Granite Color and Texture Options
From Northstar Granite Tops in Minneapolis and St Paul
The main minerals in granite are quartz, feldspar, hornblende and mica. These minerals are extremely hard, making granite one of the hardest materials found in nature, second only to diamond. Because granite is so hard, it resists scratching, chipping, and discoloration due to heat, making it ideally suited for countertops in your home. It can be used in virtually any application in your home, including kitchens, baths, bars and fireplaces. Because granite is a natural product, there are an almost endless array of colors and patterning available. Some display small crystals that are uniform and consistent throughout the slab, while others show elegantly flowing movement or large, random crystallization patterns.
Granite now comes in several different finishes, including, polished, honed, leather-ed, antiqued, flamed, and brushed.
Engineered stone is 93% quartz material, with the remainder being a mix of resin, glass, dyes, etc. It is a manufactured product that is very hard, and resists scratching, chipping, and staining.It is well suited to the same type of applications as granite; however, it is not suitable for outdoor applications due to its susceptibility to UV light. There is a broad assortment of colors available, including colors that are not typically found in nature. Because the material is “man-made”, the patterning is uniform and consistent throughout the slab.
Engineered quartz comes in polished and honed finishes.
Marble is composed of calcite, making it relatively soft. Pure marble is almost entirely white though it can vary in color from white to black. Impurities such as silica, iron oxide and graphite give it its characteristic rich veining, clouding and color. Because marble forms under varying degrees of heat and pressure, it exhibits a broad range of denseness and hardness.
Marble is typically specified for use in baths and as fireplace surrounds due to its relative softness. Generally, marble is not suitable for kitchens because it does scratch and chip easier than granite or quartz. However, because marble develops a patina as it ages in the home, it can make beautiful “old world” looking kitchen countertops.
Soapstone is a relatively soft, non-porous stone that is susceptible to scratching. As with marble, soapstone is valued for its “old world” look and is suitable in this context for kitchens, baths, bars and fireplace surrounds.
Other Natural Stones
Limestone, travertine, and onyx are all quite soft materials making them generally unsuitable for kitchens countertops. The principal use of these materials is for vanities, fireplace surrounds, and various accent area applications.