your stone. Sometimes, pieces come from suppliers with edges already on them.

Make sure you know what kind of edge you want and speak with your fabricator about who will create the edge. Your fabricator will have a number of edge designs for you to choose from. Keep in mind that the thinner the edge, the more vulnerable it is to chipping, especially with the more fragile stones. Besides edges, you'll also have to decide if you want a polished surface - one that is smooth and shiny - or a honed surface. A honed surface is smooth but not shiny.

As you design your layout in Alameda County, whether in Oakland, Fremont, Berkeley, Hayward, San Leandro, or Union City, there are some technical constraints you should be aware of. Seam placement, also called joinery layout, is very important. Where the seams fall will make a great deal of difference in how the installed stone appears. Your fabricator should be able to show you samples or pictures of different seam placement, and help you place your seams for the best appearance for your space.

When you are using stone panels, other restrictions include how far apart supports must be. For example, if your stone is three-quarters of an inch thick, it can only run a maximum of two feet between supports, while with one and one-quarter inch thick stone, the supports can be three feet apart. If you want the countertop to overhang the supports, this is called cantilevering. The cantilever should not be greater than one-third the width of the countertop.

For stone that is three-quarters of an inch thick, the cantilever should not be longer than six inches, and it should not be longer than 10 inches for stone that is one and one-quarter of an inch thick. For fragile stones and cantilevers that exceed these guidelines, you may have corbels installed to prop up the cantilever.

Depending on the stone you choose and its fragility, you may need a subtop, or or a supporting structure, to go underneath a countertop or floor. The subtop helps support the weight of appliances, of the stone itself, or supports a fragile stone. All countertops made of stone tile must have a subtop of cementicious backer board or exterior-grade plywood. Subtops for stone panel countertops may be made of marine-grade plywood, exterior-grade plywood, furring strips, or medium-density particle board.

Installing Marble and Granite in Your Alameda County Home
When it comes time to place marble and granite in your Alameda County home, whether in Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, Fremont, or Castro Valley, take a few steps to make the process easier. You should not make your marble and granite fabricator compete with other people working in your home that day.

You should make sure that plumbing and electrical are at least roughed in. If you are working in a kitchen or bathroom on countertops, make sure the cabinets and hardware are installed. Make sure that workers can move through clear paths in your home - stone is heavy!

A good marble and granite installation begins with a dry run. The stone is put in place with no adhesives or joining materials. Once the stone is properly in place and approved, the actual installation can take place. There are some things you need to be aware of before the installation proceeds. For example, the stone industry has guidelines about levelness. The countertop must be level, and the installation team may use a shim, or wood or plastic, to help make the countertop level.

The installation team may also use filler material, such as epoxy or polyester resin, to "hard pack" the countertop so that it is level. The final installed countertop should be level. You should also check that the stone thickness itself does not vary by more than an eighth of an inch across the length of the countertop. There are tolerances defined for stone panels and stone tiles for joint widths, filler heights, and lippage. Joints, or seams, are where two pieces come together.

They should not be excessively wide and should be filled with an approved sealant. The seams are usually filled to the level of the top surface. Lippage refers to when two stones are placed next to each other and are uneven. There should be no lippage at the front and rear edges of a countertop. Lippage may not be avoidable in other places due to the natural variation of the stone. In all cases, you should know the defined tolerances for seams.

Pay special attention to seams where two different kinds of material come together. You should know the standards for how much stone thickness can vary, and for the levelness of the countertop. In some cases, the standards cannot be achieved. In these cases, you should give written permission to not follow the standards.

Stone tiles have a few special considerations. The edge of stone tiles on a countertop may be finished with stone, wood, or metal. The stone should extend down the front of the underlying cabinets to help limit stress on the join. Stone tiles vary in color, so you should have the tiles laid without adhesives and approve the layout before they are actually installed.

If the stone tile is of a fragile material, the installer might adhere a fiberglass mesh to the back of the tile. If this fiberglass mesh is installed, an epoxy-based thin-set compound is usually used instead of a Portland-cement-based thin-set. Also watch your stone tile installer to be sure they use the "back-buttering" technique. Stone tiles are set in a bed of setting material.

In addition, some of the setting material must also be applied to the back of the stone tile, so that all of the tile is sure to adhere. Check to see that the installer uses two passes, going north-south, then east-west, so that the entire tile is covered.

Reinforcing Marble and Granite in Your Alameda County Home
Stones vary in strength and behavior, so your fabricator may recommend reinforcing. Reinforcing may be especially applicable where you have a large cutout, for example, for a sink. One technique is to apply fiberglass mesh, which is usually done at the fabricator's shop. Another techniques is to use liner blocks of some stone material to support seams or other places where needed.

