Blog Posts from Northstar Granite Tops

Does Granite Emit Radon?

| | Granite

Granite – It has been a favorite for home countertops and flooring for centuries, gracing homes of the elite as well as the average homeowner with its beauty and elegance. However, in more recent years there have been rumors and allegations that this gorgeous stone could also be harmful to one’s health.

The Rumor: Granite emits Radon. This was determined based on the science that granite countertops contain radium, a radioactive gas that can cause cancer.

The Reality: While it is true that granite contains radium, it does not contain enough of the chemical to cause health issues. The reports that lead to the radiation and granite concerns were due to a story about a Three-Mile Kitchen Island. However, it should be noted that all natural products, especially sand, minerals and stone contain measurable trace amounts of some radioactive elements. The list of products this affects includes all concrete products, clay bricks, most non-plastic plates and dishes, eye glasses, mirrors, phosphate fertilizers used for gardening, the soil (even non-fertilized) itself and literally thousands of other items.

However, the keywords in the statement above are “trace” and “measurable”. Every day people use items that contain the trace amounts of radon. The comparison has been made that if the amount of radon in a granite countertop were represented by a single lit birthday candle that while there would be heat emitted from the candle it would not be enough to warm the entire room. Sure, you can feel the heat of the candle, but that lit candle is not going to lower your energy costs!

Yes, granite has some trace amounts of radon. This is because it is mined from the earth, where radium and other naturally occurring radioactive materials are not uncommon. According to the EPA, the safety limit for radon emissions is 4 picocuries per liter of air. But, the EPA also points out that granite has a lower risk of producing radon than other natural stones, due to the fact that granite is a non-porous material so only miniscule amounts of radon can be emitted. In addition, because most homes are well ventilated, any radon that may be released into the air is typically diluted.

The Response: If you are concerned about possible radon emissions in your home, you can test for it by purchasing an activated charcoal surface test. These can be found on many websites as well as at hardware stores and other retail outlets. You will not find a radon testing kit designed specifically for radiation in granite countertops, but these basic kits will provide peace of mind, should you be concerned. But keep in mind, the EPA has no real proof that granite countertops increase indoor radon levels.

Granite countertops have been used in homes and office for years, they are beautiful, elegant and long-lasting making them a great choice for any decorating style. If you would like to learn more about how granite countertops can be used in your space, give Northstar Granite Tops a call. We would love to help you choose the granite for your next design project.

Contact us today by calling 320-963-8677 or contact us online.

Treat Yourself to Granite Countertops

| | Granite

The holidays will be here before you know it. Soon it will be time to go out and start buying gifts for everyone on your list. But what about you? Don’t you think you deserve a special gift too?

Northstar Granite Tops, one of the leading granite countertop installers in the Edina area, can help you find the perfect gift for yourself! With all of the cooking, cleaning and other activities that will be going on in your kitchen, it’s important to have countertops that are durable, pleasing to the eye and that match your kitchen’s decor. Your guests will be ooh-ing and aah-ing over your new kitchen in no time at all, and your Edina neighbors will be asking you where you got such lovely countertops. Plus, the fact that they are easily maintained and resistant to mold and bacteria mean your countertops will be around for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.

Our employees are trained to not only craft the best stone countertops possible, but they are also trained to help you find the best kind of countertop to suit your needs. Are you thinking quartz or limestone? Granite or marble? Or are you undecided and want an expert opinion? Let Northstar Granite Tops help you pick out the best gift you can give yourself this year: the gift that will keep on giving and will add a special “je ne sais quoi” to your kitchen. Happy holidays to you!

So while you’re out doing your holiday shopping, you can stop by our showroom and see what we have to offer. Or if you prefer to do all of your shopping online, you can visit our website and request a quote. Let Northstar Granite Tops help you find that special something just for you.

