There are many reasons why granite countertops are among the most desirable option for the kitchen and bathroom countertops. Their popularity seems to have a staying power, more and more new granite countertop options are made available in the market.
Here are the main benefits of installing granite countertops.
Granite is Durable
Granite is highly resistant to abrasion and does not scratch easily. It’s second only to diamond in terms of the harness of natural materials. When properly installed, it will be the last countertop you ever need. If you replace it down the road, it will be because you want to and not because you must. It resists chipping, scratching and cracking. Granite is also heat resistant. If you do manage to chip or scratch the granite, it is a relatively easy thing to fix the damage. While it’s not recommended, if you happen to place a hot pan or tray directly on the countertop, it won’t damage it the way it would laminate, wood and other softer materials.
Granite does not etch from acid foods and drinks, such as lemon, vinegar, tomatoes and has very low absorption rate, so it will not stain.
Granite is Easy for Maintenance
The granite counters must be properly sealed, and that is why it is a great idea to have an experienced professional do the installation. But when sealed according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, the granite countertop will resist staining and bacteria. You can also seal them yourself. This makes cleanup easy using soap and water, or a cleaner designed for your granite. Get to spilled juice or wine quickly and you’ll enjoy a stain-free counter surface that looks like new for decades.
Granite Boosts a Home Value
New granite countertops make your home more valuable as well as more attractive. The return on your investment can be as high as 100%. That means they’ll potentially increase your home’s market value by the amount you spend on them. If potential buyers are looking at two homes and your home has granite countertops while the other one doesn’t, the granite might make the difference in which home they select.
Granite is a Long-Term Investment
While you’re enjoying your countertops made from granite over the next 30+ years, one neighbor might be replacing their laminate counters three times while another replaces wood countertops twice and has them refinished a few times. They will last twice as long as popular materials like quartz or soapstone in some cases.
Granite is Easy on Your Budget
While the price of granite varies depending on the particular granite you select, granite is amongst the least expensive countertop options. If you take into consideration its longevity in the long-run granite countertops are a very cost-effective solution for many homeowners.
Granite is a Natural Beauty
For all their other qualities, what really stands out about granite counters are their gorgeous appearance. The natural appeal of the stone, with its textured, gently hued beauty, is unsurpassed by most any other material.
Granite is Versatile
Granite counters work well in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry, wet bars, interior and exterior applications. Due to their high durability, low absorption rate and easy maintenance, granite can be installed practically anywhere.
Granite Countertops QA
These are the most frequently asked questions about granite countertops.
QUESTION: Where does granite come from?
ANSWER: Granite is quarried from the earth with specialized equipment and machinery. It is found all over the world. A few parts of the world where granite is quarried: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Finland, India, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Ukraine, USA, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
QUESTION: What is the difference between granite & marble countertops?
ANSWER: The look first and foremost. The maintenance and care of the stones will also vary. Marble is softer and more porous, and it will etch and stain easier. Marble is more delicate natural stone when compared to granite.
QUESTION: How strong is granite?
ANSWER: Granite is a very strong and durable natural stone. The actual strength of a specific piece of granite will vary depending on the stone and where it was quarried from.
QUESTION: Can granite break?
ANSWER: Yes, with heavy abuse. With normal everyday wear and tear, no.
QUESTION: Do I need to seal my granite countertop?
ANSWER: This depends on the granite you choose. Most granites need to be sealed, although the rule of thumb is that, “The lighter stones need to be sealed and the darker ones don’t”. Consult with your fabricator while choosing your stone.
QUESTION: What is etching? Will my granite countertop etch?
ANSWER: Etching is when acids from items such as lemons, alcohols, and even some cleaning products leave dull spots or rings on a stone. Granite is a siliceous natural stone and not highly reactive to acids like a marble or a limestone. If your granite is sealed, the sealer may etch.
QUESTION: Can I cut directly on my granite countertop?
