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FAQs For Granite Counter Tops: Questions & Answers

Where does granite come from and how is it quarried?

Granite is quarried in different locations throughout the world. Hundreds of colors and patterns are available from several such countries as Brazil, India, China, South Africa, and the United States. Typically, blocks are extracted from the granite factories that are located high in the mountains or sometimes underground. These blocks, averaging 9 feet by 5 feet by 5 feet deep in size, are transported down the mountain to the fabrication plant. Once at the plant, these blocks are either cut into tiles or slabs. Slabs sizes usually vary depending on overall block size. Average slab sizes are usually 9 feet by 5 feet and are typically 3/4″ (2cm) or more in thickness. After the tiles or slabs are cut, they are sent through a large multi-head polishing machine, which puts a natural shine on the face of the stone using abrasive compound bricks or diamond polishing discs. Tiles are usually beveled as a final finishing step. Several other finishes can be applied to the slabs or tiles at this time such as a honed finish or, on some granite, a flamed finish. By far, the most popular finish tends to be the high polish.

What colors are granite slabs and tiles available in?

Granite is available in a wide range of colors and veining. There are beige colors, emerald green tones, reds, blacks, violets, mauves and a host of others. The color of the stone is dependent upon what region of the world the stone comes from. Some colors have been in use for hundreds of years; others are fairly new to the market. Some stones are available in slabs and tiles; others are only available in either slab or tile but not both. The size of the quarry, its location, accessibility, and demand for the material will affect pricing. Labor costs in various countries also affect material costs. Technology is not the same in all countries, so beware of stones manufactured with inferior and outdated technology.

What should I know about color variation & veining?

Variations in color and veining should be expected when it comes to natural stone. No two pieces are the same, making natural stone so unique. In our slab yard, granite slabs are kept in “bundles