Frequently Asked Questions

General Information


Caayu is a leading supplier of natural stone products, offering a complete selection of Granite, Marble, Limestone, Travertine and Onyx, tiles and slabs in various sizes and finishes. Our product offering is embellished by an exhaustive collaboration with over 100 different stone manufactures located in 83 different countries Caayu was created to offer customers an option to buy natural stone tiles and countertops directly from the source.

Caayu has two showrooms conveniently located in Western Suffolk and NYC. For directions and contact information please follow the link to http://www.caayu.com/ContactUs.aspx

Natural Stone


There are many differences between marble and granite, most notably aesthetics but more importantly performance. Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of re-crystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite. It is this particular composition that gives marble its unique natural characteristics. For centuries marble was the material of choice for builders and carvers who desired a material that is sustainable and relatively easy to manipulate. Marble, for the most part is softer than granite and consist of minerals that have little resistance to acidic, low PH chemicals often found in everyday foods and beverages (i.e. citrus fruits, cocktails and cleaning surfactants). Calcite, the most common mineral in marble will show degradation when exposed to these types of products. Often confused as a stain these marks known as etching have little to do with absorption and should be considered part of the natural patina of marble. Granite in comparison is much harder than marble aided by its prominently quartz composition granite is inert to low PH chemicals, foods and beverages. Granite comes from the Latin term granum, a grain, in reference to the coarse-grained structure and is by definition an igneous rock with a specific mineral blend consisting of quartz, mica and feldspar. Granites natural attributes lends itself to the unequivocal performance for modern day building materials and has surpassed marble as the material of choice for today’s bustling building environment. Over the past decade or so, different types of geological stones have entered the market place. Most of these stones are not by definition “granite” however, they do carry the same overall qualities. To keep it simple, natural igneous stones that are quartz based are often considered granite in today’s market.

Yes, if not sealed and maintained properly, most Marble surfaces are prone to staining. With that said there is a common misconception that all marbles are more porous than granite. The truth is there are some marbles with greater density that naturally repel stains more efficiently than some granite do. To add to the misconceptions, even those marbles that have greater density than granite will etch due to its calcite mineral composition. Again, not to be confused with staining these etch marks are not caused by absorption; it is considered a surface degradation caused by a chemical reaction between the acidic foods and beverages and the inherent minerals naturally found in Marble. The difference is in the precautions and resolution; typically to prevent a marble countertop from staining (absorbing foods and beverages) you can follow a simple sealant regiment. For etching there is currently no chemical available to prevent this for occurring. For the resolutions, stains can be removed using a poultice to draw out the stain. If the stone is etched, the only resolution is to re-polish the affected area.

Yes, certain granites if not cared for correctly can stain if left unprotected. It is recommended to follow a sealant regiment that is specific for the type granite you select. For more information regarding a specific sealant regiment tailored for your application please contact our Technical Director at dan@caayu.com

Depending on where you are installing natural stone and where your expectations are set at, there are definitely options for selecting the right stone for a particular application. Marble, Limestone, Onyx and all other calcite based stones will show signs of use much sooner that granite, due to their mineral composition. Irrespective to what is advertised; sealers will not protect these materials from etching (the effect acidic products have on the surface of such stones). However, if the looks of these materials are “just what you were looking for” and your expectations are aligned, then these materials can be the perfect addition to your design project. Granite on the other hand is more simplified. Granite will not etch and is considered the best material for most applications. Following a simple sealant regiment, granite will endure years of wear and tear with minimal signs of use. To learn more about natural stone products please contact our Technical Director at dan@caayu.com

There are a few key items that dictate the cost of natural stone; most importantly availability. For example, natural stone blocks that are quarried from smaller quarries that have limited production runs due to their remote locations, or quarries that are apt to frequent inclement weather conditions are more likely to produce slabs that cost more than those to the contrary. Additionally, Country of origin, quarry size, export duties and shipping channels all contribute to the overall price of natural stone. Ultimately, the cost of the stone reflects supply and demand and has little to do with the overall quality of the stone. It’s a misconception that natural stones that are less expensive are more prone to staining, scratching or cracking.

