Granite from Brazil, Italy, Spain, and China is Coming to Your Kitchen
The next time you’re admiring your beautiful granite countertop, take a moment to think about the process it went through in order to reach your kitchen. We don’t always consider all the time and work that goes into growing the food that we eat, or building the cars we drive or the things in our homes. But the history of your granite countertop is pretty awe-inspiring, and can give you an added appreciation for what is already one of the most beautiful and durable substances in your kitchen.
Granite starts out as magma. Forced up through cracks and crevices in the earth by tremendous underground pressure, it cools slowly as it rises. It’s because granite is made up of lots of different minerals, forced together by this pressure, that it has its unique and one-of-a-kind beauty and consistency.
For as long as people have been quarrying granite, the challenge has always been to extract as much of it as possible without damaging it. This is especially true when trying to create beautiful and seamless granite countertops, which require that the granite exist in large, unbroken slabs. In order to do this, granite quarries begin by breaking off a section of granite wall that can be up to 99 feet long by 20 feet wide. Gas flames are used to cut narrow channels to define the section, while holes are drilled more than 20 feet deep behind the wall and filled with explosive cables. Once the cables go off, the wall is broken free from the rest of the mountain. Watching a crane or excavator topple one of these enormous wall sections is a jaw-dropping sight!
These sections are then cut into blocks, each one of which weighs more than 45,000 pounds. From there the blocks go to someplace where they can be processed and cut into slabs. The process of cutting and polishing granite is complex, involving a variety of machines from gang saws to machines that use bricks to polish by abrasion. It can take three full days for a gang saw to cut a block of granite into slabs, and for a slab to be polished to a high gloss it runs through a polishing machine where it’s subjected to as many as 19 polishing heads of varying grits.
From there, the slabs are cut to specifications using diamond-tipped blades and water jets. Templates are laid over the slab to ensure that openings for sinks, faucets, and other accoutrements match perfectly. Some cuts are made using computerized numerical control (CNC) machines, while others are made by hand. After all the cuts and finishes are complete, the slabs are polished, sealed, and finally ready for installation in your kitchen.
That’s a big journey, from molten magma beneath the earth’s crust to your beautiful new kitchen countertop! Anything that went through such a lengthy and arduous process deserves to be taken care of, which is why you should always use high-quality granite cleaning products on your granite countertops!
Fortunately, while getting your granite countertops into your kitchen may have been quite a lengthy process, taking care of them doesn’t have to be! All it takes is a few simple steps and the right tools, such as Rock Doctor’s full line of high-quality granite cleaning products, which you can find at fine retail stores like Lowe’s Home Improvement, as well as participating Do it Best, Ace Hardware, and True Value locations.