Granite and Marble Facts
Whether building a new home or remodeling, granite or marble counter tops add real estate value. Natural stone offers unparalleled beauty, permanence, and longevity that adds true value to the home. Among homeowners, marble and granite are two of the most popular natural stones today. They are quarried into 35 ton blocks and then sliced into slabs generally 3/4″ or 1-1/4″ thick. The faces are finished by either polishing or honing to reduce staining and bring out the natural beauty of the stone. The slabs, measuring roughly six feet high by nine feet long, are then carefully crated and shipped to fabricators worldwide who cut them into the final product.
Benefits of Granite and Marble Counter tops
- Classic beauty
- Easy Maintenance
- Superior Quality
- Increased Home Value
Choosing the Right Stone
Choosing a natural stone is a very personal decision, much like selecting furniture or artwork. The primary factors to consider when selecting granite and marble counter tops are color, finish, and usage.
Natural stones are quarried from all over the world and vary in color drastically depending on the type of minerals and deposits are in the earth. Granite and marble range anywhere from white to bold jewel tones, and multi-colors. Marble typically has swirls and thin veins of contrast, where as granite typically has speckled or pebbled patterning. More exotic granites have a beautiful combination of large veining with a speckled background. Natural stone has an organic and varied patterning that cannot be found in man-made materials such as solid surfaces. Each slab has wonderful character and is a one-of-a-kind piece of art.
Granite and marble counter tops can be polished, honed, or brushed:
- A polished finish has a glossy surface that reflects light and enhances the color and veining in the stone. This finish is typically used on counter tops, walls, furniture tops, and floor tiles.
- A honed finish is a satin-smooth surface with soft, subtle light reflection. In addition to counter tops, it is generally preferred for floors, stair treads, and other areas where heavy traffic will wear off a polished finish.
- A brushed finish is a textured surface that is smooth to the touch. It is also known as leather finish because the brushed process emphasized the natural movement and veining in the stone that resembles leather. This finish is best for light-use counter tops, treads, and walls.
Harder natural stones resist more abrasion. The Measurement of Hardness (MOH) rating measures natural stone’s strength on which 1 is the softest and 10 is the hardest. On the MOH scale, most marbles rate 3 and quartz-based granites rate 7. Granite is the third hardest natural stone on Earth. It is an igneous rock (volcanic) that has been formed over millions of years under tremendous pressure. Softer stones such as marble require using less abrasive cleansers and routine dusting to prevent scratches.
Granite offers durability and easy maintenance making it ideal for kitchen counter tops and other heavily used surfaces including table tops and floors. With it’s striking array of colors, granite is the most popular choice for homeowners. Ideal for kitchen counter tops, outdoor kitchen counter tops, floors, and other heavily used surfaces.
Marble adds sophistication and elegance with its wonderful appearance, superior characteristics, and rich color. Ideal for foyers, bathrooms vanities, floors, tub decks, shower surrounds, and fireplace hearths
Limestone is popular in hotels office buildings because it is beautiful, inexpensive, and easy to fabricate. Most limestones have consistent color and pattern throughout the stone lending itself well to those who do not want a lot of color and pattern. Ideal for interior and exterior wall cladding, interior and exterior floor tiles, and furniture tops.
Travertine is a type of limestone and one of the most popular natural stones for current-day living. This stone typically has consistent color but can have a large range of pattern and movement. Travertine has a more raw and relaxed style that is easy to live with and maintain. Ideal for interior and exterior wall cladding, interior and exterior floor tiles, and bathroom vanities.