Form and Function: All About Granite
The most popular stone used for surfacing counters is granite, and for several reasons. Granite is a very hard material that resists scratching, staining, heat, and extreme cold. It comes in many different colors and patterns which makes it an ideal stone for meeting design preferences. With proper sealing, it has an effective resistance to mold and bacteria and can be easily cleaned with a soft cloth and diluted dish soap. It is a practical and beautiful choice for stone surfaces in any space.
What is Granite?
Granite is an igneous rock formed from the slow crystallization of magma below the Earth’s surface. It is made up of mainly quartz and feldspar, and smaller amounts of mica, amphiboles, and some other minerals. Granite is typically red, pink, gray, or white with large, easily visible grains throughout the rock. Geologically, there are more strict criteria on the amount of certain minerals present in a rock for it to be labeled as granite. Commercially, a rock will be considered “granite” if it is a rock with visible, interlocking grains and is harder than marble. Gabbro, anorthosite, gneiss, diabase, and diorite are stones that are commercially labeled as granite and perform similarly to geologically classified granite.
Granite is typically rated a 6 on the Mohs hardness scale, which measures hardness from 1-10, talc being rated at 1 and diamond at 10. Because granite is so hard, it is scratch resistant. When sealed properly, it is effectively non-porous, which makes it stain-resistant and easy to sanitize. Granite also withstands extreme heat and cold without discoloration or harm. This stone’s ability to endure these elements make it a long-lasting material in a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces.
Color and Style
There are many different colors and textures of granite to choose from, and no two pieces will look exactly the same. Most granites’ texture will exhibit small flecks or grains of minerals throughout it, but some more exotic granites will have veining similar to marble. The variation in different granites ranges from very subtle to quite striking, so that it can appear almost one solid color, or can have dramatic contrast and movement. Granite is versatile for the design of a space, and its many colors and patterns can be used for backsplashes, flooring, countertops, wall cladding, furniture, and fireplace and shower surrounds.
Care and Upkeep
Granite countertops can last decades if cared for correctly. Daily cleaning with mild cleansers, and avoiding harsh cleansers, is important to keep your stone surfaces performing and looking terrific. Dish soap mixed with water and a little alcohol is the best cleaning solution for granite, to be sprayed and wiped with a dry cloth. If you have hard water and notice it staining your countertops, the stain can be removed with some baking soda and peroxide left covered overnight and then wiped with a damp cloth. It is a good idea to seal your countertop yearly to maintain its non-porous nature and protect it from damage. This process is relatively easy to do yourself.
A granite countertop may be the last one you buy for your home or business, given its durability and the timeless fashion of stone. A remarkably hard material with extensive variety in colors and textures, granite’s popularity is well understood. With some easy upkeep and regular proper care, your granite surfaces will shine in your space for many, many years to come.