Granite and Marble Counter Tops

Granite and Marble Facts
Granite or marble counter tops add incredible real estate value to homes. These two popular natural stones offer exquisite look, durability and longevity. The naturally available forms of granite and marble are cut in to huge blocks (weighing up to 35 tons). But, to make them suitable for fixing as counter tops in homes, they are generally sold in the form of slabs which are 3/4″ or 1-1/4″ thick. To bring out the natural beauty of the stone, the faces are finished by either polishing or honing. These processes also reduce staining of the stones. The slabs, measuring roughly six feet high by nine feet long, are crafted by fabricators as per the tastes of the customers.

Benefits of granite and marble counter tops
Classic beauty
Durability
Easy maintenance
Superior quality
Affordability
Increased home value

Choosing the right stone
Choosing a natural stone is a very personal decision, much like selecting furniture or artwork. The primary factors to consider when selecting granite and marble counter tops are color, finish, and usage.

Color
Natural stones are quarried from all over the world and vary in color drastically depending on the type of minerals and deposits are in the earth. Granite and marble range anywhere from white to bold jewel tones, and multi-colors. Marble typically has swirls and thin veins of contrast, whereas granite typically has speckled or pebbled patterning. More exotic granites have a beautiful combination of large veining with a speckled background. Natural stone has an organic and varied patterning that cannot be found in man-made materials such as solid surfaces. Each slab has wonderful character and is a one-of-a-kind piece of art.

Finish
Granite and marble counter tops can be polished, honed, or brushed:
A polished finish results in a glossy surface, which makes the color and veining in the stone look more appealing when the light gets reflected. Counter tops, furniture tops, walls and floor tiles, usually have a polished finish.
A honed finish results in a satin-smooth surface. This finish is soft, and has subtle light reflection property. This finish is appropriate for the areas where frequent traffic wears off the polished finish of the stone. It is generally preferred for counter tops, stair treads and floors.
A brushed finish is a textured surface that is smooth to touch. It is also known as leather finish because the brushed process emphasizes the natural movement and veining in the stone that resembles leather. This finish is best for light-use counter tops, treads, and walls.

Usage
Harder natural stones resist more abrasion. The Measurement of Hardness (MOH) rating scale measures strength of natural stone in the range of 1 to 10, where rating of 1 signifies softest and 10 signifies hardest. On this scale, most marbles rate 3 and quartz-based granites rate 7. Granite, an igneous rock (volcanic) is the third hardest natural stone on Earth. This stone is formed over millions of years under tremendous pressures.

Granite offers durability and easy maintenance, making it ideal for kitchen counter tops and other heavily used surfaces including table tops and floors. With its striking array of colors, granite is the most popular choice for homeowners. Ideal for kitchen counter tops, outdoor kitchen counter tops, floors, and other heavily used surfaces.

Marble adds sophistication and elegance with its wonderful appearance, superior characteristics, and rich color. It is deal for foyers, bathrooms vanities, floors, tub decks, shower surrounds, and fireplace hearths.

Limestone is popular in hotels and office buildings because it is beautiful, inexpensive, and easy to fabricate. Most limestone slabs have consistent color and pattern throughout the stone lending itself well to those who do not want a lot of color and pattern. It is deal for interior and exterior wall cladding, interior and exterior floor tiles, and furniture tops.

Travertine is a type of limestone and one of the most popular natural stones for current-day living. This stone typically has consistent color but can have a large range of pattern and movement. Travertine has a more raw and relaxed style that is easy to live with and maintain. It is deal for interior and exterior wall cladding, interior and exterior floor tiles, and bathroom vanities.