The most basic definition of granite is “a rock”. However, more specifically, granite is an igneous rock which is composed of inter-locking crystals formed over millions of years from compressed molten rock beneath the Earth’s surface.
Pretty cool, huh?
Granite is commonly used in homes and businesses for everything from kitchen countertops to vanities to fireplace surrounds. It adds a unique touch to any room and allows the owner to truly express his or her tastes.
Granite comes in just about every hue imaginable including:
Some slabs of granite are nearly solid in color while others have a lot of movement (patterns and color variations).
Granite is primarily available in 2 finishes: Polished and honed (a.k.a. matte).
Granite with a polished finish has a very shiny surface. This finish is achieved through a grinding and buffing process. It really brings out the unique characteristics (ex. different colors) of the slab. Polished granite is the least porous of the finishes. This means it is the most resistant to staining.
Honed (a.k.a. matte)
Granite with a honed finish has a smooth look to it. This finish is achieved through a sanding process. It mutes the color slightly while creating a soft texture. Honed granite doesn’t show scratches and etching as easily as a polished finish; however, the honing process opens the pores of the stone making it more susceptible to staining.
While polished and honed are the most common finishes, there are other options available such as leather (a.k.a. antique).
There are many advantages to using granite in your home including:
Granite is an all natural material. If bringing natural elements into your home is important, keep granite in mind.
No two slabs of granite are the same; this ensures you’re getting a one-of-a-kind look in your home.
Since granite is a rock, it has the advantage of being able to stand up to temperatures that would discolor other materials (ex. laminate).
High Abrasion Resistance
In comparison to many other natural materials (ex. soapstone), granite is scratch resistant. In your day-to-day, normal life there isn’t much chance you’re going to scratch granite.
Unfortunately, there are also some disadvantages to granite including:
Granite is not as porous as some other natural stones (ex. marble); however, it can still stain. If you’re concerned about staining, consider a slab that has a lot of movement - this will help disguise any staining that occurs.
Approximately once a year, granite requires sealing. Sealing your granite helps retard staining and the formation of a patina (a discolored film that may form on the stone). While this process is relatively simple, it is a factor you should keep in mind when selecting a material.
A seam is where two pieces of material are joined together. Depending on the size of your project, two pieces of granite may need to be used. In some materials, seams are virtually invisible; however, with granite, that typically isn’t the case. Just how visible the seam will be depends on a variety of factors including positioning and the color you’ve chosen.
Granite is a natural stone that has pros and cons. It is a beautiful material that brings a completely unique piece of nature into your home. If you’re looking for a material for a high traffic area granite is a great option as it is less porous and has a higher abrasion resistance than many other types of natural stone.