We love to talk about the transformative potential a new granite kitchen worktop has for your home. However, there’s a long journey from the deep underground to your kitchen, involving diamond-tipped saws, explosives, polishing and a splash of style – and here we’re explaining exactly how this raw rock is turned into a beautiful fixture of your kitchen.
How is granite formed?
Granite is what is known as an igneous rock, formed by the gradual crystallisation of magma below the earth’s surface. Through millions of years of geological pressure and violent force, this rock gains its unmistakable grained look, with small veins of various different colours showing through, making every piece of granite utterly unique.
This type of stone has been used in construction for thousands of years. Iconic structures such as Cleopatra’s Needle, Nelson’s Column and Tower Bridge are all made out of granite and have stood the test of time (and central London pollution) to be inspiring edifices to this day.
Granite remains a popular building material for sturdy, statement-making buildings, and is a fixture of cities that boomed in the 19th century such as Washington D.C. and a little closer to home in Aberdeen, which is known as ‘The Granite City’.
Polished granite, the kind you’ll find in our range of granite worktops, wasn’t invented until 1832, but soon became a symbol of Victorian opulence, being used on gravestones and signage as a signifier of wealth and status.
The quarrying process
Getting this tough-as-nails material out of the ground is no easy process, but it’s one that has been made easier with the advent of smarter technology. Granite is found all across the world, and quarrying techniques vary, but granite suppliers tend to follow a largely similar process.
By stone extraction standards, granite is found quite close to the surface, making granite quarries quite shallow in depth. Quarry workers find blocks of granite in a desirable size and place explosives in strategic locations to separate the block from the bedrock at such an angle that it doesn’t crack or fall onto a hard surface and break.
This requires decades worth of expertise and training, and is well worth remembering the next time you gaze in wonderment at your granite countertops!
Once these huge blocks are removed via heavy-duty lorries, they’re shipped to our stone cutting factory in Leeds where they’ll start to resemble something like the finished product. Giant saws operated by state-of-the-art CNC machinery get to work on the stone, cutting it to the thickness desired.
The speed of cutting is remarkable, thanks to diamond wire cutters that plunge through the stone like a cheese slice through an aged camembert. It’s this speed and efficiency that allows granite prices such as ours to be so reasonably priced.
Polished to perfection
Thanks to these technological advances, the luxury of polished granite is no longer exclusive to Victorian nobles and monument-builders. Slab polishing machines have large diamond pads that gently get to work with layer after layer of polishing, slowly teasing out that perfect shine that looks great under high-powered kitchen lights.
From then, the stone is then shipped to us at Burlington, where we await your call and get ready to make your worktop dreams into reality.
Installation and beyond
After our installation process is complete, your old worktop is a thing of the past, and there’s a bespoke slab of high-quality stone in its place – polished and luxurious. This is when you need to roll up your sleeves and get creative to add your own personal touch to your interior.
We recommend adding a tile splashback along the walls next to your worktop. This is to avoid water permeating between the wall and the stone, which could result in some stone spoilage if left unchecked for a long period of time.
Colour and tile style is up to you. Granite has a knack of looking great with just about anything, so you could complement it with some richly-shaded patterned tiles, or keep it simple with monochrome and let the stone do the talking.
Browse our full range of granite worktops to find your perfect stone. Alternatively, give us a call on 01132 520854 and we’ll be happy to share our wisdom with you to create the kitchen of your dreams – with granite as its centrepiece. If you’re interested in a different kind of kitchen worktop, we also stock a huge variety of quartz worktops.