A rod may be used when there are narrow strips of stone. A groove is carved in the underside of the stone. This groove, or kerf, then receives a metal rod or fiberglass rod that is surrounded with epoxy or polyester resin. The metal provides greater resistance against bowing than the stone. In a spline technique, a slot is cut into the adjoining sides of two pieces of stone.

A metal key, for example, a washer, is then placed in one piece of the stone, with the washer extending half-way out. The adjacent stone's slot is then slipped over the protruding washer, so that the stones are held together by the washer in the slots. The washer or other key is surrounded by polyester or epoxy resin.

After the Marble and Granite Are Installed in Your Alameda County Home
Once the marble and granite are installed in your Alameda County home, whether in Oakland, Fremont, Hayward, San Leandro, or Berkeley, many consumers choose to seal their countertops or floors. Sealers may help marbles or other similar stones resist acids, but the sealers will not totally insulate the stones. In effect, sealant on any surface is basically an added layer to help protect the surface- hopefully the sealant takes the brunt of abrasion and acids. Given its use, it makes sense to replace sealants on a regular basis.

An impregnator is a covering that is designed to prevent liquid from seeping into the stone. An impregnator is less likely to change the stone's appearance because the impregnator goes beneath the surface. A water-based impregnator is called hydrophobic, while an oil-based impregnator is oleophobic. Replace impregnators as recommended by the manufacturer.

Repairing Marble or Granite in Your Alameda County Home
It may happen - your marble or granite stone may be damaged in your Alameda County home, whether you live in San Leandro, Oakland, Berkeley, Fremont, or Cherryland. There are a few things you can do. Cracks and fissures are both cases where the stone breaks - cracks are manmade, and fissures are natural.

Chips occur when little pieces are broken off the edges. You may choose to repair fissures, cracks, or chips with epoxy or polyester resin. Sometimes the resin is dyed to match the stone, but it often looks better if not dyed. Once the resin is cured, the stone may be buffed. Often, the entire stone has to be rebuffed. If the crack or chip cannot be repaired, the stone may need to be replaced.

Pitting is a naturally occurring phenomenon in stone. The pits do not affect the granite's durability, and they do not qualify the stone for replacement. It's usually recommended that you do not attempt to fix the pits.

A Word on Resined Stone
Resin-impregnated stone is becoming more popular. Resin is applied to a stone in an attempt to make the stone look better and address any pits, cracks, or fissures. You can usually tell if a stone has been treated with resin by looking at the edges of the stone for excess resin.

Be careful with resin-impregnated stone. The resin may darken the stone's color. This means that the edge of such a countertop will be lighter in color than the rest of the countertop, because the resin is only on the top and bottom surfaces. Resin may mask fissures or other structural characteristics of the stone, making it hard to determine if the stone is structurally sound.

A resin may change colors when exposed to ultraviolet light, making it not usable for exterior application. And resins may interact with sealants to form a blotchy or cloudy appearance.

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Know What You Want
What to Ask Yourself About Marble and Granite in Alameda County

Now that you've decided to get marble or granite installed in your home in Alameda County, whether in Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro, Fremont, or Hayward, you need to get ready to work with your marble and granite merchant. You need to prepare yourself so that you get the best service. It's a good idea to ask yourself some questions so you have a good idea of what you want. The better you know what you want, the better you will be able to use your marble and granite merchant's expertise to help you....

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Now that you've decided to get marble or granite installed in your home in Alameda County, whether in Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro, Fremont, or Hayward, you need to get ready to work with your marble and granite merchant. You need to prepare yourself so that you get the best service. It's a good idea to ask yourself some questions so you have a good idea of what you want. The better you know what you want, the better you will be able to use your marble and granite merchant's expertise to help you.

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  • Where do I want to place stone material - in the kitchen, on the floor, in the bathroom, for countertops?
  • Do I want a stone backsplash in the kitchen?
  • Do I want to use stone panels or am I looking for stone tiles?
  • Do I have a preference for materials - marble, granite, slate?
  • Is the material I am considering right for the application - for example, do I really want to use marble for a kitchen countertop?
  • Is the room where I want to install stone sufficiently completed - are the plumbing and electrical at least roughed in?
  • If I am working in the kitchen, are the cabinets and hardware installed so that measuring for the kitchen countertop will be correct?
  • If I am attracted to stone with naturally occurring features like fissures, am I willing to install a substrate to support the stone?
  • Do I have any concerns or preferences about the epoxies or polyester resins that might be used to install my stone work?
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What to Ask on the Phone
Questions to Ask Your Marble and Granite Fabricator on the Phone

When it comes to choosing your marble and granite fabricator in Alameda County, whether you are in Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, Fremont, Pleasanton, or Union City, you can begin with a few questions on the phone. You want someone you can trust, since the company will be coming into your home and installing marble and granite that you hope will last for a long time and which represents a big investment. As you consider different marble and granite installers, you might want to draw up a list of questions to ask them. Having a set list will help you make consistent evaluations....

