silver creek granite new msi

Granite 101: Everything You Need To Know About Granite Countertops

silver creek granite new msi
silver creek granite new msi

When it comes to choosing granite countertops, there are plenty of options with many choices of color, veining, and patterns. The beauty of granite countertop comes from its natural appearance – it’s something that only the beauty of nature could create. Since there are no two slabs of granite that are exactly the same, your new countertop will provide your home with unique appeal. The classic elegance of granite countertops in your space, is matched with its outstanding durability. The granite countertops you select for your next project might be the last countertops your home will ever need.

Vermont Granite Quarry

Where is Granite Quarried?

Ever wonder where your granite countertops come from? Formed as long as 300 million years ago, granite is formed by volcanic activity over 10 miles below the surface of the Earth. As magma cools and rises to the surface, it solidifies over one million years until it becomes granite. Granite can be found in many countries around the world, from Brazil to China to India. Granite is also found in several US states such as Texas, Massachusetts, Indiana, Wisconsin, Georgia, and North Carolina. These are the top producing states of granite in the U.S., accounting for 64 percent of the country’s production.

The largest open-face granite quarry on the planet is located in Mount Airy, North Carolina. Mount Airy is known locally as “The Granite City.” The North Carolina Granite Corporation was established in 1743, and has been quarrying granite there for more than 150 years.

What is Granite Made of?

Many minerals make up each slab and give it the unique colors we see in different types of granite. Granite is a combination of minerals and rocks, primarily Quartz, Potassium Feldspar, Mica, Amphiboles, and a trace of other minerals. Granite that is high in Potassium Feldspar will have rich red and pink highlights. Granite that contains Mica will produce brown or black veining. Below is a list of the minerals and what colors they usually produce in granite slabs.

  • Quartz – milky white, clear, translucent
  • Feldspar – white to gray
  • Potassium Feldspar – red to salmon pink
  • Biotite – black or dark brown color
  • Muscovite –  metallic gold or yellow color
  • Amphibole – black or dark green color

The combination of these minerals typically make up most of the colors we see in a granite. The variations throughout the granite are considered desirable since they give the slab character and make it different from others. It is important to select your slabs quarried from the same stone to make sure that the color and amount of veining are similar.

Which Granite Is Perfect For You?

Choose the right granite color for your kitchen or bathroom space and use it to make your home truly unique and timeless

Classic White Granite

White granite is a true classic. Its unique, timeless beauty will bring sophistication to your space and design. White granite can be incorporated into almost any style or design. There is no white granite that is perfectly white like man-made stones. White granite countertops are true gems and will include many different shades, veining, and flecks containing hues of different colors.

Bold Black Granite

Black granite is an excellent choice for anyone who likes solid colors and striking contrasts. Black granite can be a bold choice, perfect for a modern design. Black countertops can be combined with just about any color cabinet. It is all about your own personal style. Black granite is very versatile and has countless options in a kitchen remodel.

Neutral Brown and Gold Granite

Brown and Gold granite countertops provide wonderful earthy, natural options for your design, There is a wide variety of brown granite, from light tans to deep rich dark browns. These beautifully colored countertops have proven to be popular with homeowners and designers alike. Neutral design is on trend, while not as stark as a white kitchen, light beige or brown countertops bring warmth to your space. Brown countertops will look gorgeous with light wooden cabinets, or the ever popular white.

Elegant Gray Granite

Gray granite countertops can be beautifully understated and wonderfully elegant. Gray granites, like other granite choices, will have a variation of colors and veining. Many of these grays are simple and subdued, while others are can make a statement. Gray granites are very popular in contemporary and transitional kitchens. These granites are also used to today by designers as another neutral option similar to brown.

Exotic and Rare Granite

Exotic granite can drastically improve the appearance of your space. This type of granite will definitely become a focal point and create a statement in your home. Keep in mind that because exotic granite is rare, it will be priced higher than other types of materials. But it can be well worth it. Granite is not only durable but is also strikingly beautiful. The exotic granites shown here are Altair, Blue Bahia, and Van Gogh. These Exotic Granites are more than likely a special order product.

Popular Granite Finishes Available

Polished

A polished finish is the most popular choice for homeowners. This finish makes the granite countertop surface very shiny and glossy. The natural qualities of the stone are showcased beautifully with this finish making the colors and textures sparkle. The polished finish is the easiest surface to clean and maintain. This finish also helps to seal the surface helping to prevent moisture from seeping into the stone.

