Granite 101: Everything You Need To Know About Granite Countertops

Silver Creek Granite Countertop

When it comes to choosing granite countertops, there are plenty of options with many choices of color, veining, and patterns. The beauty of granite countertop comes from its natural appearance – it’s something that only the beauty of nature could create. Since there are no two slabs of granite that are exactly the same, your new countertop will provide your home with unique appeal. The classic elegance of granite countertops in your space, is matched with its outstanding durability. The granite countertops you select for your next project might be the last countertops your home will ever need.

Vermont Granite Quarry
Vermont Granite Quarry

Where is Granite Quarried?

Ever wonder where your granite countertops come from? Formed as long as 300 million years ago, granite is formed by volcanic activity over 10 miles below the surface of the Earth. As magma cools and rises to the surface, it solidifies over one million years until it becomes granite. Granite can be found in many countries around the world, from Brazil to China to India. Granite is also found in several US states such as Texas, Massachusetts, Indiana, Wisconsin, Georgia, and North Carolina. These are the top producing states of granite in the U.S., accounting for 64 percent of the country’s production.

The largest open-face granite quarry on the planet is located in Mount Airy, North Carolina. Mount Airy is known locally as “The Granite City.” The North Carolina Granite Corporation was established in 1743, and has been quarrying granite there for more than 150 years.

What is Granite Made of?

Many minerals make up each slab and give it the unique colors we see in different types of granite. Granite is a combination of minerals and rocks, primarily Quartz, Potassium Feldspar, Mica, Amphiboles, and a trace of other minerals. Granite that is high in Potassium Feldspar will have rich red and pink highlights. Granite that contains Mica will produce brown or black veining. Below is a list of the minerals and what colors they usually produce in granite slabs.

  • Quartz – milky white, clear, translucent
  • Feldspar – white to gray
  • Potassium Feldspar – red to salmon pink
  • Biotite – black or dark brown color
  • Muscovite –  metallic gold or yellow color
  • Amphibole – black or dark green color

The combination of these minerals typically make up most of the colors we see in a granite. The variations throughout the granite are considered desirable since they give the slab character and make it different from others. It is important to select your slabs quarried from the same stone to make sure that the color and amount of veining are similar.

Which Granite Is Perfect For You?

Choose the right granite color for your kitchen or bathroom space and use it to make your home truly unique and timeless

Classic White Granite

White granite is a true classic. Its unique, timeless beauty will bring sophistication to your space and design. White granite can be incorporated into almost any style or design. There is no white granite that is perfectly white like man-made stones. White granite countertops are true gems and will include many different shades, veining, and flecks containing hues of different colors.

Bold Black Granite

Black granite is an excellent choice for anyone who likes solid colors and striking contrasts. Black granite can be a bold choice, perfect for a modern design. Black countertops can be combined with just about any color cabinet. It is all about your own personal style. Black granite is very versatile and has countless options in a kitchen remodel.

Neutral Brown and Gold Granite

Brown and Gold granite countertops provide wonderful earthy, natural options for your design, There is a wide variety of brown granite, from light tans to deep rich dark browns. These beautifully colored countertops have proven to be popular with homeowners and designers alike. Neutral design is on trend, while not as stark as a white kitchen, light beige or brown countertops bring warmth to your space. Brown countertops will look gorgeous with light wooden cabinets, or the ever popular white.

Elegant Gray Granite

Gray granite countertops can be beautifully understated and wonderfully elegant. Gray granites, like other granite choices, will have a variation of colors and veining. Many of these grays are simple and subdued, while others are can make a statement. Gray granites are very popular in contemporary and transitional kitchens. These granites are also used to today by designers as another neutral option similar to brown.

Exotic and Rare Granite

Exotic granite can drastically improve the appearance of your space. This type of granite will definitely become a focal point and create a statement in your home. Keep in mind that because exotic granite is rare, it will be priced higher than other types of materials. But it can be well worth it. Granite is not only durable but is also strikingly beautiful. The exotic granites shown here are Altair, Blue Bahia, and Van Gogh. These Exotic Granites are more than likely a special order product.

Popular Granite Finishes Available


A polished finish is the most popular choice for homeowners. This finish makes the granite countertop surface very shiny and glossy. The natural qualities of the stone are showcased beautifully with this finish making the colors and textures sparkle. The polished finish is the easiest surface to clean and maintain. This finish also helps to seal the surface helping to prevent moisture from seeping into the stone.


The honed granite finish, which can also be called be called matte, creates a very smooth surface without any gloss. There is no buffing done in this process, which leaves the stone with a flat finish. The disadvantage to the honed finish is that it makes the granite more susceptible to staining. Honed Granite will require resealing more frequently.


A leathered finish is a relatively new style that is an appealing trend to homeowners. This finish is created by taking an already honed surface and adding texture to it by running diamond-tipped brushes over it. Leathered finishes are more subtle and sophisticated. These type of countertops seem to retain the natural color of the stone more than a honed finish. A leathered finish because of its texture will hide spots, fingerprints, and other everyday occurrences.

Granite Maintenance

Do: Seal Your Countertops Sealing your granite countertops is essential. Granite, like many natural stones, is porous. If you let a spill sit for too long it could stain. Sealing your granite is a great way to protect it from unnecessary exposure. A sealer is necessary to keep your counters looking their best and to protect against scratches, stains, and overall dullness.

Do: Blot up Spills Immediately Acidic substances like wine, coffee, fruit juices, tomato sauce, and sodas could potentially stain your granite countertops. Cooking oils may also leave a stain if not wiped up.

Do: Use a Cutting Board Avoid the possibility of scratching your granite countertop and protect your knives. Cutting on your granite countertops will dull and damage your knives’ edges quickly. You should never use your granite counter as a cutting board.

Don’t: Use Generic Cleaning Products Generic cleaning products such as bleach, glass cleaners, and other degreasers contain acids, alkalis, and other chemicals that will degrade the granite sealer leaving your granite countertop more vulnerable to staining.

Don’t: Sit or Stand on Your Countertops Unlike a laminate countertop surface, granite, marble and quartz solid surface countertops are very hard, but not flexible.Also, they DO NOT have a plywood backing. So when too much weight is applied in one area, it could cause a crack.

One thought on “Granite 101: Everything You Need To Know About Granite Countertops

  1. Alice Carroll says:

    Thanks for the reminder that different kinds of finish can also be possible with granite countertops. I’d like to get new countertops soon because there are times when I feel like the design of my kitchen feels a bit dated. A makeover would be nice to have very soon.

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