Lustro Italiano > Stone Reference > Granite

Natural Granite


Summary

Description: Since the term granite is used to describe a variety of stone we will use term natural granite. Natural granite is the granite rock that forms in nature. Here is some information regarding natural granite.

Formation Process: Natural granite is an igneous rock which is formed by volcanic magma cooling and becoming solid.

Appearance: Granite comes in a variety of colors and visual textures. The color of the granite is affected by the minerals it contains.

Composition: Natural granite is mainly composed of quartz and feldspar but contains other minerals as well.


Composition of Natural Granite

Granite is an igneous rock with between 20% and 60% quartz by volume that forms naturally in the Earth. It is composed of a variety of minerals. However, it is usually made up of a combination of substances that include the following:

  • Quartz (SiO2)
  • Feldspar (KAlSi3O8, NaAlSi3O8, CaAl2Si2O8)
  • Mica (AB2-3(X,Si)4O10(O, F, OH)2 (repeating unit))

The minerals in granite interlock to form a mix of feldspar and quartz with a scattering of mica and amphibole against a backdrop of lighter material. The composition and structure of the rock affects its appearance.

Natural Granite Characteristics

Natural granite looks rough and rugged in texture. The colors in the material often have somewhat of a contrast in color and texture. This contrast contributes to the rustic look and feel of the stone. Color of granite range widely. The mineral content and other factors affect the color and texture of the stone.

Natural granite turns up in various blends and mixtures of color combinations including various combinations of gray, green, pink, beige, brown, white, yellow, and even red. So there are plenty of options that can be employed for different kitchen designs. Additionally, it is entirely possible for granite to be enhanced or recolored using high quality color enhancing stone treatments.

Applications and Uses

Uses for this versatile rock range widely from one case to the next. Granite is used in a number of projects including:

  • Historical
  • Governmental
  • Commercial
  • Residential

Historical Pieces

Statues and monuments are often times carved out of granite. These timeless works can be seen virtually everywhere. For example, Mount Rushmore is a work carved out of natural granite.

Governmental Buildings

The use of granite in the construction of government buildings is a practice that has been carried out for many years. In fact, the capitol buildings of the following states contain granite:

  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Texas
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Kentucky
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • Louisianna
  • Washington
  • California
  • Pennsylvania

That lis is nowhere near a complete list of all the US state capitol buildings that contain granite in there architecture, but it does represent how frequently granite is used in the construction of government buildings.

Commercial Construction

In addition to the use of granite in government buildings it is frequently used for commercial projects. This is perhaps due to the advantages that we will discuss momentarily. Granite is used for a variety of purposes in commercial buildings including:

  • Steps
  • Pillars
  • Statues
  • Facades
  • Cladding
  • Flooring

Residential

Although it is easy to overlook, natural granite is used in many applications around the home. Kitchens and bathrooms often make use of this stone material for sinks, floors, and in some cases walls. However, perhaps one of the most popular applications in the home for granite is countertops.

Kitchen countertops (or worktops) are often constructed using natural granite. The properties of this natural stone make it suitable for this use and the beauty and visual appeal is another contributing factor. But the home's interior is not the only environment in which granite is used.

In addition to the inside of the home, granite is also used outside. Outdoor kitchens, hardscapes, walkways, steps, and other exterior structures are good uses for the material. Crushed or decomposed granite is also used in landscaping and hardscaping projects.

Why is granite such a ubiquitous building material? It just might be because of the advantages that this natural stone offers.

Advantages of Natural Granite

Granite offers some advantages over other materials used. For example marble, onyx, limestone, and travertine are all beautiful materials like granite is. But they are all examples of stone that contain calcite. For many applications this is not a big deal, but when it comes to work surfaces, it can be. Particularly if the project will be used b someone that is not familiar with the susceptibility of calcite based work surfaces.

Granite on the other hand, is not calcite-based. Additionally, it is a hard material and it resists heat very well. Its hardness also means that it does not scratch easily. Finally, granite is a natural stone. So, each surface made from it is 100% unique and different from all others.

Natural Granite's Drawbacks

Although granite has many pros, it also has what some would call "cons". There are various grades of granite. Furthermore all of it is porous to some degree. This means that there is a measure of care and maintenance required when you own it. We'll talk about this in a moment.

Another drawback to natural granite has to do with one of its advantages. The unique nature of the material. Choosing the perfect slab to be used for your project requires more effort than it does for some man made materials. This is because each slab is so unique.

The shopper cannot simply look at a sample of the stone and expect to have a surface that looks exactly like the sample. Rather, each slab must be specifically selected.

Even when the proper slab is used, where the cuts are made can affect the way the surface turns out. For these reasons, it is generally more time consuming to choose a granite than it is to select some other materials.

Care and Maintenance

Caring for granite is not difficult. It is simply a matter of regularly doing a few simple tasks as part of a routine. having a good maintenance routine naturally maintains the stone in such a way that the care is simple and effective.

After the initial sealing of granite just after it is installed, the cleaning process is a two step process as follows:

  1. Use a pH neutral cleaner on the stone so that the sealer is not damaged.
  2. Periodically use an impregnating sealer to renew the original seal that was done right after installation.

There is another option for maintaining the sealer on a granite surface. Simply use the pH neutral cleaner mentioned above as a daily cleaner. Then, once or twice a week use a fortified stone polish to replenish the sealer a little at a time. Fortified stone polish is just spray on product that keeps the surface of polished stone looking nice and glossy. Because this treatment program is easy and effective, we offer the products together in one package. Our granite cleaner and polish kit is the recommended way to care for and maintain granite countertops and vanities.

In the end, which material to select will depend on a number of factors. However, if granite is the choice, it offers nice advantages and puts the project in some high profile company.

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