It’s not surprising that granite is the kitchen countertop material with the highest demand. Granite has a natural beauty that stands out in any home. Granite isn’t the only natural stone option for your kitchen counters, and deciding between granite, marble, and quartz was a change in itself. Then comes the difficult decision of selecting the appropriate color and pattern of granite for your home. Granite comes in thousands of different colors. The colors are which grouped into these ten categories – brown, white, black, green, burgundy, gray, blue, red, yellow, and beige.
Black is the most popular color because of its elegant and timeless. The most popular color for granite countertops is black, which is classic and timeless. Black countertops accent light-colored or white cabinets. One thing to consider when using black counters is the amount of available natural light. Dark countertops will tend to darken a room if sufficient natural lighting is not available. Keep this in mind if dark counters are what you may be considering.
While white, yellow, or beige counters will make a room feel larger and brighter. The light-colored countertops reflect the light around a room creating the illusion of a larger space. Light-colored countertops, paired with dark cabinets, will give a modern appearance. When placed on light-colored natural wood cabinets, light-colored countertops will give a more traditional look.
The least common colors of granite are the most exotic colors. Colors of blue, red, green, and orange can be quite intense in most homes. These colors are reserved for the homeowner looking to create a unique focal point. When these types of granite are used on a home, they are typically used on one accent surface while the rest of the counters will be a muted palette.
What causes granite to come in so many colors?
Granite colors can run the full range of the spectrum from black to white from blue to pink, but what makes one type of rock have so many ranges in color? To understand this, we will need to dive into the science that created the granite. While we will be primarily discussing granite and its use in countertops. It should also be known that granite is one of the most commonly used rocks for stone buildings, sculptures, and monuments. Granite has been used for centuries and has stood the test of time signifying its strength and durability.
How is granite formed?
Granite is what is called an intrusive igneous rock, a rock formed from magma, with a large grain structure that is very easy to see without magnification. The most common colors of granite are pink, white, variations of grey and black. The requirement to be classified as granite, a stone must contain 20% quartz in its composition. Some black granites do not meet the quartz requirement. Instead, they may actually be gabbro, anorthosite, basalt, norite, diorite, or diabase and not granite.
Let’s explain what an intrusive rock is:
- An intrusive rock a rock that formed when magma flows onto the earth surface and cools. For large crystallization to occur, slow and gradual cooling must happen. The large crystallization that is a characteristic of granite is often referred to as the grain.
- The large crystallization we see is the various elements within the composition of the magma solidifying. The actual makeup of the magma will determine the colors found in the granite. While the speed at which it cools will determine the grain and pattern if these crystallizations. Therefore, the grain size and structure is determined entirely by the rate of cooling.
What Determines Granite Colors?
Some various minerals and rocks are combined during the formation of granite. The components of granite are quartz, potassium feldspar, mica, and amphiboles along with some trace other minerals. Granite makeup will typically consist of 10-50% quartz. We are don’t going to dive into geologist levels of explaining granite composition. Hopefully, this bit of information will give you a better understanding of the mineral make up that creates the vast color differences in granite.
The mineral makeup of ever granite deposit is determined by the source of the molten rock from which it was created. If the magma contained an abundance of potassium feldspar, the resulting granite would likely appear salmon pink in color. But when there is a high amount of quartz and other minerals in the magma, the granite would probably have a black and white speckled appearance in the granite. Black and white are commonly seen on many granite countertops. That is why only specific colors of granite can be found at particular locations on the earth.
The color of granite is typically a good indicator of the mineral composition.
- A milky white color will indicate a high concentration of quartz
- An off-white color is high amounts of feldspar
- Potassium Feldspar results in a salmon pink color
- Black or dark brown color will show deposits of biotite
- Muscovite produces a metallic gold or yellow color
- Amphibole will cause a black or dark green color
The specific combination of the minerals will make up the majority of colors we typically see in granite. Now, discuss the typical colors and what causes them in a bit more detail.
Quartz will create a milky white and feldspar an opaque white colored granite. Any black specks that may be visible in the granite will be amphibole grains. Any 100% white rock is not granite, more than likely is some form of human-made rock. That was created to simulate granite.
“Black granite” is not granite and is likely gabbro. In order for a rock to be granite, it must contain 20% quartz. Quartz is a white color, and if the stone is black, it can not provide enough quartz to be granite.
Pink granite indicates an abundance of potassium feldspar in the granite. The potassium feldspar mixed with the white quarts results in the pink colors we see.
Black And White Granite
Black and white speckled granites are the most common color used in countertops. This color is a result of reasonably even amounts of amphibole, feldspar, and quartz in the composition of the rock.
Red granite is a variation where k-feldspar takes on a darker appearance resulting in red rather than the typical pinker color. Another way in which red granite is formed is by iron oxide within the feldspar. The resulting color is a rust-red color similar to rusted metal
You will see some blue granite countertops being marketed, but most likely this stone is not granite.
In most cases of blue granite, the stone is larvikite, which is often called blue granite when it is technically not granite. Another stone that is commonly referred to as blue granite is anorthosite. The rock contains abundant amounts of blue labradorite, giving it a blue appearance.
Most green granites are a form of marble or soapstone and not granite at all. Granites rarely contain minerals capable of producing green colors. There is one rare condition that will result in green granite, and the is the inclusion of amazonite. Amazonite is a green variety of feldspar.
Selecting the right color Granite for your home
As you can already see, granite comes in a wide variety of colors. The colors are the result of geological occurrences during the formation of the stone. Granite slabs come from igneous rock deposits that have been mined, cut, polished, formed, and prepared for use in countertops and flooring.
Granite is a natural stone with unique colors and patterns that will vary from slab to slab.
Once you have decided on the particular cor of granite that will best fit your home. Now its time to decide on the pattern, solid, marbled, and speckled are the three patterns you will see in granite. Solid granite has minimal veins and speckling in its pattern. Marbled granite has a smooth transition between color and texture in the form of veins. While speckled granite is exactly as the name describes, containing speckled colors throughout. There are also options on the gloss of your granite from high gloss, which is the most common, to a matte finish. Matte finish is much more common in marble than in granite.
It is good to look at images online and to look at samples in showrooms. But you will want to see examples in person if possible and slabs of the granite in a slab yard. The small sample at showrooms is just a random 2×2 sample cut from the stone slab. There is often a lot more color and patter once you see the full slab.