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When it comes to choosing your marble and granite fabricator in Alameda County, whether you are in Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, Fremont, Pleasanton, or Union City, you can begin with a few questions on the phone. You want someone you can trust, since the company will be coming into your home and installing marble and granite that you hope will last for a long time and which represents a big investment. As you consider different marble and granite installers, you might want to draw up a list of questions to ask them. Having a set list will help you make consistent evaluations.

  • Has your company earned and maintained a Diamond Certified rating?
  • Are you licensed contractors in the state of California?
  • Do you offer stones or do I select them from a marble and granite supplier?
  • If I have already chosen a stone, will you make arrangements to move it from the supplier to your shop, or do I have to do so?
  • What kind of work, besides the actual installation, might you perform on site (could include some cutouts)?
  • Do you make a template for cutting the stone, or do you work from a shop drawing?
  • Can I be present when you are determining how the stone will be cut for layout in my house?
  • If I choose stone tiles, will you lay them out so that I can approve the color shading of the tiles before they are adhered?
  • Are you familiar with working with the specific stone that I want - marble, granite, slate. Can you recommend or advise against using a certain stone for a certain application?
  • Do you advise the use of sealants or impregnators to protect stone?
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What to Ask in Person
Questions to Ask Your Alameda County Marble and Granite Fabricator in Person
Granite and marble kitchen upgrades in Alameda County, including Oakland, CA
A sample of granite and marble countertop and backsplash at a local showroom. Photo: Amazing Stone, Inc. (2012)

As you update your home or office in Alameda County, whether you are in Oakland, Berkeley, Newark, Dublin, San Leandro, Fremont, Hayward, Alameda, or Union City, you will spend a good deal of time with your marble and granite fabricator.

The most important time will be during the preparation of the shop drawing and any templates derived from the shop drawing. The shop drawing represents the final design of how the stone will appear in your home or office, so spend the time to get it right....

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As you update your home or office in Alameda County, whether you are in Oakland, Berkeley, Newark, Dublin, San Leandro, Fremont, Hayward, Alameda, or Union City, you will spend a good deal of time with your marble and granite fabricator.

The most important time will be during the preparation of the shop drawing and any templates derived from the shop drawing. The shop drawing represents the final design of how the stone will appear in your home or office, so spend the time to get it right.

Ask all the questions you need to ask, and persist until the shop drawing looks the way you want your installation to look. You might want to prepare a list of questions to remind you what to ask.

Some of those questions might include the following:

  • Can you show me where the seams in my marble or granite countertop will be placed?
  • How will the veining in the marble run once the stone is cut?
  • Can you show me how you will match the marble veining across different cuts of the stone?
  • Can you cut the marble slab so that the fissure falls where the strongest support is?
  • I have a heavy iron sink - do I need extra support or framing for it to protect my stone countertops?
  • Can you show me the options for cutting the edges of my stone countertop?
  • Can you cut the corner of the marble or granite so that there is no seam across it?
  • I am installing granite/marble tile; can you please lay it out first so that I can approve the color shading and how the veining runs?
  • I want to extend my new marble/granite countertop so that it is cantilevered. Will I need corbels to support it?
  • Can I change the sink from top-mounted to under-mounted with these granite/marble countertops?
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What to Ask References
Questions for Former Clients of Alameda County Granite and Marble Contractors

It's best to choose a Diamond Certified marble and granite fabricator because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can't pass. If you want quality from a marble and granite company in Alameda County and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you'll never be fooled by fake reviews....

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It's best to choose a Diamond Certified marble and granite fabricator because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can't pass. If you want quality from a marble and granite company in Alameda County and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you'll never be fooled by fake reviews. That's because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

If you can't find a Diamond Certified marble and granite firm within reach, you'll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it's wise to call some references provided by your marble and granite company. Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the marble and granite company are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That's because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the contractors will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

If you do call references on your own, specifically ask for a list of the company's 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.