Granite Countertops: 5 Points to Contemplate

| | Granite

One of the biggest trends today in the world of kitchen design is the use of granite countertops. After all, they can be purchased in nearly every color, have an abundance of edges to choose from so they will completely match your style and they add value to your home. Consider the following:

  1. If you love to cook and thus spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen, you will want to choose slab granite countertops since it has fewer seams and can be cut to fit the exact dimensions of your counter space.
  2. What type of sink do you plan to use? While granite countertops can have any type of sink installed, it is recommended one choose an undermount sink as this makes it easier to clean up around the sink. It should be noted, that when an undermount sink is installed properly (ask a professional!) then there is no fear of leaking or the sink separating from the granite.
  3. Are granite countertops a good choice in homes with small children? Sure, granite countertops can be used in a home with small children. However, special care should be given in choosing the type of edge, as some edges are sharper, while others are more easily chipped. In a home with young children, it is best to choose granite countertop edges in the bullnose style.
  4. Unless you are a professional granite fabricator, it’s not recommended you install them yourself. A fabricator has the tools and knowledge of years of experience to ensure that your slab, modular or tile granite countertops look beautiful.
  5. What are the benefits of granite countertops? Aside from the aesthetics of granite countertops, other advantages of granite countertops include: durability, they can withstand heat, resistant to stains once it has been sealed, bacterial contamination is not a problem and it is easy to clean.

Granite countertops are one of the most versatile and practical kitchen surfaces on the market today.

Our fabricators are knowledgeable and would love to help you design the kitchen of your dreams. Contact us today at 320-963-8677 or Click Here to Request a Free Quote.

Thanksgiving: Friends, Family & Granite

| | Granite

Do you have Thanksgiving on the mind? Are you thinking about what to cook and who to invite? What kind of decorating are you going to do with your kitchen and dining area? Have you given any thought to granite countertops?

For Northstar Granite Tops, one of the leading granite countertop installers in the Twin Cities metro, Thanksgiving means three things: friends, family and granite countertops. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, why not give your home an upgrade with all new granite countertops? They’re sure to get noticed and get you lots of compliments.

There’s only a little bit over two months left until Thanksgiving, so now’s the time to get your new granite countertops. Call us today at 320-963-8677 or Click Here to Request a Free Quote.

The Composition of Granite Countertops

| | Granite

Granite is one of the most popular countertop options due to its undeniable beauty. Forged by the earth, granite has a signature look that can’t be duplicated. Do you know what goes into making these one of a kind countertops? In this blog, we’re going to delve into the composition of granite. If you live anywhere around the Twin Cities, like Plymouth, granite countertops are a unique way to upgrade your home.

Mineral Composition

Granite is comprised primarily of two consistent minerals, quartz and feldspar. Overall, the combination of these two minerals gives granite a pale color.

  • Quartz: It is very resistant to weathering, which is why it’s so commonly found. It is a very popular choice for jewelry and carvings. It is a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
  • Feldspar: It is the most abundant mineral in earth’s crust. It has many properties that make it good for making glass and ceramics. It is a 6 on Mohs scale of hardness.

Accessory Minerals

Though granite is mostly made up of quartz and feldspar, there are other accessory minerals responsible for giving granite its signature salt and pepper look. The most popular accessory minerals are biotite and hornblende, but they just scratch the surface of all the possible minerals in a slab of granite.

  • Biotite: This mineral is a member of the mica group. It is referred to as “black mica,” as opposed to “white mica,” due to its appearance.
  • Hornblende: It is a mixture of a series of minerals, not identifying with one individual mineral. It’s a general term used to refer to dark-colored, inosilicate minerals.

What This Means for You

The result of granite’s composition means for you, an eye-catching countertop choice. Due to the variety of minerals involved in making up granite, it comes in a wide range of colors. Every slab is unique because each part of the world has different accessory minerals that work their way into the granite. The saying “as hard as rock” had to come from somewhere. With all the interlocking minerals working together, granite is a strong countertop option. Overall, granite is a superior countertop choice, sure to fit into any home.

Interested in having granite countertops installed in your home? Give us a call today at 302-963-8677 or request a free quote.