Yes, however not typically. Under normal use granite countertops will maintain their original luster and will provide years of low maintenance durable service. Just take one look at the local cemetery or any building in New York City for that matter; these stones are left unprotect, exposed to the element and still shine like new. Granite, one of Earths hardest natural materials is not likely to scratch or chip. Although if struck with a heavy object like an iron skillet, chips and scratches may be inevitable!

Soapstone (also known as steatite or soaprock) is a metamorphic, talc-schist stone. It is largely composed of the mineral talc which gives it its soft soapy texture. Soapstone is always manufactured with either a honed or textured finish, and is unable to achieve a high gloss finish. Unlike marble, Soapstone is inert to most chemicals which will provide natural protection against surface etching and staining. When compared to other natural stones available for countertops, Soapstone is by far the softest; easily scratching under normal use, Soapstone will immediately begin to show signs of wear and tear. However, following an oiling regiment, scratches and wear patterns are easily blended into its surroundings adding to the natural patina. Soapstone is a great countertop material and a terrific look for someone who understands and appreciates the understated qualities of this material. For detailed instructions on how to care for soapstone, please visit our care and use section at http://www.caayu.com/Soapstone-Care.aspx

Marble and granite slabs come in two thickness, ¾” (2cm) and 1 ¼” (3cm). While the trend has moved towards the 1 ¼” some projects may require the thinner ¾” slabs. It is common practice to laminate ¾” countertops to produce a thicker edge. This technique has also trended towards the 1 ¼” countertops; producing 2 ½” thick edge details for areas like center islands, bar-tops and buffet tops.

Marble and granite slabs come in two thickness, ¾” (2cm) and 1 ¼” (3cm). While the trend has moved towards the 1 ¼” some projects may require the thinner ¾” slabs. It is common practice to laminate ¾” countertops to produce a thicker edge. This technique has also trended towards the 1 ¼” countertops; producing 2 ½” thick edge details for areas like center islands, bar-tops and buffet tops.

a. The weight of natural stone will vary depending on the stone you choose. For example, light colored marbles like White Carrara will weigh less than dark colored granites like Black Absolute. The difference will usually be 1-2 lbs per square ft. The list below will show you the difference in weight for a variety of different sizes 3/8″ x 12×12 Granite tile: 4.5-5.5 lbs sq. ft. 1/2″ x 12×12 Granite tile: 5.5-6.5 lbs. sq. ft. 3/4″ x 12×12 Granite slab: 11-12 lbs. sq. ft. 1 1/4″x12x12 Granite slab: 16-18 lbs sq. ft.

Engineered stone countertops, also known as quartz countertops are made in a factory, by people. Resins and small pieces of stone are chemically fused together. Natural stone countertops are made by nature. They are comprised entirely of 100% natural stone.

Quarry


a. Natural stones are quarried from almost every continent. Currently most of the exotic granites are imported from Brazil and India while marble and limestone are often imported from Italy, Turkey and Spain. Caayu continues to build relationships with quarry owners from all areas supplying exotic stones from the far reaches of our planet.

Natural stone by nature typically has veins. The veining patterns will vary in color and intensity depending on the stone you select. Natural stone blocks can be cut in such a way to control the vein pattern and direction. Slabs with obvious vertical, horizontal or diagonal veins were most likely cut using the most common vein cut method. Another option for cutting natural stone slabs is floral cut or flower cut. This method reduces the veining striations and creates a tight swirl or flower pattern. Slabs that have been cut using this method will sometimes be called “fiorito” a derivative of the word flowery. Granite blocks can be floral cut however due to granite’s natural characteristics, veins patterns are not as pronounced, limiting the effect of the alternate cutting method. Irrespective of the way natural stone blocks are cut the performance of the stone will not change.

There is a common misconception that natural stone is blasted from the ground using dynamite or other damaging explosives. Quarrying natural stone blocks are more on the lines of a surgical extraction then a demolition. Small holes are drilled into the surface of the quarry every few feet perforating the area to be extracted. Once all of the holes are drilled they are filled with expanding cement or split open using metal spikes and wedges. This newer less invasive method does less damage to the environment resulting in less “natural” fissures and has contributed to the increase in exotic materials that are now currently available.

Slabs are sections of stone cut from blocks that were extracted from the ground. Blocks of stones that are quarried are transported to a manufacturing facility where they are cut into thin slices known as slabs. Slabs used for countertops in the US market are usually either 3cm (1 1/4”) or 2cm (¾” thick). Once cut the slabs are then face polished and sent to local distribution centers. For quality assurance, slabs are always identified by the block number in which they came from and each slab is uniquely numbered for consistency. Projects that require more than one slab should always be cut from the same block matching unique slab numbers as closely as possible.

