Nothing completes a kitchen look like granite countertops. Granite, marble, quartzite or soapstone countertops or vanity tops give an aesthetic and impressive appearance to a kitchen or bathroom. The natural coveted and beautiful stones has been used to construct and decorate homes since the days of ancient Egypt. The processes that involve extracting, cutting, finishing, and installing the stone countertops have evolved and improved in recent years.
Acquiring the natural stone begins in quarries around the world. First, the stone blocks are extracted and cut into slabs. Next the slabs are moved to fabrication shops and cut into countertops. The countertops edges are polished and holes are drilled. Finally the countertops are installed in your kitchen. Perfecting the stone look and fabricating it into granite kitchen countertops has become an efficient and mostly machined process. However, it still takes a lot people and time to turn the raw stone from the ground to a beautiful kitchen countertops.
First stop for freshly harvested and raw blocks of granite is the saws. Wire saw or gang saws cut through the rough blocks of granite to get a uniform size of the slabs. Diamond wire or diamond saws are used for this first step because diamonds are the hardest stones on the planet. It is the only material strong enough to penetrate the tough granite.
Next, the uniform slabs of granite, marble or other stone slabs are processed through polishing machines. These machines are used to give the stone slabs a smooth and glossy appearance. This step is crucial to the aesthetic appeal of the stone as they are known for their mirror-like finish. Appropriate rotating pads are applied to the slabs, and the abrasive materials work to buff and smooth the rough exterior. There are different grade of buffing pads to achieve specific results, depending on the type of granite, desired finish, and preferred over-all appearance of the completed countertops. There are several different types of resins and sealers to seal the stone and complete the polishing process.
Granite countertops fabrication process starts when the slabs are sent to a bridge saw, to further cut the slabs to custom sizes. Finally, the edges of the countertops are polished and sink cut-outs are made. CNC machines or grinders, polishers and routers are implemented in order to make detailed edging to the design of the kitchen countertops. These routers or polishers use different edging bits or polishing pads to make the glossy or honed edge profile, depending on the customer’s request.
Once the granite kitchen countertops have made it through inspection, these beautiful masterpieces are ready for installation in your kitchen. From beginning to end, granite countertops are treated with care. The granite kitchen countertops prices in Chicago area are from $30 to $90 per square foot installed. The natural stone is less expensive than man made, engineered stone (Zodiac, Quartz, Silestone, etc.)
Considering the work that is put into the granite countertops fabrication process, and the value and look of the finished natural granite or marble, it is worth every penny.