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 keeps them a favorite with future-looking homeowners. Although adding granite countertops to any kitchen can be quite expensive, they are still the first choice in luxury homes as they retain their value better than most other upgrades.
Granite, like marble and other popular stones, is as old as the earth. Granite is found all over 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 suppliers 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 All Nations Industry.
Granite is an excellent medium for countertops, as it is the most durable of all stones. The hardness of granite only rivals 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 makes an excellent surface for handling dough and confectionery. The natural beauty of granite countertops complements any wood tone or cabinet style, from French countryside 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. The shades of brown and beige are the most popular, as they work well with most colors in the kitchen, 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 surface of the countertop, while small patterns have a calmer appearance. The combination of color and movement means that no two countertops are exactly the same.
While granite countertops are a favorite choice due to their beauty and durability, they are not impervious to damage. Regular care includes proper cleaning and the use of sealants to prevent staining. Although granite is quite hard, it can chip easily. A trained professional can perform repairs that are almost invisible.
Granite countertops can cost more than other countertop materials, with prices starting at $ 60 per installed square foot. Most of the cost is not in the stone, but in the quarrying, cutting, transportation, polishing, and installation work. Do-it-yourself homeowner is not recommended to take on this project. Despite the strength of granite, oversized slab slabs must be precisely cut to fit countertops and are very delicate when transported. Special care must be taken to reinforce the base cabinets, and the slab must be perfectly level. Failure to properly position a granite countertop could cause it to break during regular use.
When a homeowner wants the utility of granite countertops, but is unable or unwilling to pay a premium, discounted granite for countertops can be a good option. Retailers maintain stone groupings or tiers based on popularity of color and movement. Lower level stone cuts maintain the consistent characteristics that granite is known for, but the hue of a color may vary according to current fashion trends.
Granite countertops will continue to be a favorite with homeowners, architects, and interior designers. The timeless beauty and durability of granite make it a home improvement treasure that will last a lifetime.