All countertop granites are naturally-occurring igneous rocks (once molten masses that cooled underground).
Since all rocks are comprised of minerals, the dominant mineral is quartz - accounting for up to 50% of its composition. Other minerals include varying amounts of feldspar, mica, hornblende, amphibole, trace minerals, and trace elements.
Granite is quarried from many locations throughout the world, All quarries cut and process their stone slabs to varying degrees. They then ship them to countertop distributors and installers (like us). We then help you pick out what you need, then we template, precision cut and prepare your chosen material for installation in your home or business
A granite slab in our showroom.
The distribution of the non-quartz minerals, together with how fast the granite cooled is what's primarily responsible for the thousands of beautiful colors, textures, and veining available in granite.
Granites are graded based on their overall coloration and textural veining. Grade 1 and 2 (also called level 1 and 2) are commonly used in kitchen and bathroom applications. Grade 1 is the lowest cost granite and it has the most consistent coloration and textural veining. Grade 2 (and higher) have increasingly unique coloration and textural characteristics. As you would expect, using higher grades mean that the installed price is going to be higher - except when specials are run.
The mineral distribution of granite is also responsible for its hardness, scratch-resistance, thermal shock resistance, durability, and for it being fireproof. On the Moh's scale of hardness, granite has a hardness of 6 (10 being diamond and 5 being steel). Because it is harder than steel, it's as scratch resistant as you'll need for any home use (but a cutting board is still best to use on any kitchen countertop). Also, because granite was formed without any synthetic materials or processing, its 'not susceptible to heat damage from the placement of hot pans and utensils placed onto its surface.
Once you've selected a granite material, you will be quoted an installed "cost per square foot." Once you have this information, you'll need to find out if the quoted price includes all installation costs (including templating and all edges).
If you plan on having your countertop installed, then make sure to get a final installed price. If you don't, then you'll likely end up spending a lot more than you anticipated. Grade 1 and 2 granites should cost between $30-$50 per square foot installed. Grade 3 granite cost per square foot costs start at $60 per square foot installed, and they go up from their (up to grade 7).
Sealants are recommended for granite countertops. They are applied during installation to preserve surface beauty, and to make granite surfaces non porous. Non porous surfaces are more resistant to bacterial growth. In any case, the harder the sealant dries, the longer it will last (current sealants last up to 15 years). Sealant application is easy; just wipe on and let dry.
Countertop edges vary from simple “straight edges” to "rounded radius edges" to more elaborate edges”.(see an example of "rounded corners and a bullnose radius edge below).
On stone countertops of any kind, it's wise to avoid sharp 90-degree outside edges on corner cuts. Rounded "radius" edges are most often used around corners and top and/or bottom edges. Avoiding sharp edges enhances user safety, and reduces the likelihood of both cracking and chipping.
Finally, since various edge choices are available, make sure all your choices are clearly specified in the your quote.
While engineered quartz, granite, and other stone countertops are appealing to the eye, the most important questions to ask yourself about them include; Do they provide color options that match my overall color scheme, how does the installed price compare, and is the durability adequate for my application? Since there are many other important questions, especially when comparing granite and engineered quartz, please read our guide to comparing granite and quartz countertops.
Below is an excellent video on granite - from quarrying to templating and finally to home installation.
Granite countertops typically add between two to three times their installed cost to your home's value, and they'll maintain this value for over 20 years.
In contrast, laminate and wood countertops wear out in less than 20 years. As a result, these materials will decrease the value of your home over that same time period.
If you're budget-conscious and want to add value to your home, granite countertops are a great option.