Have you always dreamed of gorgeous white granite countertops for your kitchen? Many homeowners crave the natural beauty of this hardy stone for their home remodeling projects. In fact, you can find stone surfaces in kitchens all around the world. Granite countertops offer considerable beauty and resiliency, but are they worth your investment? Today, we’ll talk about where granite countertops come from, the core benefits that excite homeowners, and how you can make your counters last for the long haul.
Where Do Granite Countertops Come From?
They certainly don’t grow on trees! This durable stone can be found in rock quarries all over the world, as well as right here in the United States. The largest exporters of granite however, are Brazil, Italy, India, and China. The igneous stone itself is created after thousands of years of extreme pressure and heat. While the majority of the stone is a mixture of quartz and feldspar, it’s other lesser minerals like mica that produce the eye-catching streaks of color.
How are Granite Countertops Made?
Once the granite stone has been extracted from the quarry (wherever in the world that may be), it’s shipped to local manufacturers for refinement. Each preliminary stone is cut into large slabs, which are then handled in one of two ways. For glossy or half-glossed stone, the slabs are put through an abrasive polishing process. Most homeowners tend to prefer this smooth surfacing.
For coarser, rustic stone, slabs are exposed to an incredible hot propane flame that causes the internal quartz to burst. This type of surfacing is rare for granite countertops however. Instead, many homeowners prefer this type of granite as a non-slip flooring tile.
Once a buyer selects the specific stone for their granite countertops, the slabs are brought to the residence on the day of installation. Most of the measurements are made well in advance, so that the slabs are already cut to size. Then countertop installation begins!
The Installation Process
- Old counters are removed.
- New granite slabs are placed on their designated areas, but not glued yet.
- Seams and wall fit are examined and adjustments made as needed.
- Holes are made for the plumbing fixtures. The sink orifice is checked.
- Once fixtures have been placed, the slab pieces are then glued down.
- Later, a coat of sealant is applied to prevent stains.
Why Choose Granite Countertops?
So now we know where these stone countertops come from. Why should a homeowner consider granite over other kinds of counter materials? First off, the natural hardness of granite makes it very difficult to scratch or chip. As we mentioned earlier, granite is formed through thousands of years of extreme pressure and heat.
That also means that your granite countertop can withstand hot pots and pans. That’s good news if you are an avid fan of cooking family meals. Contrast this feature with quartz, which can show burn marks if you forget to place something below your hot kitchen cookery.
Can Granite Countertops Chip?
Yes, but it takes a great deal of force. Obviously, you shouldn’t be swinging hammers or pickaxes at your countertops. The more relevant concern is breaking the corners of your counter. Slamming concentrated force on these sections can cause them to break. In general, it’s just best not to drop heavy metal objects on any kitchen counter.
How Much Do Granite Countertops Weigh?
On average, 20 to 25 lbs per square foot. That depends partly on the thickness of the slab. While most slabs lie at about 5/4 (1.25) inches thick, some homeowners try to cut down their material costs by purchasing a 3/4 (0.75) inch slab. Either way, slabs are extremely heavy, which is why it’s highly recommended to let professionals do the countertop installation for you.
Is it Worth it?
Granite can be very expensive, with the average granite countertop cost ranging from $45 to $200 per square foot. With proper care (including annual sealing), your counters should last for the life of the house. Not every counter material can promise that. The extreme weight makes it very difficult to manage a DIY installation (even with granite tile countertops).
Pros and Cons
- Pro: The very hard surfaces are hard to crack.
- Pro: Granite will last for the life of the house (with care).
- Pro: The natural stone comes in a score of unique textures and colors.
- Pro: Granite is naturally heat resistant, which is great for the kitchen.
- Con: Because granite is porous, it can absorb fluids and stain (without seal).
- Con: Granite is can be very expensive.
- Con: Granite is difficult to self-install.
Caring for Granite Kitchen Countertops
The most important part of protecting your granite countertops is having your counters resealed every year or so. Why do granite countertops need to be sealed? The stone is naturally porous, meaning that it can absorb fluid that’s left on the surface. Sealing your granite significantly slows the absorption process, making it easier to prevent stains.
Even with annual resealing, spills, condensation, and miscellaneous moisture should be wiped up immediately. Wiping off residue and food particles is always a good idea. Simply use warm water, a soft rag, and a little dish soap to clean away the grime. Then dry the area with a paper towel.
Ask for a Countertop Installation Estimate Today!
Our team at Tri County Design Center would love to help you find the perfect countertop material for your kitchen or bathroom. We specialize in quartz and granite countertops, both of which provide long-lasting surfacing for your home. You can learn more by talking with one of our experts at (707) 769-1010.