Natural granite stones can have an elegant, stunning effect in commercial buildings and residential spaces. But it can be difficult to determine if you are using authentic granite or not. Advancements in technology have made it easier than ever to make imitation granite with similar features to the real thing. It’s a common practice, and it’s no wonder. Man-made granite is relatively cheap to manufacture, and it does not have nearly the same value and quality as natural granite.
When shopping for granite, there are certain things you should look for. Below are characteristics that can help you spot natural granite when you see it.
Determining if Granite is Real or Fake
1. Check the Color and Pattern
Check the overall color and pattern of the granite slab. If they are the same throughout the slab, without natural variations, the granite is likely man-made.
Every slab of granite is unique in its own way. Granite is a natural stone, so the veins, color, and texture on the surface should never be exactly the same as another section of the same slab. Man-made granite has almost no imperfections, while natural granite should have some that are easily visible.
2. Try the Water Test
Pour water on the granite. The water should be absorbed rather than running off the slab.
Manufactured granite is made of epoxy resins and is completely nonporous; therefore, it cannot absorb liquids. Natural granite, on the other hand, should absorb water. You can tell absorption is happening when the stone darkens because the pores are filling with the water. Note: This method is not 100% foolproof for identifying fake granite, as there may be other factors to take into consideration (e.g. the stone’s density, if a granite sealer has or has not been used, etc.).
3. Tap the Granite
Give the back of the granite a quick tap. Listen.
Natural granite produces a ringing sound when tapped, while man-made granite does not. This is because man-made granite is made from resins and quartz crystals. It’s nonporous, so any sound produced would be muted or dull.
4. Ask for the Price
Pricing for natural granite starts at $50-60 per square foot and can go as high as $2500. If a salesperson shows you granite that costs less than $50 per square foot, he or she is likely trying to sell you a laminate countertop or poor quality granite slabs.
As we’ve discussed before, authentic natural granite is not cheap. Man-made granite costs less, but it is not as valuable and does not retain its value as much as real granite.
5. Inspect the Seams of the Granite
If you’ve already had a granite countertop installed in your kitchen or bathroom, inspect the seams. Man-made granite will have almost no change in the pattern along the seams. With real granite, however, you should notice a change in that pattern, which should have been visible from the time of installation.
Professionals are able to minimize the pattern change when they line up the seams. But you should still be able to see those changes upon closer inspection.