Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Marable Slab House

Q: What services does MARABLE provide?

A: Marable Slab House presents itself as a fine gallery for natural stone slabs, the gallery welcomes you to pay a visit and enjoy a wide range of natural stone slabs which has been personally chosen and ready to be customised to your requirements. Marable Slab House is located in the eastern suburb of Sydney and it is easily accessible by any means of transport. Our main specialism is in kitchen benchtops, island tops, splash backs, vanities, feature walls and fire places.

We have a wide range of Marble, Limestone, Travertine and Granite slabs always on display.

We can provide you with the full fabrication service (cutting & installation) at a competitive price. However if you would like to use your own stone mason we are more than happy just to provide you the material.

Q: Where can I view samples / match colours?

A: Come and visit our showroom and warehouse at 6 Green Street, Banksmeadow and you will have a huge range of Natural Stone and Engineered Stone products to choose from.

Q: Where does Marable Slab House get their natural stone from?

A: Natural Stone slabs are imported from many countries across the globe. Many of the granites mainly originate from Brazil, India and Italy. Our Marble and Travertine slabs mainly come from Italy and Spain.

Q: Is it necessary to visit your showroom, to view actual natural stone slabs?

A: Yes, especially for natural stone, we would recommend that customers come in and view the current batch of natural stone, as every batch varies to some degree. We recommend that you visit 4-6 weeks before your kitchen is scheduled to go in. Small samples can be very deceiving and are an indication only. Engineered Stones do not vary as much as natural stone and these can be selected from a sample, unless for your own peace of mind you would like to see a full size slab, which you are welcome to come in and view.

Q: How durable is marble?

A: Marble has been used for thousands of years. In many cases, the statues and buildings made of marble far outlast the ancient cultures that built them. A simple, regular maintenance program will keep marble looking beautiful for the life of your project.

Q: Can I choose my own slabs?

A: Yes! We are happy to have you approve the slabs that will be used in your project.

Q: How thick are the slabs?

A: Natural stone slabs are available in both 2cm and 3cm thicknesses.

Q: Which type of stone is more expensive, Engineered Stone or Natural Stone?

A: There is no one answer to this. Engineered stones have different price ranges depending on colour/pattern type and Natural Stones vary greatly in price. A common perception is that natural stone is more expensive than engineered stone but this is not always true. There are granites that sit in the standard (low mid) price range that are equivalent to standard range engineered stone prices. In fact Granite can sometimes be more economical due to its larger slab sizes. For example 1 large sheet of granite can complete a job that may require 2 slabs of engineered stone. To make a true comparison it is best to take a short list of your preferred colours in Granites and Engineered stones to your stone fabricator for an accurate comparison.

Q: What types of stone are more popular?

A: Generally speaking all the white marbles are very popular and always in demand. Specifically the Calacatta marble, Statuario marble, Carrara marble and New York marble.

Q: What factors determine the price of fabrication?

A: There are too many variables, e.g. type of stone, slab sizes, thickness, edge design, sink type, application etc. As a rough guide finished installed stone tops cost on average approx. $500-$1200/m2.

Q: I’d like to have thick edges, is this possible with 20mm slab? What is the best edge design for my benchtops?

A: Yes, that is what’s called mitred edge profile. We can create an edge profile that would look like up to 200mm thick. When we mitre the edge, usually the pattern of the stone will follow on the edge. There are more than 20 different edge types that can be done with stone. A 20mm pencil round edge is the most cost effective, mitred edge or other edges are more expensive due to the time they take to be done. Tops with rounded edges such as pencil round are the most forgiving type of edge. Another factor will be the overall design concept that will decide which edge design you will go for.

Q: How long does it take you to install my benchtops after I choose my slab?

A: Generally around 2 weeks, depending on the workload at time of order.

Q: What is the best stone for my kitchen top?

A: This is a difficult question as it depends on what your priorities are – durability, colour or uniqueness.
There are many various types of kitchen bench top materials available, but if you want to have the ultimate combination of quality, durability and uniqueness, you cannot beat granite. Particularly darker tightly grained granites are very durable; such that these granites are even used as exterior cladding on buildings.

Granite being igneous rock made up of quartz and feldspar has high stain and scratch resistance as well as high heat resistance. Granites can also be polished to a very high gloss level. Also acidic products such as lemon juice do not affect granites.
Marble countertops have been used for centuries to epitomize elegance. The stone’s patina (the change that occurs over time) is part of its beauty
Marbles are also natural stones with beautiful patterns and colours and can make the perfect feature island bench or feature splash-back. However marble is not as durable as granite. Marbles also react with acidic products e.g. Lemon juice, which can cause etching on polished marbles. Fortunately there are some solutions out there for these concerns. Please refer to questions regarding sealing.

Alternatively you could incorporate a durable granite or engineered stone on the counter tops and marble as a feature on the splash back or face panel of an island bench.

Quartz/ Engineered stones are also popular for bench tops. It is a durable product and its main advantage is that being a man-made stone it is colour controlled offering very uniform subtle patterns in light/white colours. For those who love the look of Calacatta marble we have our own range of different types of Calacatta quartz. These generally are care-free solutions for your kitchen benchtops. Other brands of reconstituted stone are Caesarstone, Quantum Quartz, Smartstone, Silestone and many more. Please contact us if you would like to use any of these reconstituted stones for your kitchen bench tops.

