Historically, granite has been among the most popular kitchen countertop materials. While engineered stone solutions, such as quartz countertops, have become more common, granite is still a favorite for many homeowners. Lauded for their natural durability and striking natural colors and patterns, granite countertops can enhance any space.
If you’re interested in giving your kitchens and bathrooms a new look, granite countertops are a fantastic addition to any remodeling project. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the basics of granite countertops, how they are made, and the advantages they have over other materials.
Granite countertops are cut from massive blocks of stone mine from quarries, meaning that each and every countertop has unique colors and patterns.
Granite countertops come from naturally formed stone. While alternative materials such as quartz are manmade, granite is an igneous rock, formed naturally beneath the Earth’s surface through the gradual cooling and hardening of magma under intense pressure. This process is what gives granite the natural durability it is known for.
Depending on how quickly the magma cooled, the crystalline patterns of the granite will differ, as will the overall composition of the rock. Granite is typically made up primarily from feldspar, natural quartz, and mica. But depending on where the stone is being quarried, other minerals can be found within the granite, including trace amounts pyroxene, muscovite, and others.
The material differences also influence the color of granite. North American quarries produce granite in grays, whites, and pinks. But other regions of the world offer different shades, with the most colorful varieties of granite quarried from Brazil, India, and Norway. Quarries can be found throughout the Americas, Europe, China, and parts of Africa.
Because granite countertops are cut from a larger block of granite, each slab will have a pattern unique to it. Engineered stone countertops have an element of randomness in their designs, but for homeowners desiring the sort of unique, irreproducible patterns only found in nature, granite countertops are an ideal choice.
Granite countertops are naturally tough, and possess greater heat resistance than engineered countertops
As a result of their volcanic origins, granite countertops are naturally scratch and impact resistant, and have a toughness comparable to quartz countertops and most other alternative engineered stone materials in this regard.
One major benefit that often goes overlooked is the natural heat resistance that granite countertops enjoy. On the other hand, engineered countertops do require some care when setting hot pots and pans on them—generally, it’s advisable to use a trivet. This is because the resin used to bind the materials in a quartz countertop can be damaged or discolored when exposed to high heat for an extended period.
By contrast, a granite countertop can withstand sudden applications of heat for longer periods of time without sustaining damage. There are no binding resins that can be warped, melted, or burned. This means that granite countertops are naturally well suited for kitchens, particularly near cooking appliances where it may be necessary to quickly set down something that is too hot to hold.
Granite countertops maintain their color for decades without needing to be refinished.
Another major consideration for any kitchen is how much sunlight will regularly shine onto the countertops. Most granite varieties do not fade in direct sunlight, even after years of constant exposure. This means that with regular maintenance and care, your countertop can still look as good as it did when it was first installed, no matter how sunny your kitchen is.
Costs for granite countertops are comparable to quartz and other popular engineered stone countertops.
When it comes to granite countertops, they are not the cheapest option. But the public perception of the cost of granite is somewhat exaggerated, and quite comparable to many engineered countertop solutions. In addition, it’s a matter of, “You get what you pay for.” The Some varieties of granite can be more expensive, particularly those with more exotic colors and patterns that may be unique to specific regions of the world. At the same time, some brands of quartz countertops can be more expensive per square foot than comparable quality granite.
Regular maintenance and cleaning of a granite countertop can allow it to last essentially for the life of a home.
Granite is a naturally porous material. It can easily absorb fluid from food and drinks, which can result in permanent stains if they are not cleaned up. However, most granite counter tops are polished and sealed, which will help your countertop resist staining.
This has the side effect of making it easier to maintain these countertops. These smooth surfaces are easy to clean and disinfect. The sealing can be reinforced via liquid solutions that can be applied during cleaning. With regular care, a granite countertop can maintain its original appearance for the life of your home.
Repairs are also easier with granite than with some alternatives. If a granite countertop is chipped, repair services are generally reasonably priced. In some instances, a granite repair kit from a neighborhood hardware store is sufficient to fix more minor damage, without professional help.
Granite countertops are an excellent choice for any kitchen or bathroom. The material is robust, incredibly durable, and the unique nature of granite slabs compared to engineered stone can provide a “one-of-a-kind” appearance to a living space. If you’re considering a granite countertop for your project, contact us today to learn more about what we have to offer.