What You Don’t Know About Granite
Granite is one of the world’s most recognizable and widely used stones, desirable as a home improvement material for several reasons. Often synonymous with countertops, it can be used in your bathroom, kitchen, lobby, or bar as walls, flooring, countertops, and backsplashes. Granite is a versatile material that can transform a space to fit a wide range of décor while remaining durable and resilient.
Since this stone has been around throughout recorded history, much is known about it in terms of its chemical composition, best uses, and maintenance. However, there are still a few facts about granite that you might not realize. Keep reading to learn just a few things that you didn’t know about this age-old favorite:
Granite is a “plutonic” rock
No, this doesn’t mean it came to Earth from Pluto, plutonic just means that granite forms deep underground. In fact, granite is the main component of the earth’s crust!
If you’ve ever stared at a granite slab or granite flooring, you may have noticed flecks or grains of white in the stone. Even the name “granite” comes from the Latin work, “granum,” or “course grain.” However, the flecks aren’t granite at all, in fact, they are pieces of a mineral called feldspar, which is found in many stone varieties and can be identified in over 60% of the stones found on earth’s surface, making feldspar the most abundant mineral on earth.
Built for strength and longevity
As far as natural materials go, you may remember that diamond is the earth’s hardest surface. On the Mohs Scale of Relative Mineral Hardness, diamond has a hardness of 10, the scale’s highest designation. In contrast, granite has a relative mineral hardness of around 6-7. Here’s a list of relative mineral hardness for some other common stone materials to put things into perspective:
- Soapstone: 1
- Slate: 2.5 – 4
- Marble and Limestone: 3 – 4
- Travertine: 4 – 5
- Sandstone, Granite, and Natural Quartz: 6 – 7
So when MARBLELIFE comes in to remove a scratch from your granite countertop, guess what they use – yes – diamonds. Diamonds are required to grind granite, as they must be harder than the original substance. For the same, reason very little will actually damage a granite surface, so while a surface may dull, it is often incorrect to indicate it needs to be re-polished (a common mistake made from undertrained practitioners seeking to apply a recipe to a problem, versus an understanding of the surface and their crafts, something that sets MARBLELIFE a part).
It supports Lady Liberty
Granite is so trusted and durable that the Statue of Liberty, that beacon of hope and freedom for so many in America, actually stands on a granite pedestal, likely to last millenniums.
You know what we’re talking about. That Olympic sport that we’re all pretty sure isn’t a real sport, but still can’t manage to hide our intrigue with. Yeah, granite is used in the manufacturing of those stones.
So what’s the deal?
If Granite is so tough how come MARBLELIFE does so much Granite Countertop services? Are people dancing on their counters?
As you can imagine every Superman has his kryptonite. It may be difficult to hurt your granite but you can still “cover it” and squeeze things “into” it via the natural pores that exist in every natural product. These are easy to protect against, once you are aware of the potential problems and how to avoid them.
As tough as granite it is, one can still hide its surface and disrupt its appearance if not treated and cleaned appropriately.
Sealing Granite – Avoid seeing Superman in a moth eating uniform.
No one wants to see Superman in a moth eaten uniform. Similarly, granite is no longer beautiful once stained, it just looks dirty and mistreated, raising unnecessary and unfair questions on the owners housekeeping practices.
Granite may look solid, but it like all natural products has pores throughout the stone capable of absorbing materials introduced on the surface into the stone. This can result in staining or said more plainly a change in the color of your stone. The biggest culprits are water, kitchen oils from food preparation during meat cutting or frying, and human oils from people leaning up against the edge of the counter.
The explosion of varied types and colors of granite uses this very fact. Today virtually all granites have been “resonated,” a process by which a polyester resin is drawn through the stone using industrial strength vacuum. The purpose is to improve the granites flexibility so that it can sustain travel from the quarry to your counter with reduced chance of breaking due to its natural brittleness. This also serves to fill the pores, so if your counter is less than 5 years old, it has less chance of staining, however unless the pores extend throughout the granite there will remain unfilled pores on the granite surface available to absorb liquids, oils and spills. For this reason, it is recommended one seals and the reseals your granite every other year. This inexpensive process protects the surface from staining a discoloration. Sealing works. Stain removal however cannot be guaranteed, is a long process, and therefore very expensive and frustrating. Sealing is your insurance on a very expensive premium surface.
Cleaning Your Granite – Your Greatest Risk is Self-Created.
Who would layer the Mona Lisa under multiple layers of wax and call it cleaning? Or apply an acid to eat away dirt, without thinking it might damage the painting? Yet, we treat mother nature’s master piece the unique slab you selected in this very manner.
Cleaners are not created equally. In fact, cleaners are often engineered without an understanding of where they are going to be used, or the longterm effects for this use. WE KNOW, we are the company called in more than any other company in the North America to diagnose and address granite problems. In most cases, it is self-inflicted and requires a specialized treatments to restore. What is sad, is these situations are 100% avoidable.
If you need to seal your granite, why would we use a cleaner that will dissolve away the sealer? An acid containing cleaner will reverse a typical sealer’s chemistry re-opening the granite to staining risks over time. Of course everything is fine until the last bit of seal is dissolved, and the granite is no longer protected, so a product you have used without issue for ages can be a ticking time bomb. Generally, one should not use vinegar, lemon juice of tile cleaners on granite for this reason.
Your granite was polished to a mirror flat consistency to reflect light and provide a clean glossy appearance. Why would you then cover it with a soft wax that can be smudged, scratched, can trap dirts, and build up and dull the surface over time? You wouldn’t…knowingly. Yet cleaners sneak waxes into their cleaners to create the appearance of clean, based on our uniquely American linkage with gloss to cleanliness. Where does the wax go? Did you intend to deposit a chemical on the surface you are preparing food? Why do you have to work so hard to maintain that appearance if the surface is hard as granite and naturally glossy? You don’t. You are now a slave to the wax introduced to the surface. Break the madness, and stop slipping wax onto the surface.
Not sure about your cleaner?
All glass cleaners have waxes designed to fill in microabrasions on glass surfaces – not needed on granite. Wood cleaners do the same. What you need is a cleaner that JUST CLEANS. MARBLELIFE Granite & Quartz Cleaner was developed for this very purpose, so that our clients can maintain their granite without creating the need for a future service call. We will come, and be happy to assist you, but we would rather solve your problem before it begins.
Caring for this versatile and unique stone
As you can see, the only limits to granite use are the human imagination.
Keeping this time-tested stone in top condition via regular care and maintenance can help ensure it stays strong and naturally beautiful for the long haul.
Treat your granite to the best in stone care services and products with a complete granite care cleaning set from MARBLELIFE.
This means your biggest concern is just appropriate SEALING and CLEANING.
Our MARBLELIFE® Granite Countertop Clean & Seal Care Kit has everything you need to maintain your stone from start to finish.
For any additional granite or other stone-related questions, call your local MARBLELIFE office and our knowledgeable Stone Craftsmen will be happy to assist you.