  1. Were you satisfied with the work your marble and granite installer did? Why or why not?
  2. Did your marble and granite installer leave the work site clean and tidy?
  3. Did the marble and granite fabricator come promptly and work consistently throughout the day?
  4. Did you choose your stone at the fabricator's or separately?
  5. If you bought your stone from a supplier other than the fabricator, did the fabricator help with getting trade pricing? With arranging to move the stone from the supplier to the fabricator?
  6. Did you use stone tile or stone panels?
  7. What room or rooms did you use marble and granite on?
  8. Did you use resin-impregnated stone and did you have any issues?
  9. What stone did you install and what kinds of sealants or impregnators did you have applied, if any?
  10. How long have you had your stone and have you noticed anything you would do differently?
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Review Your Options
Find and Hire a Good Marble and Granite Company in Alameda County
The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

Your choice of marble and granite company will directly impact the quality of your stone and the installation process. So consider the following questions before deciding on the best marble and granite company in Alameda County for you....

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Your choice of marble and granite company will directly impact the quality of your stone and the installation process. So consider the following questions before deciding on the best marble and granite company in Alameda County for you.

  • Who will source the stone, you, your fabricator, or you with your fabricator's help?
  • What kind of stone will you use - do you want a hard granite for a kitchen countertop? Or are you willing to risk staining from acids and scratches, and use a marble countertop in the kitchen?
  • Where do you plan to install the stone - and will your marble and granite fabricator recommend the appropriate stone for the application?
  • Does your fabricator share your concern about using the proper sealants or impregnators, taking into account both the stone's intended use and the chemical nature of the sealant or impregnator?
  • Does the marble and granite fabricator offer beautiful designs and show good sense in the placement of seams, cutouts for sinks or other appliances, as well as other design details?
  • Does the marble and granite fabricator welcome you into the shop drawing process, getting your input during the design process?
  • Does the marble and granite installer offer trained technicians to measure your space so that the dimensions are correct?
  • Does the marble and granite installer offer good customer service and do the installers demonstrate that they are trained in stone and stone tile installation?
  • Does the marble and granite installer demonstrate knowledge of industry standards, such as recommended tolerances for stone thickness, installed stone levelness, and seam (aka joint) width?
  • Does the marble and granite installer provide written estimates and written agreements when work must deviate from standards because of the stone's nature?
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How to Work With
Before You Hire an Alameda County Marble and Stone Installer

Before you hire a marble and stone installer to work in your home or office in Alameda County, whether you live in Pleasanton, Oakland, Berkeley, Fremont, Hayward, Union City, Alameda, or San Leandro, a little due diligence will serve you well....

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Before you hire a marble and stone installer to work in your home or office in Alameda County, whether you live in Pleasanton, Oakland, Berkeley, Fremont, Hayward, Union City, Alameda, or San Leandro, a little due diligence will serve you well.

Look for established companies that focus on offering trained service personnel. Your company must have a license from the state of California. They may have a mason's license, or a tiler's license. Always check their advertising for the license from the state of California, then go to the Contractors State License Board website and check that the license is valid. Ask several firms for written, detailed estimates before working with any.

Make sure you understand exactly what your fabricator offers - will they source the stone or help you work with the stone supplier? Many will help you get trade discounts from suppliers and work with the supplier to move the stone from the yard to the fabricator's shop. But it's up to you to find out what those relationships are and how you might or might not benefit from them.

You should have a good idea of various stones and their properties. A good fabricator can help you choose the appropriate material, but you might be more open to their suggestions if you understand more about the stones.

You should also have a good idea of the room or rooms where you want to put the stone and how much other construction is being done in those rooms so that the rooms are in the appropriate state by the time the marble or granite is installed.

Now That You've Found Your Marble and Granite Installer in Alameda County
Once you've found the right marble and granite installer for you in Alameda County, whether in San Leandro, Fremont, Oakland, Berkeley, Hayward, or Union City, be prepared to work with them. Often the marble and granite installer can help with recommendations about what material to use.

Collaborate with the marble and granite installer on the design of how the stone will be installed. Pay particular attention to how the marble or granite is cut, so that veins or other distinctive markings and features are highlighted or disguised, as you wish. Also pay attention to where cutouts are needed for sinks and appliances. Be prepared to discuss seam, or joint, placement, and pay especial attention to the seams where different materials adjoin each other.

If they are a concern for you, discuss the sealants or impregnators used to protect the stone. You may also want to learn a little about the adhesives used to adhere the stone. It's a good idea to ask about whether additional support or substrates are needed to support the stone.

Make the Job go More Smoothly for your Alameda County Marble or Granite Installer
Make the job easier for your Alameda County marble and granite installer. Whether your home is in Berkeley, Oakland, Fremont, Hayward, San Leandro, or Newark, make sure there is no one else there to conflict with the marble and granite installer on the day of installation.

