Granite is probably the best choice when permanent; color and texture enduring, and freedom from deterioration and maintenance are the prime requirements for your project. With an exception of metal, granite is the hardest natural material available for countertops. Granite is composed primarily of quartz, feldspar, mica, and various other minerals which lead to its beauty, strength, and function.
This combination results in a product that is virtually scratch-proof, burn-proof, and nearly indestructible; in fact, the only known materials harder than granite are diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. Because of its durable nature, granite is commonly used to face commercial and institutional buildings and monuments. Granite is also unmatched as a material for stairways and high-traffic flooring areas; however, it will always be best known as the material of choice for countertops, due to its unique beauty of colors and patterns, with proven sustainability, and lasting value.
In recent years, a rumor has developed that granite can harbor certain bacteria, but this is nothing more than a myth perpetuated by manufacturers of man-made counter top materials in order to positively impact their own sales. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have no records of granite harboring bacteria of any kind, and granite has performed only second to stainless steel in tests of resistance to bacteria. The fact that granite continues to be the counter top material of choice by designers in hospitality and healthcare applications gives even further credence to the material’s safety and sanitary value.
Granite comes in hundreds of different colors and is quarried in places as varied as the United States, Canada, Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Norway, Finland, Russia, South Africa, Namibia, India, China, Saudi Arabia, and more. Granites usually have a defined crystal structure, often with inclusions of smoky quartz, crimson garnets, and reflective mica. The patterns can be small and repetitive or large with wild rivers of movement. The more slowly the minerals cooled during their formation, the larger the individual crystals can grow. Some stones - like Verde Butterfly Expo and Emerald Pearl - refract light to create a sparkle that is similar to that of gemstone. While there is an abundant array of granites with a palate of earth tone colors, it is actually possible to find every color imaginable—just look at Red Dragon or Blue Bahia.
Beyond the choice of color, there are also multiple options available for the surface finish applied to the face of a piece of granite. One of the most popular is a polished finish, the staple for kitchen countertops around the world. The natural reflective shine of a polished finish is not created through the application of a “shiny” coating, but rather is produced through hours and hours of polishing with varying grits of abrasive diamond pads. In addition to the popular polished finish, newer finishes are also starting to make their niche in the marketplace. Flamed, sandblasted, or bush-hammered finishes are rough textures that have special applications in commercial and exterior use. Honed granites, meanwhile, offer a more classic style by softening the look of the stone’s texture and color, which cuts down on glare in brightly lit areas such as outdoor kitchens. In comparison, the matte honed finish is still very smooth, but offers slightly higher slip resistance, making it suitable for many types of projects. Finally, one of the newest trends sweeping the natural stone industry is suede finished granites. The suede texture resembles an orange peel or leather, and is soft to the touch as well as on the eyes. Global Granite & Marble is proud to offer many of our most popular colors - like Venetian Gold and Labrador Green Suede - in a suede finish, as well as more exclusive colors that are available in a suede finish - like White Spring Suede. With so many different options, choosing the right finish for a particular project can seem somewhat overwhelming, which is why Global Granite & Marble employs a whole team of interior designers to help you select the right finish to create the style that you desire. If the project permits, you can even mix and match different finishes of stone together in one space, creating a more unique look by adding texture and depth to any room or outdoor area.