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Frequently Asked Questions  

Granite Tile and Granite Slabs FAQs

BuildDirect is pleased to provide answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on a wide variety of our products. If your questions are not answered on these pages, or you simply wish to speak with a Customer Service Representative, our customers can contact us toll free from anywhere in North America at 1-877-631-2845 or by email at

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Granite Tile

Granite Slabs

Granite Tile

Q. What makes granite the hardest building stone?

A. Granite is formed by solidification of liquid magma (molten rock) under the pressure of earth's crust. It is composed of Feldspar, Quartz, Mica, and other minerals, making it one of the hardest stones in the world. It has been used for building and decorative purposes  for centuries. Granite resists wear-and-tear applications remarkably well, making it ideal for  interior or exterior flooring. When used outdoors, granite's mineralogical structure is not influenced by freeze-thaw cycles. 

Q.  What do the finished surfaces of granite look like?

A. Granite can have four main finishes: polished (shiny), honed (matte), flamed or brushed (textured). The polished and honed surfaces are flat and smooth. The flamed and brushed surfaces are flat and textured. The polished surface is shiniest, while the brushed surface reflects the least amount of light. The back and sides have a sawn finish.

Q. What applications are recommended for these granite finishes?

A. Granite finishes are suitable for different applications. For example:

  • Polished surface – low traffic indoor flooring, wall cladding, counter tops, vanity tops & decorative items
  • Honed surface – high traffic indoor/outdoor commercial flooring, wash rooms, side walks.
  • Flamed or Brushed surface – external flooring, decks, pavements, side walks, curb stones, garden benches

Q. Why is granite an excellent material for kitchen countertops?

A. Next to diamond, sapphire, and ruby, granite is the hardest natural product on earth. Once polished, natural granite will maintain its high gloss virtually forever.  Normal use of kitchen knives, cutlery, and cookware leaves no scratches. Heat has almost no effect on natural granite, making it much safer than synthetic surfaces with polyesters and resins.  Pots and pans heated to 900 degrees Fahrenheit will not dull natural granite's lustrous finish, but the use of trivets is recommended to keep your granite counter clean.

Q. Can granite get stained and do I need to seal it?

A. Granite is a highly dense material and relatively porous so it can get stained if a spill is not cleaned quickly. Sealing the surface with a water-based sealant is therefore recommended to protect the granite from water patches and stains. Sealing can be done once a year or once every two years depending on the usage of the surface.

Q. Can I use granite tile for bathroom flooring?

A. Like any other smooth surface floor, the polished surface of a granite bathroom floor can be slippery if it gets a lot of water and is walked on with improper footwear. A honed granite surface is therefore recommended for bathrooms.

Q. Can I use granite tile for counter tops?

A. Granite tiles can be used for a counter top surface. It is recommended to use a 3/4"sub-board with waterproof membrane to support the tiles. It is also essential to seal the tiles after installation to avoid staining.

Q. Can I use granite tiles on shower walls?

A. Granite tiles can be used on shower walls. It is recommended to use cement backer board or hardy board with a waterproof membrane to avoid transfer of moisture. It is also recommended to seal the granite after installation to avoid water absorption and mildew formation.

Q. Can granite tile be butted or do I need to leave a grout line?

A. Granite tile floors appear the best when the tiles are butted. However, it is important to make sure the tiles are matched before setting on thinset.  

Q. Does BuildDirect do granite tile installation?

A. We do not do tile installation. Please consult your local Yellow Pages for information on tile setters. BuildDirect recommends the services of an installation specialist for lasting satisfaction.

Q. What is BuildDirect's minimum pallet order for granite?

A. For shipments from warehouses in North America, we have a minimum order quantity of one pallet for 12"x 12" granite tiles (360 sq. ft. per pallet) and two pallets for 18"x 18" granite tiles (2 x 225 sq. ft. per pallet = 450 sq. ft.).

Q. I need a smaller amount of tile than your minimum – where do I go from here?

A. Please consult your local Yellow Pages for information on retailers that sell in smaller quantities. Look under "Stone Retailers" or "Ceramic Retailers."

Q. What granite does BuildDirect sell by the container?

A. BuildDirect sells a wide variety of granite by container from India, Brazil, and China. Our highly qualified logistics experts will oversee the ocean and ground shipment of your container order. Please take a look at the varieties of granite available by container on this Website.

Q. How much granite tile does a container hold?

A. Container quantities of granite range from 4,000 sq. ft. to 7,000 sq. ft. depending on the product and tile size.

Q. Am I restricted to getting just one product in a container?

A. Container orders can comprise any combination of the colors, sizes, finishes and shapes that a given factory produces. There is a minimum of one pallet per type.

Q. What size of tiles are available from BuildDirect?

A. The following sizes of tiles are available as standard products.

  • 12”x 12"x 3/8"(pallet or container)
  • 16”x 16"x 3/8"(container only)
  • 18”x 18"x 1/2"(pallet or container)
  • 24”x 24"x 1/2" (container only)

Custom sizes available in container volumes on request

Q. What custom granite products can I order by container from BuildDirect?

A. Other than the standard products such as tiles, slabs, counter tops, and vanity tops, we take custom orders on granite products for your specific requirements. Custom orders can be made for products such as  kitchen counter tops, vanity tops, stair treads and risers, fire place surrounds, and columns. A minimum container quantity/order value applies to all custom products. Please inquire with BuildDirect's product specialist. You will have to provide dimensional drawings and templates for manufacture.

