Introduction to Granite

Purchasing a stone countertop is a worthwhile investment, but it’s also a serious one. Sure, it’s easy to determine which natural stone you want when looking at the sophisticated, rare design of each one, but it helps to know the facts beyond the stone’s appearance such as its origins, characteristics, and durability.

Here at Allied Stone Inc., we’d like to give you all-you-need-to-know information on each natural stone we provide, starting with a beloved favorite: granite.

Granite’s popularity shot up in the 1980s where it became a social statement and highly demanded in homes, even more so than marble. It’s luxurious look and tougher-than-a-nail condition made it a favorite for family abodes. We have this 80’s boom to thank for the stone’s still roaring popularity today.

Let’s look a little deeper at where it all began to really understand the value and quality of this admired stone.

IT’S ORIGINS

Granite is a natural stone that is believed to have formed approximately 300 million years ago. The stone is a type of igneous rock, or magmatic rock, which means the magma beneath the earth’s surface went through a crystallization process to create an igneous rock composed of a multitude of minerals and solid crystals. This concoction of earth’s minerals through this process forms, you guessed it, granite.

The stone is mainly composed of feldspar and quartz, with small hints of other minerals such as mica and amphibole. To be formally considered granite the particular stone needs to be 10 to 50 percent comprised of quartz and 60 to 90 percent comprised of feldspar. Percentages of each mineral can differentiate within the slab and change the overall appearance of the granite. This will be discussed in detail further along the article, so keep reading!

DURABILITY

Granite is considered one of the harder countertop materials, slightly softer than quartzite with a 6 – 7 rating on the Moh’s Hardness Scale. It would be quite tough to inflict scratches or significant damage onto the stone. If you try to cut the slab with a knife, the knife will dull out before you see any results from your efforts. This goes to snow that this natural stone countertop is long-lasting and would be a worthwhile investment.

Granite is also heat-resistant and can take on direct contact of hot appliances or boiling pots. It also won’t be affected by the heat of the sun if exposed to prolonged natural light.

However, this natural stone has a porous nature, thus it absorbs liquids like oil or juices if exposed for a long period. Make sure when owning this stone you properly seal your bathroom or kitchen countertop and your granite will be stain-resistant.

CHARACTERISTICS

Granite is a beautiful, colorful stone that is personalized for every owner. The colors, swirls, and placement of crystals depend on the unique crystallization process the rock underwent millions of years ago. Since the process and the location is so unique for each found rock, it is impossible to find two slabs that are exactly the same, meaning that your granite countertop is one-of-a-kind.

Let’s dive into the process of granite’s colors and overall design:

GRANITE COLORS

The colors depend on the amount of each mineral in the slab. As mentioned before, granite is composed of quartz, feldspar, mica, amphiboles, and other types of minerals. If the granite has a greater percentage of feldspar, it will be of pinker hue. If the stone has a greater percentage of quartz or minerals made up of amphibole, it will be of darker hues. This is why the colors of granite countertops can vary drastically from almost white to dark black.

GRANITE DESIGN

The swirls you see on granite slabs is a by-product of the shifting of the earth’s plate while the magma is cooling beneath the surface. Depending on how slow or how fast the magma is cooling will determine how large or small the crystals within the slab are.

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Love the look, feel, and durability of granite countertops? Allied Stone Inc. has a variety of beautifully unique granite countertops that will perfectly match your kitchen or bathroom. If your tastes or needs are not suited for granite, we have hundreds of natural or engineered stone one of our professionals can help sort through with you such as soapstone, marble, quartzite and quartz countertops. Stop by one of our locations in Texas and we’ll guide you to the right stone for you.

New Arrival: Calacatta Viola Marble

Our calacatta viola is a 2 cm marble with a polished finish. It’s a stone like no other; the sharp contrast between the porcelain white and deep purple veining is an immediate attention grabber. As a real show stopper, the calacatta viola will be a perfect centerpiece as a natural stone countertop for any bathroom or kitchen design. Impress guests with your daring, striking choice of polished marble.

The intricacy of veins within the marble are one-of-a-kind. This design cannot be replicated by other countertop materials or stones, for the process of molding this stone is how it achieves its exquisite features.

Through profound heat and pressure, the initial rock alters to produce the contrasting pieces of marble, that being the foundation and gleaming veins that coarse through it. The Calacatta Viola will be a marble countertop that truly represents this energetic, natural process, which creates a scenic marble surface with poetic, intense juxtaposition.

