Have you ever looked at your countertops and wondered, How are countertops made? How did this slab of stone make its way from the ground to my home? Well, wonder no more! Keep reading to discover how countertops are made and the journey granite, quartz, quartzite, and marble take from mining to installation.
Granite is an incredibly popular material for countertops. Because it’s an igneous rock, it forms from magma that slowly cools and solidifies underground. Granite is composed mostly of coarse-grained quartz and feldspar. It’s durable, scratch resistant, and non-porous, making it easy to clean.
Before granite can become a countertop, it’s first extracted in massive slabs from quarries. These slabs are then meticulously cut into more manageable, thin pieces using diamond-tipped saws. After that, the surface of the granite is polished using slab-polishing machines, which utilize progressively finer diamond polishing pads to create a smooth surface and bring out the stone’s natural beauty.
After polishing, the slabs are put into bundles of six or seven, then placed into large shipping containers and sent to fabricators to be finished and installed in homes.
Quartz is a crystalline mineral made of silica. Because of its crystalline structure, it can’t be cut into slabs like other types of stone. Instead, it’s ground up and combined with polymers, pigments, resin, and other minerals. After it’s all combined, the mixture has a texture similar to wet sand.
Next, the quartz mixture is poured into molds to shape it into slabs. Countertops are meant to be hard and nonporous, so the mixture must be compressed with high levels of pressure so all the materials bond together. To further solidify the slabs and increase their hardness, heat is applied. Finally, the slabs are polished to create a smooth, shiny surface.
Despite their similar names, quartz and quartzite are very different stones. Quartzite is a metamorphic rock formed by applying heat and pressure to natural quartz sandstone. This heat and pressure come from tectonic activity deep within the earth, which squeezes and pushes rocks, causing the grains to recrystallize and fuse together. This creates a durable, elegant stone that can be cut into slabs and polished to be used for countertops.
Quartzite occurs in many different colors but is most commonly a white or gray color. It can also be other colors depending on other minerals mixed in with the sandstone; for example, iron oxide causes it to become a shade of red or pink.
Like quartzite, marble is a metamorphic rock formed by geological processes. When limestone is heated, the calcite crystals within it grow and recrystallize, turning the limestone into marble. Pure calcite marble is white, but veins of other colors can occur if impurities are present.
Marble is a classic, timeless stone that has been used in buildings and art for thousands of years. From the Taj Mahal to Michelangelo’s sculptures, marble is highly valued for its versatility, beauty, and strength.
However, marble does not split easily into sheets, so it must be mined very carefully. It may shatter if explosives are used to split it, so instead, miners use channeling machines to cut grooves in the rock, then drive wedges into the openings to split it.
The Installation Process
Professional installers take into account the unique characteristics of each type of stone and adjust their techniques accordingly to ensure the best end result.
Whatever material you choose for your countertops, professional installers will first precisely measure your space to ensure your countertops will fit seamlessly, then cut the materials to size and finish the edges by rounding or beveling them. When installing countertops in your home, they pay special attention to corners and seams to create a flawless appearance. Special adhesive materials are used to secure everything in place, ensuring long-lasting stability.
Our Countertops Are Made the Right Way
At Out of the Woods, our countertops are made to last. Our professional craftsmen and experienced installers can help you choose the right materials and finishes for the countertops in your home or business and create custom solutions for any space.
Our expert team members are proud to offer a wide variety of services to help you create the perfect countertops and cabinets for any space, from kitchens to bathrooms to offices to laundry rooms. If you have questions about how countertops are made and installed, don’t hesitate to reach out. We can’t wait to create high-quality, custom products for you!