Granite: What Are Its Characteristics and Uses?

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Granite is an intrusive igneous rock formed by magma beneath the Earth’s crust.

It solidifies and cools underground, then comes to the surface as a fully formed stone. It’s high in quartz, feldspar, amphibole, and mica, but each stone has these minerals in different concentrations.

The concentrations of these minerals affect the color and texture of the granite, which varies substantially between stones.


Characteristics of Granite

Each granite stone varies in color in response to mineral concentrations Those high in feldspar are predominantly pink or red, while mica-heavy granite stones are dark brown or black.

Quartz-heavy stones can be clear pink, white, or black, and granite with a lot of amphiboles is almost always predominantly black. Granite is mined from quarries, then sold to contractors, engineers, and the general public by Granite Distributors.

While granite varies significantly in color, all high-quality slabs have a few things in common. They’re all extremely durable, strong, and hard.

All granite slabs also contain small and large grains of crystals. This characteristic is reflected in the stone’s very name. The word “granite” is derived from the Latin granum, which means grain, or seed.

This quality is part of what gives granite its sophisticated appearance.


Common Uses for Dimensional Granite

Dimensional granite is removed from quarries in large slabs. Granite is the most common type of dimensional stone produced in the United States. It makes up around 42% of all dimensional stone production.


Granite as a Building Material

Granite slabs are used extensively in building construction. Large commercial or municipal buildings are sometimes made out of large granite stones, but veneers applied to traditionally framed structures provide the same appearance at a lower cost.

Since it’s natural moisture- and fire-resistant and strong enough to withstand just about any type of inclement weather, granite makes a fantastic building material.

It’s just as common these days to find granite inside of residential homes as it is to see it adorning the outsides of municipal buildings. Granite countertops have been popular for decades, and some homeowners are even installing granite floors and other fixtures.


Other Uses for Dimensional Granite

Dimensional granite can also be carved into statues, headstones, monuments, and memorials.

This natural material’s ability to withstand not just the elements, but also the test of time, makes it perfect for any application where longevity drives material choice.

It can also be smoothed to a high polish, giving it an edge over some of the other stones used for these purposes.


Uses for Crushed Granite

Not all the granite removed from quarries gets turned into dimensional slabs. Some of it gets crushed into small pieces and used for other purposes. These include:

  • Road construction
  • Creating railroad beds
  • Minimizing or eliminating soil erosion
  • Building driveways and walkways
  • Ornamental landscaping applications

Since granite is a natural material, it forms a perfect complement to residential and commercial landscapes in its crushed form. It’s both an eco-friendly and budget-friendly alternative to man-made soil covers.


The Bottom Line

Granite is one of the most popular stones in the United States. Its durability, strength, and unique beauty all serve to set it apart from man-made materials both in its dimensional form and as crushed stone.

Those who want to use granite as a building material should make a point of finding a distributor who deals in large dimensional stones and slabs to increase their chances of finding the perfect piece.

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