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Granite FAQs


Granite Vanity Tops Stacked What is granite?
How is granite formed?
What is the difference between granite and marble?
How resistant to heat is granite?
Can granite crack?
Can granite chip?
Can there be pits in a granite surface?
Can granite get etched?
Does granite stain?
Should granite be sealed?
Q. What is granite?
Granite is an igneous rock having a visible crystal structure. Granite is made up primarily of quartz and feldspar (which are harder than steel). These give granite the lighter colors, like whites and pinks. This background is accented by darker minerals, such as muscovite, black mica biotite and the black amphibole hornblende. This is why granite has a salt-and-pepper look.
Granite forms the majority of the earth’s crust and is among the hardest building materials known. In quarries, granite is cut using diamond because that is the only stone sufficiently hard enough to cut it. After granite is quarried, cut and polished, it can be made into vanity tops, sinks, tubs, pedestals, benches, fountains, lanterns, oil lamps, birdbaths, flower pots, shelves, table inserts and other products.

Q. How is granite formed?
Granite is formed under the earth’s surface by the crystallization of once molten material under conditions of extreme heat and pressure over eons. Solid rock melts under very high temperatures, and water acts as a catalyst. During the slow cooling process, the larger crystals grow big enough to be visible.

Q. What is the difference between granite and marble?
Granite is a very dense material made deep in the earth’s core, while marble is formed from calciferous sediments associated with the sea floor. Both materials turn into stone over eons, but the minerals in these two stones make them react differently to conditions in the home and outdoors.
Granite has small flecks and grains of different colors, and it has varying crystal sizes and colors. Granite also has veining, or streaks of different colored crystals. Marble is crystalline and is made up of white calcite. Marble is made up of far fewer elements than granite, and is much softer.

Q. How resistant to heat is granite?
Granite will not be affected from exposure to ordinary sources of heat in a household. Granite is easily resistant to heat up to temperatures of 480°F, and can even likely withstand temperatures up to 1,200°F. To prevent possible damage, avoid extreme changes in temperature, such as placing something cold on an area of a granite counter right after placing something hot on that area.

Q. Can granite crack?
Not with normal use. Transportation, installation, and settling or weathering could possibly cause a crack. Do not stand on or drop anything on granite surfaces. If needed, a crack can be repaired using some ground granite and an adhesive.

Q. Can granite chip?
Only in severe cases of abuse. If a chip occurs, save the pieces and have a professional fix it by mixing the ground granite with epoxy.

Q. Can there be pits in a granite surface?
The crystal structure of granite will always have small pits, which are spaces between the crystals. They are not apparent because of the polishing that is done to the surface. Applying sealant will help lessen any appearance of pits.

Q. Can granite get etched?
Etches are rings or dull spots caused by an acidic liquid coming into contact with the surface. Due to its composition, granite is naturally highly resistant to etching. If needed, clean the granite surface and reapply sealer and polish. Common liquids that can cause etching include glass cleaners, alcohol, juice and coffee.
Granite will dull with age and from contact with acids, abrasives, or coarse cleaning pads. In this case, refinish. Test the porosity of your granite by placing something wet on it for five minutes and then wiping it up. If the granite changes color in that area, then apply sealant.

Q. Does granite stain?
Some colors may show signs of moisture if a spill is not cleaned up right away. Water left on a counter for some time may spot when the water is wiped up, but will then usually disappear when the granite is completely dry. Common staining liquids include liquid hand soaps, coffee, red wine and oil. If any of these substances comes in contact with the granite, wipe up the spill as soon as possible. For tougher stains, you can make a poultice of a fine absorptive non-acid cleaning powder, which should remove it.

Q. Should granite be sealed?
Not all granite needs to be sealed, but generally it benefits from a sealing product. Typically, a resin treatment is applied to the granite at time of manufacture. We recommend that you apply a stone sealer after the granite is installed, and then periodically apply sealant after that. Sealing is important for preserving the finish, and will not alter the appearance of the granite.
After granite is sealed, it is easy to maintain. Granite can still stain, however, if spills are not cleaned up right away. Sealing and polishing are not difficult, and they help resist the absorption of spills.
The absorbency of the granite — and its exposure to water or weathering — will determine how often sealing is needed. We recommend sealing granite at least every few years, and some areas might need it more frequently. The less you reseal, the more the granite will show an aged look, which some people prefer.