A: Granite is a crystaline, igneous rock which is well suited for kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, shower walls, tub surrounds, fireplaces, and more!
Granite is a plutonic igneous rock. For those non-geologists out there (ie, most of us) that means that it’s a rock that forms by being cooled under the surface of the earth. Unlike a volcanic rock (think the black rocks all over Hawaii’s surface), granite forms when magma cools below the surface. Hot magma moves up from deep within the earth and either comes out the surface (like in a volcano) or it forms what is called a pluton, a mass of molten rock below the earth’s surface, which cools slowly. This slow cooling allows crystals to form. The slower the pluton cools, the larger the crystals get. This is why granite has all those beautiful crystals you can see in it.
Those crystals are made up of many minerals – mostly quartz and feldspars. Quartz is a very hard mineral, which is why granite is so durable and well suited to use in your home! Different minerals give granite its different colors. Feldspars range from whites to greys to pinks, Hornblende is black, Ovaline is a common green mineral, Garnet is a beautiful deep red, Kyanite is blue, and there are hundreds of other minerals which give granite its wide range of colors.
Not all granites are created equal. Some have more quartz and other hard minerals in them than others, some have larger crystals and more flaky minerals like micas which make them more prone to scratching and/or more porous. In general though, granites are all quite scratch and stain resistant. This stain resistance can be improved by using a penetrating sealer to block any pores and help prevent stains from soaking in. Make sure your counter tops are sealed before or soon after install as well. We go one step further and seal our counters twice! Over time, the sealer will wear away and you may need to reseal. Read more about that here. Some stones are so dense that they will likely never need to be resealed (these are often dark colored or black granites).