Apart from the materials mentioned above, there are also porcelain slabs recently introduced to the industry which can be used for kitchen counter tops. The main brands distributing these porcelain slabs are Neolith, Dekton and Quantum Six+. Many porcelain colours replicate the finest examples of marble and other natural stone.

Q: Can I use stone as wall panels, shower panels etc?

A: Yes, 20mm thick slabs are often used for this purpose to create a very seamless, luxurious look.

Q: Can I use Natural Stone as a BBQ top?

A: Yes, darker coloured granites are the best choice for these areas.

Q: Can Natural Stone or Engineered Stone slabs be used around a fireplace?

A: Natural Stone is the best product for these areas.

Q: Can Natural Stone or Engineered Stone slabs be used as a splashback behind a cooktop or sink?

A: Yes, 20mm thick Natural Stone or Engineered Stone slabs make a great looking seamless splashback behind sinks and cooktop

Q: If I choose a more expensive natural stone does this mean it will be a better stone or more durable?

A: No, price of natural stone is not an indicator of quality or durability. Prices on natural stone are based on many factors but the main factor is supply and demand.

Q: I really like the look of Calcutta but looking for a carefree solution like quartz / engineered stone. What is the closest quartz I can get to calacatta marble (white with gray veins)?

A: We have our own exclusive range of super natural quartz. Our Calacatta quartz is as natural as it could get. Please refer to our product range to see photos.

Q: I have been told not to use Natural Stone because it will stain?

A: This comment is often made by those that have been misinformed. It is important to understand the characteristics and type of stone you are considering along with its intended application. Modern technology has seen the development of impregnating sealers, which offer greater stone resistance on some types of natural stone. With common sense and with the correct care and maintenance your stone surface will offer you many years of enjoyment.

Q: I have been told that I should have a honed finish for my marble top, what does honed finish mean and why?

A: This is where the marble surface is not polished to the highest gloss level, but to a more moderate satin/matt finish. The reason for doing this is to make the marble surface more forgiving and easier to live with. For example, if you have a polished marble top and happen to spill some lemon juice there will be a dull spot caused by the acidic substance reacting with the surface of the marble making it slightly rougher. This spot will now reflect light in a different way and when looking at the top at certain angles will appear as a dull spot on the surface, which will be quite noticeable against the unaffected polished areas around it. By having honed finish to begin with you are reducing the visual impact of these etch marks (dull spots). The marble will form a natural patina over time and will age more gracefully.

On the other hand, we often have customers that still desire to have the polished look and are happy to have a stone restorer come out and remove any etch marks by re-polishing and resealing the stone from time to time, but obviously this will incur extra maintenance cost.

If you select a marble that is in stock in polished finish it can be taken back to a honed finish by the stone fabricator if you prefer. For marble and travertine this is a relatively easy process. For Granite, special machinery is required which not all stone fabricators may have.

Q: What can be done if a marble becomes scratched or stained?

A: Marble can be restored to its original condition if tarnished. Many repairs to marble or limestone can be carried out by the home owner. Fortunately, most damage that can be done to marble surfaces can also be undone. There are wonderful craftsmen who specialise in the restoration of stone surfaces, and your installer or fabricator or Marable slab house can provide you with contact information. Some “do-it-yourself” options are also available for the homeowners.

Q: Do I need to seal my natural stone kitchen top?

A: Yes you need to have your stone sealed with a good quality penetrating sealer as natural stone is porous. Unsealed marble will stain more easily. Basically, sealing buys you insurance time to clean spills up before it stains the stone. Penetrating sealers do not alter the appearance or gloss level of the stone.

A penetrating sealer will get into the micro pores of the stone to reduce the ability of contaminants to adhere to the stone. They are not a coating which sits on top of the stone surface.

Although, penetrating sealers will not protect marble from etching (dull spots) as this process is a reaction between the acidic product and the very top surface of the stone.

Coating type sealers are also available (e.g. Clearstone , Dry Treat’s Vitremela) which will protect the marble from etching as well as staining, but does add significant cost to stone top installations. For more information regarding sealing please feel free to contact us. This type of coating sealer usually comes with a 10-year warranty.

Q. How Often Do I Need to Re-Seal?

A: The durability of a treatment will depend on the stones texture and its use in the environment. Sealer life will depend on whether it is installed indoors vs. outdoors and the amount of traffic that the stone is subjected to. Depending on the above, the EFFECTIVE life of sealer is between 1 & 5 years

Q: Can I seal my stone myself or does it require a professional?

A: The process of sealing stone is straightforward and can usually be handled by a homeowner as part of normal home maintenance. Sealing a kitchen countertop will take about 30 minutes.

Q: Will using a sealer change the appearance of my natural stone?

A: No, penetrating sealers penetrate into the stone itself and therefore they do not create any surface film or alter the natural aspect of the stone. Coating sealers may cause minor alteration in the appearance.

Q: Can I use regular cleaning products on my stone?

A: It is important that you only use pH neutral cleaners. Any slightly acidic cleaners will etch many natural stones. We recommend specialised pH stone cleaners for everyday use and alkaline cleaners for stubborn stains.