Nothing highlights form and function more in a kitchen than a granite countertop. Every homeowner needs and wants a big, pristine granite countertop in their kitchen. They are known for providing timeless quality. Getting your own dream granite countertop is quite a process though, and worth having some knowledge of next time you’re in the market for one. Let’s look at how granite countertops are made and makeit into your kitchen.
Granite is a very common igneous rock that, if you remember your high school science classes, is rocks and minerals that are molten. This means that over thousands of years they were pushed closer to the Earth’s surface and then cooled over time to produce what we know as granite. Granite is mostly a mix of feldspar and quartz. The color and pattern variations of the granite are due to other rocks or minerals mixing into the magma. The size of the grains is also determined by how slowly the magma cools.
Once a geologist locates some granite, a quarry site is set up. This takes place after the geologist takes a core sample to determine the quality of the rock. Low-quality granite is quarried for rock bases and other lower-quality landscaping materials, whereas high-quality granite will be quarried for products like the countertops you want in your kitchen.
Weathering, erosion, or other geological processes literally push the granite rock to the surface for us. Sometimes even earthquakes and tectonic plate shifts push it to the Earth’s surface.
To get the granite into transportable sections, small holes are drilled into a sample in the shape of the desired granite block size. Then, explosives are placed into these holes to create just enough of a blast to remove the section of granite from the bedrock. Despite using explosives, this must be done delicately to not break the granite block.
The engineers who are in charge of the explosives have to be careful to ensure the falling blocks land on a bed of soft sand to avoid cracking or splitting. Earthmovers then move these massive raw blocks of granite onto heavy-duty trucks, where they are transported to another facility.
Most granite is imported to the United States and is often shipped from Brazil (the world’s largest source of granite) or other countries including Italy, India, and China. These countries have the large skill facilities, local expertise, and advanced machinery needed to cutting granite into slabs. Although some granite is quarried in states like Vermont and Virginia, these are mostly only the one color of granite that is typically used in building materials. It’s also on a much smaller scale than what is typical overseas.
Large saws with diamond-coated blades are then used to cut these massive granite slabs into custom sizes, like kitchen countertops. The edges of the cut granite come out smooth but then need polishing. They are polished with CNC machines. These are normally huge computer-powered stone routers, although some suppliers may still use small hand-held stone routers. These routers are also used to cut the granite into custom shapes.
The recent technological advancements in diamond wire cutting saws and other tools in the industry have increased the speed and accuracy of the custom cutting process, leading to more granite styles available on the market that is also less expensive for homeowners.
Similarly, with materials like wood, granite needs to be polished with progressively finer pads for a quality final product. This process continually polishes the top of the stone and brings out the natural character of the granite.
After polishing, the granite slabs are put into group bundles, usually, in the order, they were cut from the block. This is for consistency in pattern and color within the bundle.
Once they make it to our shores, they are sent to granite showrooms and suppliers, like Capitol Granite! We then take your measurements and finish choices and then cut the slabs of granite into your desired size and shape to fit your home. This may be done with a CNC or a water-cutting tool. We then seal the granite, do one last polish, and install it!
When you want the latest styles and highest quality granite countertop installed for your kitchen, look no further than Capitol Granite. In the Greater Richmond, VA area, you can’t beat our level of service or expertise.
Call us today to get an estimate.