A polished finish will be reflective and have deeper colors. Honed finishes have a matte finish and will be lighter in color. A brushed finish will resemble the honed finish with a slight orange peel texture. Generally speaking all three finishes are well-suited for kitchen countertops. Caayu recommends increasing your sealant regiment 2 times for honed and brushed finishes due to its increased porosity.

Template to Installation


Natural stone countertop installations are not typically considered a “Do it yourself project”. There are specific measurements that are needed to tailor fit a countertop or fireplace to result in a proper fit and finish. In addition, there are continual communications between the template technician, saw programmers and installation team that tie the project together. The risks are high – mistakes are costly! We recommend you allow the experts to complete these types of projects. That said if there are simple projects that are not as involved, we will gladly entertain your measurements, based on a customer pick-up agreement.

Selecting a slab is an emotional process, no two are alike. We encourage you to visit our slab viewing facilities to select the actual slab prior to fabrication. It is also recommended that you bring a cabinet door, tile sample and paint swatches to help make your final decision.

On average the process should take about 2-3 weeks from the time of commitment. That includes template fabrication and installation.

As a consumer you are a significant partner, customer participation throughout the process is essential. For starters, having accurate preliminary measurement available at time of quote will help obtain the most accurate price. Once the job is committed, and a template is scheduled it is vital to the success of the first appointment to have all appliances available at this time. Not having these items on site can result in a failed appointment or inaccurate measurements. Once the templates are completed its time to select the stone. Only you can decide which one is right for you. With hundreds to choose from your feedback is critical to the final selection. Lastly, at time of installation, having direct, uninhibited access to the work area, and removing all items in and around the work area, and removing all items below the sink and cook top cabinets will be helpful to minimize potential incidental damage.

Natural stone slab sizes can accommodate many shapes and sizes depending on the particular slab chosen. In general slabs are approximately 120”x60”; however, on occasion we will see slabs as big as 135”x 78” although not typical. With this in mind, seam placements are always determined by a group of calculations. The first and most important reason a counter top is seamed, is the accessibility to the kitchen and the difficulties incorporated in carrying a single piece that can weigh as much as 500 lbs. Another important reason has to do with the actual lay-out of your kitchen; trying to maneuver a granite counter top of that size and installing it between two or three walls could make it impossible to ensure a proper fit. Other reasons include: slab sizes, and cut outs that would weaken the stone (cook tops and sink cut outs), and the risk of incidental damages that could occur if proper seam-placement decisions were not made.

Yes, all appliances that can be installed prior to installation should be unless, the template technician has left specific instructions during the templating process. Certain slide-in stoves and cook-tops will need to be installed after the countertop installation is completed.

Yes, it is recommended to have a plywood sub-top installed for 3/4” (2cm) granite. However, 1 ¼” (3cm) requires no modifications or additional sub-tops for typical installations.

The three most common options for sinks are under-mount, drop-in and farmhouse. The most common of the three is under-mount. Undermount sinks are attached to the countertop from the underside leaving a smooth transition from the countertop to the sink. With the exposed cut-out polished, under-mount sinks are then mechanically fastened to the countertop and a bead of 100% clear silicone is placed around the top rim of the sink creating a water tight connection. The second most popular option is drop-in, also known as self rimming. In this application the countertop cut-outs are rough cut, and the sinks are set into the countertop hiding the exposed edges. Farmhouse or apron front sinks are also gaining popularity. These sinks are similar to under-mounted sinks except that the sink design is such that it sits into the base of the cabinet exposing the entire front of the sink. The countertop is then cut around the sink. Please note with farmhouse sink applications the sink must be set in position prior to template.

When choosing an under-mount sink, you have a few options. Stainless steel under-mount sinks are the most popular; however, other options include composite and cast iron. Within the choices mentioned, all three options will provide you with excellent durability and give you a different look and feel to your kitchen design. As with all sinks always make sure that the sink you have selected is specifically designed for under-mount applications only.

The answer is absolutely, yes. During the templateing appointment we will review such items as seam locations, overhangs, faucet lay-out, and radius corners. At this time all details become final; once your top is fabricated alternations are not always possible.

