When you purchase a stone surface such as granite, you will see a large slab of the stone brought into your home to become your new countertop. Where do these slabs come from? Granite is not found naturally in perfectly cut slabs. There’s an entire process that goes into getting your stone ready for countertops. Let’s take a look at the process!
- Finding the Perfect Stone
The process begins in the quarry, with a team of experts searching for a suitable chunk of stone below the earth’s surface. The way they do this is by testing a small sample of all of the possible blocks and testing for composition, density, and strength. When they find a sample they are happy with, the next step of the process can begin.
- Extracting the Stone Block
The chosen blocks are now prepared for extraction from the earth. To do so, teams use a combination of drilling, digging, cutting, explosives, and more. These tools all work together to carefully free the stone block from the earth around it. Blocks are typically around 40,000 pounds, though lighter-weight stones can be extracted in blocks of 20,000 pounds. The blocks are put on massive trucks using cranes and pullies and are then taken to the factory to be turned into slabs.
- Cutting the Block into Stone Slabs
As you would imagine, cutting a 40,000-pound block of granite or other stone into smaller pieces is no small task. The easiest way to make the blocks smaller is to break them using force. However, arbitrarily breaking the blocks is not a good way to get to the desired end product. To smoothly cut the blocks into rough slabs, an enormous saw similar to a bread slicer is used. This saw is called a gang saw and they are extremely strong. Water is used in conjunction with the saw to avoid sparks and overheating the blade. Blocks are cut carefully to get as many regulation-size slabs as possible. The least amount of waste the better. The slabs leave the saw looking closer to the finished product, but still very rough and clearly not ready to become a countertop.
- Finish the Slabs
The slabs continue their journey to the finishing and polishing area of the factory. Diamond polishing is used to sand down the rough exterior of the slabs. As the production progresses, the slabs are run through finer and finer sanding areas to get the smooth stone surface we all know and love. The edges of the slabs are shaped slightly, but not to perfection because the slabs are almost always re-cut for the project anyway. The stone slab is polished before being shipped to stores and showrooms all over the nation, including Planet Stone
Once you have a ready-to-go slab, it’s up to the experts to turn it into a fully-realized stone countertop. Planet Stone has a team of professionals who specialize in both prefabricated and custom countertops. We can take a stone slab and turn it into a true masterpiece. Explore all of our stone surfaces on our website at www.planet-stone.com. We look forward to working with you!