Granite is one of the most popular stones used for architecture, construction, and decoration. Specifically, it is a coarse-grained igneous rock composed mostly of quartz, feldspar, mica, amphiboles, and other minerals. The large grains found in this particular stone are large enough to be seen with the naked eye, and can contain a variable amount of colors, from grey to white, to even pinks and reds. Granite is considerably known to be the most known igneous rock due to its commonality found all around Earth. Many famous natural exposures are created from granite, with examples such as Yosemite Valley, Mount Rushmore, and Pikes Peak in Colorado. But what is so great about granite, and why should it be used for interior design? Here are 8 facts about granite to prove its importance, beauty, and durability.
1. Granite is Completely 100% Natural
Granite is created from volcanic magma, so it can tolerate temperatures of 212°F. It is the main component that makes up the Earth’s continental crust and can be found in many mountain ranges in areas known as batholiths and core areas of continents such as shields. It is the most abundant rock in the Earth’s crust, which makes it one of the stronger materials, but not the strongest. Granite has been around for as early as 300 million years ago, with reports of granite construction dated to the Ancient Egyptians.
2. Granite was responsible for one of the first commercial railroads in the US.
Since granite’s value as a decorative and construction material is extremely useful, it ended up being used as part of the creation of America’s first commercial railroad in 1825. Named ‘The Granite Railway’, this railway connected Quincy, Massachusetts, and a dock on the Neponset River.
3. Granite is one of the hardest materials in the world.
With granite being used for many interior designing needs, it should be noted that it is not easy to cut. On the Mohs scale ranging from 1 to 10, 10 being the hardest, granite lands at an 8. For reference, a diamond is 10 on the scale, therefore known as the hardest known material in the world. However, granite is porous, which means there are tiny spaces in between the material. These are called pits, and although they do not weaken the slab, it does give it the distinctive features that are commonly found in granite.
4. The highest granite mountain in the world is Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas.
This mountain is the third-highest mountain in the world behind Everest (limestone) and K2 (gneiss). The name means “The Five Treasures of Snows”, where it contains 5 tall peaks that represent the 5 repositories of God – gold, silver, gems, grain, and holy books. It is recorded to have an altitude of 8,586 meters, or 28,169ft.
5. Granite can handle excessive heat.
Since granite can handle up to 480°F, and in some cases have been recorded to withstand up to 1200°F. When installing a kitchen countertop, one must consider sealing the granite in order to prevent it from damage against heat and other substances. Sealing is important for preserving the finish, but it should not alter the appearance of the granite and should be resealed at least once every couple of years, depending on the granite.
6. Granite is radioactive (but you’re safe!)
Similar to many other types of natural material, granite does contain some small traces of uranium, but in rare cases, can contain up to 20 times the normal amount! Although this may sound a little terrifying, the soil in a garden omits more uranium than granite, so have no fear. Granite is one of the safest materials to use when researching home renovation materials.
7. The density of granite is about 162 pounds per cubic foot, about two-and-a-half times heavier than the same volume of water.
Granite is the main component of continental crust. Basalt, the main component of oceanic crust, is much denser, about 187 pounds per cubic foot. Sandstone densities are variable, but typically about 137 pounds per cubic foot. By weight, granite is approximately 50 percent oxygen. Pretty interesting!
8. No granite slab color is the same!
When granite forms, the final color and design will depend on the combination of these materials. You will often see granite that is predominantly gray, white, pink, yellow, or black because it has more of one of the minerals above than others do. For instance, granite that has a large percentage of muscovite will be predominantly yellow. In general, granite will have anywhere from 20% to 60% of quartz and from 10% to 65% of feldspar, which are white or transparent. The remainder of the mix may be 5% to 15% muscovite or biotite, with smaller quantities of amphiboles and potassium feldspar. The final mix will determine not only the color of the granite, but its overall durability as well. In most cases, the higher the quartz content, the more durable it is.