If you are in the market for new granite countertops, you have probably already looked at many photos online. You may have already visited a few showrooms. We have had many customers ask us; where does granite come from and how do they make it look so pretty?
Here we will explain how the rock is removed from the Earth and turned into beautiful stone countertops.

Where Does Granite Come From?

The formation of granite occurs when magma crystallizes slowly below the Earth’s surface. Granite is composed of mainly natural quartz and feldspar with traces of amphiboles, mica, and other organic minerals. At their earliest stages, your granite countertops were just molten magma. The color and patterns of each type of granite are a result of the distinct mineral composition. These color variants are a red, pink, grey, or white color with dark grains in the pattern. Some of the most extraordinary granites will include colors like blue, green, black, and gold.

Brazil supplies the majority of the world’s granite for countertops, followed by Italy, India, and China. Because of the process in which granite forms, it will have a different color at every mine.

How Is Granite Mined?

Granite is located close to the Earth’s surface, allowing mining to take place in shallow quarries. The granite formation is typically varied large, and the rock will need to be cut into transportable pieces to be processed. The sectioning of granite happens by drilling small holes in the size that will be transportable — by precisely measured explosives, placed into the holes. When detonated, the block will separate from the bedrock without cracking.

The blast is designed to direct the block onto a bed of sand to minimize any unintentional damage. Large equipment is used to lift the large chunks of granite and load them into heavy-duty trucks. Once loaded, they will be transported for further processing.

Brazil supplies the majority of the world’s granite for countertops, followed by Italy, India, and China. Because of the process in which granite forms, it will have a different color at every mine.

From Stone Blocks to Granite Slabs

Once at a stone cutting facility, large blocks of granite will be cut into slabs, split into 2 or 3cm pieces. The machine does not cut one slice at a time but multiple slabs at once. The machine can have numerous circular blades or diamond wire blades that will cut through the block of granite like an egg slicer. It can be a long process, taking up to an hour for these blades to go through one foot of stone. Imagine how long it takes to cut through an entire 10′ x 5′ x 10′ block of granite.

Recent innovations like the use of diamond wire cutting saws and other technological advances have increased the speed and accuracy of this process. Thus, leading to faster production and lower cost to produce granite, resulting in better consumer prices.
Today we see much more granite used in middle-class homes. In years past granite counters were not affordable to be used in the same houses.

Polishing to Reveal the Natural Beauty

Polishing the granite’s surface will bring out the natural colors and patterns. Also, the surface will become smooth to the touch. The machines that polish the slabs have large, diamond polishing pads. There are several steps in the polishing process, and each one will use a lower grit diamond abrasive. Each of these steps slowly brings out the shine in the granite. Only the one side of the slab is polished, while the edges and sides are left unpolished.

Transporting the Granite Slabs

Once the slabs are polished and bundled into bundles of 6-7 slabs. Typically they are bundled in the order they were cut from the block. This is an important step to ensure the bundled slabs will have consistent veining and color. The bundles are then packaged onto a shipping container and transported to the US on a Freighter. These freighters arrive in US ports and large cranes are used to transfer the slabs to semi-truck beds. The stone slabs are now in route to the region of the country in which they well be delivered for future fabrication.

Granite Slabs

When you are ready to choose the stone for your countertops, you will be able to view the stone slab that will be fabricated and installed in your home. You may have looked at samples and displays in showrooms, but you will want to look at the actual full-size slab before you decide on a type of granite. You may initially see a small sample in the beginning of your stone countertop exploration. Granite is a natural stone, so no two pieces are exactly alike. Seeing the full slab is the only way to get a good visual of the movement and color of the slab that will be fabricated and installed in your home.

We Fabricate and Install Your Granite Countertops

CSW is all about fabricating and installing granite, quartz and other natural and engineered stone for kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, home bars and more. Our countertop experts can help you select the perfect stone for your kitchen, bath, home bar and more. We serve home builders, remodelers, contractors, commercial builders and residential home owners.