An unsupported overhang cannot exceed 1/3 of the supported top, for a maximum of 6” on 2cm material and 10” on 3cm material. Structural brackets must be installed every 32 inches to support the weight. All supports must be installed prior to template to allow for the measuring technician to incorporate these into the design.

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If your project has been reviewed and it is possible to template over your existing countertops than nothing has to be disconnected at time of template. However, at time of installation all countertops, cook-tops and sinks need to be completely disconnected and removed. If countertop removal option is part of your order the criteria changes slightly. At this time all connections to the utilities must be disconnected. Both hot and cold waterlines must be removed from the valves below the sink. Cook-top connections whether plug in or direct wired to a junction box below the unit must also be connected. Caayu take full responsibility in removing the existing countertop and hauling away the debris. Following the installation our technicians will either test fit a drop in sink or permanently mount your under-mount sink. All sinks must set for 24 hours before they can be reconnected. Do not schedule a plumber for the same day as your countertop installation. Please keep in mind utility disconnects and reconnects should always be performed by licensed tradesmen.

Care and Use


Granite is resistant to most cleaning surfactants, short of avoiding aggressive bath and tile cleaners and cleaners that have built in abrasives like comet and soft scrub there are very few restriction. However, it is always recommended to clean natural granite countertops with cleaners specifically formulated for granite. If you decide to use glass cleaners or multipurpose cleaners we recommend that you increase your sealing regiment by 2 times the recommend amount. The reasons are natural stone cleaners are Ph balanced and will not degrade the sealer unlike standard glass and multipurpose cleaners. These cleaners will not harm the granite but will leave the stone vulnerable to staining by prematurely degrading the sealer. For cleaners that are not specifically formulated for natural stone it is recommended to test a small area in an inconspicuous spot to insure there are no adverse affects.

Marble countertops unlike granite have very specific instructions. Marble known for its calcite composition is very sensitive to chemicals. Using cleaners not specifically formulated for marble and other calcite based stones (limestone and onyx) is not recommend. Marble countertops should be cleaned regularly using stone specific cleaners and spills should be wiped up immediately to avoid surface etching and staining. Marble tops should be treated similarly to a fine wood, coasters, placemats, trivets and cutting boards should be used to avoid marring.

A question debated by the masses or at least by those within the stone industry. When speaking of granite, there are some stones that are dense enough too naturally repel foods and beverages. Although, there would be no harm in applying an application of sealer once or twice a year providing it’s done correctly, consider it cheap insurance on a costly item. Then there is the 1-5% of stones that would have an adverse reaction to sealant. These few are so dense that the sealer has nowhere to go and it simply sits on the surface and dries. Any staining or defacement will be done to the sealer and not the stone. Removing the sealer is the answer; however, this usually involves harsh chemicals and should be performed by a professional. Finally there is the other 75%. These stones would all benefit from an application of sealer. Unfortunately, there is no set standard for how often they need to be sealed. This depends on how often you clean, what you clean with and what type of granite is installed. All of this will be discussed at time you select your material when you purchase through Caayu. While all granites may look the same, don’t let anyone tell you they perform the same

Direct heat from a hot pot will not damage your granite countertop however; sudden change in extreme temperatures could cause thermal shock resulting in surface cracks. Caayu recommends using hot plates when sudden change in extreme temperature or long term exposure to high temperatures is unavoidable.

Ammonia is not considered to be a effective way to clean natural stone. Generally speaking ammonia is a highly concentrated commercial cleaner that should be used with caution. Due to its high alkalinity it is not recommended for natural stone countertops such as marble and granite as it will certainly speed up the degradation of the sealer as well as affect some of the softer minerals found in certain stones. It is suggestive to use only products that are specifically formulated for natural stone. Such products can be found at your local home improvement and grocery store. Just be certain to check the label and follow the manufactures recommendations.

Given the information provided it sounds like you have a case of water permeating the surface of the stone countertop. If it is simply water from a clean tooth brush it should not be an issue; if this is the case the water should eventually evaporate within a day or so. If it does, then you need to consider sealing your countertop with an impregnating sealer. Sealers are designed to keep food and beverages from penetrating the surface of the stone. In most cases sealers are simple to use, cost effective and work very well. In some cases, depending on the type of stone used and the amount of use the countertop gets, it’s very difficult to protect it. Also, if the water stain does not evaporate in a few days the stain may need to be drawn out with a poultice.

