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Where Does the Best Granite Come From?
When it comes time to upgrade a space with granite surfaces, one question always comes up. Where does the best granite come from? Like many other materials, granite comes in a range of quality and types and choosing the best often comes down to the origin of that granite.
The best granite comes from India, Italy, China, Canada, and Brazil. Each of these countries has quarries that produce granite in various grades for residential and commercial use. Brazil is most notable for producing unique granite that comes in distinct blue tones.
Table of Contents
- Grades of Granite
- Identifying Granite Quality
- Granite Thickness
- Visual Appearance of Granite
- Granite Composition and Hardness
- Condition of the Granite
- Choosing Your Granite
- Where Does the Best Granite Come From?
- Marble vs. Granite
- Related Questions
Grades of Granite
If you are on the lookout for the perfect granite for your project, it can be difficult to narrow down the choices that are available to you. Options can seem unlimited at times because of all the colors and patterns that are available.
It helps to know that granite is broken down into a few primary groups – Level One, Level Two, and Level Three. The first level is the entry-level granite, the second is a higher grade, and the third category is where you will find some of the hardest and most beautiful granite slabs available. Of these grades, further subdivisions are also made to create even more grades, but these can be seen as levels within the three main grades.
In general, the quality of granite comes down to its composition and appearance. Pay attention to the colors, pitting, markings, veins, hardness, and origin. All of these aspects come together in different ways to create very different stones.
Entry-level granite is the type that is commonly turned into tiles for apartments and other low-cost projects. Slabs are also sold but Level One granite tends to be thinner and softer making it less viable in many circumstances, compared to the higher grades. Level One granite also features some of the most basic colors and patterns.
Level Two granite is considered mid-grade and is a good middle-ground for many people. The cost is reasonable, hardness is good, colors are often vibrant, and patterns in this grade of granite can be spectacular.
The highest grade of granite is Level Three. It is in this grade that you will find some of the most unique as well as some of the rarest colors and patterns that are available. When you are looking for premium granite that will make your project truly unique, slabs among the highest grades are the best place to look.
Identifying Granite Quality
Depending on where you get your granite, the grades may or may not be divided into three distinct groups. Some sellers will have three levels of quality, some even more subdivisions, and still others none at all. In the case where granite is not classified in a clear and identifiable way, it is always good to know how to spot the best granite on your own.
Granite is mined from the earth in large slabs. These massive slabs are then transferred to manufacturing facilities where they will be cut into more manageable pieces. In order to maximize one slab, some manufacturers cut very thin chunks. Unfortunately, this can reduce durability.
The first thing that you can do to check the quality of a granite slab is to look at the thickness of the slab. Slabs that are of better quality are generally thicker. To ensure that you get the most out of the durability that comes from stone, the slab of granite should be at least 1 inch thick.
Visual Appearance of Granite
The appearance is another indicator of quality in granite. The best granite is the most unique in appearance. The colors will be more vibrant, the contrast much sharper, and the designs and veins that occur in the stone will take on a character of their own.
It is important to note that it isn’t always easy to tell the difference if you are unfamiliar with what is possible. All granite can be quite beautiful, even granite at the entry-level grades. To understand when you have found something special, you need to shop around.
Granite Composition and Hardness
The best granite is the least porous. All granite is made up of a variety of materials and lower grades generally include softer materials that make the granite more porous as a result. When granite is porous, the overall appearance degrades significantly over time.
To ensure that you are getting granite that is less porous, put a few drops of lemon juice onto the surface and observe. You are looking to see whether the lemon juice absorbs into the granite slab or simply sits on the surface.
If the lemon juice takes a long time to absorb, or doesn’t absorb at all, this indicates the granite is less porous, will last longer, and will require less sealant. Alternatively, if the juice absorbs almost immediately, it is very porous and will require frequent coats of sealant to survive.
Condition of the Granite
The condition is another factor that you should always check. When shopping for granite, you also want to pay close attention to detect an unevenness, dents, scratches or dings to the surface. Even minor fissures can turn into large cracks with the possibility of the entire slab snapping in half during or after install.
New granite should be strong, durable, and free from nicks, scratches, cracks, and all other signs of damage. The highest quality granite will be tough enough to endure dings and scratches. Because of this, if new granite appears damaged, this is a major red flag.
If you are looking at a slab of granite that has any damage at all, there is a chance that the granite was not carefully processed, transported, stored, or it may have been cut too thin.
Choosing Your Granite
Once you have found granite that suits your preference for quality, there are a few other factors that go into making a final selection.
First, depending on where you are planning to install the granite, you may be better off with either granite tile or a custom cut slab. Tile is less expensive and can be striking in just about any application. The benefit of a slab is that you get continuity as there are no grout lines to speak of.
Another consideration is the appearance. Granite can have so much character; it is always a good idea to think about how different types and styles of granite will affect the look of your space. Whether you are looking to match the stone with existing features, or you want to create a look that is truly your own, the possibilities are endless.
Where Does the Best Granite Come From?
If you are looking for one specific location that produces the best granite in the world, you will not find one. There are several countries that are well known for the granite they produce and each of these countries produce a range of quality. Brazil, Italy, Spain, China, and India are all known for their granite. While each of these places produces granite that cannot be found anywhere else, the question of which is the best often comes down to your personal needs, expectations, and preferences.
Although location doesn’t dictate quality, it can alter the cost. For example, granite that is produced in China tends to be the most affordable due to low labor costs – like most other products made in China. On the other hand, granite manufactured in Brazil or Italy is generally more expensive.
Regardless, since granite is incredibly heavy, it is pricey to ship. Long distance shipping costs can substantially raise the price per slab of granite. Therefore, you can expect it to cost much less to purchase your preferred type of granite in your country of origin, rather than have it flown in from overseas.
Marble vs. Granite
If you’re trying to identify granite from marble, or any other type of stone, you can do this by performing a basic scratch test. Using the blade of a knife, attempt to make a scratch on the surface in an inconspicuous area. If you find it difficult to make a scratch, you’re likely looking at a slab of granite – or another type of igneous rock.
However, if the surface does scratch, you’re dealing with either marble or limestone. Even though marble is susceptible to scratching, it is still more expensive than granite.
Which granite is the hardest?
Hardness in granite is quite relative. Most types of granite are harder than many other stones commonly used in construction, including marble and quartz. Still, if you are looking for one of the hardest, your search will most likely end at a stone often sold as a granite. Absolute Black Granite is a Gabbro and is known for its hardness.
How does color affect the price of granite?
The price of granite is affected to a large degree by the rarity of the granite slab. No matter where it is from, if a piece of granite features colors that are unique in design and vibrancy, the price will go up. Some of the most expensive colors are blue, green, pink, and red. Apart from the color, veins and other patterns also play a role in the value of a granite slab.
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