In addition to its remarkable, elegant appearance, polished marble radiates a unique brilliance that brightens up any kitchen or bathroom. If you wish to add glow to your high traffic areas, a polished stone such as Calacatta Viola will certainly lighten any small or large living space.

The Calacatta Viola is also heat-resistant, meaning if you are a fan of baking or cooking, then your marble kitchen countertop will not endure burn marks or fires. Also, no need to worry about placing a hot hair-styling tool on your bathroom counter, either; the Calacatta Viola finish will stay glistening without a trace of imperfection or error.

Allied Stone Inc. is an expert in natural, engineered, and porcelain stone. We are one of the largest importers of stone in the U.S., with an array of different types, colors, and designs to match your home perfectly. If you are interested in upgrading your bathroom or kitchen counters for one of our elegant, rare stones, please visit one of our stores in Texas. Calacatta Viola is one of many gorgeous natural works within our extensive collection, and we’d love to help you find your ideal countertop.

Bathroom Trends 2019 to 2020

2019 will be a great year to redesign a bathroom because of changes in materials available and even more important changes in how homeowners and interior designers envision what a bathroom should offer. If you’re starting to feel that one or more bathrooms in your home is due for a change, you can take advantage of designs that preserve the best ideas of the last ten years while adding fresh energy and a greater variety of materials to create a look you’ll love for years to come. Especially exciting are new ways of mixing materials: stone and wood, natural and engineered fabrics, glass and surfacing.

KEEPING THE BEST

Two currents of social change have shaped bathroom design over the last decade. The first has been in response to the near-frantic acceleration of the pace of daily life. Changes in work, leisure activities, household maintenance and, most important, communication have made parts of every day both simpler and more complex at the same time. Interruption and control of time are major issues in households all over the country, as occupants struggle to meet new demands on time and attention. During this period, bathroom design has concentrated on ways to create a sanctuary from the noise of daily life. Instead of just a place to get ready for life, bathroom design has emphasized quiet colors, simple surfaces, and reduction of visual and audible stimulation. At the same time, bathroom design has responded to increasing health-awareness, with an increased emphasis on natural materials, better uses of space and easy maintenance. The days of fussy cabinetry, vast expanses of easily-streaked mirrors and cute motifs have faded and are not returning. A good bathroom needs to take hard use without showing it, and an occupant should leave the bathroom feeling relaxed and refreshed.

WHAT HASN’T WORKED

One reason that bathroom design is beginning to show a number of changes simultaneously is that even good designs can get carried to extremes. Toning down colors to all-white, grey monotone or black-and-white reduces visual stimulation. This has accounted for the high popularity of these three color-schemes as people adapt to large number of outside changes and want some breaks from excess visual and emotional “noise.” Eventually, though, the stark simplicity of single-color or low-color schemes can create monotonous silence rather than soothing calm. Low stimulation fades into blank anonymity. The room becomes dull and its environmental temperature becomes chilly.

Small tweaks initiated over the last couple of years have not fully addressed the problem. Swapping out polished steel faucets for black enamel ones didn’t do it, and as numerous designers noted, the flurries over rose-gold hardware appear to have faded into an embarrassing episode rather than blooming into a trend. Introducing pattern without adding color has shown equally uneven progress.

The same failures have characterized changes in bathroom lighting and the functions of reflected light. Good bathroom light is essential for numerous tasks; it also contributes strongly to a sense of cleanliness. Brightening a bathroom can be accomplished by adding light fixtures and also by adding surfaces, like mirrors, that reflect light. When surfaces are already highly polished and monotone in color, the danger is that artificial lighting will create a clinical feeling in the room. Adding mirrors adds upkeep—streaky mirrors are the instant enemy of the clean look—and it can take considerable experimentation to prevent the additional light they reflect from simply becoming visual distraction.  

Punchy black-and-white geometrics or florals seemed like a logical experiment but in some cases produced the same dressing-room debacle as a big-print bathing suit. Just as a bright color makes an object seem closer than it is, so does a bold print. Yes, that floor makes your bathroom look fat—or at least makes the floor seem a lot closer to the ceiling than it did before. In general, light colors make spaces seem larger, while dark ones can reduce their perceived size. In the same way, patterns, even if in black and white, can create distortions in a viewer’s sense of space.

