Granite Countertops: An Overview

Home builders and remodelers have seen a boom in demand for granite countertops in kitchens and bathrooms. The beauty and warmth of granite make it an ideal material for aesthetic appeal in home design, and the durability and easy care of granite countertops keep them a favorite with homeowners looking to the future. Although adding granite countertops to any kitchen can be quite expensive, they are still the first choice in luxury homes as they hold their value better than most other upgrades.

Granite, like marble and other popular stones, is as old as the earth. Granite is found throughout the world. As a preferred material, granite was used in the construction of temples and other public buildings in ancient societies. In the recent past, many builders continued to use granite for pillars and exterior finishes. Stone purveyors did not begin experimenting with polished granite until 1831. The preference for polished granite began in 1851, when a finished piece of granite was displayed in London at the Great Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations.

Granite is an excellent medium for countertops as it is the most durable stone of all. The hardness of granite is only rivaled by the hardness of diamonds. The durability and versatility of granite countertops make them a favorite of home and professional chefs. Granite can withstand the placement of a hot pot and serves as an excellent surface for handling dough and confectionery. The natural beauty of granite countertops complements any wood tone or cabinetry style, from French country to sleek modern styles. Granite is an attractive stone that adds color and warmth to any room.

A popular choice of designers for decades, granite countertops have now become popular with the public. There are literally hundreds of colors of granite, from variations of white to browns, reds, greens, blues, and blacks. Shades of brown and beige are the most popular, as they work well with most kitchen color schemes, allowing for more flexibility in redecorating over the years. Some of the granite colors exhibit “”movement”” or a pattern within the natural color. The movement of large patterns can quickly draw the eye over the countertop surface, while small patterns have a calmer appearance. The combination of color and movement means that no two countertops are exactly alike.

While granite countertops are a favorite choice due to their beauty and durability, they are not immune to damage. Regular care includes proper cleaning and the use of sealers to prevent staining. Although granite is quite hard, it can easily chip. A qualified professional can perform repairs that are almost invisible.

Granite countertops can cost more than other countertop materials, with prices starting at $60 per square foot installed. Most of the cost is not in the stone, but in the quarrying, cutting, transportation, polishing, and installation work. It is not recommended for the DIY homeowner to take on this project. Despite granite’s strength, large slab sheets must be precisely cut to fit countertops and are very delicate when shipped. Special care must be taken to reinforce base units, and the slab must be placed perfectly level. If you don’t lay a granite countertop properly, it could break during regular use.

When a homeowner wants the utility of granite countertops but can’t or won’t pay a premium, discount granite for countertops may be a good option. Retailers maintain stone groupings or levels based on popularity of color and movement. Lower level stone cuts maintain the characteristics that granite is known for consistent, but the hue of a color can vary depending on current fashion trends.

Granite countertops will continue to be a favorite of homeowners, architects, and interior designers. The timeless beauty and durability of granite make it a home improvement treasure that will last a lifetime.

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