Make sure that plumbing and electrical are at least roughed in. Don't ask a marble and granite installer to do plumbing or electrical work. Make sure there are clear pathways, especially since stone is heavy. Be present so that you can approve the layout of the stone or stone tiles before it is adhered into place.

If you can't be there, get a designated approver to be there in your stead - you really want someone to approve the final layout before it is set. Be sure you've asked all the questions about sealants and impregnators before the job begins and have read the labels prior to application.

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Be a Good Customer
How Can You Be a Good Marble and Granite Company Customer?

It's the marble and granite company's responsibility to put in quality marble and granite using the best possible installation techniques. But you play a big part in the success of your marble and granite company, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring an Alameda County marble and granite company....

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It's the marble and granite company's responsibility to put in quality marble and granite using the best possible installation techniques. But you play a big part in the success of your marble and granite company, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring an Alameda County marble and granite company.

  • Be clear and upfront with the marble and granite company. Let them know what you want from your marble and granite, the long-term outcome you're expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
  • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!
  • Before you hire a marble and granite company in Alameda County, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the marble and granite representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local marble and granite companies occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
  • Ask your marble and granite company if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
  • Be sure your service representative has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they're installing marble and granite. The work will move along more smoothly if your marble and granite company can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
  • When your contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the marble and granite company on schedule.
  • Pay for the marble and granite company's work promptly.

Why would you want to be a good customer? Marble and granite companies in Alameda County appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check the Work
Check the Marble and Granite Work Against the Estimate and Invoice

Your marble and granite installer should give you a written estimate and invoice. Be sure that they are detailed and include separate line items for materials and labor. A single lump sum will not help you understand the charges, since it is not clear what it covers.

Check that the material installed is the designated material. Check that any substrates, or additional supports, that were needed are installed. Check that any sealants or impregnators that were to be applied are actually applied. Check for level surfaces, level stones, and small seams, or joints.

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Your marble and granite installer should give you a written estimate and invoice. Be sure that they are detailed and include separate line items for materials and labor. A single lump sum will not help you understand the charges, since it is not clear what it covers.

Check that the material installed is the designated material. Check that any substrates, or additional supports, that were needed are installed. Check that any sealants or impregnators that were to be applied are actually applied. Check for level surfaces, level stones, and small seams, or joints.

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Written Warranties
Ask for Your Alameda County Marble & Granite Installer for Warranties
White granite countertops in a newly remodeled kitchen.
Light colored granite countertops add a classy touch to this kitchen. Photo: Amazing Stone, Inc. (2012)

Start by asking your marble and granite installer what warranties they provide on their stone and installation services.

It's possible for stone to get chipped or cracked, or otherwise damaged in transit or during installation. Ask about repair and replacement policies if your stone gets damaged. Also ask about warranties for service. Stone and stone tiles should last for a long time, but it takes skill and training to install them properly. Ask whether and for how long the installation is guaranteed....

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Start by asking your marble and granite installer what warranties they provide on their stone and installation services.

It's possible for stone to get chipped or cracked, or otherwise damaged in transit or during installation. Ask about repair and replacement policies if your stone gets damaged. Also ask about warranties for service. Stone and stone tiles should last for a long time, but it takes skill and training to install them properly. Ask whether and for how long the installation is guaranteed.

For example, on new granite countertops, you may want a little give to allow for normal stresses, but too much give will cause the stone to crack. Ask the marble and granite installer if they guarantee against this and similar defects in the work.

Regardless of the specific terms of the guarantee coverage, your written warranties for granite and marble installation should include the following:

  • The granite/marble contractor's name, physical address and state contractors' license number.
  • Details of what is covered by the warranty.
  • Your responsiblity for placing a warranty claim on your marble or granite installation or products.
  • All exclusions or terms must be in writing to be valid.
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Top 10 Requests
Popular Marble and Granite Services Provided By Local Stone Installers

Marble and granite have many applications. Your Alameda County marble and granite installer should help you create a beautiful design, cut the stone to display its best attributes, and install the stone so that it wears for a long time. Below are some of the most common requests made to marble and granite fabricators.

New Floors
Marble, travertine, and other stones or stone tiles are popular for floors. A polished stone will create a shiny floor, or a honed stone will have a smooth but more matte appearance....

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Marble and granite have many applications. Your Alameda County marble and granite installer should help you create a beautiful design, cut the stone to display its best attributes, and install the stone so that it wears for a long time. Below are some of the most common requests made to marble and granite fabricators.

New Floors
Marble, travertine, and other stones or stone tiles are popular for floors. A polished stone will create a shiny floor, or a honed stone will have a smooth but more matte appearance.

