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Granite Tile & Slabs FAQ

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 BuildDirect Product Expert, you can contact us toll free from anywhere in North America at 1-877-631-2845 or by email at customerservice@builddirect.com

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Granite Tile


Q. What is granite?

A. Granite is composed of several minerals including feldspar, quartz and mica, which give it a grainy composition and coarse natural texture. Its interlocking crystals form under the earth’s surface from exposure to intense heat and pressure. This makes granite an incredibly strong, durable, and heat resistant natural material.

Q. What does finished granite tile look like?

A. Granite tile is available in a range of surface finishes. The most popular finishes include polished (shiny), honed (matte), and flamed (rough surface texture). A different type of finish on the same stone can alter the color. A polished surface is shiny, sometimes reflective, and typically gives the stone a darker tone compared to a flamed finish.

Q. Where can I use granite tile?

A. An incredibly durable stone, granite can be used in low and high traffic areas in a range of residential and commercial settings. Suitable for floor and wall applications, granite tile can be used for both interiors and exteriors. Different granite finishes are suitable for different applications.

  • Polished surface: high/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, sidewalks, curb stones, garden benches

Q. What should I consider before choosing granite tile?

A. Granite is a natural stone product. Consider the finish of the granite tile for the location. A polished granite stone can be slippery when wet.

Q. Can granite tile be butted?

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. Please review installation materials and instructions if you are installing the product yourself.

Q. Does granite tile stain? How do I prevent it?

A. A highly dense, and somewhat porous material, granite tile can stain if a spill is not cleaned up quickly. Sealing the surface with a water-based sealant is 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. Is granite from BuildDirect kerosene cut?

A. No, BuildDirect ensures that all granites offered are cut with a water coolant.

In the industry, some manufacturers use petroleum by-products as their coolant to aid the cutting process and reduce processing costs. When they do this, 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 on kerosene cut granite.

Q. How do I know if granite is high quality?

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

  • Mining: BuildDirect’s granites are mined utilizing modern methods.
  • Cutting: BuildDirect’s granites are cut using water as a coolant to ensure the quality of the product lasts for many years ahead.
  • Calibration: 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. Bevelling is done to produce a smooth edge on the tiles.
  • Inspection: Inspection is done at different stages of the manufacturing process. Products are segregated for unusual patches, major color variations, cracks, dimensions, surface finishes, and other quality issues.

Q. How do I obtain samples?

A. If samples are available for the product you are interested in, you can request a sample directly from our website. We will send you up to five samples for free with no credit card required. Granite tile sample pieces are typically 4”x4”.

Q. How different will my order be than the sample I received?

A. Depending on the stone, granite can be highly variable in terms of colour and appearance (spots, some veining, etc.). BuildDirect makes every attempt to keep samples consistent with the product for shipment, but variability is to be expected. If you have concerns about a particular stone, please ask a BuildDirect Product Expert.

Q. What volumes can BuildDirect ship?

A. BuildDirect ships granite tile by box, pallet, or container. Please see the minimum order quantities for the specific tile you are interested in. Boxes and pallets are shipped from warehouses in North America. Container volumes ship directly from our suppliers. Granite tile is a very heavy material and requires proper equipment or labour for you to accept goods on delivery. Please check the weight of your goods before they are delivered so that you are prepared.

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

A. We take custom orders on granite products for your specific requirements. Custom container orders (large volume) can be made for products such as granite tile, granite 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 ask a BuildDirect Product Expert if you have any questions.

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

A. Our minimum order quantities vary and are not consistent across different stones or tiles. Please consider looking through our other offerings to find a product with a lower minimum quantity.

Q. Can I purchase just one box of tile before I place my full order?

A. We’re unable to sell individual boxes of tile due to shipping costs. The cost to safely ship one box of tile can be more than five times the amount of the actual tile.

To see our tiles in person before you buy, check out our free sample program. We’ll send you up to five free samples right to your doorstep. No credit card required. Also, we offer a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee, which means if you aren’t completely satisfied with your tile prior to installation, you can return it for a full refund within 30 days of delivery.

Q. I’d like to see the pallets before I buy. Is this possible?

A. Unfortunately, we are unable to show you the pallets before you purchase them. Products in the warehouses are in sealed crates. We suggest always ordering a sample, reviewing the pictures on the website, and talking with a BuildDirect Product Expert if you have any concerns.

Q. How much breakage should I expect with an order?

A. It is not unusual to have 2% – 3% of the tile broken to some degree (i.e. chipped edges). Any amount up to 10% is still considered acceptable. The damaged tiles can be used for the cuts you will need to make. If breakage is above 10%, we would ask you to have it noted on the logistics receiving document and take pictures. Please make a claim within 10 days of receiving your order.

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 size of a granite slab is 105″ x 54″. Thicknesses 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 includes 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 into a container?

A. Usually 8 bundles or 3,600 square feet of 3/4″ 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. Four 1 1/4″ 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 commonly treated with resin in one of these two different ways:

  1. Resination with hydro-repellent: a treatment which covers most 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.