Granite shows off an elegant speckled stone with a sophisticated feel. Ranking higher on the hardness scale compared to its common counterpart, marble, granite gives the same natural aesthetic as other natural stones, but without the high maintenance.
Its peppered appearance makes it a popular choice for designer homes and luxury offices, particularly for offices with higher positions. Granite is meant to be appreciated for its physical attributes, and offers a low maintenance upkeep when compared to other types of natural stone.
Granite starts off as molten magma. The high silica content and alkali metal oxides are what forms magma into granite through a slow cooling process underground. This process is what solidifies the stone, turning it into the granite used in architectural applications today.
Granite has held strong in the history of ancient architecture. The Romans were particularly fond of granite, using the stone exclusively for building their massive structures, tiles for roads, and as building materials. Granite became an integral part of Roman architecture, as seen in the carefully-crafted Roman monuments that still stand today.
Inhabitants of Aswan, Egypt also revered granite as a popular choice of stone for a variety of uses. It is thought they hold granite in high regard, as they would quarry the stone for use in the making of sarcophaguses, as building materials for pyramids, and as columns in their stone structures.
Granite is known for its speckled grain, which is a result of the silica and alkali metal oxides that have solidified into the peppered pattern. In fact, the term granite comes from the Latin word for grain, which is granum, referring to the stone’s physical properties of grainy, speckled patterns.
Granite typically comes in shades of light gray to black, with lighter or darker grains depending on what minerals are present in the rock during formation. However, gold, beige, and green hues also exist, as well as snowy-white granite with black specks that look like pepper on a board. These colors feature natural tones that are popular with households.
Beneficial Features of Granite
Unlike its other popular counterpart, granite is harder than marble or limestone. This makes the stone more preferred for its relative hardness, durability, and resistance to scratches, weathering, and water. Granite may have a non-permeable surface to a degree, but is less prominent with fractures soaking in moisture.
The key highlights of granite are its speckled appearance, durability, and elegance. Having a higher resistance to moisture and scratches compared to marble, granite is hailed as an alternative material that doubles as a status symbol for many homes, offices, and commercial spaces.
Uses of Granite
Granite was used in ancient times for building exquisite structures, and was known to be an expensive rock even back then. This made granite reserved for only the richest homes, as well as public structures with great significance like places of worship, coliseums, and luxury pieces.
Many of these granite structures have crumbled due to age, as well as wear and tear, but some still stand today as a testament to the architectural practices of ancient civilizations. Granite continued to be used in various architectural styles and applications over the years, but it wasn’t until the 1920’s where the stone was used in designer homes as countertops.
Today, granite is most commonly used for kitchen countertops, bathroom fixtures, and as tiles and walls for luxury homes. Granite has become more affordable now than previously thought so in ancient times, but is still considered a luxury stone to use in homes. Granite is best used in rooms where its appearance and elegance can be fully appreciated by a viewing audience.
Acid is the number one restriction from granite, as acid can corrode the top layer, causing the stone to etch. Etching happens when an acidic solution is left to sit on the surface of the natural stone, and starts to dissolve away the top layer, resulting in a cloudy-white appearance, and a rough feel. Unfortunately, the best fix for etching requires stripping off the surface, and polishing.
Always keep in mind to use cleaning solutions meant for natural stone. Granite Gold and StoneCare both have reputable cleaning solutions that are mild on natural stone, while being tough on dirt. Castile soap diluted in water can also be used in place of harsh chemical solutions.
As granite is considered a luxury stone, it should be maintained with great care. Metal corners, hard materials, and harsh solutions should be avoided to prevent scratching and etching the stone, and consider having the stone polished regularly to upkeep its shine.