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Granite Sample


Definition and Characteristics

Granite is an igneous rock that is mostly composed of quartz, mica and feldspar. It is only known to Earth and usually occurs in small masses.

It is one of the most durable stones used in architecture. The colors range from pink to dark grey. [1]

Use in Buildings

Granite counter top

The oldest known use of granite in a building is the Red Pyramid of Egypt, existing since the 26th century BC. No one knows how the Egyptians managed to work with granite to form columns, floors, walls and sills due to its solid density.

In New England, granite was commonly used to build the foundations for homes.

Engineers have been using granite as surface plates because they won't flex.

Polished granite is a common choice for luxury counter tops due to its durability and aesthetics.

Typical exterior uses of granite include:

  • Sculptures
  • Structural veneer
  • Architectural trim
  • Paving and curbstones

Benefits and Drawbacks

Granite fireplace

Granite weathers like many other rocks when it is exposed to the elements. It will blister, chip, crack and erode. It also stains easily from bird droppings, iron or steel interactions and salt. Many of these can be removed.

A commonly unknown fact, is that granite contains small doses of uranium and thorium, which are radioactive elements. Due to this, 5% of granite counter tops and tiles may be hazardous to health. But of the few tests that have been conducted, the results show that the radon emissions in the counter tops and tiles are well below the average outdoor radon concentrations in the United States. [2]

Despite all that, it is known to be a luxurious and high-end material due to its appearance, durability and high price.

Other Uses

  • curling stones
  • fireplaces


  1. GSA - Granite
  2. Wikipedia - Granite
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