What Is Granite Used For: From Quarry to Living Space

 In Uncategorized

From ancient Egyptian obelisks to modern kitchen countertops, this igneous rock has left its mark on our built environment. But what is granite used for today, and how does it go from deep within the Earth to being a functional, beautiful part of our lives? Let’s explore this rock’s formation, extraction, fabrication, and the many ways mankind puts it to use in daily life.    

1. A Rock Born of Fire

Granite’s story begins deep within the Earth’s crust. Molten rock, called magma, rises from the mantle. As this magma cools slowly underground, it crystallizes, forming coarse-grained rock. When this igneous rock is exposed at the surface through erosion, we get granite. 

Granite’s distinct, speckled pattern is a result of the different minerals that crystallize within the magma. Quartz, feldspar, mica, amphibole, and so much more lead to this natural stone’s strong, sophisticated shine! Each mineral’s presence and proportions determine the varying colors and patterns we see in different types of granite.   

2. The Journey Begins!

Granite’s remarkable voyage from deep within the Earth to our living spaces starts at the quarry. Here, skilled workers use various techniques to extract the massive granite blocks.

One common method is core drilling, where large diameter holes are drilled into the rock face. Then, wedges are strategically placed and driven into the holes, creating fractures that allow large slabs of granite to be separated.    

Blasting is another technique, but it requires careful control to avoid damaging the valuable rock. Once extracted, the massive granite blocks are transported to processing facilities.   

3. From Rough Block to Polished Surface

The raw granite blocks from the quarry are anything but the smooth, polished surfaces we see adorning countertops or monuments. Transforming these rough blocks into usable products requires a multi-step fabrication process. First, the blocks are inspected for cracks, fissures, or other imperfections. Then, they are cut into smaller slabs using diamond-tipped saws. These slabs are then calibrated to a uniform thickness using specialized machinery.   

The next step involves grinding and polishing the surfaces. This process uses progressively finer grits to create a smooth and lustrous finish. Each slab’s edges are also shaped and finished during this stage. And, depending on the desired look, the granite may be honed (which results in a matte finish) or highly polished.    

4. Granite’s Many Faces

Granite boasts a vast array of colors and patterns, thanks to the variations in its mineral composition. From the classic tone of Absolute Black to the vibrant greens and blues of Verde Antique, there’s shade to suit any preference!

Popular granite choices include:
  • Light granites: These offer a sense of spaciousness and brightness in kitchens and bathrooms.   
  • Medium granites: Offering a balanced and versatile look, popular settings include powder rooms and outdoor dining rooms.    
  • Dark granites: These create a dramatic and sophisticated statement in rooms like man caves and basement bars.

5. What is Granite Used for in Your House?

Beyond aesthetics, granite offers a range of practical benefits. It’s incredibly hard and durable, making it resistant to scratches, stains, and heat. Granite is also relatively low maintenance, requiring only occasional cleaning with a mild soap solution.

These qualities make granite a popular choice for various applications, including:   
  • Kitchen countertops: Granite’s durability and resistance to heat damage make it ideal for kitchens.   
  • Bathroom countertops: Granite adds a touch of luxury to bathrooms and is easy to clean and maintain in a humid environment.   
  • Flooring: Granite tiles create a sophisticated and durable flooring option, particularly in high-traffic areas.   
  • Wall cladding: Granite adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to walls (both indoors and outdoors).   
  • Exterior facades: Granite’s weather resistance makes it suitable for cladding building exteriors.   
  • Monuments and memorials: Granite’s strength and timeless beauty make it a preferred material for creating lasting memorials.   

6. Selecting the Perfect Granite

With such a wide variety of granite colors and patterns available, choosing the right one for your project can be overwhelming.  

Here are some tips to help you navigate the selection process: 
  • Consider the overall design aesthetic: Is your project modern, traditional, or something in between? Choose a shade that complements your overall design scheme.   
  • Think about functionality: Consider the intended use of the granite. For high-traffic areas, darker surfaces might be more practical to hide minor wear and tear.   
  • Lighting plays a role: How light (natural and artificial) interacts with granite can affect its perceived color. Observe the granite slabs under different lighting conditions, similar to those in your space, to get a better idea of how they will look once installed.   
  • Sample sizes don’t lie: Don’t rely solely on small samples to make your decision. Request larger samples or visit a granite showroom to see how the slabs look in a bigger format.   
  • Consider veining and movement: The natural veining and movement within the granite add to its character. Decide if you prefer a dramatic, swirly pattern or a more subtle and uniform look.   
  • Get professional help: Consulting with a qualified countertop fabricator or interior designer can be invaluable. They can guide you through the selection process, considering factors like your budget, project requirements, and the overall design of your space.   

7. Installing Nature’s Sophisticated Stone

Once you’ve chosen your perfect granite, it’s time for professional installation. This is a crucial step to ensure a flawless and long-lasting countertop. A qualified fabricator will meticulously measure your space and create a template for the granite slabs. The slabs are then cut and shaped to fit perfectly into your designated area. Finally, the granite is expertly installed using strong adhesives and sealants to ensure a secure, beautiful finish. 

What is Granite Used for in Your Future? 

Granite’s enduring beauty and versatility make it a top choice for countertops and other design elements across Lincoln and Omaha. When you’re ready to elevate your space with this natural wonder, Zeng Countertops & Surfaces is here to help. Visit one of our showrooms to explore our vast selections and finishes. Our experienced staff can assist you in selecting the perfect finishes for your project and ensure a flawless installation! Make your house shine today!

Recent Posts
An Outdoor Patio Bar under a balcony in a Nebraska home.