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Granite doesn’t always spring to mind when you think of the most magnificent stone surface. However, with an array of colours, this incredibly durable stone can create a really striking impact.

Properties and formation of granite

The word granite actually comes from the Latin granum. This refers to the course grained structure of the stone. As an igneous stone it is formed from magma or lava. In this case the stone is formed when the magma penetrates existing rock, crystalises and then solidifies.

You may not realise that granite occupies around 80% of the earth’s crust. As an abundant stone, it is incredibly useful for construction due to the vast size of the rock mass.

The structure of granite means that it is an very dense stone. On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness it scores a 7. This means that compared to the softer limestones and marble it is much less susceptible to scratching. It is this that makes granite an excellent choice for flooring in a heavy traffic area and for worktops too. The added bonus in the kitchen is that granite is also heat resistant.

Finishes, colours and use

Granite is composed mostly of three minerals called quartz (grey, glassy looking), feldspar (usually white or pinkish), and shiny black or pale mica. The proportions of these minerals will vary and this creates a wonderful array of colours. For example higher quantities of feldspar create pink and red granites that are truly stunning.

Granite is also an incredibly sustainable choice for your home. Not only is it abundant all over the world, often little finishing is required to create a beautiful worktop. Compared to man-made countertops, granite can be sourced locally and requires little additional manufacturing process before installation. Of course, there is options for flamed, sandblasted and lots of other finishes but often look best simply polished. Its durability and recyclability only further add to its green credentials.

Maintenance

One of the key selling points of granite for a worktop is its low maintenance requirements. As with all natural stones, it is important to keep on top of cleaning. One of the most common issues that we see with all worktops is a build up of limescale in hard water areas. Wiping up sitting water and regular cleaning is the best way to prevent this occurring. Although granite is acid resistant, unlike marble and limestone, we would still advise using a stone-safe cleaner. Fila Brio is a fantastic ready mixed pH neutral detergent spray which can be used for all surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom. Fila Refresh is an ideal cleaning option for use on polished worktops. If used frequently it will clean, build up and maintain levels of stain protection as well as enhance the polished finish.

Professional services

As a natural stone, granite is porous. After installation, the stone will have been sealed to protect it. The sealant that has been applied helps to protect the internal structure of the stone so that any spillages will sit on the surface and not cause lasting damage. Maintaining this sealant will ensure that your granite worktop lasts forever. If you are not sure whether your worktop needs to be resealed then a simple water droplet test can help. Just pour a small amount of water onto the surface and observe how long it takes to absorb. If the stone quickly darkens then it may be worth considering a professional clean and reseal. It is worth noting that the porosity of granite does vary and so not all granite will require the re-application of a sealant.

Over time too, polished granite can lose its shine. We have a range of services to restore granite worktops and floors to bring them back to life again and you can read more about this here.

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