Honed

The honed granite finish, which can also be called be called matte, creates a very smooth surface without any gloss. There is no buffing done in this process, which leaves the stone with a flat finish. The disadvantage to the honed finish is that it makes the granite more susceptible to staining. Honed Granite will require resealing more frequently.

Leathered

A leathered finish is a relatively new style that is an appealing trend to homeowners. This finish is created by taking an already honed surface and adding texture to it by running diamond-tipped brushes over it. Leathered finishes are more subtle and sophisticated. These type of countertops seem to retain the natural color of the stone more than a honed finish. A leathered finish because of its texture will hide spots, fingerprints, and other everyday occurrences.

Black Pearl Granite Countertops with Silver Cloud Granite Island

Leathered Granite

Granite has become a popular choice for many homes. It has a wide selection of colors with each slab featuring its own unique pattern or movement. Its strength, durability, and affordable price point are just some of the many qualities that make it the perfect choice for many homeowners.

Granite slabs are not only unique but can be customized with different finishes. The finishes for granite include: honed, polished, flamed, and leathered. Leathered granite is becoming increasingly popular with design trends focusing on incorporating natural features and finishes. This guide will go over everything you need to know about leathered granite from its formation to maintenance.

What is Leathered Granite?

It is a finish for your countertops that features a distinct matte look. It highlights the natural contours and colors of the stone and is more resistant to stains and watermarks than any other finish.

How is Granite Leathered?

Leathering granite is accomplished by running a diamond-tipped brush over the stone repeatedly until the imperfections and polish are completely removed. Its texture can vary between manufacturers as it depends on the degree that they leather the slab.

Advantages and Disadvantages

When deciding the finish of your countertop, it is important to weigh its advantages and disadvantages. While honed and polished have been around longer, they may or may not be the right choice for you. It depends considerably on the cost and level of maintenance you want to put into your countertop.

Pros

There are many advantages that leathered granite will add to your countertops. These advantages include:

  1. Highlights the Natural Color: A key difference between polished and leathered granite is that leathered will highlight the natural color of the stone rather than add shine to it.
  2. Rustic Style: Homeowners who prefer a more natural, rustic aesthetic will love this finish. It is perfect for contemporary and country style kitchens, and it pairs well with both shaker or flat paneled cabinets and subway tile backsplashes.
  3. Stain Resistant: Since the leathering process tightens the pores of the granite, it has a natural stain-resistant and anti-bacterial defense. It also conceals smudges and fingerprints, which is a bonus for those who don’t enjoy wiping down your countertop after each use.

Cons

There are also some disadvantages to leathered granite including:

  1. Hard to Clean: One of the few downsides is that it is more difficult to clean than the other finishes that simply need to be wiped down. Because it has more texture than its counterparts, dust and debris can get trapped in its grooves. The more textured your countertop, the more difficult it is to clean.
  2. Easier to Scratch: The grooves of the leathered finish make it easier to chip or scratch than honed or polished. Sealing your granite or exercising caution can prevent this from happening.

Care and Maintenance

Maintaining your leathered granite is much less complicated than it would be for the other finishes. Its resistance to smudges and stains goes a long way in terms of maintaining its pristine condition. The tightened pores of leathered granite act as a barrier so it does not need to be sealed. However, manufacturers may recommend sealing it anyway to prevent the granite from chipping or scratching. While the cleaning process has one additional step, it is not as difficult as it may seem. All you have to do is brush any dust or crumbs away with a hand broom and wipe it down with mild soap and warm water. When in doubt consult your manufacturer for proper sealing and cleaning guidelines.

Leathered granite countertops have become a staple in designer homes. Its benefits and beauty making it a competitive option. If you desire a countertop that brings a distinctive look and feel to your space, it is definitely the right finish for you.

Blue Bahia Granite countertop kitchen island

Blue Granite Countertops in Your Kitchen

Granite has been used for centuries to make works of art that will last a lifetime. So why not bring the timeless beauty of granite into your kitchen? Like an artist, you must choose the colors that you want to work with. While past trends have pointed to a light countertop with uniform movement, uniqueness and natural beauty are now in favor. Blue granite countertops are the perfect choice.

Pantone set the tone for the design trends of this year with their choice for color of the year, Classic Blue. They describe their choice as a timeless, elegant blue hue reminiscent of the sky at dusk. This color combined with the unique beauty of granite will make for an eye-catching centerpiece for your kitchen. Here are a few examples of blue granite that would be perfect in your home.