Soapstone is an inert material, meaning it is not effected by chemicals such as bleach and low acidic foods and beverages therefore it’s not likely that the bleach has anything to do with the issue. If I had to guess, it sounds like the abrasive in the soft scrub scratched the surface. When dark colored stones like soapstone get scratched the color on the inside is much lighter than the honed surface which may have given you the idea that the bleach has discolored the stone. If mineral oil mineral oil was applied in the past, a reapplication will reduce the appearance of the scratches by darkening them to match the color of the surface. However, this will also darken the entire countertop. If the oil is not completely blending in the blemish another approach would be to wet sand the surface with a fine grit. most soapstone countertops are finished to a grit of 220 or 400. The coarseness in “soft Scrub” may be much lower somewhere around 70-120. You may need to re-hone this area to get it to blend better. Not everyone likes the look of oiled soap stone so I suggest testing it out before you commit; keep in mind there is no turning back once you apply the oil. One way to test this is to saturate the countertop with warm water, allow it to soak for a few minutes and remove the excess water from the surface. You will quickly see the water start to evaporate, as it dries you should see a consistent darkening that will provide some sense of what the oiled surface would look like. If you like the “wet look” then an oil treatment might be the right approach for you.

To answer your question, yes, natural stone will darken over time if not maintained properly. Onyx is a relatively porous material. The darkening comes from permeation. To prevent unwanted absorption from foods and beverages it is necessary to treat the stone with an impregnating sealer. Sealers can be purchased in most big box retailers like Lowe’s and The Home Depot. Depending on where the countertops are installed and how much use they get will determine how often they will need to be sealed. For example a bathroom vanity top made of onyx will need to be sealed as much as three times per year as compared to an end table in a formal living room that might only need to be sealed once every 12-18 months.

Based on the information provided it sounds like your countertops do need to be resealed. Before you seal the countertop it is always best to remove the moisture below the surface. In some cases you may need to stop using the affected area until the water completely evaporates, in my past experience, you could expect it to take a few days to completely dry. To help speed up the process you can pass a hair dryer over the surface, just be careful not to overheat the stone as It could spall. It’s also worth noting that some of the water could be coming from beneath the countertop where the sink meets the underside of the granite. Check to make sure the seal between the two is still good. If not you will need to remove the silicone and redo it.

Natural Stone Tiles


Tiles are sold in full box quantities. The amount of tiles per box depended on the size tiles selected. Typically, tiles greater than 12×12” usually come 6-8 tiles per box, whereas you may find 10 tiles in a box of 12×12” tiles.

Yes, depending on the amount of material order, Caayu offers competitive shipping rates using the most popular carries like US Postal, Fed Ex and UPS. For more personal service please contact you Caayu to arrange in-house delivers.

Yes, we will gladly help load your vehicle if you desire to pick up your order. Please take consideration for the weight of the natural stone tiles.

When factoring square feet totals for your project, measure the length time the width to achieve the total square feet. For example; a 12’x12’ room will measure as follows: 12×12=144 sq ft. depending on the design pattern Caayu recommends adding an additional 5-10% for waste. Also, it is recommended to add an addition 3% for attic stock, incase repairs were needed at a later date.

The most common tile sizes are mosaics, 2×2”, 4×4”, 6×6” 8×8”, 12×12” 18×18” 24×24” 3×6” 4×8” 8×16”, please contact your Caayu representative for current availability.

All tiles must be inspected at time of delivery. In the event your order arrives damaged, please advise the shipping company and photograph all visible damage. All damage claims must be documented within 72 hours of delivery. No claims will be accepted for products that have been installed. For customer pick up, all products will be inspected at time of pick-up. The purchaser assumes all delivery responsibilities once the product leaves our facility.

Natural stone tiles are unique in every way. Shade, color and vein patterns will vary from tile to tile within each box. Exact matches cannot be guaranteed. If you’re looking for a specific color or vein pattern, we recommend visiting one of our facilities to preview the tiles prior to purchase.

Yes, given the fact that the materials we offer are 100% natural, we recommend visiting the Caayu facility to inspect the material prior to purchase.