The only natural stones harder than granite are diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. Therefore, choose granite when permanence, enduring color and texture, and complete freedom from deterioration and maintenance are prime requirements. Granite is highly heat, scratch and stain resistant, and is commonly used to face commercial and institutional buildings and monuments. It is unequaled as a material for fireplaces, steps, road and driveway curbing, terraces, and to pave plazas and public spaces. Granite is the traditional favorite of countertop materials for its unique colors and patterns, proven durability and lasting value.
Granite is—quite literally—as old as the earth itself, it's the Earth's Oldest Building Material. Granite is formed from liquid magma, the molten rock still found at the core of the planet, cooled slowly to form a substance approaching the hardness and durability of diamond. Granite is an igneous rock, the name reflecting its fiery beginnings. The chemical composition of granite is similar to that of lava. It can withstand up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Most people are familiar with marble. From Greek statues to Roman baths, it has been used for centuries in just about every possible interior and exterior application. Marble is relatively hard, but not as hard as granite. Marble basically classifies into four groups which include: Groups A, B, C, and D. These merely indicate fabrication ability, which is based on the material's level of hardness. It is very popular for fireplaces, bar-tops, and bathrooms, and comes in a wide range of colors.
Marble has the same general properties of limestone and can stain, etch or scratch, but only becomes more beautiful over time and use. Most marble has veining mineral deposits throughout. It is generally thought to be from Italy, but in actuality it is quarried all over the world.
Natural stone exists in such a broad range of colors, patterns, finishes and textures. Think back to when you were a child and found different colored stones that you wanted to take home because of how beautifully unique they were. The diversity you can get, and what you can do with it aesthetically is about as varied as your imagination. No matter what your vision, natural stone will paint it into reality.
Just as the Parthenon, Stonehenge, and the Pyramids have lasted for centuries, you too can set your legacy in stone. Frame it permanently with the timeless personal touch that only comes from using natural stone. When you build genuinely, you capture an emotional connection to those buildings and monuments that carry a great deal of meaning because people look to them for history, tradition, and to tell the stories of mankind through the ages.
What's more earth friendly than the earth itself? Natural stone is non-toxic and lasts a lifetime. No chemicals go into its quarrying or fabricating. It is pure, and therefore void of any foreign substance that might be harmful to the earth or to your health. Using natural stone for your projects shows that you care about the environment and consciously strive to preserve it.
Nothing can emulate nature's creativity. Because natural stone is quarried from the earth and not man-made, it is improbable to ever find exactly matching tiles or slabs. One slab may even look different from end to end. Many things affect the ultimate graining and coloration of natural stone including underground springs, mineral deposits, earth shifts, temperature, natural solutions in the earth, and pressure these elements receive over time. There is no way to duplicate these naturally occurring factors in a laboratory.
Making your individual mark on the world is now much more affordable than it used to be because stone quarrying and processing technology has improved. New automated machinery allows fabricators to cut natural stone thinner, at less cost, and more consistently than in times past. It is also more affordable because transportation is cheaper, and the development of new anchorage systems makes installation easier, quicker, and more secure. In addition, natural stone is simple to care for and durable, so your investment lasts a lifetime.
Natural stone ages beautifully. Fears you may have about accidentally ruining it are really unnecessary. Certainly, performing proper care and maintenance is prudent, but unlike almost every other building material, stone does not decay. Rather, its natural beauty only enhances through years of use.
The more it ages, the faster a "patina," or light sheen on the surface, develops. The "patina" also helps prevent staining. If your stone somehow happens to stain, it can be repaired in almost every case. However, just like birthmarks, wrinkles or freckles highlight a person's genuine qualities, when stone is stained, cracked or pitted, those marks add character, and it becomes an even more unique reflection of life.
Natural stone makes homes more sophisticated and elegant. People perceive it to be high quality and to have high value. Because this perception is true, the more genuinely homeowners build, the more unique their home will be. Not only will the resale value be higher, but their home will be as genuine as they are.
Source Information: Marble Institute of America