Granite forms a major part of the Earth’s continental crust. It comes in many different colors, due to the composition of minerals within the different stones.
No two slabs are alike, making each counter-top something completely unique.
Granite is an igneous rock formed by the magma of volcanoes.
Granite is one of the hardest substances in the world. In fact, the only thing that is harder than granite is a diamond. This is what makes granite so sought after as a counter-top.
Granite is found all over the world and is one of the most common rocks in the Earth’s crust. Some of the most common areas where granite is harvested include Brazil, Norway, India, Spain and the United States.
The best finishing equipment is in Italy; they use the best polishing machines and resin treatment. Italians are highly selective with their block purchases. Surprisingly though, the stone that Italy offers to the market actually comes from all over the world and is just treated in Italy.
The primary source for supply of granite is Brazil. The main reason for this is their geological structure and the abundance of the minerals that make up granite. Brazil also provides cheap labor and manufacturing which is appealing to all the other countries that purchase goods from them.
There are several states in the U.S. that play a large part in the production and manufacturing of granite. In fact, the first commercial railroad in the United States was nicknamed the Granite Railroad and it transported granite from Massachusetts to New York.
The first commercial railroad in the U.S. was the “Granite Railway” of Quincy, Massachusetts. It was built to haul granite.
The Statue of Liberty stands on a pedestal made of granite.
New Hampshire is known as the Granite State.
The stones used in the sport of curling are made of granite.
Parts of the Egyptian pyramids, Stonehenge in England, the Easter Island Moai head statues and many Hindu temples in India are granite.
Granite, a porous material, will absorb liquids that are left on the surface for more than 15-20 minutes.
Highly acidic substances such as orange juice, coffee and wine (as well as some oils) will corrode sensitive stones and leave dull marks if left on the surface for more than 20 minutes. Those marks can be removed using special stain sponges! Granite will absorb water, but eventually it will evaporate without leaving any trace of damage.
Granite is scratch resistant but NOT scratch proof. Repetitive exposure to high heat on the surface will result in it weakening and becoming more prone to scratch.
Quarrying is a form of polishing that gives granite its shine. The shine is permanent and does not require extensive maintenance. There are additional finishes, such as leathered and honed, that are not intended to shine.
The best way to clean granite is with warm soapy water. It is best to avoid any harsh chemicals or highly acidic household cleaners. Re-sealing granite is encouraged every couple of years depending on what style of stone was purchased.
Granite is heat resistant, however, it will adjust to the outside temperature. For example, if you placed a hot pan on your counter-top, it will reflect temperature and the counter-top will become hot. Be careful!
What Granite Names Mean
Most granite color names are Italian. Here is the key to understanding them: ITALIAN WORD ENGLISH TRANSLATION MINERAL Azzuro/Azul Blue, Bianco/Blanco White, Bordeaux/Burgundy, Breccia/Broken Pieces, Capolavoro/Masterpiece, Dorado/Gold, Emperador/Emperor, Farfalla/ Butterfly, Fiore-Fiorito/Flower, Giallo/Yellow, Luna/Moon, Madura/Mellow/Ripe, Negro/Black , Perla/Pearl, Rosa/Pink, Rosso/Red, Verde/Green
What Effects the Price?
Natural granite prices are unlimited! So what makes one slab more expensive than another? Try to remember the three “C’s”:
COUNTRY (OF ORIGIN)
Depending on the overall economic health of the country, the local labor costs will vary. The higher the labor costs, the more expensive the granite becomes. In addition to labor costs, depending on how difficult the process of quarrying is, it can affect the price.
Local professionals estimate the availability of the particular color desired, and base their price on the color’s rarity. The harder it is to find, the more expensive it becomes.
Although granite is valued for its durability, it is often more expensive to purchase stone that is composed of a more fragile mineral composition. Fragile stone requires extra reinforcement and special handling, generally resulting in a higher cost.