An Introduction to Granite

Granite is one of the oldest stones and it has been used as a building material since ancient times. It is one of the most durable natural stones around and will far outlast the building it is installed in, making it a very popular choice construction projects. Granite continuously adds value to property over time and will not depreciate. Granite creates an instant impression of elegance, regardless of its finish. Granite is highly desired when it comes to real estate and is a definite plus on any realtor’s checklist.

Granite is available in slabs and tiles. It is commonly used for kitchen countertops, bar tops, and vanities, but is also used for walls, floors, fireplace surrounds, window sills, and even building fascia. Its unique variations in color and veining make each specimen a natural work of art.

Origin of Granite:
Granite is believed to have been formed as long ago as 300 million years. It began as a mass of molten rock formed by volcanic activity about 11-12 miles underground. Forces of nature caused the magma to gradually rise to the surface where it began to cool very slowly over the next million years or so, solidifying into granite. Over time, the land above eroded, leaving a scattering of granite quarries all over the world.

Granite is primarily comprised of feldspar, quartz, and mica. Feldspar is our planet’s most abundant rock and it is the white and mineral grains found dispersed throughout the granite. Quartz makes up the light gray, glass-like veins and biotite or black mica make up the flake-like veins found in granite.

Granite is drilled and blasted from the quarry in large blocks, cut into slabs by a gang saw, and polished to uniform thickness by automatic polishing machines. It is cut and fabricated into countertops using diamond blades or bits.

Characteristics of Granite:
Granite is crystalline in structure, so it always has tiny pits or spaces between various mineral crystals and usually remains unobtrusive on finished pieces once the surface is highly polished. Granite also contains natural fissures that may appear to be cracks, but they are not structural defects and will not impair the function or durability of the material.

Due to quarry variances, granite slabs are sold in various of sizes. A typical slab will measure 4-5 ½ feet wide and 7-9 feet long. This is important to consider when planning kitchen islands, since most people want an island with no seams. It is important to know in what size a preferred slab is available before making a selection.

Granite is extremely heavy. Finished slabs weigh approximately 12-13 lbs per sq.ft.in 2 cm thicknesses, and approximately 18-19 lbs per sq.ft. in 3 cm thicknesses. Granite is the least susceptible of all natural products to scratches. If not abused, it will hold its luster forever. However, harsh chemicals and abrasives will dull the surface over time.