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Uses for granite countertop pieces

 
pollinator
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Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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I saw a craigslist ad in my town for some free granite countertop scraps, ranging from about 10"x10" to 24"x48". I can cut it if needed. I was wondering if I might be able to use them for one or more of the following purposes in my food forest:
- Garter snake lair (laid flat on the ground)
- Weed killer (i.e. cut unwanted plant, lay granite slab over stump, wait 6 months)
- Stepping stones

Has anyone re-purposed granite slabs for anything? I am a little concerned about their un-natural look. I like to use a lot of stone in my yard but I prefer local natural stone.
 
steward
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I've seen these pieces used on the bottom of solar ovens. It takes time to get the slabs preheated, but with the weight, they hold the heat giving a longer cooking time.
A 24 x 48 piece sure would make a nice bread making tabletop.
 
steward
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I agree with Ken about the bread making. At the Bullock Brothers Permaculture Homestead, they mulched their basil with black slate pieces. It seemed a great way to add heat without a green house here in the cool Pacific NW. Perhaps some dark granite would work similarly.

Smaller pieces can make a beautiful tray for candles, cheese or chocolates or other things around the home. They are heavy, but can be incredibly beautiful. I especially like some pieces with raw, broken edges. Put felt or something on the bottom, unpolished side so it doesn't scratch your wood, glass or more delicate surfaces.

IMG00733-20120819-1100.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG00733-20120819-1100.jpg]
basil mulched with slate at the Bullock Brothers
 
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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slab for the floor of a cob oven

slab for the bottom of your regular oven for pizza and bread

countertops next to the stove

they make beautiful little shelves to hold candles and lamps on the wall

you can break them to irregular shapes and make a mosaic floor (awesome to put down as a hearth). or as a back wall behind the stove

They make mass in a greenhouse that can be tucked anywhere.

I would take as many scraps as I could get my hands on for that price.
 
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When your all done with the big pieces, if there are leftover useless scraps, you can crush them/grind them into a dust and use them as a soil ammendment. Fungal growth loves rock dusts
 
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I would think they would make a beautiful garden path. If you are wanting a more natural look, put them upside down. They could also be broken into irregular pieces for a more natural look. If I could get my hands on unlimited amounts of granite, I would take it in a heart beat. I also like the other ideas posted here as well. Small pieces would make great coasters.
 
            
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weigh down your sauerkraut or that big honking ham in the brine
 
pollinator
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great idea, also as cutting boards or for candy making in the house..also for heat retention in greenhouses or sun porches as a floor covering
 
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Location: Hoover, AL
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<--- longtime forum lurker here

Kim Hill wrote: If I could get my hands on unlimited amounts of granite, I would take it in a heart beat.



Kim, you likely can get all the free granite you want. I work for a granite counter-top company and we throw away a considerable amount. I am ashamed of the tonnage we landfill weekly. This is the same material you pay $30-150 a square foot for, highly polished on one face, rough one the other. Most shops would consider any piece smaller than 20" as "waste".

The Pros:
It is beautiful and often free! For anyone interested in accent stone or small stuff for projects, I would suggest contacting your local granite counter-top company and see about getting some small pieces. Most of them have to pay to landfill it and view it as trash. It might be best to show up in person and ask to talk to the shop manager instead of calling ahead. We occasionally have people show up and offer to buy the shop lunch for a couple dozen small pieces of exotic stone waste (this goes over very well by the way). Sink cut outs make really nice garden path stones, cutting boards, accent pieces, etc. I suspect people may come by after hours to raid the dumpster at work, but i couldn't say for sure since no one is there . I would never suggest such a thing though.

The cons:
Keep in mind you will be getting small pieces, usually nothing over 24". The polished side is often sealed with "tryepic" or similar products so not all of it may be suitable for your application. My understanding is that the sealers are safe when used as intended for counter-tops and chemically inert once applied. I would only have reservations about dumping LARGE quantities into a pond or watershed, or using it in an oven. If you plan to use it around fire, you would likely want to burn or sand it off pretty well before preparing food in it. I don't want to scare anyone off, just giving full disclosure since I suspect most readers wouldn't think about the sealer. Do your own research if you have any doubt about using it in a way the manufacturer didn't anticipate.

So I have an unlimited amount of granite "waste" at my disposal. I hope my fellow Permies can give me some new ideas about how to re-purpose it. I have built some condensation traps/reptile habitat with large piles of it, paved paths, lined concrete walls and garden beds. I am out of ideas about how to use it though.

 
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Location: Fennville MI
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A big polished slab of granite is about the perfect surface for tooling leather. As others have mentioned, can be good for candy and pastry making too.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
steward
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Ben, what an awesome first post! I especially appreciated the info on the sealant. I knew most granite was sealed when or after it is polished, but didn't know anything about what is typically used.

I would add to the cons: finished/polished sides are slippery when wet!

I really liked using a couple black granite pieces as heat storage around a heat loving potted plant last year.
 
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Location: NEPA
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Until I read about the sealer, I was planning to crush some for chicken grit. Do you think it could be harmful to them?
 
Ben Bowman
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote: I would add to the cons: finished/polished sides are slippery when wet!



I have heard that you can take a torch to the finished side to reduce the slipperiness, but i have not tried it. I turned my path pavers polish side down for this reason. They really are slick when wet! we use an industrial floor buffer with sanding pads and powdered grit (I forget the brand name) to hone stone down at work. that is an option for anyone using recovered granite to do a patio or walkway that has been grouted.

I would not advise feeding crushed granite grit to chickens either. It would likely be fine, but grit is easy to obtain from other sources.

There is a nice photo gallery over at recycledgranite.com for those interested in using granite to build. I like that they are re-purposing waste products, but for a few hundred bucks you could get a wet saw and cut the granite yourself. here are a few images from that site:





and an indoor shot from elsewhere:


This stuff is FREE for the taking people, go get it!
 
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