ANSWER: Although granite is very hard and will actually dull your knives and little slivers of the knife may become embedded in your countertop, we do not recommend cutting directly on the countertop – granites vary, use a cutting board.
QUESTION: Will granite chip?
ANSWER: It can, although it happens rarely. If it chips, it is usually around the sink or near an edge. The chip is usually small and not visible, but you can feel it. This is easy to repair. A colored epoxy is used to fill in the small area. If you did get a larger chip, save the chip so it can be used to repair your countertop.
QUESTION: Will granite scratch?
ANSWER: No, not usually. the only things that may scratch it are diamonds, other pieces of granite, and some green kitchen scrub pads. Granite can only be scratched by materials, which are harder than granite.
QUESTION: Will granite burn?
ANSWER: No, it can withstand heat up to 1200F. You can set hot pots on your granite countertop without worrying about charring or scorching your granite. It is not recommended to place hot pots near seams or joints.
QUESTION: Will my granite have seams? What are seams?
ANSWER: Seams are joints where two pieces of stone meet or join. Granite slabs are very big but larger kitchens may need a seam or two. If you have curves, arches, or long spans of granite you will usually need seams. They are placed in out of the way places. Hire a good fabricator and the seams are barely noticeable.
QUESTION: How much does granite weigh?
ANSWER: The weight of granite depends on its density. The average 3/4″ thick granite weighs 13 pounds per square foot, 1 1/4″ thick granite weighs around 18 to 20 pounds per square foot, and 2″ thick granite weighs about 30 pounds per square foot. The darker stones are usually heavier than the lighter stones.
QUESTION: How thick is a granite countertop? Do I need underlayment?
ANSWER: 2cm =3/4″, 3cm =1 1/4″, 3cm is the preferred thickness for granite countertops. Not with 1 1/4″ granite. If you plan to use 3/4″, you may. It depends on the type of granite you choose. Ask your fabricator.
QUESTION: Will my cabinets support the granite countertop?
ANSWER: Most cabinets will if they’re sturdy. Granite spreads its weight out like a waterbed does. Your cabinets may need to be reinforced if they are not sturdy enough. Ask your granite fabricator.
QUESTION: What is granite used for?
ANSWER: It is used on exteriors and interiors of homes and commercial buildings. The most common uses are for headstones and kitchen countertops. Some other examples include fireplaces, bars, vanities, sinks, cabinet handles, outlet switch plate covers, tables, walls, benches, fountains, shower surrounds, flooring…. If you can imagine it, you can use granite.
QUESTION: Is it necessary to see the actual slabs my granite countertop will be made of?
ANSWER: This isn’t mandatory, but it is wise. Each and every piece of granite is unique. The color tones may be lighter or darker from one slab to the next. The pattern of the stone will also vary. It’s fun to go to the “stone warehouse” and pick out your stone. You never know, another one may catch your eye.
QUESTION: How do I match granite to cabinets?
ANSWER: If you’re unsure of how well your granite countertop will match your cabinets, use granite color charts or samples. Look at the stone samples in different lighting and in different areas of your kitchen. If you are unsure please visit our Stone Selection Guide.
QUESTION: How do I clean granite countertops?
ANSWER: A mild dish soap and water will work. But a soap build up may occur over time if you don’t rinse your countertops well. It’s best to use products made specifically for stone.
QUESTION: How much does a granite countertop cost?
ANSWER: Granite countertop costs will vary depending on your region and the type of granite you choose. Exotics, hard to finds, and blues are usually more expensive. However, majority of granites are very inexpensive – priced at level 1 & 2. Sink cut outs, outlet holes, arches and curves, as well as special edgings and tear outs of old countertops add to the cost.
Granites counters are a beautiful and affordable solution for your project. Their aesthetics and longevity will add value to your home. Keep your granite counter tops maintained, and they’ll continue to give you outstanding beauty and performance in the decades ahead.