Advancements in technology are allowing natural stone to be installed with greater efficiency, and they are addressing very specific jobsite needs. In particular, companies are introducing new products to help the fabrication sector in the preparation and installation of vanities, kitchen countertops and undermount sinks. New developments have also been introduced for scratch treatments, material seaming and transport. Also of interest, new adhesives have been formulated for higher levels of performance, and they are specifically engineered for the needs of tile and stone installations.


 The following is a look at some of the new products that companies have established to ensure a top-notch finished installation.


Braxton-Bragg — I-Brace

The I-Brace, a new invention by InnoTops, is a simple device for strengthening cantilevered stone countertops. It is installed into the base cabinet and replaces costly and bulky corbels. The patent-pending I-Brace granite support from Braxton-Bragg installs in just minutes, eliminates the need for corbels or wood supports on breakfast bars, and can be kept in stock — on the truck or in the shop.
Users can install a breakfast bar or cantilevered island top and have it securely braced in minutes, with no special hardware or tools required. All it takes is two to four I-Braces, a 2 x 4 piece of wood, a few inexpensive screws and construction adhesive, and users are be ready to set the island top in place.

Users of the I-Brace can offer customers a more securely braced breakfast bar with no return trip needed to install costly — and potentially dangerous — corbels.

Watch the animated installation demonstration of the I-Brace on the Braxton-Bragg Web site.

 Braxton-Bragg — Scratch Pro System

Braxton-Bragg introduces Scratch Pro System Sink Restoration Kit by Superabrasive. It was designed for removing scratches from stainless steel sinks. This polishing set includes five sheets of specially designed sandpaper, two different buffing compounds in syringe applicators formulated to work on stainless steel, matching applicator pads, a custom-designed gripper base, protective covers and complete instructions. The three-step process completely removes shallow blemishes in the surface, which otherwise would reduce the value and appearance of the sink and require a costly replacement. The simplicity of the procedure and nature of the packaging allows this product to be sold to homeowners as well as installation professionals. Along with countertop sealer and polish, Braxton-Bragg reports that this can also serve as a resale product to keep in the kitchen installer’s arsenal.

 Braxton-Bragg — Hercules® Universal Sink Harness

The Hercules® Universal Sink Harness from Braxton-Bragg installs without drilling into expensive countertops, notching cabinets, and without using messy glue or relying on adhesives to secure sinks. The Hercules Universal Sink Harness will work on most types of sink installations, including ceramic, stainless steel or cast iron undermounts. It is well suited for double-bowl, bar or ceramic vanity sinks. The Hercules Universal Sink Harness was designed for speed, economy and versatility, as it can even be used when the countertops are installed or if others have installed systems that have failed.

The Hercules Universal Sink Harness helps to provide support and overall strength to a finished countertop installation. The Hercules Universal Sink Harness transfers all weight to the cabinet and supports the weakest part of the countertop — the sink cut out — as well as supporting the sink. A free sample of the Hercules Universal Sink Harness is available from Braxton-Bragg.

 Miles Supply — PadHead II Patch Kit

For scratches, faded slabs and uneven seams, fabricators can use the Miles Supply PadHead II Patch Kit, which includes a variable-speed wet polisher, a complete set of 3-inch polishing pads, a 4-inch felt pad, Miles Granite Polishing Powder and the 6-inch PadHead II.

The PadHead has U.S. and International Patents Pending, and was designed for up to 50% faster grinding with lower costs. It was also engineered to provide the highest quality finish to match the existing finish — whether honed or polished.

The kit can be used for patch polishing, re-polishing and seam polishing on granite, engineered stone, marble, concrete and other natural stone products. 

Following 3 simple steps, Miles Supply reports that users can restore countertops to perfection:

Step 1: Remove Scratch

Step 2: Blend

Step 3: Polish

See demonstration videos at the company’s Web site.

 Omni Cubed, Inc. — Pro-Anchor™ Machine

The Pro-Anchor™ T-31 Anchor Machine by Omni Cubed, Inc. is used to easily and precisely cut curved T-slots in the back side of stone pieces for the attachment of anchor bolts used in bottom-mount sink or architectural facing systems. The machine is available with both pneumatic and electric grinders, and with or without a vacuum-powered base (four models available). The machine features a split-clamp design for optimum grinder stability. Two separate vacuum zones on the base can be turned on or off, enabling the machine to be used near cut-outs or edges.

The machine also features industrial quick-couplers for both air and water, and the efficiently designed Venturi vacuum generator creates high vacuum pressure with very low air consumption. The machine cuts in both push and pull directions. The grinders accept any T-31 anchor bit with ¼-inch shank, and a carrying/storage case is provided. The unit also has a one-year manufacturer’s limited warranty (grinders are covered under their respective manufacturer’s warranties).

 Omni Cubed, Inc. — Aqua-Jaw™ Carry Vise™

The Aqua-Jaw Carry Vise by Omni Cubed is an “all-weather” carry vise designed to not slip off wet (or dusty) countertops. Not the typical carry clamp, the Aqua-Jaw is especially suited for use on stairs and other slanted install terrains. Installers are able to safely lift and carry countertops up to 2.7 inches thick (800-pound capacity per pair), and use of the optional handle kit adds two more handles to each clamp (enables four installers to share the load). Dual, “quick-spin” tightening handles quickly secure the product, and rubber-lined gripping rails protect tops from scratches. The Aqua-Jaw Carry Vise is manufactured and assembled in the U.S. and is covered by a one-year manufacturer’s limited warranty.

