One of the most popular materials for the home is granite. Although used primarily as a countertop for the kitchen and bathroom, it also gets some fair use as wall cladding and floor tiles.
Granite is an igneous rock, and the word “igneous” actually means of rock, so technically it is a rock of rock. This is because granite is formed under enormous pressure from magma. Each granite rock forms very slowly, over millions of years, resulting in large, visible crystal formations and veins, hence the name “granite,” which means “grained.” Its distinctive appearance makes granite easily recognizable.
The composition of granite is interesting, It is made of about 40% quartz, a very hard and colorless mineral registering 7 in the Mohs hardness scale. To put that in perspective, a diamond registers a 10. The quartz gives granite its famed durability. It also contains feldspar, a group of aluminosilicates or rock-forming materials that are usually light colored. The presence of feldspar is the reason granite is mostly light-colored as well. Other minerals that may go into the mix include biotite mica and hornblende, which are dark minerals that can produce darker granite.
Since it is formed from magma, it is easy to accept that granite is the most common type stone in the world. In fact, 80% of all rocks are granite. However, because it forms under the earth’s crust in great chunks of rock, it takes a lot of skill and knowledge to get it out, which is why granite as a dimension stone (decorative use) can be quite expensive.
Because of the quartz content as well as the way it was formed, granite is extremely tough. A granite countertop is capable of carrying heavy loads and withstand a lot of use and abuse without damage, provided it is properly installed. It is also virtually heat-proof, which is another reason it is so popular with homeowners for various uses.
Granite is very versatile for home use. It is particularly ideal as a kitchen countertop or bathroom vanity if you want a smooth, polished surface that will not scratch or stain easily. Because it is heat-proof, it is also a great choice for fireplace surrounds. Historically, however, granite was used for much more than decoration.
Granite was the preferred materials of builders for many centuries for external wall cladding, monuments, memorials, headstones, landmarks, and other structures that needed to last for a long time. It was beautiful, so it served an aesthetic purpose as well. More importantly, however, it was durable and stood up well under any weather condition. Among the many notable structures made fully or partly of granite includes the Mount Rushmore memorial, Pyramids of Egypt, and the Taj Mahal. Mahabalipuram, a town in India, is interesting primarily because most of the structures are made of granite.
Most granite stones you will find are light-colored with crystals or streaks that may be much darker. This gives it a distinctive look. However, there is also white granite, where the striations and crystals happen to be white or colorless. On the other end of the spectrum, you can get black granite where the hornblende or mica is dark enough to overwhelm the quartz and feldspar. In many cases, however, dark granite is not actually granite, but gabbro or basalt. Both are still igneous rocks, and similar enough to granite for government work. In any case, any dimension stone from the granite family will be unique and a perfect addition to any room or home.
Because each granite slab will always be different even from other slabs from the same quarry, matching them can be challenging. However, its uniqueness is a major reason homeowners prefer granite over other stone surfaces for their remodels. You can rightly say that your kitchen or bathroom is the only one of its kind.
Aside from the aesthetic value, homeowners appreciate that investing in granite countertops or vanity tops means enjoying its classic beauty and functional benefits for many years down the road without fear of it becoming outdated. Paying a little more now will mean considerable savings because they will not have to remodel in the foreseeable future.
Most important for many homeowners perhaps is the fact that granite is hygienic and safe to use in the kitchen and bathroom provided it is properly sealed. Granite is a natural stone, and as such may be slightly porous. However, wIth the proper seal, it is proof against bacterial growth or any other food-borne toxins, and it is easy to clean and sterilize.
Speaking of which, granite is easy to clean and maintain if you have the proper seal and information. Some people believe that you need special cleaners for granite, but the fact is, you only have to avoid using anything too strong or acidic. Mild dish washing detergent, warm water, and a soft cloth is all you really need to clean it on a regular basis. Just like any work surface in the kitchen, it is ideal to sterilize it once a week by spraying it with a simple solution of 91% isopropyl alcohol and water, and you don’t even have to rinse it off. Just leave it on for a few minutes to let the alcohol do its work before wiping it off with a dry cloth.
Because it is it very durable, granite is heat and scratch resistant. However, you can still damage it if you don’t take reasonable care. The best way to make sure it stays shiny and pristine is to ensure that the seal is still good. You should also avoid hitting the surface with great force, or placing anything heavy on unsupported areas such as corners or around cutouts. Here are some things you can also do to prevent damage to your granite.
Most people believe that granite is too pricey for most budgets, but that is not true at all. A 2 cm thick granite slab may cost upwards of $45 a square foot, and fabrication and installation may set back a typical kitchen owner as much as $3,000, but it is money well-spent. You will not have to think about replacing those kitchen countertops for a very long time with reasonable care and maintenance.
The installation is not that complicated, either. Once you have decided on the granite slab you want, our fabricator will come in to take precise measurements and create templates for the cutouts. This will ensure that the placement of your sink and other features is to your satisfaction, and to avoid mistakes. This is important because once the cut is made, there is no turning back.
Before the cut slab is delivered, we make the support structure where the slabs will be installed. The installer will then dry fit the slab before final installation to ensure that the cut slab fits precisely into place.
Granite is the perfect choice as a countertop or vanity for many kitchens and bathrooms because of its many benefits. You may have to invest a hefty sum, but it is well worth it.