What is granite?

 

Granite is formed when magma deep within the earth cools and solidifies.  Feldspar and quartz make up all granites, and impart a lighter color to the stone.  A host of other darker minerals are usually present as well; these contribute to the signature grainy character of granite.  It is available in a wide range of colors, and slabs often include quartz veins, color variations, and other features that make your countertops distinctive and original.  Color, crystal size, and mineral composition are dependent upon where in the world the granite was formed.  Granite is porous, and should be sealed properly to prevent penetration by water or oils.  When properly prepared, granite is not only beautiful, but also incredibly strong, making it an ideal choice for a countertop surface. 

 

Where does granite come from?

 

Granite is formed over long periods of time (thousands of years!) when magma slowly cools and crystallizes under the earth’s surface.  The process of cooling is responsible for the formation of large crystals, and also for the high strength of the stone.  Granite is found all over the world, beneath the crust of the continents, where it slowly forms from large masses of magma.  The foremost granite exporting countries of the world are Spain, Brazil, India, China, and Norway, though granite is virtually ubiquitous on our planet.  Geologists are able to determine the origin of any particular piece of granite based on the color and mineral composition. 

 

How is granite quarried?

 

Granite is mined from quarry sites, which are areas where natural erosion or human excavation has exposed large masses of granite.  Massive blocks are cut from the quarry using wire saws, drills, and explosives.  These blocks weigh around 40,000 pounds.  The blocks are transported to a processing facility, where they are cut into slabs, polished, and sealed.  Finished slabs are then carefully loaded into shipping containers, which are shipped to the destination port, and eventually moved by railroad to our suppliers in Denver and Grand Junction. 

 

What are the different types of granite top finishes?

 

The four basic finishes for granite countertops are polished (most common), honed, flamed, and brushed.  Each finish adds distinctive visual and tactile elements to your counter.  Polished finishes are great for kitchens because they require little maintenance and bring out the deep hues of the granite.  They appear shiny and glassy smooth, and may be reflective in some lighting.  Honed finishes are less shiny, but the texture is smooth.  They are more prone to staining than other finishes, but can be a beautiful finish with appropriate cleaning and maintenance.  Flamed finishes are achieved through an intense heating and cooling process, which deforms crystals and results in a highly textured surface.  The look of a flamed countertop is unique, and they provide great slip resistance and reduced porosity.  Brushed (or antiqued) finishes are created by brushing the surface of the stone to create heavy texture and a worn-in look.

What edge details do you offer?

 

We are able to created and polish eased, beveled, penciled,

half and full bullnose, chiseled, or o’gee edges along with a

variety of custom edge details. 

 

Eased - Our most common edge profile, eased edges retain

the maximium thickness of granite and are smooth to the touch.

 

Penciled - A penciled edge is rounded to the diameter of standard

pen or pencil. 

 

Bullnose - Large rounded edges create a distinctive look and a

soft feel.

 

Chiseled - Creates rustic charm and a natural look.

 

 

Visit us at our Ouray location to see samples.

 

What are the advantages of granite countertops?

 

Natural beauty – created deep in the earth

Heat resistant – formed from magma, withstands high heat

Scratch resistant – harder than steel

Durable – your stone is likely thousands of years old already

Variable pricing – beautiful stones for all budgets

Unique – no two pieces of granite are the same

Color fast – granite countertops will not fade with time

Adds value - homes with granite countertops have higher resale value

 

How should I maintain my granite countertops?

 

The last step in our installation process is to seal your new countertops.  This step is important, because the natural porosity of granite makes it susceptible to staining.  After our installation and final sealing, your granite is protected and ready for use.  You will need to re-seal your countertops occasional.  How frequently you seal is dependent on the porosity of your particular stone and on your cleaning habits.  Generally, light colored granites are more porous, and will need sealing more frequently (yearly).  Darker stones are less porous, and some very dark granites are actually non-porous and do not require sealing.  Acid-based cleaners will break down sealers, so frequent use of such cleaning agents will warrant more frequent sealing.  We recommend using a pH neutral cleaner to increase the longevity of your sealer.  To test your stone, wet an inconspicuous area with small amounts of both water and oil.  Wait five minutes, then clean and dry the area.  If the stone does not darken, your seal is intact and you do not need to re-seal.  If the stone has darkened, then it is time to reseal.  We recommend using Miracle Sealants 511 Impregnator Penetrating Sealer® or a similar product. 
When spills occur on the countertop, wipe them up before the liquid has a chance to penetrate the porous surface.  Some liquids, especially acidic ones, will penetrate even a well sealed countertop given enough time.  Clean your countertops with a soft cloth and water, or use a disinfectant type cleaner that is pH neutral and made for use on granite. 

