What is granite?
The term "granite" is used to cover a group of related stones, all of which have their origin deep in the earth's molten mantle. As this extremely hot liquid material rises and cools, it forms a crystalline, granular structure, hence the term granite. Granite and other granite-like stones are formed of hard minerals such as quarts, feldspar and mica, which are fused together into a very hard stone ideal for kitchen counters because its polish is resistant to household acids such as citrus and vinegar and is hard enough to resist scratching from knives and pots and pans.
Why is granite good for kitchen counters?
Because granite is very hard stone that's formed at very high temperatures deep in the earth, its polish is not subject to etching by household acids, or scratching by knives and pots and pans. It's unaffected by typical kitchen heat such as hot pans, or spilled liquid.
Can granite be damaged?
Like any solid surface, high impact blows can harm granite. Because of its crystalline structure, it can chip if subjected to sharp hard objects. Unsealed, granite can absorb stains such as oil, which can ultimately cause dark spots or discoloration. Heat from pots and pans or burning liquids will not affect granite under normal circumstances.
My little sample of granite has pits on the surface - will I have these on my kitchen counters?
Granite, which is crystalline in structure, always has tiny pits - spaces between the various mineral crystals. You don't see them on a larger piece because the overall appearance is polished and mirror-like. Granite sometimes has natural fissures as well, which may look like cracks, but are not structural defects and are a naturally occurring result of the immense heat and pressure which formed the granite eons ago. These characteristics are part of the natural beauty of stone and will not impair the function or durability of the material. A product of nature cannot be expected to look manmade.
Can I cut on my granite countertop?
Yes. However, granite is harder than your knife blades and will dull them quickly, if you use the countertop as a cutting surface. Also, if you do not seal your granite countertops as required (at least once a year; every 90 days for heavy usage), you could stain them. NEVER CHOP on your granite countertops. While it is unlikely you will damage your granite countertops, it is possible. It's a good practice to always chop on a wooden or plastic cutting board.
What's the difference between marble and granite?
Although both are stones and both are quarried from the earth, granite and marble (and marble's relatives - limestone, onyx and travertine) are very different from each other. Granite is formed deep in the earth's mantle at extremely high temperatures, and is a very hard, resistant stone made of crystallized minerals.
The marble family - limestone, travertine, marble, onyx - starts out as sediment - animal skeletons and shells, plant matter, silt - at the bottom of bodies of water. After millions of years this solidifies (lithifies) into stone. Because its main component is calcium, it can be affected by acids such as vinegar and citrus beverages.
Is it necessary to seal stone?
Yes, depending on the area in which the stone is to be installed and the type of intended use. All stone, even granite, is porous to some degree, and will absorb stains over time if it is not sealed. Some stones are more porous than others, so it is important to use a penetrating sealer to prevent stains from oil, wine, or other liquids from soaking into the surface. Go to Stone Maintenance.
Do I have to buy the whole sheet/slab?
Slabs are always sold intact. Buying random slabs is similar to buying fabric. Like a seamstress or tailor, we buy the raw material and sell you a completed installation. The price includes the cost of transporting the material, making templates, cutting, polishing, bringing the pieces to your job site and fitting them into place. How much material we need is determined by the layout and the amount of waste. Our fabricator will lay out your job in a way that will minimize the amount of waste material while maximizing the natural beauty of veining and pattern.