What is Granite, Anyway?

Many Chicago homeowners are creating granite kitchen and bath countertops, as the stone is incredibly popular across the country. But how is granite formed? What is granite made of? Is it suitable for your specific practical and design needs? We’ll try answering this and many other questions about granite and help you correctly choose a natural stone for your home.

What Type of Rock is Granite?

According to geology, granite is a type of igneous rock that is formed under many layers of sedimentary minerals. Granite is one of the most abundant igneous rocks on the Earth’s surface. It is the best-known igneous rock primarily due to its many uses inside homes, offices, or any other structure. After it’s harvested, granite can be found in almost anything, whether it be countertops, paving stone, stair treads, floor tiles, building veneer, or even cemetery monuments and headstones.

three stacks of small granite slabs

How is Granite Formed?

As mentioned above, granite is one of the most common igneous rocks on the Earth’s surface. It is formed under extreme pressure and heat from underneath the Earth. This is called intrusive granite, one of the two classifications for granite indicative of the typical location where you can find it. Intrusive granite cools underground where it hardens to form the granite rock we’ve come to know and love. Extrusive granite, on the other hand, is granite that cools on the surface of the Earth. They are typically spewed onto the Earth’s surface through volcanic eruptions. They have low cooling times due to their exposure to the atmosphere, making them brittle and flaky.

What is Granite Made of?

The exact composition of minerals that make up granite varies from stone to stone. However, the typical composition of granite minerals we’ve come to know consists of variations of feldspar, quartz, and mineral sand.

Geological location of granite

Usually, granite rocks are located at the continental crust of the Planet. The mineral becomes exposed later on as the sedimentary rocks erode away or move. Scientists tend to call granite “basement rocks”, as it lays beneath a sedimentary rock cover. It also serves as a great foundation for other layers of minerals and rocks located above granite.

Geographic location of granite

Granite can be found in great amounts in many parts of the Earth. Most of the mineral that is used for granite countertops in the United States is quarried in Finland, Norway, Brasil, India, and China. No significant quantities of granite slabs are quarried in the US, though a big amount of them exist in Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, and other states.

Granite Texture and Color

As evidenced by the variety of colors available for granite countertops, granite stones also come in a variety of colors, ranging from the lightest whites to the darkest blacks. However, the most common types are predominantly white, gray, or pink, depending on their mineralogy. Meanwhile, their texture when unpolished ranges from medium in terms of smoothness to coarse, typically described as phaneritic.

white granite kitchen countertop

Granite Countertops

When granite is manufactured into countertops, the stone undergoes different processes to convert them from stones to usable slabs for your kitchen or bathroom countertops. Here’s everything you need to know about granite countertops.

How Are They Made?

Raw granite is converted into countertops using special tools. But first, the granite has to be extracted from the ground. They do this by quarrying the stones from the site, chiseled and blasted from the ground. They use special milling machines to cut the granite stones into workable slabs. Typical dimensions of granite slabs are around four to five feet wide and around seven to nine feet long. Special machines are then used to polish the stones so different slabs have a uniform thickness, about three-quarters of an inch to about one and a quarter-inch thick.

The manufacturer creates custom countertop designs depending on the specs you require as well as the size of the available slabs. Pre-cut slabs are also available for certain stone designs. You can take a look at the manufacturer’s showroom to get an idea of what these available designs are so you can decide whether to have one custom-made based on the shape, orientation, size, and seam location of your next countertop project.

GRANITE IS WHAT'S GONNA MAKE YOUR KITCHEN SHINE!

Planning on your kitchen renovation? We’ve got tons of granite in stock. Give us a call and we’ll happily assist you with your needs.

Pros of granite countertops

Granite is sought after for its many desirable characteristics that make it a great material for your kitchen or bathroom countertops. Take a look at its characteristics below:

Durability

Granite is one of the hardest stones in the world. It is known for its durability and is one of the strongest materials that can withstand high loads in heavy-traffic areas in the home like the kitchen.

Resistance

Granite’s hardness makes it naturally resistant to scratches and chipping. It can also resist damage from very hot objects like pots and pans. Plus, when sealed correctly, it can also resist stains from spills.

Appearance

Its appearance is one of the most sought-after qualities in countertops. As a natural stone, it has many available designs that add luxury and sophistication to any space. Beige, cream, gold, or black granite countertops… The granite’s natural veining and color combinations make each countertop unique, which makes it all the more desirable.

Ease of Maintenance

The hardness and natural resistance of granite make it very easy to clean and maintain. Spills can be easily wiped off the surface, leaving no visible mark. It also needs to be resealed just once or twice a year to maintain its natural beauty.

Cons of granite countertops

You should always seal granite, as it’s easily stained otherwise, especially with acidic food and drinks. Another major con of granite is that it always tends to look old and weathered. Though you can always try to find a stone that looks aesthetically fresh, it can take much of your time and effort.

woman cleaning a granite countertop

Granite is not only hard, it’s also strikingly beautiful. And our granite projects indisputably prove that.

Conclusion

Granite is a natural stone that occurs abundantly in nature. It contains many desirable qualities such as its appearance, durability, resistance, and ease of maintenance that make it a sought-after material for bathroom and kitchen countertops. It is available in many different designs, colors, and vein patterns. But as a natural stone, no two slabs will look alike, which further adds to its overall value. Throughout the history of civilization, from the tombs of ancient Egypt to our very own Mount Rushmore, granite has been a sign of opulence, wealth, power, and posterity. Using granite in your kitchen as we did in this kitchen project in Niles, IL, or bathroom renovation like in this project in Highland Park is a great way to add a touch of glamour and increase the resale value of your home. Feel free to call us for more info on our granite specials at 888 906-3317!