Widely used as a building material by ancient civilisations, Granite is known for its durability and weather-resistant properties. In our Guide to Granite, you'll find out how the stone is made, where it comes from and why it's the perfect choice for your home.
Formation of Granite
Being an igneous rock, Granite was formed by excessive temperatures in volcanoes near the Earth's core approximately 300 million years ago. In its molten state, Granite would have begun its journey ten or more miles underground.
Production of Granite
Volcanic activity forced the magma to the surface where it cooled and solidified into the dense, durable and beautiful stone we see today. To turn the stone into tiles, a machine cuts large blocks straight from the quarry into slabs which are then cut and finished to become tiles.
Granite is most commonly quarried in two particular regions of Southern India, Khammam and Nelakondapalli.
The stone is commonly made up of three types of minerals; feldspar, biotitic and/or black mica and quartz which produces a glass effect. Stones, even from the same quarry, can vary dramatically in composition so skilled stone selectors are often required to match stones aesthetically. This is why we see such variation in the tiles.
Benefits of Granite
Known as one of the hardest stones, Granite's inherent characteristics are strength and durability.
Granite features great surface depth and due to its elegant luminance, it is considered a luxurious and desirable material - making it a sound investment. Its durability also means it's frost proof which makes it ideal for both internal and external use.
Did You Know?
Black Granite was widely used as a building material by ancient civilisations, including the Egyptians. The famous Great Pyramid in Giza, for example, was decorated and tiled extensively with black Granite. Often, the capstones (the ornate stones placed atop ancient pyramids) were made from polished black Granite in order to catch and reflect the sun with dazzling effects.
To keep your stone in top condition, we recommend protecting the tiles once laid. Please see our Protector Guide which outlines which protector your stone requires.
What different finishes are available?
Polished Granite is the most popular finish around the world, achieved by automatic polishing machines; mirror polishing doesn't fade over time and its glossy nature makes it easy to clean.
Honing creates a matt finish which brings out the subtle variation in the Granite. This finish is achieved by using special abrasives that provide a smooth yet matt surface; it can also be used for anti-slip areas.
Flamed & Brushed
Treating the surface of the Granite with a high temperature flame blows out the crystals in the stone as they suffer from thermal shock. The flamed surface is then brushed to soften off the structure making it an ideal floor tile. The same effect can also be achieved by sandblasting the Granite.
Why is it important to seal Granite tiles?
Whilst the Granite's black surface will hide many marks, water and liquid spots will stain the stone if it has not been properly sealed.
How should these tiles be sealed?
Once laid, Granite needs to be sealed to avoid staining; avoid acid based cleaners as these will tarnish the shine of polished Granite. For an initial clean after grouting use a residue remover (we sell one for polished and one for unpolished tiles). Allow the product to work by leaving it on the tile for at least 10 minutes and then use an emulsifying pad to remove the grout residue.
To protect your Granite, we recommend you use a protector. Our matrix here will help. Apply with a brush or roller and allow each coat to dry thoroughly.
Acidic or highly alkaline household cleaners are not recommended in maintaining Granite as they will damage the life of the sealer.
How much does this stone material naturally vary? And why?
The beauty of natural stone lies in its variation. The colour of the stone is consistent, however it is the composition of the minerals that changes its appearance. With such noticeable variation it is imperative that tiles are dry laid prior to fitting.
What size tolerance should there be on this stone if any?
Tolerances in dimensions for Granite are as little as +/- 0.5mm. Please speak to your local store team for further information.