 

Who should I contact for countertop repair?

 

We are equipped to repair most countertop damage that may occur.  The most frequent incident is chipping, which we are able to repair using a color-matched polyester epoxy.  We are also able to repair and refinish old seams, or cut and match entirely new pieces.  Because of the high finish of surface polished pieces, we are unable to polish out deep scratches.  In this rare case you will need to contact a granite restoration specialist.

 

How long can I expect my granite countertops to last?

 

You can realistically expect your countertops to last a lifetime, or much, much longer.  The granite from which your countertops were fabricated has probably been in existence for thousands of years already.  Granite is a very impressive stone.  It is heat resistant to 900˚ Fahrenheit and is harder than steel.  This means that your hot cookware or cutlery won’t damage your countertops.  Granite is brittle, so it will need to be properly supported.  Avoid using your countertops as a work-bench or dance floor, and your countertops will outlast most of the other parts of your home. 

 

What colors of granite are available?

 

Given its excellent durability and heat and scratch resistance, granite makes an excellent countertop material.  But one of the foremost reasons to choose granite is its incredible natural beauty and aesthetic appeal.  Granite is a visually adaptable material, and a multitude of choices are available to tailor your stone to your desired look.  Different colors, edge details, and surface polishes can lend an elegant and stylish look to a room, create a casual, warm ambience, or suit any particular stylistic preference you may have. 

            Granite slabs are available in a massive array of colors and patterns.  Each unique slab is available for viewing online at http://graniteimports.net/ or in person at Granite Imports in Grand Junction or Denver. 

 

What is the fabrication and installation process?

 

The first step in the process begins before your slabs arrive.  We visit your site, take measurements, and create templates with extensive notes to ensure that your granite countertops fit perfectly.  Your slabs are delivered to our shop in Ouray, or we make a special trip to pick them up.  When we have the slabs in the shop we do an initial layout, match colors, and assess the aesthetic qualities of the stone.  This process includes a thorough check for beautiful mineral variations to include in the counters, and other markings or fissures to exclude.  Here we also layout matched backsplash and check for pattern continuity between pieces.  After the layout is set we carefully move slabs to the bridge-saw, where the countertops begin to take shape.  Individual pieces are then moved to work tables, where our expert fabricators create your custom edge detail and polish, cut and polish sink holes, and create all of the subtle complexities to match your custom installation.  When the pieces are finished, and the overhanging portions are polished underneath, they are gently loaded onto an A-frame and truck or trailer.  Upon arrival at your site we recheck the level of cabinets, and assure a clear passage for the massive pieces.  We then set the pieces, level as needed, and seam with color-matched polyester epoxy.  We use silicone to affix countertops to the cabinets, adhere backsplash to the wall and countertop, and seal the corner formed between your backsplash and counter.  We then install sinks and faucets, and finally clean and seal your new countertops.       

 

How do granite countertops prices compare to those of other materials?

 

The cost of granite is comparable to other stones and durable surfaces.  Consider that the final price of any product is determined by the cost of the material, fabrication, installation, and location.  The following table presents a typical price range for several countertop options. 

 

Product Price Range ( per square foot )

 

Granite

$50 – $200

Marble

$50 – $200

Engineered Quartz

$50 – $200

Concrete

$75 – $200

Solid Surface

$40 – $150

Soapstone

$50 – $200

Laminate

$15 – $50

 

What thickness of granite should I select for my kitchen or vanity?

 

Although slabs are available through our suppliers in both 2 and 3 centimeter thicknesses, we work almost exclusively with 3 cm.  The additional depth adds a structural element to your countertops, as well as giving the countertop a more massive and substantial appearance.  Two cm material is suitable for some applications, for instance, a well supported limestone bathroom vanity with only 1” overhangs.  We are also able to match and laminate strips on overhanging edges to give the appearance of 6 cm thick countertops.  This option is worth exploring if you are interested in achieving a bold and prodigious appearance.

 

What is the first step to owning granite countertops?

 

We recommend that you begin by looking at photos of granite slabs on our suppliers websites to determine your color preferences.  You can find these resources on our Choosing Countertop Material page. Before you make a decision, it is wise to visit the supplier slab yard in person to get an up-close look at those stones that appeal to you.  To assist with matching, it is helpful to bring a sample of cabinetry, flooring, paint chips, or other elements of the room where the countertops will be installed.  Feel free to contact us to get an initial quote or with any questions that may arise about the process.

 

Who can answer my questions?

 

Please contact us at 970-318-6996.  We are happy to answer any questions that you may have and discuss your countertop options. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ben Lockard (970) 318-6996