Granite is an igneous rock that is formed underground by the cooling of magma. The stone is found in locations called quarries, where specialized cranes and high-capacity extractors are used to mine the granite from its natural locations. The pieces that are mined are called slabs, and are placed on trucks to be transported to fabricators to be sized and cut for residential and commercial use. Because granite is so durable and hard, the only material that is strong enough to cut through it is a diamond blade with water to ensure a clean cut through the granite without cracking or breaking it. Diamond pads are used to polish the stone, giving it a glossy appearance and bringing out the vibrancy of its colors.
With so many colors to choose from, it’s easy to match granite countertops with other kitchen elements such as kitchen cabinets, floors and wall colors. Each slab’s uniqueness and beauty are due to variations in shade, texture, pitting and coloring, giving granite countertops a one-of-a-kind look. Granite countertops, along with quartz countertops, are the most popular type of materials for kitchen countertops.
Granite is a natural stone. As such, a granite slab may have variations in colors and shading, from lighter to darker tones – that’s what makes the granite countertops you choose so unique. When selecting your granite slab from which your countertop will be fabricated, you should discuss with PRO-TOPS which part of the granite slab will be used in fabricating your countertops.
TIP: if you plan to have more than one counter top fabricated for your kitchen or bathroom(s) and would like to have the same shading and markings on all your granite countertops, you may want to consider having them fabricated at the same time since there can be significant shading variations from one granite slab to the other. Talk to PRO-TOPS today about your kitchen and bathroom remodeling project so we can advise you on the best course of action for your project.
Granite slabs make for beautiful granite countertops as a finished product, but keep in mind that slabs can have spots or veins. Occasionally, when a light is shining on it, the surface might show dull spots that cannot be polished nor buffed. It’s simply the nature of the natural stone.
All the granite countertops PRO-TOPS installs are sealed during the installation process. PRO-TOPS covers kitchen and vanity tops with a special film only to be removed by the installers.
A common misconception about granite countertop levels is that they designate levels of quality. That’s not the case. All natural granite slabs, no matter what level they are, have the same inherent quality. What granite countertop levels do indicate is how readily available and abundant a type of granite is.
PRO-TOPS and the granite industry classify granite in three levels: Level I granite includes the most common colors. Level III granite includes stones colors that are rare and exotic. Lower levels of stone are often uniform and consistent, while higher levels have more irregular patterns, also called “movement”. Even though granite slabs may be classified as the same color, there might be a variance in tint, and certain colors are more prevalent in one slab over the other, even though, technically, they are of the same color. Granite countertop levels I and II are more affordable. Level III granite countertops are more expensive because they are rarer.
Some fabricators classify granite colors under particular different granite countertops levels, depending on where they purchase their slabs. Not all colors are available in all parts of the world, and what is easily accessible for one fabricator may be the opposite for another. Below are samples of the different granite countertop levels and colors PRO-TOPS offers to the Charlotte market. Please refer to our granite quarries world map to see the origin of each type of granite.