Granite has enjoyed a long history of use as flooring, shelving, countertops and even buildings and monuments. From the earliest stone tools to works of art, granite has been crafted into all shapes and sizes. Perhaps the most prevalent use of granite today is for countertops used in kitchens, bathrooms and other surface treatments. Because of the fact that granite is one of the hardest and most durable materials on earth, it lends itself well for use in high traffic areas. It is also due to this same hardness and durability that makes it a difficult material with which to work.
It is common for improvements in technology to yield lower costs of products and manufacturing, but this generalized rule does not apply to the area of stone fabrication. As the demand for granite has increased more and more equipment is necessary to maintain and increase production levels. Specialized diamond-tipped saws, water jets and other tools and heavy equipment are needed to be able to cut and transport the dense and massive material.
Despite the advent of computer controlled machining, crafting a countertop is still a laborious and time consuming process. Computers and computer aided design programs have revolutionized the level of precision that fabricators may achieve and reduce the amount of errors and wasted material. Much of this precision is visible in the edge profiles that are possible. There are over 15 edge profiles which are usually available from a simple round over to a delicate waterfall profile. Some granite countertop edge profiles are given different names by individual suppliers much like certain retail chains will assign their own model numbers to a particular line of appliances.
The first step in exploring the use of granite as a countertop or even as a fireplace surround is to visit a granite showroom. Many showrooms will actually have the granite fabrication facilities on the same site. There will be a wide variety of colors and patterns available, but it is important to note that because granite is a product of nature no one piece in the showroom will be able to be exactly duplicated. The samples available for viewing are simply a good representation of what particular type of granite can be found at a specific quarry. When it becomes time to select a countertop, many fabricators will walk the customer through the warehouse so that the client will be able to select the exact individual slab for the kitchen remodel project, providing a truly customized one-of-a-kind product which will last for many decades.