Facts To Consider About Black Granites
Nothing is more emotive to granite fabricators, stonemasons, granite wholesalers and granite producers than the subject of black granite! We shall try and guide you through this disinformation to ensure your purchase is a satisfactory one.
A few years ago we wrote an article about black granite for the Internet's number one natural stone portal, The Stone Network, because whilst travelling to various countries we found a lot of deliberate disinformation about black granite and we felt the public ought to be better informed about these stones.
As already mentioned in the article above, any black granite called Nero Assoluto could be from any country producing black granite, it is simply a trading name used by Italians since the 1960s, it was originally used for the Belfast Black granite from South Africa however these days it could refer to Chinese, Indian, Brazilian etc. If your supplier cannot tell you the country of origin of their Nero Assoluto, how do you know if anything else they are telling you is correct?
There are some excellent black granites available from quite a few countries however the most in demand are usually the closest-grained basalts. Just why is this? Quite simply the two main reasons are:
1. Your granite supplier who, for whatever reason, seems to believe that it is the best quality material there is because of #2
2. Fashion...yes, fashion, black is black is black!
The fact is that you could save money by buying a slightly different colour/shade from the same quarry as can be seen with our Absolute Black, Classic Black and Premium Black. Petrographically they are almost identical materials since they are from the same quarry, their difference in cost is simply supply and demand. The difference in shade is that the granite is quarried at different face levels in different pits, all within the same very large quarry, quite simply the deeper in the pit we quarry, the darker the shade however the lower the level in the pit the more difficult it is to extract plus we have a lower output therefore the extraction costs are much higher.
Do Black Granite Worktops Need To Be Sealed?
The big question, and to which no one has the definitive answer, because without "testing", each piece of black granite has a different petrographic structure therefore is "your" intended purchase a basalt, diabase, gabbro, diorite or anorthosite?
Does it have a very tight and microscopic granular structure? If so then it most probably will not even have a chance of absorbing the sealant and you will have wasted time and money, however if there are small to rice-grain sized particles then it "may" absorb a sealant. Some fabricating companies do try and apply sealants to their black granites with extremely varying results before installation therefore ask if they have tried it and ask what was their result.
Incidentally the same applies to Black Galaxy granite, it is most unlikely it will absorb a sealant however there are so many Black Galaxy quarries it is impossible to give a categorical answer either way and even sending that specific quarry's material for petrographic testing will only give ASTM Physical Properties and Characteristics according to ANSI A137.1 standards - Absorption Test ASTM 373, Bond Strength Test ASTM C482, Warpage Test ASTM C485, Robinson Floor Performance Test ASTM C627, Freeze Thaw test ASTM C1026, Static Coeficient of Friction test ASTM C1028.
Strange Ring Marks & Acidic Stain Marks In Black Granite
The Disadvantages Of Having Absolute Black Granite Worktops
To coin a well-known UK TV programme...how clean is your kitchen?
Be honest with yourself, just how often do you clean your kitchen worktops? Is it every time you've used them? Most of us do HOWEVER one of the biggest disadvantages of Absolute Black granite worktops is that wiping them down with sink water and leaving them to dry naturally WILL leave a smeary/cloudy film surface.
If you dry them off with a paper towel this usually solves the smearing problem but to keep them looking pristine they should always be washed down with clean, soapy water and dried with a paper towel. Any small encrustations can usually be soaked off, scraped off or even use the back of a sponge scouring pad. If you have old limestone water marks then these can usually be removed using PLAIN wire wool, NOT wire wool with any kind of abrasive in it.
The Advantages Of Having Not So Black Granite Worktops & Alternative Colours
If you've ever owned a black car you know what a nightmare it is to keep it looking perfect however a silver, brown or green car doesn't seem to need cleaning so often and this also applies to granites.
Lighter black granites, and especially so with veined granites, do not show the smear marks to the extent of a plain, glossy black surface, therefore unless your kitchen is a show kitchen, seriously consider whether you want to be a slave to fashion or whether you really would prefer that fabulous colour you saw but were afraid to order just in case it affected the value of your house on resale because, and the reality is, a new owner would probably rip them out anyway!
Finally consider this, you are the one paying for the granite worktops, you are the one who is going to have to live with those worktops every day, you are most probably the one who is going to have to clean them and keep them looking nice therefore do try and ensure you do view as many different granite colours as possible and have what you would like rather than what someone else is trying to sell you.
© Copyright Eurasian Natural Stone 1st December 2009