Northstar Granite Tops FAQs

Granite & Marble Fabrication – Twin Cities MN

We know you probably have many questions about getting natural stone countertops, bar tops and more. Please check out the most frequently asked questions we get by clicking on the questions below. Once you’ve read through the page, you can click here to Request a Free Quote.


What is an MIA Accredited company?

In order to improve quality, consistency, and ethical standards the Marble Institute of America (MIA) has launched an accreditation program.  The program consists of an extensive application process, an intensive exam covering product knowledge, and an on-site inspection to review safety practices and job quality.  Once Accredited a company is recognized by the MIA as being one of the finest natural stone fabricators in the industry.  Northstar Granite Tops is one of 24 Accredited Natural Stone Fabricators in the United States.

What is the difference between marble and granite?

Marble and granite are produced in nature in very different ways resulting in very different looks and functionality. Not only are they comprised of different minerals, but also the way in which the earth acts on them is different. Granite is actually composed of minerals that liquefy deep within the earth creating magma. This magma slowly rises to the earth’s crust over millions of years, and cools along the way creating the very hard material we know as granite. Marble is composed mainly of calcite. Whereas granite is molten magma, marble never reaches that state. Instead, the very high heat and pressure deep within the earth compress the minerals into marble. Unevenness in pressures creates the beautiful movement so often associated with marble.

Can granite be scratched?

Although granite is an excellent countertop material and virtually indestructible, it can scratch. However, since granite is one of the hardest naturally occurring materials, scratching is a very infrequent issue.

Can granite stain?

Depending on the composition of the stone material, some is more susceptible to staining than others. At Northstar Granite Tops, we take the precaution of sealing every natural stone top that we install. We feel this extra insurance is just good business practice. Once sealed by us the tops do not need to be re-sealed for another one to four years.

Why does some granite have small pits in it?

Pitting is a common characteristic of many types of granite. This occurs because granite is composed of many different minerals, all with varying degrees of hardness. The difference in hardness results in the top layers of the softest minerals flaking out during the slab polishing process.

Why does some granite have hairline cracks in it?

These “cracks” are actually naturally occurring fissures and are not considered defects. They are a by-product of the cooling process under which the granite formed. Some materials show these fissures more readily than others do. If you believe these
fissures detract from the look of the granite you should select granite where the fissures are less noticeable.

Does granite have radon in it, and is it harmful to my family?

Radon is a naturally occurring gas found throughout our environment. It is found in granite, but not in sufficient levels to be considered dangerous to humans or pets.

What types of finishes are available?

Generally granite comes polished (high gloss), honed (satin sheen), leathered (to look and feel like leather), or antiqued (rougher finish than leathered with open pores). The other natural stone materials and engineered quartz usually come polished or honed.

Can I pick out the actual slabs that will be used in my kitchen?

Yes, as a matter of fact we encourage you to select the slabs that will be used in your project. We can hold the slabs you select at our facility, or if you select them from one of several local suppliers, they will hold them for you, and deliver them to us for fabrication when the time is right.

Can I participate in the layout of my countertops on the stone slabs?

Yes. We welcome you to be part of that process.

What are the different types of edge detail you offer?

We offer the following edge profiles: eased edge, ¼” bevel, half bullnose, full bullnose, demi-bullnose, Hollywood bevel, chiseled, small ogee, and large ogee. These profiles can be viewed on our Edge Profiles page.

How do I take care of my stone tops?

Care for your tops varies depending on the type of stone you selected for your project. We have written care instructions for engineered quartz countertops as well as for natural stone surfaces.

Will my stone tops be sealed?

Northstar Granite Tops seals all natural stone at the time of installation. We do not seal engineered quartz.

Can my engineered quartz countertops fade?

When exposed to UV light engineered quartz can fade. This usually isn’t a problem in an indoor application. Engineered quartz should be avoided in outdoor applications for this reason.

Do you have a warranty?

Yes, Northstar Granite Tops is proud to offer a ten-year limited warranty with every installation.

I have existing countertops. Do I have to remove them?

You may remove and dispose of them yourself, or you may contract with us or another party to remove them. If you want us to remove your tops, all of the plumbing must be disconnected prior to our arrival. We can typically remove and dispose of them on the same day of your new countertop installation. Let us know at the time we give you an estimate and we will include it in your quote.

Who takes care of my electrical, gas, and plumbing issues related to the countertop installation?

Since Northstar Granite Tops is not licensed to connect electrical, gas or plumbing you will need to contract with subcontractors licensed in those trades.

Will my walls be damaged when you install my new countertops?

Northstar Granite Top’s installers are professionals who are very careful and respectful of your home and its furnishings. We take precautions to make sure there is little to no collateral damage done to walls or cabinets in the installation process.
Like any remodeling project sometimes touchup work is necessary at the end of the job, and this is typically the responsibility of the homeowner.

Will my installation require a seam?

Seam necessity and location is dependent upon several factors including slab size(s), countertop configuration, movement in the slab(s), and how the countertops lay out on the slabs. You are always welcome to be part of the layout process at our facility.
If, like many of our happy customers, you prefer to leave the “details” to us and we will use our experience judgment to create the best layout for your project.

How wide will my seam be?

Northstar Granite Tops has always taken great pride in making the best seam(s) possible. In some cases seams may be nearly invisible, and in no event will your seam(s) exceed the industry standard of 1/16” ± 1/64” wide.

How big of an over hang can I have where I have my barstools?

Overhangs can be up to 10” unsupported on standard 3 cm (1 ¼” typ.) material. On 2 cm material unsupported overhangs may be up to 6”. If the desired overhangs are to be greater than 10” and 6” respectively, corbels are installed to provide additional support. In some instances where the stone is extremely fragile Northstar Granite Tops may reduce the length of unsupported overhangs allowed.

Will you template my project if the cabinets are just sitting in place?

No. We want to deliver the quality product you deserve. This requires all cabinetry to be anchored in its final location prior to our templating your project.

What is rodding? Is it important?

At Northstar Granite Tops we insert stainless steel rods in the underside of the stone where the stone may be susceptible to breakage. This is typically at the front and back of cutouts such as a sink or cooktop. We believe it provides extra insurance in the event of floor settling, or if someone hops up on the countertop to change a light bulb (not that we encourage it).