Where does natural stone come from?

Natural stone is formed when mineral sediments are exposed to millions of years of heat and pressure. These minerals make up the variety of colors and patterns that are characteristic of natural stone. Various types of stone, in a multitude of colors and textures, are found around the world. Global imports natural stone material from over 20 countries. Much of our granite comes from Brazilian, Indian, African or Chinese quarries. Marble is frequently imported from Italy, Spain and Mexico. Slate is imported from Brazil, India and China, while travertine and limestone come from Spain, Portugal, Mexico and Peru.

Will my stone look like the samples?

Briefly stated, probably not. Since stone is a natural and unique product, it will vary in color, tone, granularity, pattern, etc. These variations are expected and are one of the sources of its exceptional beauty. Global can provide samples from the slab or tile you are considering and offer you the opportunity to approve material that will be used in your project. We strongly advise that you take advantage of this opportunity; however, in order to serve you and your customers more effectively, we request 24-hour advance notice so that we have the material ready for viewing. Please call our offices at (866) 480-4931.

Can natural stone be used on the exteriors of homes or commercial buildings in the Midwest?

Yes. Many natural stones can be used for exterior wall cladding, even in extreme temperatures. Proper installation and consideration of site-specific details are essential to success in exterior applications. Because each stone has slightly different physical properties, let our staff assist you in finding just the right fit.

Why is one material more expensive than another

There are numerous factors that contribute to the cost of each different type of natural stone, including the quality, supply and demand, and even the value of the US dollar. First quality materials offer the finest processing and the most aesthetically appealing selections, and for that luxury there is a surcharge over commercial grade materials. The size and mechanization of a stone’s quarry are other factors contributing to its cost. For instance, a small quarry will only have a limited quantity of first quality blocks available, which can raise the cost of the stone. In addition, some quarries are located in places where the climate only allows them to operate part of the year, thus reducing their output and increasing cost. Some pricier materials contain semi-precious stones which have a higher market value in other industries. Or a material may be more costly because it requires more skill and careful attention during the processing and fabrication process, increasing the cost of the finished product. Finally, the distance a shipment has to travel to the port before being loaded on a freight liner can also contribute additional cost.

Can I buy my materials from you directly?

While our showrooms are open to the public, Global Granite & Marble is a strictly wholesale distributor, so we sell only to trade professionals, including architects, designers, builders, general contractors, tile contractors, and fabricators. Slab material may be purchased only by authorized fabricators. Contact your Global sales representative for information on establishing an account.

Can I choose my own slabs?

Yes! We are happy to have you approve the slabs that will be used in your project. Call us today to make an appointment to view our current inventory at the location nearest you.

Do you do any fabrication?

No. At Global Granite & Marble, we specialize in selecting, importing, and distributing natural stone.

How big are slabs of stone?

 The size of the slabs will depend on the specific stone being considered. On average, granite slabs are 9’ x 5’, although you may find some that are larger. Marble, limestone, travertine, and onyx slabs will usually be smaller.

How thick are the slabs?

Natural stones are available in both 2cm (3/4”) and 3cm (1 -1/4”) thicknesses. Consult your fabricator or contractor about which is needed for your particular project.

What is the difference between 2cm & 3cm slab material?

While there is no difference in the durability between 2cm and 3cm material, one may be more appropriate than the other for your project. In fact, some materials are only available in one of the two thicknesses. For example, in the Midwest granite is more typically stocked in 3cm, while marbles, limestones, travertines, and onyx may only be available in 2cm. While the slab cost of 2cm material may be a little less, it may need to be laminated if you choose a more elaborate edge profile, bringing the finished project cost up to the same price as using 3cm material (which doesn’t require lamination). Your fabricator will guide you to the right choice for your project.

How much does a slab weigh?

While the density of each stone and the slab size will affect the weight, 3cm granites weigh about 19 pounds per square foot, or about 900-1,200 pounds per slab. A 2cm marble will weigh approximately 600-700 pounds per slab.

What are book-matched slabs?

When a block of natural stone is processed, it is cut into slabs by a large gang saw which works much the same way as a bread slicer. Once the slabs are cut, they are laid flat to be polished, and then bundled together in the same order at the other end of the processing line. Book-matched slabs are slabs which were right next to each other, but have been polished on opposite sides. When these slabs are placed side by side, you will see that they are a near mirror image of each other--as in the picture below. Veining can be matched up by your fabricator to create one unbroken pattern. Book-matched slabs can be used with stunning results for large kitchen islands or for dramatic wall cladding in a commercial project.

Do you have remnant pieces of slabs for small projects?

At Global Granite & Marble, we distribute materials in full slabs only. Since we do not cut any materials, we will not have a stock of remanants.  For the largest selection of options for your project we encourage you to visit our slab warehouse.

Can natural stone counters overhang the cabinets?

The standard and most popular overhang is one inch; however, this may be changed for a number of reasons, such as cabinet configuration or personal taste. The overhang on islands, meanwhile, can be as much as 14”.

Will seams show in a natural stone countertop?

Because stone is a natural material and is mined from the quarry in blocks that are usually no more than 10 feet long, you may end up with seams. Also, because stone is sold in rectangular pieces, you may want to use seams to reduce your costs for certain designs (like for an “L” shaped corner). Seams are made by placing a small bead of silicone along the line where two straight, smooth cuts join together. Occasionally, in areas of stress or insufficient support, the seams will be joined with epoxy instead of silicone. The visibility of seams will depend on the granularity, color, and pattern of the stone. For instance, a seam in a slab of granite that has a small uniform grain (such as Salt and Pepper) will not be as apparent as it would be in a stone with a larger varied grain (such as Nero Marinace Gold). A seam in a dark color (Marron Cohiba) will be less apparent than one in a light color (Crema Marfil). A dramatic pattern (Golden ThunderGiallo Beach) will show more seams than a uniform pattern (Caledonia). We recommend that you work with your fabricator to minimize the effect of pattern changes. Most customers find that the beauty of natural stone outweighs the concern of seams.

How are sinks installed in natural stone countertops?

A cut-out can be made in the stone to accommodate the type of sink you choose. Any sink that you purchase will have instructions and a template for the cut-out needed.