Dec 28th 2020 / General Stone Care
Granite for Countertops
For one to classify a rock like granite, it should be of the igneous type. Igneous rocks are the final product formed after magma, a hot molten mass, joins. Some igneous rocks form deep in the earth when the already existing solid masses are composed essentially of silicate – known as intrusive or plutonic rocks – and formed under high temperature and high-pressure conditions.
Some other granite types result from the solidification of the earth’s layer that is immediately below the crust where living organisms live. It solidifies after it gets exposed to the surface by a volcanic eruption. They are known as extrusive or volcanic rocks, have a basaltic composition, and are formed under high temperature and low pressure.
However, this does not necessarily mean that all the existing basaltic rocks were primarily formed in an environment that has low-pressure. The majority of these basaltic rocks came into existence in environments with high pressure than granite.
That magma type can also generate other types of rocks, and they are mostly basaltic. It forms these rocks when the magma does not erupt to the earth’s upper surface but gets injected into cracks or layers in the earth’s crust at different depths. The rocks generated are hypabyssal, and the conditions supporting their formation are high temperature and medium pressure.
The actual granite and the rocks with almost the same properties are entirely igneous rocks of the intrusive or plutonic type. Their composition is mainly that of quartz containing other minor minerals like biotite mica and potassic feldspar.
Granite is any rock that you can polish and will not achieve a similar appearance to onyx, travertine, or marble. The majority of the granite rocks are undeniably of the plutonic/igneous types, but their physical and chemical structure can differ. Some rocks are true granites like the alkaline feldspar granite, granodiorite, and granite in the igneous rocks group. There are also rocks like charnockite, monzonite, anorthosite, diorite, gabbro, syenite, tonalite, etc., that are classified as granite rocks but are not real granite.
There are also igneous rocks grouped under granite, but they have a volcanic origin meaning they have basaltic composition and have a significant difference from true granite. Hypabyssal rocks are also of the same basaltic composition. Under the hypabyssal rocks group, there is also the granite porphyry. Some metamorphic rocks like gneiss, granulite, migmatite, and mica schist are still classified under granite but are not true granite rocks.
There are many reasons that we do not classify these “granite” as true granite rocks. First, most of them are of dubious geographical classification and origination, and they contain either acid-sensitive materials and/or calcite binders. In such cases, these stones won’t perform like how you would expect granite rocks to perform. It also heightens the fraudulent attribute of the selling practices of these so-called granite stones that do not have the same properties as the true granite stones and rocks.
From a practical point of view, some scenarios allow selling these “granite stones,” for example, selling the stones for use in situations that require no future restoration procedure. It’s also appropriate to sell the stones for situations that competent stonemasons will process on the premises.
Despite all its challenges, granite makes for very excellent flooring material. However, when installed in the form of ready-to-use tiles, it should only be in residential areas and in families that are not too active. The
aim is to install them in places that won’t call for replacement because restoration is a big problem. Repair of such tiles either is too expensive, and many times, there isn’t a real-life solution to fixing such tiles.
As we have seen, finding an excellent professional restoration contractor is an uphill task. It is not to say that you can’t find one. However, you have to be careful since many such restoration contractors who claim to be professionals in their jobs are not. They may deliver visually acceptable results by messing around with some relatively easy chemistry because most stones are classified as marble.
They don’t know that depending on a geographical location, such stones may not be marble. Fingers crossed that whatever chemical they use rhymes with the marble or the results will be terrible. And even if the restoration is visually impressive, it is far from perfect!
Unlike marble, granite offers no room for those make-believe professionals. The reason behind this is its hardness and essentially its imperviousness to acids. Therefore, it is hard for these make-believe artists to mess around with chemicals to create a visually appealing result. Basically, with granite, they either have to be a professional with the actual knowledge of what they are doing, or they won’t even bother to show up for the job.
Furthermore, another challenge that faces granite restoration jobs is that a good number of qualified professional contractors tend to decline such granite restoration offers. It leaves a minimal number of skilled mechanics ready to do granite restoration jobs. It ultimately makes such kind of restorations costly, at triple or even more than the amount charged for marble repairs. Well, that’s assuming that you even get the actual professional to do the job for you.
Another challenge posed by granite is that ‘granite’ exists in different shades and forms, and we highly doubt that you’ll even find the right professional contractor who can fix every shade of granite to perfection. For these reasons, using even a factory polished granite in high traffic areas should be dealt with with great caution. Therefore, before installing any granite, it is essential to ensure that it can be repolished.
Furthermore, there should be a readily available mechanic that can work on such repolishing and, if possible, one who can give a cos estimate for repolishing the whole floor.
Despite all these downsides associated with reinstalling granite, it is still the best flooring material out there. A ground-in-place granite floor is undoubtedly the best virtually free flooring material money can buy.
Better yet, when you find a professional contractor who can install the floor on-premise, you automatically find a pro who can care for it as well. Furthermore, on-premise installation means that the finish is being produced with equipment in a real-life situation, unlike when manufactured by a machine. It makes it easy for the professional to recreate the entire process during restoration.
Another problem associated with specific granite flooring is its porosity. Real granite is usually about twice as porous as an average marble. However, several granite types are less porous such as the Black Granite,
Blue Pearl and Emerald Pearl because they are syenite. Besides, there are other forms of granite and
quartzite that are more porous than real granite. It would be best if you abstain from installing such forms of granite in areas with too much humidity, such as in shower stalls or areas prone to staining, such as in kitchens.
As stated earlier, even the best penetrating sealers are not 100% effectively capable of preventing staining. Even the best attempts are short-lived, and one can only know when it’s time to reseal the stone when it begins staining, even art, which time some consider it too late.
It is worth mentioning that one can significantly reduce the high absorbent rate of granite through a process known as resigning. Resigning can, at times, work even permanently to halt the absorption rate of granite. Resigning is not a new concept, but rather a fairly old one. It may be considered old when compared to other procedures such as granite slabs. However, it is an excellent procedure that is regarded as an upgrade to stone performance.
In all other normal situations, such as limestone and marble, a good impregnator sealer can minimize the porosity. However, it is advisable not to rely plainly on a sealer alone. It would be best if you were careful with the choice of products you use to clean such floorings or kitchen countertops. A lot of products are counterfeit and are capable of ruining, such as floorings and countertops. You have to ensure that you only use cleaning products that are recommended and gentle on such surfaces. Additionally, it would be best to install toppings such as granite in areas where accidental spills are not likely to happen. Doing so will save you a lot of trouble and money.
However, most people purchase “granite” that is finely polished, in a mysterious high-tech way, in a far factory that uses high-quality machinery. Once you install the so ready-to-use “granite” on your floor, it will eventually require you to carry out a restoration procedure. The dreams that the brokers sold to you are all fake, and you are left to pay the price.
In such a case, only a real wizard with mysterious powers would re-polish the stones to achieve the desired results. Many professionals admit that they have encountered a “granite” stone at one point in their career that one cannot re-polish using the available means in real life.
“Granite” has its advantages and some disadvantages too. However, one disadvantage poses a serious challenge, and there are minimal chances that you can solve it. It brings the need for the buyer to do some thorough investigation before deciding to purchase. In another blog, we will discuss these advantages and disadvantages.
“Granite” is a hard substance; in fact, it is harder than marble. It can also withstand harsh chemicals, making it ideal compared to calcite-based stones as it seldom gets damaged by acids. Moreover, it is a wonderful material; for use on kitchen flooring and countertops. However, keep in mind that they are less tough than true granite and may stain easily.