New Kitchen Countertops
Granite is the most popular choice for kitchen countertops. It is very hard, which makes it resistant to scratches. Marble is sometimes used, but as a much softer stone, it scratches fairly easily and is also vulnerable to acids like lemons or tomatoes, and also to some household chemicals or abrasive cleaners.

New Bathroom Countertops
Many like the appearance of natural stone in the bathroom, and bathroom countertops can also be chosen to highlight dramatic bowls and fixtures.

Office Kitchens
Office kitchens are not as drab as they once were. The hard-wearing nature of natural stone makes it a good choice for areas with lots of traffic.

Stone Cutting
Cutting stone well takes real training and a feel for the stone. The best cutters can reveal the natural beauty of the stone. They may also be able to cut so that the parts of the stone that you don't like are not as obvious. A good stone cutter can cut so that veins can be placed to run in the same direction.

New Backsplash
As far as marble and granite installers are concerned, a backsplash is separate from the countertop. If you do want a countertop, mention it to your marble and stone installer. You will need to choose material for your backsplash and design it as well.

Design
Your marble and granite installer can help you design your stone installation. They should especially help you understand the importance of seam, or joint, placement and help you cut your stone to take best advantage of the stone when it comes to seam placement. The marble and granite installer should also be familiar with different materials and sensitive to color shading and vein placement.

Technical Knowledge
Many of us just want a beautiful countertop, or kitchen, or bathroom. We rely on the marble and granite installer to have technical knowledge and be aware of industry standards. For example, the marble and granite installer should be able to advise on how long the distance between supports should be, based on the stone thickness and type. The marble and granite installer should also know how wide seams should be, how to join different pieces of stone, and whether a subtop, or other substrate support is needed.

Edge Cutting
The edge of a counter can contribute greatly to its appeal. The edge is one of the most significant parts of the cost of a countertop. The marble and granite installer will offer you a choice of cuts for the edge. The thinner an edge, the more vulnerable to chips.

Stone Repair
Stone can chip from being handled, or it may have fissures, which occur naturally. In some cases, chips, fissures, and cracks can be mended using a resin to fill the space. Smaller chips may be sanded down, though this will make seams appear wider. Your marble and granite installer may be able to make small repairs if your stone gets damaged over its lifetime.

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If Things Go Wrong
The Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee for Marble & Granite Installation

Diamond Certified marble and granite contractors are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the marble and granite company is Diamond Certified and you can't resolve the issue by talking with the owner, contact the mediation department at info@diamondcertified.org or call 800-738-1138....

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Diamond Certified marble and granite contractors are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the marble and granite company is Diamond Certified and you can't resolve the issue by talking with the owner, contact the mediation department at info@diamondcertified.org or call 800-738-1138.

Easy Ways To End Conflict with Alameda County Marble and Granite Companies
If you and the marble and granite installer cannot resolve your differences with each other, you can reach out to a couple of places.

The Better Business Bureau will take complaints against the marble and granite company. However, all this will serve to help warn others away from the company. You can also go to the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) Web site to file a complaint. The Board will investigate claims where it believes it has jurisdiction.

While some outcomes might include getting a firm to re-do work or paying for another firm to complete a job, you should not rely on the CSLB if you are looking primarily to get your money back. That is not their job. They will cite and fine, perhaps, where they find problems, or cause other remedies as mentioned. But if you just want your money back, or restitution, they recommend small claims court.

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Glossary of Terms
Glossary of Terms Used By Local Marble and Granite Contractors
Marble and granite installation services for kitchens and bathrooms.
Custom granite countertops installed by a Diamond Certified marble & granite contractor. Photo: Amazing Stone, Inc. (2012)

You may find it helpful to know a few industry terms when you speak with your marble and granite fabricator or installer. Use the glossary to help inform your conversations and better understand what your granite & marble contractor tells you.

abate
A stone carving term, it means to remove material so that the remaining parts are left standing out in relief....

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You may find it helpful to know a few industry terms when you speak with your marble and granite fabricator or installer. Use the glossary to help inform your conversations and better understand what your granite & marble contractor tells you.

abate
A stone carving term, it means to remove material so that the remaining parts are left standing out in relief.

abrasive finish
Refers to a surface that has been finished or polished so that it is not reflective. The size of the grit used to make the surface can make a difference.

abrasive hardness
A rating that measures how well stone will wear when subjected to foot traffic.

absorption
When referring to how much water a stone will absorb, the result is described as a percentage by weight.

accelerator
When used in masonry, refers to material that is added to concrete or mortar to make the curing go faster.

acid wash
An acid wash is a method for distressing a stone surface by applying a substance. Acid washes work best on calcareous stones.

