Beauty like this doesn’t come easy. Granite countertops in Atlanta have been 500 million years in the making. One-of-a-kind countertops from Legacy are the products of mining history, human ingenuity, and home design innovation.
Granite formations are the product of magma cycles moving through the earth’s crust, churned and forced to the surface by tectonic shifts. The slow cycle of heating, churning, and cooling minerals like quartz, feldspar, mica, and silica results in this beautiful igneous rock that is now the standard of luxury home decor. The Egyptians recognized not only the beauty but the durability of granite which is why they used it in the construction of their most enduring structures. The Red Pyramid (26th century BC), is comprised of mostly limestone and granite. Granite stones inside the King’s Chambers of the Great Pyramid of Giza are some of the largest in antiquity, weighing up to 80 metric tons and traveling over 500 miles from Aswan to reach their final resting place.
Early stone masons hammered wooden wedges into walls of granite and then soaked the wood with large amounts of water causing the wood to expand and the granite to crack. It was very difficult to cut granite into anything other than large chunks, which is why it was primarily used for walls, foundations, and monuments. This process was obviously time-consuming and very dangerous but the fruit of their labors still stands today.
The Rise of Granite
For thousands of years, the process of mining granite remained mostly unchanged. It gained more interest from monument builders who made the switch from marble to granite because of the material’s resistance against acid rain in certain parts of the world. However, detailed masonry still required hand tools and long hours to complete, usually with poor results. It wasn’t until the 1830s when Alexander MacDonald of Aberdeen, Scotland developed the first steam-powered saw, lathe, and polishing machines. Aberdeen was home to one of the largest granite quarries in Europe and in fact nearly 50% of the buildings in the city are made of granite.
While cutting technology became more accurate and expedient, granite was usually limited to local purchases because transportation was so expensive. In the United States, quarries in Vermont, Minnesota, and Quebec provided the building material for those areas. Shipping to the lower United States was usually very expensive and therefore granite didn’t really take off until the late 20th century. By the 1980’s, however, cutting technology became more refined and shipping more reliable. Many machines rely on forced water induction and diamond blades to cut granite into fine slabs suitable for home design applications. Granite could now be mass-produced in a variety of forms like tile, water basins, backsplashes, and even countertops.
There are several reasons why granite is the number one choice for countertops. No two pieces of granite are alike; each piece has its own unique grains, patterns, and colors. Natural granite comes in very distinct color options depending on the quarry where it is mined and the trace mineral composition. Composite granite countertops are also gaining popularity among homeowners who want a more uniform look. Composite granite is made from crushed granite mixed with durable resin and trace minerals. With this style of countertop, homeowners have greater options for customization for a reasonable price.
There is no limit to what homeowners can do with natural stone and granite composition countertops. For more information on customizing your own kitchen or bathroom, contact the professionals at Legacy.