Granite, A natural surface that is simple to care for, granite is an igneous stone that comes from volcanoes that are rich in silica. Granite countertops, granite vanities, and granite tile are one of the most commonly used surfaces in home construction and home remodeling projects. Granite is also used throughout the world in commercial buildings such as hotels, malls and office buildings.
Granite is extremely popular due to the magnificent clusters of color that it provides along with its durable hard surface. There are thousands of types of granite available and each one has its own unique pattern and color combination. Granite is ideal for interior and exterior use. For exterior use, acid rain does not affect granite. Granite is especially popular for kitchen use. It is resistant to almost all acids and it rarely scratches due to its hardness.
Quartzite, usually a metamorphic rock composed of firmly cemented quartz grains. Most often it is white, light gray, yellowish, or light brown, but is sometimes colored blue, green, purple, or black by included minerals. It results from the metamorphism of pure quartz sandstone.
Although most quartzites are metamorphic, some are sedimentary in origin, resulting from cementation of quartz sandstone by groundwater solutions containing pure quartz. Quartzite is suitable for kitchen and bathroom applications. However, like marble additional care may be required to maintain the look and beauty of your new counters.
Soapstone, (also known as steatite, or soaprock) is a talc-schist, which is a type of metamorphic rock. It is largely composed of the mineral talc and is thus rich in magnesium. It is produced by dynamothermal metamorphism and metasomatism, which occurs in the areas where tectonic plates are subducted, changing rocks by heat and pressure, with influx of fluids, but without melting. It has been a medium for carving for thousands of years.
Soapstone is suitable for kitchen and bathroom applications however due to its high talc content can be prone to scratching. But have no fear … most scratches can be easily removed with fine grit sand paper or Scotch Bright pad with a bit of water and a little elbow grease.
Marble, is a rock resulting from metamorphism of sedimentary carbonate rocks, most commonly limestone or dolomite rock. Metamorphism causes variable re crystallization of the original carbonate mineral grains. The resulting marble rock is typically composed of an interlocking mosaic of carbonate crystals. Primary sedimentary textures and structures of the original carbonate rock (prolith) have typically been modified or destroyed.
There are many types of Marble available and each has its own unique appearance. Pure white marble is the result of metamorphism of a very pure (silicate-poor) limestone or dolomite protolith. The characteristic swirls and veins of many colored marble varieties are usually due to various mineral impurities such as clay, slit, sant, iron oxides, or chert which were originally present as grains or layers in the limestone. Green coloration is often due to serpentine resulting from originally high magnesium limestone or dolostone with silica impurities. These various impurities have been mobilized and recrystallized by the intense pressure and heat of the metamorphism.
There are marbles that will provide higher glosses than others such as high calcite marbles and there are marbles that provide a more honed appearance such as high magnesium based marbles. The higher the calcite content, the better the shine you will get. Furthermore, high calcite marbles provide a reflection with more clarity.
Onyx, is formed of bands of chalcedony in alternating colors. It is cryptocrystalline, consisting of fine inter-growths of the silica minerals quartz and moganite. Its bands are parallel to one another, as opposed to the more chaotic banding that often occurs in agates.
When considering the finer details of your newly planned kitchen or bathroom project, quality often comes at a price, so it is important to give plenty of of thought as to which materials are going to be right for your budget, design and décor. Also important to note that Onyx is rather fragile and not suited for a busy household. Onyx is prone to staining, etching, scratching, chipping and cracking so the best way to ensure that your investment is safe is to look but don’t touch.
Onyx is similar to marble and comes in many different natural earthy colors. When polished, it gives a luxurious sheen and can provide an expensive yet unparalleled decorative finish for any kitchen, bathroom or fireplace surround. Onyx is an amazing material that is often back lit for maximum focal impact, and is a popular choice for bar-tops and flooring as well.