adhered
Refers to a stone veneer that has been securely fastened using a bonding material on an approved backing.

admixture
Admixtures are substances that are introduced into mortar or cement as the water, aggregates, lime or cement, are being mixed to form the mortar or cement. Admixtures may act as colorings, water repellants, or accelerators.

aggregate
Rocks or particles of rocks, they can be naturally occurring, such as sand or gravel, or manmade, such as crushed concrete. Aggregate may be used as it comes without cohering material, or it may be mixed into mortar or concrete.

alkaline
An alkaline product is more basic than acidic. Alkaline is in some sense the opposite of acid. Carbonate of sodium is alkaline.

allowable capacity
Refers to how much load a stone anchor can safely bear.

anchor
A metal fastener that connects dimension stone to adjacent stone units or to a structure. The corrosion resistant fastener may be flat or round.

Also known as: straps, dovetails, rod cramp, rod anchor, eyebolt, dowel

apron
When you have a projecting stone top, an apron may be added as a decorative or trim piece that comes down below the overhang. For example, if you have a countertop that overhangs a cabinet, an apron may be added to the very top of the cabinet, where the cabinet meets the countertop.

arris
A noticeable area where two surfaces meet that have been ground down.

artificial stone
A manufactured product that tries to reproduce the look of natural stone.

Also known as: engineered stone, cultured marble

ashlar
Refers to the placement of square or rectangular stones on a facade. Random ashlar has differing heights and lengths so that the placement appears random. Coursed ashlar looks like horizontal lines, while stacked ashlar looks like vertical lines.

axed work
Refers to a stone surface that has been hand-dressed so that it displays tool marks made by an axe, bush hammer, or pick.

back anchor
An anchor that comes out of the back surface of a panel of stone. In contrast, other types of anchors push into the edges of a stone panel.

back-parging
Refers to applying adhesive material to the back of the stone or other material to be applied. Some adhesive is put on the back of the product to be installed, while the rest in the bed where the product is to be installed. Back-parging is designed to make sure the entire unit is adhered to the base.

Also known as: back-buttering

baluster
One of a series of short, vertical pieces that support a railing or coping. Together, all the pieces, both supports and railing, form a balustrade.

Also known as: balustrade

belt course
A horizontal, continuous series of stones placed in a wall that creates a division.

bleed
When corrosive metals or materials such as putties, mastics, or sealing compounds make a stain on a surface.

blending
Refers to a design technique for laying material in which the material is placed randomly, so that is does not display a uniform color. The area of non-uniform color is then contrasted with regions that do have a uniform, but very different, color.

book match pattern
Refers to a technique for matching veins in natural materials. In the book match pattern, the opposite faces of adjoining slabs are used, so that a mirror image of the veining is seen. Polishing enhances the visibility of the veining.

boss
A stone that sticks out and that will be carved in place. Or, for a Gothic vault, the craving that disguises the rib junction.

bugged finish
For limestone, a smooth finish achieved by grinding it with power sanders.

chamfer
A technique that creates a flat treatment from grinding or cutting that will get rid of the sharp edge where two surfaces converge.

cladding
For the exterior of a wall or other structure. A stone veneer that is not load-bearing.

cleavage
Refers the areas where natural stones are likely to naturally break.

Also known as: cleft

honed
A honed surface is very smooth but has very little or no shine.

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Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ for Granite and Marble Contractors

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified marble and granite installer? ...

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Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified marble and granite installer?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a marble and granite company with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country's most in-depth rating process. Only marble and granite companies rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can't pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you'll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified marble and granite company.

Q: Why does it matter what stone I choose?
A: Stones have different characteristics, based on their mineral composition and density. Granite is a very hard stone that resists both acids, for example, lemons and tomatoes, and scratches, from knives or abrasive cleaners. For this reason, it is very well suited to the kitchen countertop. Marble, on the other hand, is a relatively soft stone that scratches easily and is vulnerable to acids from cooking and household cleaners. Knowing a little about stone characteristics will help you choose your stone, or know about the possible outcomes if you choose a stone less-suited to the particular application.

Q: Why do I care about stone cutting?
A: Stone is a natural product that varies from piece to piece. The stone may have fissures or other characteristics that are beautiful and you want to show off. A skilled stone cutter can cut the stone to highlight its best features. It's also important have veins running the same way, in veined material. A skilled cutter can get the most from your veined material, cutting so that the vein runs in the same way across several pieces.

Q: Why are the stones or stone tiles laid down first without adhesive - doesn't that take longer?
A: Laying the stones or stone tiles without adhesive first may add a little time to the project. But it's a critical step to make sure that the seams are where you planned them to be, that the stones look good together, and, especially for stone tiles, that color gradations or veining look good.

