Granite countertops may be one of the most popular styles of countertop on the market today. This versatile stone is available in many different colors and veining patterns.
Before making the jump to this famous stone, you may want to consider learning how these countertops work in the first place.
Continue reading to learn more about this stylish stone countertop material, how it's made, and how it works.
What is Granite?
Granite is a natural stone that is formed from liquid magma under pressure for many years. This stone differs in color, texture, and crystalline structure. There are three main minerals common in granite, feldspar, quartz, and mica. These minerals can be present in the stone in different proportions, which give the different appearances and color of the stone.
Cutting the Granite
Most of the time, granite is cut at the quarry. However, it's not uncommon for the installer to cut the granite on-site before the installation. The key to cutting the slab is accurate measurements of the installation area.
The installer will use a saw that's fitted with a diamond cutting blade to cut this hard stone. Cutting granite dry will produce significant amounts of dust, so most professionals will perform the cutting with a vacuum fitted onto the saw or a wet saw.
Once the basic shape of the countertop has been cut out, it will need to be edged. Typical edges for granite countertops are flat, beveled, rounded, and curved. The edging is typically performed with an edge-shaping machine that cuts and polishes as it goes.
Granite Countertop Installation
The first step of installing granite countertops is moving the appliances away from the existing countertop and removing the countertop, if applicable. Next, is the stage where the accurate measurements previously mentioned come in handy.
The new countertop will need to fit appliance openings, be flush with cabinet ends, and match up with the sink's placement. The granite is generally installed with plastic sheeting or a vulcanized rubber barrier between the sub counter and the granite countertop.
The vast majority of granite counters will have at least one seam as the slabs are usually less than 10 feet long. Silicone will be applied in the seam to account for expansion and contraction. A specialized epoxy secures the granite in place, then a colored glue is used to hide any visible seams.
Sealing the Granite Countertop
Granite is a natural, porous stone that can absorb water and other liquids. It needs to be sealed to protect the granite from damage and staining from liquids. Sealants prevent liquids from absorbing into the granite and will cause them to bead on the surface instead.
The countertop needs to be sealed after its installation and usually needs sealing annually afterward. A simple way to check if your granite is ready to be resealed is by dripping water onto it. If it soaks in, it's time to reseal. Most sealers will dry in several hours or will need to dry overnight.
Pros and Cons of Granite Countertops
- Beautiful, natural stone that's available in a wide range of colors and veining.
- Granite increases your property value.
- When properly sealed, granite is highly sanitary and resistant to germs and bacteria.
- Granite stone countertops don't depreciate over time.
- Granite countertops are heat-resistant.
- Simple maintenance only requires warm water and gentle soap.
- Granite is unique, making it challenging to create a uniform look.
- If not sealed, granite can stain permanently.
- This countertop is heavy and requires additional support.
- Granite is expensive and difficult to remove. If you tire of the color, it can cost a lot to change.
- Granite is a more expensive stone, sometimes running as much as three times the cost of other stones.
- It can be cracked by hard, sharp impacts, such as being hit with a meat cleaver.
Now that you've familiarized yourself with granite and how it works, you should be able to make an educated decision on if it's the best choice for you! This stone countertop material brings a lot of benefits to your home, though it has its downsides too. This one-of-a-kind stone can bring beauty to any home or business, and now you know exactly how it works.