Q. Where do you ship material from?

A. BuildDirect ships container orders from the product's country of origin. Pallet orders are shipped from nearest warehouse in the U.S.A.

Q. How much does granite weigh?

A. Granite tiles and slabs come in different thicknesses. The weight per square foot for each thickness is as follows:

  • 3/8"(10mm) thick tile: 5.5 lbs sq. ft.
  • 1/2"(12mm) thick tile: 6.5 lbs. sq. ft.
  • 3/4"(20mm) thick slab: 12.8 lbs. sq. ft.
  • 1 1/4"(30mm) thick slab: 18 lbs sq. ft.

Granite is heavy and will require proper equipment or labour to accept goods on delivery. Please check weight of goods before they are delivered so you are properly prepared.

Q. How are granite products packed?

A. Packing depends on the nature of the product as follows:

  • Tiles are packed in quantities of 5 or 10 in a styrofoam box and placed in wooden crates
  • Slabs are bundled in quantities of 8 or 9 pieces in wooden crates
  • Counter tops are bundled in quantities of 10 to 15 pieces in wooden crates.

Q. Is your granite real and why is it so inexpensive?

A. All the granite products sold by BuildDirect are genuine granite, produced from the natural rock and are first quality. We are able to sell at such low prices because we ship directly from the production site, in addition to cost reductions owing to our huge volumes in shipping.

Q. Is your granite Kerosene cut?

A. No, it is not. BuildDirect ensures that all its granites are cut by using water as coolant and gives a lifetime guarantee of the quality.  Some manufacturers use petroleum by-products in the coolant to aid the cutting process and reduce processing costs. The granite is later soaked in water and washed to remove the chemical smell, but the damage is done the moment the chemical comes into contact with the ferric content in the stone. Within a couple of years, rust marks will appear.

Q. How do I know BuildDirect's granite is high quality?

A. BuildDirect supplies only first quality material. The quality of the material is determined by measuring different parameters of a granite product through the entire production process:   

  • Mining – BuildDirect's granites are mined utilizing modern methods. Some mines still use dynamite or blasting methods to reduce cost, but this also damages the granite. The shock wave created by the blast will cause invisible hairline cracks which will result in the stone cracking at some later time.
  • Cutting – BuildDirect's granites are cut by using water as coolant to ensure a lifetime guarantee on the quality of the product.
  • Dimensions – Product dimensions are controlled within the stipulated limits in ASTM standards. Tiles are calibrated to ensure their thickness is uniform. Gauging is done to ensure the tiles are square. Beveling is done to produce a smooth edge on the tiles
  • Inspection: Inspection is done at different stages of the manufacturing process and the products are segregated for unusual patches, major color variation, cracks, dimensions, surface finish, and other quality issues. They are then categorized as first, second, and commercial quality. BuildDirect supplies only first quality material. 

Granite Slabs

Q.What are granite slabs?

A.Granite Slabs are produced by cutting large granite blocks into 3/4" or 1-1/4" sheets. When cut, these slabs are cleaned and then polished.

Q.What are the standard dimensions of Granite slabs and how are they prepared for shipping?

A.Usually, the minimum average sizes of granite slabs are 105" x 54". Thickness can also be 3/4" or 1-1/4". The granite slabs are packed in bundles of approximately 400 to 450 square feet, each bundle including approx. 8 to 10 granite slabs. Each bundle weighs 2.6 tons, or 5,700 pounds. Every slab is protected by a thin plastic sheet placed between slabs. A piece of wood is placed beneath the slabs. The information that is printed on the labels attached to each bundle includes:
• Name of the Material
• Billing Sizes
• Quantity of slabs in the bundle
• Block number from where the slabs come
• Country of origin

Q.How many bundles of granite slabs can be loaded onto a container?

A.Usually 8 bundles or 3,600 square feet of ¾” granite slabs can be placed into a single 20-21 ton container. The granite slabs are packed in bundles of approximately 300 to 350 square feet. Each bundle includes approximately 6 to 7 slabs, weighing 2.6 tons, or 5,700 pounds. For 1 ¼” granite slabs, 8 bundles (or 2,380 square feet), fill up a container of 20-21 tons.

Q.How are granite slabs sealed?

A.Slabs are treated with resin most commonly in one of two varieties:

1. Resination with hydro-repellent, a treatment which covers most of small fissures, and helps to brighten the color of the granite. This is the more common variety of sealant.
2. Resination with epoxy: This treatment fills up larger holes and open veins. This variety is generally used with Brazilian stone.

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I called and placed my order over the phone. The person on the other end was very helpful and got me everything I would need. Every piece of flooring was usable with no quality control problems. Super fast and cheap shipping! I have recommended BuildDirect to all my family members and everyone who sees my new floor! My brother-in-law purchased his flooring from a competitor before I looked for similar bamboo flooring for myself. He paid over 3 times the price that I did for the same size room remodel. I couldn't be happier with BuildDirect's quality and price!
James W. Frostburg, MD
Jun 08, 2014
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