Q: Why can't I look for a single kind of contractor's license?
A: California has many different kinds of contractor's licenses. There is a specific license for masons - people who install and build with stone, concrete, brick, and similar materials. There is also a specific license for those who install tile. There are also broader categories of license that the masonry work might be done - for example, if you install stone as part of a landscaping project, the landscaper can install it. The important thing is to look for a current, valid California license and check that there are no complaints against it.

Q: I want marble for my kitchen counters. Is this a good choice?
A: If you choose to go ahead with marble for your kitchen counters, be aware that it is susceptible to scratching and acids. It will stain easily. You might want to look into sealants, though they will not handle the problem completely. It's a good idea to always protect the surface with a cutting board.

Q: I applied a sealant to my countertop. Do I have to do anything else?
A: Sealants help protect stone, but they are not a guarantee. If you do use a sealant, the sealant becomes the first layer to be hit by acids or abrasives. The sealant takes the brunt of it all. Because of this, the sealant should be replaced at regular intervals. Ask your marble and granite installer about the intervals or check with the sealant's instructions. You might also want to look into impregnators, which go below the surface of the stone. These impregnators are designed to prevent liquids from seeping into the stone, since all natural stones used in the home are porous to some degree.

Q: My marble is pitted - what should I do?
A: Pitting is considered a natural feature of marble and other stones. Most recommend that you do not do anything to try to fix it. It does not damage the durability of the stone.

Q: Do I want resin-impregnated stone?
A: Sometimes stone surfaces are coated with resin in an attempt to fill in pits, fissures, or other naturally occurring characteristics in the stone. The method has some drawbacks. Aesthetically, the edge of a resin-impregnated stone will never match the top, since the resin is not applied on the edges, and resin typically darkens the stone's color. There are some edge-darkening products, but they mainly don't work.

In addition, a colored resin may change color in ultraviolet light, making the stone not recommended for outdoor use. The resin may also interact with sealants to make a cloudy or blotchy surface. The resin may also hide fissures, so that it's impossible to tell where the stone may be less structurally sound.

Q: My stone includes a beautiful fissure, can I keep it?
A: Absolutely. These unique characteristics are what make stone so attractive to so many. You should just be aware that the fissure area may require extra support and may be slightly more vulnerable to chipping.

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Consumer Agencies
Consumer Agencies and Associations for Granite and Marble Contractors

Allied Stone Industries (ASI) (www.alliedstone.com/)
Building Stone Institute (BSI) (www.buildingstoneinstitute.org/)
Contractors State License Board (CSLB) (www.cslb.ca.gov)...

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Allied Stone Industries (ASI) (www.alliedstone.com/)
Building Stone Institute (BSI) (www.buildingstoneinstitute.org/)
Contractors State License Board (CSLB) (www.cslb.ca.gov)

Elberton Granite Association (EGA) (www.egaonline.com/)
Marble Institute of America (MIA) (www.marble-institute.com/)
National Building Granite Quarries Association Inc. (NBGQA) (www.nbgqa.com/)

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Industry Information
Alameda County Marble & Granite Information
Popular Brands of Marble & GraniteTypes of Marble & Granite Services and Products Available in Alameda County Cities ServedZip Codes Served
DuPont Granitegranite countertopsAlameda
Albany
Ashland
Berkeley
Castro Valley
Cherryland
Dublin
Emeryville
Fremont
Hayward
Komandorski Village
Livermore
Mount Eden
Newark
Oakland
Piedmont
Pleasanton
Russell City
San Leandro
San Lorenzo
Sunol
Union City
94501
94502
94536
94537
94538
94539
94540
94541
94542
94543
94544
94545
94546
94550
94551
94552
94555
94557
94560
94566
94568
94577
94578
94579
94580
94586
94587
94588
94601
94602
94603
94604
94605
94606
94607
94608
94609
94610
94611
94612
94613
94614
94615
94617
94618
94619
94620
94621
94623
94624
94661
94662
94701
94702
94703
94704
94705
94706
94707
94708
94709
94710
94712
Soterra Natural Stonemarble countertops
Swanstonemarble tile
Blancogranite tile
Siligranitegranite sinks
Swenson Granitemarble slabs
 cultured marble
 marble flooring
 granite slabs
 granite vanity top
 tumbled marble
 granite flooring
 marble mosaic
 marble fireplace
 granite installation
 marble installation
 natural granite
 natural marble
 custom granite counters
 granite fireplace
 honed granite
 travertine marble
 granite fabrication
 granite slate
 granite pavers