What have so many people got in their kitchen which was originally white hot molten magma pulsing through the core of the earth?
Clever you, if you answered granite. You would be absolutely right. Granite is what is known as an igneous rock which means that it originated in the center of the earth where temperatures are – almost – out of this world! Most of it is found more than a mile below the earth’s surface.
Granite has incredible strength and the only materials that are harder are diamonds, rubies and sapphires. (You may wonder why you can’t buy a granite ring). Because of the extraordinary depth of the original molten material the process of forming granite took hundreds of millions of years.
The intense heat and the various pressures involved mean that the rock that you see in the kitchen comes in every color of the rainbow and no two pieces are alike. Just as no two individuals have the same fingerprint, no two pieces of granite are ever the same.
Granite is virtually indestructible. It is so hard that prehistoric glaciers grinding their way over it were not even able to scratch it. This means that you never have to worry about chopping your vegetables or meat on a granite counter top; the worst thing that will happen is that you will blunt your knife.
Wherever and whenever stone of such hardness was required, people turned to granite. It was used in the pyramids, it is used in all sorts of modern construction sites and if you are a fan of curling you will know that it’s extreme hardness and durability is such that it is used for the curling stones.
Granite in the Kitchen
What is interesting is that granite has become the most popular material for use in kitchens in only the last twenty years. Northern Virginia real estate agent Ron Cathell said recently that it is interesting how quickly granite has become the material of choice. Back in the 1990’s it was regarded as a luxury product. Then a dozen or so years ago developers began using it in mid-range houses.
Today, says Cathell, it is almost impossible to sell a house if hasn’t got a granite counter top – not just sell it, but even rent it. Desperately searching for the right words, he said that it is almost like trying to sell or rent a house that doesn’t have a bathroom.
So why is it that so many people now require a granite counter top? Obviously there is the big advantage of its imperious nature. Water cannot penetrate it and it is, for want of a better word, rock solid. It will probably last forever. In addition, once it has been treated and sealed it is totally stain resistant. There is virtually no maintenance – just wipe it clean with a damp cloth.
Attack from the sharpest of kitchen knives will leave it unperturbed. Put a hot pan on it and it will remain equally oblivious. Not only that, but from a hygiene point of view any self-respecting germ will give up almost instantly since there are absolutely no crevices into which it can crawl and hide.
The Myriad Colors
Then there is the fact that there is a myriad of colors and patterns available. Because of the way in which the rock was originally formed no two pieces will ever be alike and the range of colors is limitless. It follows that if you want a counter top that is unique then granite is your first choice. You can be absolutely certain that your counter top will be as different from your neighbor’s as chalk is from cheese.
Of course, granite doesn’t just have a use as a kitchen counter top. It can be used in the bathroom as a vanity and around open fireplaces as a mantle. Not only that, but it can be used outdoors as a pool surround and in fountains and monuments. It will add a touch of luxury to staircases and tub surrounds. Wherever you need something that is totally hard wearing and eminently beautiful granite is the answer.
Since granite will never wear out it is also the case that it can be re-used even when the building in which it was originally housed has long since fallen into disrepair. You can be certain that it will never end up in a landfill, always having a useful next purpose.
As a natural stone, granite can vary quite greatly in quality. When considering a purchase it is best to look for a supplier who has a large inventory from which you can choose. Don’ t be afraid to ask questions. A good supplier will be only too happy to discuss the parentage of the stone he has in stock and whether it will be suitable for your purpose.
This article was written by Peter McCain, who loves granite in the kitchen.
If you’d like to get more information about granite and all the projects you can do with it, then please be sure to visit the Granite transformations website.