Thursday, August 26, 2010

The History of Granite Countertops

For centuries palaces, homes, and elegant buildings were the prime locations for granite installation. Of course, in recent years granite has been making its way into homes everywhere. But what is it about this beautiful stone that makes people desire to make it part of their home or office? Is it the beauty of granite? Its durability? Or perhaps it is the re-sale value it adds to any building? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding and emphatic, "Yes". So what exactly is the impressive stone?

Basic Characteristics of Granite

In this day of synthetics, granite is one of the products that man cannot re-invent. Granite has a surface depth that appears three dimensional with a luminescence unlike any other surface material. It offers a wide variety of surface finishes, edge options, colors and patterns that cannot be found in any product that man can produce. This is because granite is created as a result of volcanic activity plus years of compression and heat found below the earth's surface. It is composed of feldspar, quartz and mica, but may also contain bits of muscovite, biotite, hornblende, pegmatite and pyroxene; it is these secondary components that bring granite's variety of colors. Other natural stones like limestone, marble, and travertine are created from calcite which is a fairly soft stone made out of animal skeletons and shells.

Because granite is crystalline in structure it has tiny pits between the various crystals which are not visible until it is polished. Also, granite will contain natural fissures that look like cracks, but they are not something to be concerned about in regards to structural integrity. In fact, it is these pits and natural fissures that add the appearance of movement to granite floors and countertops. So, if you are looking for uniformity of pattern and color granite is not the best choice for your home, rather you may want to check out some of the synthetic choices.

Because of granite's unique composition and creation, it is extremely durable, not excessively prone to chips or scratching, and can withstand extreme heat which is why it is especially popular in both residential and professional kitchens. Granite, once sealed, is resistant to stains, molds, and bacteria. It is easy to clean requiring only a damp cloth with simple soap and water.

While most granite choices need to be sealed in order to look their best and protect the granite, if you are considering black granite there are a few things to keep in mind. Unlike other colors of granite, black granite is extremely dense and uniform in appearance and are typically the least susceptible to water absorption. In addition, there have been reports of overseas factories chemically treating Indian Absolute Black Granite in order to achieve deeper, darker black granite. In these cases, the granite is more sensitive to food stains, chemicals, UV rays and cleaning products.

For more information on granite or granite countertops visit

Article independently authored by Janet Slagell. The content herein may or may not reflect the views an opinions of Universal Stone, Inc.

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