 Omni Cubed, Inc. — Automatic Stealth Seamer™

The Automatic Stealth Seamer™ by Omni Cubed is a heavy-duty automatic seam setter for joining and leveling seams. The product features strong 8-inch vacuum cups, which provide full-contact reliable hold, and the powerful, yet compact, vacuum pump maintains pressure for all cups and operates on AC Power or a single 9V battery. Countertop seams easily open and close by use of a smooth-turning knurled roller, and the working area is open and accessible with the units in place. (Removal is not needed in order to apply epoxy or scrape the seam). Four integrated leveling components per seam setter allow “fine-tune” adjustment on both sides of the seam, and they feature non-spinning, leveling feet with vinyl caps to prevent scratching of countertop surfaces. The eight leveling points provide total control along the entire seam to eliminate the unevenness caused by crowned countertops. It is made from long-lasting anodized billet aluminum and stainless steel components.

 Regent Products — Seam Phantom®

Designed to fit onto your angle grinder/polisher, the Seam Phantom® holds the polishing wheel at a precise angle. When used with a Glide Guide straight edge, the fine adjustment allows for precisely dressed seam edges that can result in a nearly invisible seam. The Seam Phantom® can be used to correct out-of-square or rough saw cuts or make minor jobsite corrections. Each side of the seam can be dressed in as little as 7 to 10 minutes per side. The Seam Phantom is available for use with both an angle grinder and an air grinder. Visit Regent’s Istore to view the Seam Phantom packages and how it works.

 Regent Products — Slab Belts

Slab Belts are designed and developed to enhance the capabilities of industry-designed, hand-held stone carry clamps with ease and comfort. The Slab Belt features a 6-width of strong durable leather and horse saddle felt for comfort. It was engineered to be “seat belt strap strong,” and it is double- and triple-stitched for strength and endurance to reduce the number of people needed at the jobsite. These belts greatly relieve the strain and tension from the shoulders and lower back by focusing the weight on the hips and legs. It is available in six different sizes.

 Stone Boss — Eureka polishing gel

Eureka is a new polishing gel for polishing granite, available from Stone Boss. This quick and simple product will put a polish on a 220-grit or higher honed granite. It is an alternative to tin oxide and does not contain lead.

 Stone Boss — TruNano™ Stone Armor

TruNano™ Stone Armor uses nanotechnology to create a coating that protects against moisture, acid etching, stains and more. TruNano Stone Armor is a high-performance coating designed to protect natural stone surfaces from moisture, stains, scratches and etching from mild acids. Ideal for use in kitchens, restaurants, bathrooms and high-traffic areas, TruNano Stone Armor is UV stable and peel and flake resistant.

Proprietary nanotechnology makes TruNano Stone Armor unique from traditional metal coatings. Its molecules cross-link and form a covalent bond with the natural stone surface.

TruNano Stone Armor meets the highest air-quality standards and contains no known carcinogens. It also eliminates the need for harsh chemical cleaners, and extends the life of natural stone.

TruNano Stone Armor preserves the beauty of natural stone, greatly reducing costly refinishing. And because TruNano Stone Armor outlasts traditional sealers and coatings, it is a cost effective solution for stone protection.

 (Vertical installations): Laticrete® — MVIS™ for direct-adhered masonry

Laticrete MVIS™ was designed as a replacement for all mechanical anchoring and similar methods that use Type S mortar and require penetrating the exterior substrate walls with thousands of small holes that could promote water intrusion.

Laticrete MVIS includes polymer-fortified thin-set adhesive mortar and a complete factory-controlled installation system.

Laticrete MVIS includes another major upgrade to the traditional methods for exterior veneers with Laticrete Hydro Ban™ included in the specification for waterproofing and anti-fracture protection.

The system can also include Latapoxy® Waterproof Flashing Mortar as a vapor barrier membrane as well as the company’s Masonry Pointing Mortar, 3701 Fortified Mortar Bed and Latisil™ for all expansion joints and changes in plane.

 (Vertical installations): Laticrete® — Latapoxy® 310 Stone Adhesive

Latapoxy® 310 Stone Adhesive is a two-component, high-strength construction epoxy adhesive formulated for the spot-bonding method of installing tile and stone on vertical surfaces. Latapoxy 310 Stone Adhesive is most often applied using the Latapoxy 310 Cordless Mixer and was designed to provide significant time and labor savings on exterior or interior vertical installations of tile and stone.

Latapoxy 310 Stone Adhesive was engineered not to deteriorate over time and features incredible psi strength of more than 1,300 — resulting in a bond that’s virtually unbreakable, the company reports. With Latapoxy 310 Stone Adhesive and the Latapoxy 310 Cordless Mixer, vertical installations of tile and stone can be completed in just a fraction of the time compared to the traditional mechanical anchoring or thin-bed methods.