By Meg Escott
Here's my granite countertop review which includes a run down of the properties and pros and cons of granite countertops. This review is based on my research, talking to suppliers, and my own experiences with granite countertops.
This page is part of the countertop designs series.
This granite countertop reivew wouldn't be complete without going into the properties of granite in more detail...
Aesthetic choices – Granite comes in all sorts of different natural colors and patterns, all created from the slow crystallization of magma below the Earth’s surface. Because of the wide range of appearance, it’s best to hand pick your granite slabs to make sure you like the appearance of the entire slab.
Seams – Granite is available in long slabs and generally requires few seams. The visibility of a seam in a granite countertop depends on the pattern and it’s something you can assess with your supplier when you’re making your selection.
Stain resistance – Granite must be sealed to be stain resistant. Some granites are more dense and therefore lessporous than others so the requirement for sealing will vary. Ask your granite supplier for advice. Sealing needs to be carried out on a regular basis. Check with your supplier what sealer they use and how often the sealer needs to be re-applied. If you’re wiping your countertops on a reasonably regular basis (ie daily for high use areas) then there should be no problem with stains.
Heat resistance – Granite is naturally heat resistant, but the sealing material may be slightly less heat resistant. So the best advice is probably to use a trivet for hot pans.
Scratch resistance – Granite is a hard material but only as hard as the sealant that is used. It's best to use chopping boards probably to save your knives rather than protecting the granite.
Cleanliness – The sealing material renders a granite counter more or less non-porous and it can we wiped clean easily with soapy water. One little word of warning – ‘BLACK’. Unless you enjoy polishing, avoid a largely black pattern as it shows up all the crumbs and all the watermarks from wiping! That's the sort of advice you get from a personal granite countertop review.
Cost - $35 to $100 per square foot, installed. Some types of granite occur more often in nature and are therefore less expensive.
I have granite counter tops at the moment and to be honest we abuse them pretty badly and they still look great. I’m sure the pattern hides some of the wear and tear.
I have had a black granite countertop in the past and while functionaliy it was a joy it did show water marks all the time. I remember when we sold that house I had to spend five minutes polishing the kitchen countertops every day that the house was being shown.
At the moment I've got a granite countertop that's a reddish color. This is slightly better with watermarks, but a lighter color would be better still. What is nice about a colored granite is that you can use the color to inspire other design elements in the kitchen.
We'll finish off this granite countertop review by going over some questions you can ask yourself before deciding whether or not this countertop is right for your home.
Does your budget run to the cost of granite? Before you say no, maybe you can incorporate granite in some areas and have a less expensive countertop elsewhere.
If you're planning to live in your home for a long time, with proper care your granite countertop will last a life time whereas other less durable countertops might need replacing every 5 to 10 years. If you're planning to sell in a couple of years, you might not get the cost back in the selling price.
Are you willing to take the trouble to maintain your granite countertop?
While some maintenance is necessary (ask your granite supplier to give
you instructions on how best to care for and maintain your granite
coutertop), it's manageable on a day to day basis. You'll need to use a
chopping board and wipe up stains immediately, this includes not
leaving wet things on the surface for long lengths of time.
It's also important to ask if everyone in the family will be able to keep up the maintenance chores. A friend of mine went away for a weekend and while their teenagers hadn't wrecked the house, they hadn't been kind to the granite countertop.
So that concludes my granite countertop review. I hope you've found it useful. See below for more countertop material reviews.
For more information try the Natural Stone Institute.