If you’re thinking about getting a granite or quartz worktop installed, you might be wondering just how these beautiful countertops get made. The difference between how granite and quartz countertops are produced is actually enormous, something many people might not realise as the end result is so similar.
In this article, we’re going to give you some details of how each kind of countertop is made, and explain why there’s such a difference between the two. Now, we can’t give away all of our secrets, and every manufacturer has a slightly different process – but we can give you some general info about the way granite and quartz countertops are produced.
How are granite worktops made?
The first type of worktop we’re going to tackle in this article is granite. Granite worktops are manufactured from natural stone, which can be found all over the world. There’s a huge range of types of granite, each boasting slightly different natural properties and colouring.
Quarrying and producing raw granite
The first step in the process of producing granite worktops is actually getting the raw granite itself. The quarrying process is much like quarrying any other kind of stone – huge blocks are chiselled away from the earth using various techniques depending on the quarry location. Then these huge blocks, which can be up to 2 metres thick, are taken off and sliced up into thinner slabs, which form the basis for each individual worktop. A diamond saw is usually used for this process, as it’s strong enough to reliably cut the granite.
Cutting the worktops
Once the granite has been cut into thinner slabs, these are then cut and shaped into the size of worktop that’s required. This work is done by specialist stone masons, often with the help of computer operated cutting and grinding machinery.
There are a huge variety of types and styles of granite worktop available, and the process to make each is subtly different in terms of how they are cut and ground down to form the right edges. It’s a real specialist skill.
Polishing the finished product
Finally, the finished worktops are polished to give them the beautiful granite sheen that you expect to see. After this, the worktop will be ready for installation to create the kitchen of somebody’s dreams!
How are quartz worktops made?
Many people don’t realise this, but quartz worktops are manufactured using a totally different process. Quartz countertops aren’t actually made from quarried stone in the same way as granite ones – they’re made from a type of engineered stone. This engineered stone contains natural, quarried stones like quartz and other kinds of stone, but they were crushed and then bound together to form the quartz countertop.
The worktops are manufactured from a mix of quartz and other stones with resins and other binding agents, as well as pigments to give the desired colour. The exact recipe that’s used will vary depending on the manufacturer, and this is what gives quartz worktops their ultimate flexibility – they can be created to nearly any colour and style imaginable!
The engineered stone is manufactured by compressing and compacting the raw materials together into slabs, which are then heated in a large kiln. Once they cool, the slabs are ready to be polished up and cut to the right sizes so they can be installed.
Looking for more information about whether a granite or quartz countertop would be right for you? Speak to Norfolk Granite Works – or pop into our showroom to see our range for yourself.