Natural Granite Surfaces
Natural granite surfaces are one of the tried and true staples of a new kitchen. In fact, granite seems to be the standard by which other surface materials (particularly countertop materials) are compared. You can find articles all over the Internet that compare a specific material to natural granite. This is because natural granite has a long, stable record of reliability and quality when used as a surface material for kitchen countertops. In this article, we will take a look at this natural stone and consider its characteristics. Along the way we will briefly consider some information on installing granite and how to care for and maintain it.
How Granite Is Formed
Since granite is a natural stone, it is formed through a process that requires no assistance from humans. It is an igneous rock that develops through the cooling of magma or lava. The following quote was taken from Wikipedia:
Igneous rock (derived from the Latin word ignis meaning fire), or magmatic rock, is one of the three main rock types, the others being sedimentary and metamorphic. Igneous rock is formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava. The magma can be derived from partial melts of existing rocks in either a planet’s mantle or crust. Typically, the melting is caused by one or more of three processes: an increase in temperature, a decrease in pressure, or a change in composition. Solidification into rock occurs either below the surface as intrusive rocks or on the surface as extrusive rocks. Igneous rock may form with crystallization to form granular, crystalline rocks, or without crystallization to form natural glasses. Igneous rocks occur in a wide range of geological settings: shields, platforms, orogens, basins, large igneous provinces, extended crust and oceanic crust.
Granite comes in a range of colors and textures. Some of the common colors of natural granite include:
- Multi-colored Variations of the Above
Uses for Granite
Granite has been used for many years for several different purposes. Indoors and outdoors, for business, public, and residential uses; all of these applications benefit ferom the use of natural granite.
Outdoor Granite Use
Outdoor landscape and hardscaping projects make use of natural granite. Public benches, sidewalks and other walking surfaces as well as statues, monuments, and even furniture is constructed of natural granite.
Commercial buildings make of use of granite as well. In addition to the uses listed above, interior flooring, walls, work surfaces and even boardroom & conference tables utilize this reliable, proven material.
Granite Kitchen Countertops
If you have ever watched a home renovation program, home buying show, or a do-it-yourself series on television you have probably heard someone say, “it’s gotta have all granite countertops” or “all natural granite throughout”. These phrases permeate the airwaves in these settings because of its solid reputation and performance. It often times is the preferred material for use as a countertop material; not ony in the kitchen but also in other areas of the home.
Each type of natural stone (and engineered stone for that matter) has very specific characteristics that distinguish one stone from all the others. Some of the properties that make this distinction include hardness, texture, mineral content and the manner in which the stone was formed. Let’s look briefly at some of granite’s characteristics.
Granite is a hard stone compared to other natural stone materials. in fact, it registers at 7 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Like all natural stone, is porous to varying degrees. The porosity of natural granite plays a large role in how quickly a given stone will absorb liquids.
Since natural granite forms from volcanic lava, it is a heat resistant material. Other surface materials are not as resistant to heat as granite is. The color availability makes natural granite easy to incorporate into a variety of design styles.
Working With & Using Granite
As mentioned above, natural granite is a hard, porous, and diversely colored natural stone. Because of these traits, there are some specific things that fabricators & owners of this material need to be aware of when using or working it.
Cutting a hard natural stone like granite requires the proper tools and a diamond blade that is made for that purpose. Using the wrong blade to cut natural granite can cause the cutting to be slow and/or cause the material to chip during the cut. However, selecting the proper blade for natural granite will not only give you a fast, clean cut, but it will also give you more use from each blade. So what are some good granite blades?
- Red Cat Granite Blade Blade
- Matrix S Diagonal Granite Blade
- Black Cougar Granite Blade
- GR-29 Split Segment Granite Blade
Care & Maintenance
Caring for granite is a straight forward process. In fact, simple, basic practices implemented well are enough. First, home owners periodically seal the granite surface using an impregnating sealer. Hence, this helps make the surface less absorbent porous natural stone absorbs liquids that can cause staining if they penetrate the pores of the material.
The second part of the care and maintenance process is also fairly simple. It is the regular cleaning of the surface using a pH neutral natural stone cleaner. These specially formulated cleaners allow the seal to remain on the surface for the longest time period. Improperly formulated cleaners destroy sealers immediately; undoing all the effort required to seal the surface in the first place.
By combining the cleaning and sealing steps, granite owners are more likely to get the best results for cleaning and protecting countertops and other granite surfaces.
Granite has a number of benefits, some of which we have already mentioned; although not in the context of being beneficial. One benefit of granite is that it’s a natural material. Some home owners prefer all natural materials for their surfaces. For those individuals, granite is a good choice.
Another benefit of granite, particularly for countertops is that it is a hard material that does not easily scratch.
Finally, granite countertops are very durable as far as heat resistance. As we mentioned previously, granite is the product of volcanic magma. As a result, normal household temperatures would hardly present a problem as far as overheating is concerned.
Drawbacks of Granite
Perhaps the most noticeable disadvantage to choosing granite for your countertop surfaces is that it a porous material. This means it will absorb liquids. There are various porosities of granite. So be sure to look into which level of absorption the granite you are considering has.
Another potential drawback to granite is that it can be a costlier option when compared with other countertop surface materials. However, keep in mind the old saying, “you get what you pay for.” Cheaper is almost never a higher quality product.
In the end, granite is a tried and true hard surface material that is complimentary to multiple design styles. Granite is a very durable choice for use as a kitchen countertop and it easy to maintain. no wonder it has and continues to be the material to which nearly all others are compared.