Granite is an igneous rock that is light in color with patches of various color. It is made by the slow process of crystallization of minerals within the earth. The various colors of granite indicate which minerals are present. Granite is used in many things we use and see on a daily basis, such as floor tile, countertops and even cemetery headstones and markers. There are five states in the US that have granite quarries. They are Georgia, South Dakota, Massachusetts, Idaho and New Hampshire. Granite is a heavy stone, weighing 13 – 30 pounds per square foot, depending on the thickness.
Granite rock is cut in a quarry into slabs or block and has been used in the building industry for thousands of years. When you look around you, especially is large cities with big buildings and historic areas, some of the buildings have granite exteriors, others may have granite columns on the exterior or floors and interior walls on the inside. You will even find granite used for countertops and floors throughout a house as well as vanities and showers in bathrooms. Granite is also used for outdoor benches, stepping stones and headstones and monuments. The uses for granite are almost endless.
Granite resists weathering so it is a great exterior product. When granite is polished, it makes a very pretty surface thus it is often used for countertops. Granite costs more than man-made products, but because of its durability, it is often used for a high-end look and feel.
Granite is used in construction on road projects, foundations and wherever crushed stone would be used because of its durability. When using granite in road construction, most of the crushed granite is made when the granite slabs are being cut from the quarry.
The color of granite is determined primarily by the minerals within the makeup of the rock. You will find several different colors of granite, with the most popular being grey, white, red and pink. For instance, pink granite is made up of quite a bit of orthoclase feldspar. A grey, clear or smoky granite, is primarily made up of either muscovite or quartz. Granite also has dark spots throughout it which are associated with the various minerals found in the rock, black may indicate either hornblende or biotite minerals presence. The main components in granite are alkali feldspar and quartz. The lesser known components may include such minerals as aplite, alaskite, monzonite, plagioclase and mica.
As mentioned earlier, granite has been used in the construction industry for thousands of years and is still popular today. Whether it is being used in road construction, building construction, or home building, granite is a versatile and durable rock that has a wide variety of uses. When used outside, because of its durability, granite mostly remains unpolished, rough-cut and natural. Road construction, bridges, monuments and anything outdoor are great places to use granite because of its weather resistance, strength and ability to resist abrasion. Those same characteristics also make it a great product to use inside as well. Use of granite inside includes such areas as tile floors, fireplace & fire pits, countertops, vanities, benches, stair treads, as well as decorative finishes and touches throughout the building.
Granite is considered to be a dimensional stone meaning the slab or block can be cut into various widths, thicknesses and lengths. Depending on the job, granite is primarily custom cut.
The commercial terms used by those selling granite encompasses a wider variety of stone, thus the sellers of decorative stone have a wider variety of stones they call granite. While some of these stones are legitimately granite, the commercial sellers also include marble, quartz, schist, pegmatite and labradorite. To most of us, we can’t tell the difference, but to a petrologist (someone that studies rocks) not all that is called granite is in fact real granite. It may have some of the characteristics of real granite, but may be lacking some. For instance, marble is not quite as hard as granite. Some other stones that may be called granite are peridotite, scoria, pegmatite, obsidian, gabbro and basalt.
Granite is the most widely known and recognized decorative stone. Well known places that feature granite sights are: Yosemite, Mount Rushmore, Stone Mountain, White Mountain and Pike’s Peak. While these are not considered to be a dimensional (cut into blocks or slabs) stone, these are natural occurring enhanced uses for granite.