Some common trade-terminology within the stone-countertop industry
Listed in order of job-progression
SF - Square foot, square feet, square footage = length x width, usually measured in inches, divided by 144 = SF.
LF - Linear foot or feet. Also called RF or running feet. Distances measured in a straight line, as opposed to square feet.
Template - A final, precise measurement of cabinet profiles, sometimes using paper, foam or wooden strips, to create a layout pattern for cutting counters from slabs.
Fab - Fabrication, i.e. the labor to transport stone slabs, template for patterning, cut materials to size, grind edge profiles, cut holes, polish, and seal.
Tooling - Use of the various cutters, grinders, polishers, etc. to fabricate raw-stone slabs into finished countertops.
Fab Table - A large, sometimes tilting ("tilt-table"), reinforced table where a forklift places pieces of stone for additional fabrication after cutting them to size from slabs.
Bridge Saw - A huge overhead cutting machine with a large, circular "diamond"-blade, used to make initial straight cuts and shape a slab into counters.
Rail Saw - A much smaller type of bridge saw.
CNC - Stands for "Computer Numerical Control" in an automated-cutting version of a bridge saw.
Install - Installation including counter transport to the job site, removal and disposal of old countertops, installation on cabinets, final hole-cuts, adjustments and cleanup.
Dimension Stone - Stone quarried into blocks and then slabs of a certain size, to be used for a particular end-use, like countertops.
Slabs - Large, flat pieces of natural or synthetic stone, typically quarried to sizes roughly 100 to 140" wide and approximately 70 to 82" in height (depth).
Granite - A very hard natural igneous rock, consisting of quartz, mica, and feldspar, quarried from mountains around the world.
Quartz - A man-made counter material composed of natural quartz (silicon dioxide) particles, mixed with polymer resin and baked under high pressure.
Quartzite - Quartzite begins as sandstone, and becomes a metamorphic rock, baked by tectonic heat and pressure deep within the earth’s crust.
Marble - A natural stone formed from limestone re-crystalized as calcite and dolomite. Varies in hardness, but much softer than other countertop materials.
Soapstone - Natural stone with a high talc content. Fractures more easily than other stones. Requires frequent oiling to maintain its original look.
Sandstone - A natural stone roughly equal in hardness to granite. Very porous and requires specialized sealants. Not readily available through most stoneyards.
Polished, Honed, Brushed, Leathered Finish - Slabs are normally quarried to a shiny finish. Honed = smooth matte, brushed = bumpy, leathered = bumpier.
Mohs Scale - 1 to 10 scale of mineral hardness developed by Germany's Friedrich Mohs in 1822. Rates ability of one material to scratch another. Diamonds # 10.
Engineered - Any material used for countertops, flooring, and other surfaces which has been synthetically created, as opposed to materials which occur in nature.
Laminate - Thin veneer of patterned or colored plastic, glued to layers of particle-board or pressboard. The most common laminate-counter name is Formica.
Solid Surface - Resin-based countertops that sometimes look like stone. Common names since the 1980's have been Corian, Wilsonart, and later Swanstone.
3 CM - Three centimeters as slab thickness = +/- 1.2", often characterized "inch and a quarter". The best choice by far for stone countertops in kitchens.
2 CM - Two centimeters of slab thickness = +/- .8", typically called "three-quarter inch". Normally best for bath vanities, etc.. Very small price difference from 3 CM.
1.2 CM - Thinner, engineered (synthetic) marble or quartz often used to line showers, cover walls, or where strength and thickness is less important. +/- 1/2".
Edging - The profiled edge of a countertop, created by using one or more diamond grinding bits to "finish" out the rough edges.
Cuts - Slices that form counters, or openings which are cut or drilled with diamond blades and bits, used to "mount" sinks, faucets, etc.
Corbels - Various L-shaped or flat brackets, mounted beneath deeper (8"+) countertop overhangs, to reinforce them and to help prevent stress-abuse cracking.
Backsplashes - Stone applied to walls above countertops. Typical 4-inch splashes are almost always applied above vanities, but are now rarely used in kitchens.
Drop-In - A sink which is mounted into a counter from the top, having a flange around the perimeter which covers the edges of a "rough-cut" hole.
Undermount - A sink which is installed from beneath the countertop and "bonded" in place, leaving a finished-stone edge around the perimeter of the hole.
Bonding - Installation of an undermounted sink by gluing in place with a high-strength adhesive; frequently a mixture of Bondo and various epoxies.
Sink-Setters - A variety of adjustable brace-brackets manufactured by different companies, used to provide long-term strength to an undermounted kitchen sink.
Vessel - A sink which rests entirely on the counter surface, and sits on top of it like a bowl. The countertop is not hole-cut, but only drilled for faucet and drain.
Polishing - The process of wet micro-sanding with various grades of abrasive during fabrication of stone countertops to create a smooth, sleek surface.
Sealing - Application of a chemical sealant after countertop fabrication to increase the resistance to absorption of spills.
A-Frame - An A-shaped frame, mounted on a trailer or truck bed, to transport finished countertops and avoid cracking.
Dolly - A rolling cart with pads, clamps, and bracing, used to safely move counters from a truck or trailer into a home or business.
Shims - Composite or wooden (usually cedar) wedges, used to level minor variations in the top edges of cabinets.
Remnants - Leftover pieces after fabrication from a slab. Also called Fall-off. Larger (+2x2 ft?) are usually saved by most Fabricators.