WHAT HAS WORKED

Texture

Even at its most monotone, good bathroom design used texture to relieve the boredom of endless reaches of hard, polished surfaces. Stone counters of all kinds—granite, quartzite and engineered quartz—played a critical role in adding visual variety and interest to aesthetically stripped-down rooms. Recent strides in porcelain manufacture offer this foundational bath-décor material in slab form and a variety of surface finishes, creating even more options for visual variation. From subtle streaking to leather-like stippling to the random patterns of veined stones, stone counters relieved visual monotony and brought a feeling of natural warmth to clinic-like rooms. While remaining basically within the confines of a white-grey-black palette, stone counters, backsplashes and vertical panels introduced complex variants on the basic three color-categories unimaginable in media of paint and tiling.

A New Role for Color

Stone structural and decorative materials were important in easing the bathroom door open to other voices in the color conversation. The success of stone textures and colors supported other efforts to bring a stronger feeling of natural tranquility into bathroom décor. Some colors are directly stone-sourced, especially in the grey, beige, sand and tan families. Many colors are better described as stone-related or stone-adjacent. Many of them are dark—blues, reds and greens which might be found in tidal pools, streams and ponds, woodland hollows and stormy skies. Paler shades appear to be derived from an add-white strategy; the results therefore more resemble a color described as “light red” than one called “pink.” Marine blues, mossy greens and woody browns carry large amounts of black in their composition and can show strong grey tones in paler forms. The natural darks appear in ceramics and accessories, taking gradual steps away from strict black-white contrast without moving into bright or artificial shades.

New Looks at Light

Additional natural reference points are addressing other unappealing aspects of clinical décor. The most important sensation they reintroduce to bath décor is one of warmth. Again, stone counters contributed early insights. While artificial bathroom light needs to be abundant, adjustments that let light gleam and glow rather than glare help restore the tranquility of a bathroom intended as a sanctuary from a hectic daily life. Matte and soft-seeming finishes, along with several new finishes under the general rubrics of “honed” or “leather” reflect both natural and artificial light in more subtle ways than highly-polished, brightly-reflective surfaces. In some cases the difference is produced by distinct characteristics within the stone itself; in other situations, new and innovative polishing techniques can make stone surfaces responsive to light in a variety of ways.

Wood

The appeal of warmly reflected light, the reintroduction of natural colors and materials, and several technological advances made possible the gradual reintroduction of wood into bath décor. Thanks to advances in waterproof finishes and improvements in moisture-reducing room-ventilation, wood has become an integral part of the new mixed-materials approach to bathroom design. New finishing techniques increase wood’s resistance to water damage; engineered wood products make it possible for wood to take on new design roles. Dark and medium tones predominate over Scandinavian-spa light finishes. Wood appears in floors, vertical siding (like tub and vanity facings), cabinetry and free-standing furniture. Free-standing pieces paying homage to antique furniture add the warmth of home to design.  Like stone, wood surfaces reflect natural and artificial light in new, soothing ways.

WHAT WILL KEEP WORKING

Few bathrooms are large enough to contain all the design ideas you like. What the growing store of new decorative materials makes possible is new ways to express the most important of those ideas. The variety can offer some challenges—how do you make the best use of stone, glass, wood, ceramics and other new materials, all in one design?  The options are abundant, and the good news is that homeowners are welcomed as active planners of their spaces. Trusted existing products and new ones share several goals: beauty, high durability and easy maintenance. Seek out experienced designers and contractors to develop your specific decorative plan. Whether you are anxious to make your bathroom more supportive of your health and fitness goals or create a relaxing sanctuary sustained by the peace of nature, plan to look at the new mixed-material opportunities for beautiful bathroom décor.

New Arrival: A-Tech Invisible Light Side A & B

A-Tech Invisible Light is a 1.2cm porcelain slab with a polished finish. These man-made Italian slabs are created using a combination of clay, sand and other natural materials to recreate patterns, designs and veining of natural stones. A-Tech Invisible Light is a durable and versatile product perfect for kitchen countertops, bathroom countertops, flooring, backsplashes and many other indoor and outdoor applications.

New Arrival: Silver Roots Marble

Silver Roots is a gorgeous 2cms marble with a cool silver-grey background and splotches of whites, creams, and lighter greys. This stone’s beautiful cracks of gold and cream contrast perfectly with the silver-toned background and add a sense of ancient royalty or importance to the stone. A stunning option for almost any indoor design application.

New Arrival: Louise Blue Marble

Louise Blue is a gorgeous 3cms marble slab with beautiful blue, turquoise, green, cream, beige, rust, and brown hues. These natural colors all swirled together give the illusion of an aerial shot of the planet from which this stone was excavated. A truly unique, show-stopping stone to use on a variety of indoor or outdoor projects.