All About Granite


how granite is formed

Granite is formed as a result of the slow crystallization of molten rock deep within the earth's crust millions of years ago. Basically it is magma that did not erupt and stayed under the ground, cooling very, very slowly. According to scientific theory (the Marble Institute of America), the newest piece of granite on the planet is almost 750 million years old! It is mined from quarries around the world in large blocks that are then cut into slabs. These slabs are polished and distributed to stone suppliers. Stone fabricators such as rock and stone purchase these slabs from the stone suppliers and install them in your home or office.

Although granite is rated 5 stars for most resistances, this does not mean that it is impervious to damage. We recommend that you take care of your granite countertops. To prevent scratching, use cutting boards and avoid scraping heavy object across the top. To prevent staining, clean up spills as soon as possible. If you intend using chemicals on the surface, we recommend that you confirm with your stone fabricator that the surface type is resistant to the chemicals.

granite scratch resistance

Granite is the one of the hardest natural stones found on earth! In fact, granite slabs can only be cut with expensive diamond tipped saws. This hardness gives granite one of the highest scratch resistances of all countertop materials and puts it on par with engineered stone. It resists scratches from objects such as knives, pots, plates, and mugs. Granite scores a hardness rating of approximately 7 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. When installed in a kitchen, the use of cutting boards is recommended because cutting on granite will dull knives.

granite heat resistance

Of all the countertop materials available, granite has one of the greatest resistances to heat, making it especially popular for kitchen tops and braai areas! Hot pots can be placed directly on the surface without the damaging or discolouring the granite.

granite stain resistance

Granite has low porosity. However, sealing the surface with a penetrating stone sealant is recommended to protect the granite from water patches and stains. This sealant is absorbed into the stone giving it a much higher resistance to staining. Stone fabricators should apply a quality sealant before and after the installation of your granite countertops.

granite resistance to weathering

Granite is resistant to weathering, which makes it an ideal choice for outdoor accessories, such as built-in braai areas and wall cladding.

granite cleanliness & hygiene

When it comes to the hygiene of your countertops, granite is the way to go. Some manufacturers of man-made countertop materials and natural stone imitations mislead the public about the porosity of granite leading to problems with bacteria build-up. When in fact, granite is one of the most cleanable countertop materials available, being over 1000 times more cleanable than plastic laminate. A study done by the Hospitality Institute of Technology conducted by Dr. Snyder in 1999, showed that granite had the greatest reduction of E. Coli bacteria after washing and rinsing with water.

surface micro-organisms eliminated by normal cleaning:

Granite36,000

Stainless Steel4,000

Concrete2,400

Tile900

Wood500

Plastic Laminate285

A follow-up study was conducted by Dr. Snyder again in 2006, where four widely used countertop materials were compared – two granites, one marble and one quartz surface (engineered stone). The study showed that all are easily cleaned to meet FDA sanitizer criteria of 5-log reduction pathogens on the surface. “Overall, there was no statistical difference in reduction after wash and rinse for any of the four stone surfaces,” said Dr. O. Peter Snyder, Jr., president of the Hospitality Institute.

appearance

Granite has a natural crystal-like, elegant appearance, consisting of quartz, feldspar, and other minerals including mica. This network of interlocking crystals and minerals gives granite its depth, unique patterns, beautiful colours, and sparkling glitter-like characteristic. When polished, flat reflective surfaces of feldspar and flakes of mica reflect light in a twinkling pattern as the angle of light may change. The actual size of the crystals in granite may vary, which explains why some granite appears more crystalline than others. Some granite also contains gemstones and pearl flakes which enrich the surface appearance. For example, in the close-up above of Ivory White, red garnet gemstones appear in dark red speckles and flashes of light reflect off the feldspar and mica flakes. This natural aesthetic appeal is unmatched by any of the man-made stone imitations.

Granite is ageless and always contemporary. Today's leading architects know its unique qualities and are using it more extensively than ever before.

colours & patterns

Granite usually has a "speckly" or "swirled" pattern appearance and comes in a wide array of colours, ranging from dark blacks to variegated browns, deep reds, shimmering blues, and pearly light whites or greys. The variety of colours come from their complex and varied origins.

It is important to realise that being a natural stone, there will always be variations in colour and formation in each and every slab - some granite patterns are very consistent, whilst others exhibit "waves" of movement and colour in the stone.

granite’s surface & touch

Another visually stunning appeal of granite countertops is the surface’s high gloss shine which really brings out the depth of the colour and pattern of the stone. This shine is the actual stone polished to a mirror-finish, not by something coated on the surface. Therefore, polished granite will keep its beautiful high gloss shine for decades! Granite has a solid, smooth, cool, sophisticated stone feel.

granite pricing

Granite, which was once found only in very expensive high-end kitchens is more commonplace today and is by far the most popular natural stone countertop material. Granite countertop prices have reduced due to technological advances, improved methods of quarrying, and widespread popularity.

Although prices are still on the higher end of the countertop market, the value-for-money and durability of granite makes it a more cost effective option than any cheaper alternative. Granite will retain its beauty for decades, improve the long term home experience, and increase the value of your property. This makes granite a sensible, long-term economical solution and investment. The price of granite countertops varies. Expect to pay between R1500 and over R3500 per m2, depending on the colour, availability and