Blue Bahia Granite

Blue Bahia is a stunning blue stone from Brazil that features shades of blue with veins of white, brown and gray, and it goes well with white cabinets. This granite is the perfect option for those who want an eye-catching statement piece as their kitchen countertops or island.

Blue Bahia Granite countertop kitchen island

Blue Flower Granite

Blue Flower granite is also from Brazil. It is a combination of medium blues and touches of white, black and gray. This granite would be a great option for those who desire a versatile countertop that goes well with both light and dark-colored cabinets.

Blue Pearl Granite

Blue pearl is a beautiful stone from Norway. It got its name from its pearl-like sheen. It features shades of blue and grey with veins of black and beige and pairs well with white colored cabinets. This granite will definitely add a touch of beauty and elegance to your kitchen.

With all of its natural beauty, it is not difficult to see why blue granite countertops are a favorite of many. If you are interested in incorporating it into your home, contact us for a free estimate on our website or by phone at (864) 633-2366.

Blue Bahia Granite countertop kitchen island

How to Clean Granite Countertops

Granite is a great choice for your kitchen countertops. Its strength, durability, and uniqueness are just some of the qualities that make it the perfect choice for many homeowners.

Since granite is a natural stone, it is porous and needs to be sealed. However, some sealants last for 25 years, and granite is much less maintenance than its other natural stone counterparts.

While granite is a relatively low maintenance option, it still needs to be kept clean. If you take care of your countertops, they can last for decades and will look just as polished and beautiful as the day they were installed. So if you decide that granite is the right choice for your kitchen, below is a guide that will walk you through the steps to clean and ensure the longevity of your surface.

Cleaning Routine for Granite Countertops

1. Wipe down your countertop with granite cleaning spray and a soft cloth

We recommend that you wipe down your countertops regularly and keep the surface free of dirt and grime. You can clean the countertop with a granite cleaning spray or a few drops of dish detergent and a soft cloth. Keep in mind that constant use of dish soap can dull your countertop’s shine. Afterward, rinse your countertop with warm water.

2. Wipe away any debris

For dried debris, apply more pressure with the damp cloth and then wipe it away. Never use an abrasive sponge or plastic scrapper.

3. Disinfect your surface

To disinfect your granite countertop, apply a solution of half water and half isopropyl alcohol. Then rinse your countertop with warm water. We recommend disinfecting your countertop every so often.

Removing Stains from Granite Countertops

Fantasy Brown Kitchen Countertop

1. Baking soda

To remove stains from granite, apply a paste of baking soda and water. Then gently scrub the spot with a soft cloth. If you have a tough stain, you can put the paste on the spot, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit until the paste dries. This can take a couple of days. Once the paste is dry, use a soft cloth to wipe, and after rinse with warm water.

2. If you are unsure, seek help

If you are unsure what kind of stain or how to treat it appropriately, consult your manufacturer’s guidelines, or have a professional look at it.

Preventative Care

tools-to-stop-granite-burns-1

1. Use a natural stone sealer

Granite countertops need to be sealed to prevent stains and bacteria from seeping into the pores. The best course of action is to purchase a long-term sealant. There is a 25-year warranty sealing treatment that protects against all staining. A one-time application will end up costing less than having to repeatedly pay to have your countertop resealed every few years.

2. Immediately wipe up any spill

While the sealant prevents stains, it wears down over time so clean up spills immediately. When you spill a liquid like milk, juice or soda on your countertop, blot it with a soft cloth or paper towel rather than wiping it. Afterward, dry your countertop with a cloth so that the moisture does not seep into the pores of the stone.

3. Do not use harsh cleaners

Avoid using harsh scrubbers or cleaners. They can cause scratches that will wear down the sealant. DO NOT use Windex, acidic products, bleach or vinegar.

4. Always use coasters

In order to protect your granite from absorbing moisture, use coasters under any drink.

5. Do Not Sit Or Stand On Your Countertops

Granite countertops are very durable, but they are not flexible and do not have plywood backing. Too much weight in one spot could cause a crack so do not stand on your countertops.

6. Never Place Hot Pans Or Pots On Granite Countertops

Hot cooking pots probably won’t damage your granite countertops since they are quite durable. However, extreme or constant temperature changes can harm your stone. Avoid leaving hot pans sitting on granite in a cold room.