Granite continues to be the most popular choice for upscale countertops for kitchens, bathrooms, commercial businesses and anyone that wants the beautiful look of granite countertops.
Granite countertops are available in many color styles, are highly durable, add value to your home, and perhaps most importantly, gorgeous to look at.
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In this guide to granite countertops, we will educate you on the material and answer the most common questions about why so many people choose granite for countertops.
What is granite?
Granite is a naturally durable igneous rock made up of quartz, mica, and feldspar that is used for many construction purposes including kitchen and bathroom countertops. It forms from the slow crystallization of magma below Earth’s surface. Granite occurs in many natural colors, predominantly white, pink, or gray in color, depending on its mineralogy.
Are granite countertops natural stone?
Granite countertops are made from full natural stone slabs from granite quarries. Countertops are made from a single slab so that the color and veining pattern will match exactly. It is a natural stone, not man-made such as Corian countertops or engineered from natural materials like quartz countertops.
Related: Guide to Quartz Countertops
Why is granite popular for kitchen counters?
Granite is naturally hard, durable and highly resistant to scratching, cracking and staining. It is very impervious to heat and can tolerate a hot pot without a trivet under it. It is a high-end material that creates a distinctive look and adds value to your home.
When did granite countertops become so popular?
Thirty years ago, granite was rare as a countertop material and was available in a limited number of colors and styles. It was very localized, meaning you were limited in choices to what colors were quarried in your region. Developments in transportation (affordable global container shipping) and cutting (computerized stone cutting machines) changed the industry and lowered the cost of granite slabs. By the late 1990s, granite countertops were becoming the most popular choice in new construction. By 2012, 75% of all new construction had granite countertops.
Related: Guide to Marble Countertops
How much do granite countertops cost?
Granite countertop cost depends on how common or scarce the color and pattern of the granite you choose is, the thickness of the granite, and the total surface area of the countertops. The national average for granite slabs can cost between $56 – $60 per square foot. Granite tile can cost $10 – $40 per square foot. Granite slabs require the additional cost of professional installation because of the weight of the slab and precision in cutting and installing. You will need to pay for labor, edging, additional materials and seams, which can bring your total project cost up to between $2,000 – $4,000. These are estimates and your costs can vary.
Related: Granite Countertop Installation
What is the difference between slab granite and tile granite?
There are two main types of granite available for your countertops: slab granite and tile granite. When most people think of granite countertops they are thinking of slab granite. Both types of granite come from the same source. Granite tiles are very often created from the waste that is cut off the rock to make a granite slab. Because of this, it has the same high quality and will look almost identical.
The main difference is in the seams. For granite slab countertops, the surface is often made from a single piece of granite, or perhaps two that are held together by a virtually invisible seam. With granite tile countertops, however, these seams are much more difficult to hide. It can be almost impossible to not see or feel the seams. Some homeowners don’t mind this or even consider it a design element. Others though will want a seamless surface. Which type you choose will depend on your personal preference as well as your budget.
Related: Three Types of Granite Countertops
How thick are granite countertops?
The standard thickness for granite countertops is two centimeter-thick slabs (3/4 of an inch) or three centimeter-thick slabs (about 1 1/4 of an inch). The two centimeter slab was the industry standard but recently the 3 centimeter slab has overtaken it as the new industry standard.
What are the pros and cons of granite countertops?
Granite Countertop Advantages:
- Widely considered the most beautiful countertop material
- Will accentuate the good looks of quality kitchen cabinets
- Natural occurring stone
- Extremely strong and durable with proper care
- Highly resistant to scratches and damage from heat
- Stain resistance and easy to clean when sealed correctly
Granite Countertop Disadvantages:
- Improper sealing can lead to staining
- Poorly sealed granite can harbor bacteria
- There are fewer color varieties and patterns in granite than in engineered stone countertops
- Corners can chip or break
- More expensive compared to most other popular countertop materials
Are granite countertops heat resistant?
Granite counters are heat resistant and under normal circumstances can withstand the heat of hot pots and pans without damage.
Do granite countertops stain?
Granite counters are generally resistant to stains but can be stained if certain spills are not cleaned up or if they have not been sealed correctly. Most liquids will not stain a granite countertop if wiped up within a few minutes. Water can soak into a granite countertops and leave a dark colored spot but this will usually evaporate within a few minutes. Liquids that do not easily evaporate, such cooking oils can cause a stain if left to soak into the stone.
Related: How to Clean Granite Countertops
For information on granite countertops, contact us online or call 314.533.3366
Graniterra is located in St. Louis, Missouri and supplies granite and natural stone countertops and provides expert installation from our in-house team. With over 30 years in the stone business, we have the knowledge & experience to deliver a perfect project. Request a quote