Granite Counter Top Guide

A new granite counter top is always high on the list of kitchen remodeling ideas. And why not? It's a proven durable surface with many unique benefits. Though with so many to choose from now you might be wondering... aren't other materials better than granite countertops?

Certainly, you have many options these days.

With good reason you might consider and be very satisfied with other materials like quartz countertops, solid surface or concrete for your kitchen design.

Just don't let marketing hype or internet myths and mis-information fool you...

When considering the overall performance characteristics, versatility, extensive style and color choices, ease of cleaning, maintenance and repair... other counter top materials have yet to truly surpass a granite counter top as we'll explain here.

Over the centuries granite has excelled as a top material for quite a variety of installations such as indoor and outdoor kitchen counter tops, bathroom countertops, floor tile, patios, fireplaces, tub decks, shower surrounds and walls... inside and out.

granite countertop colors - cashmere gold

No other countertop or tile material performs so reliability with style and ease across so many different applications.

With such an impressive resume, it's no wonder that granite countertops remain among homeowner's most desired features whether remodeling or buying.... and that the value or pros and cons of all other countertop materials are continually compared to a granite counter top.

Why A Granite Counter Top Is So Popular

Granite countertops are so popular for kitchen counter tops and other installations due to extensive design possibilities and the superior performance when comparing counter tops materials.

In fact, granite is consistently rated the top performing kitchen countertop material by leading consumer magazines when compared with quartz countertops (an excellent countertop material), butcher block, ceramic tile, stainless steel and other manufactured surfaces.

Granite is also more hygienic (tied with quartz) than all other surfaces.

One of the hardest and strongest materials in nature, granite originated from the earth's core as liquid magma.

Extreme heat and pressure forged the quartz, mica, feldspar and other minerals into a very dense structure millions of years ago.

Over time, additional heat and pressure resulted in the myriad, fascinating combinations of color and pattern as well as the many outstanding qualities we know and love about granite. Every granite counter top slab is naturally unique.

Granite's innate ability to withstand constant abuse will impress you. A granite counter top is nearly impossible to scratch (you can cut your veggies, etc. on it if you don't mind dulling your knives), hot pots won't hurt it, bacteria and stains are not a problem under normal use and proper cleaning.

Most granite is porous to a certain degree and thus susceptible to staining. This is particularly true for lighter-colored stones like santa cecilia granite and white granite. Staining can be easily controlled by application of a sealer on these surfaces. And at the extreme a few granite colors (like Kashmir White) are so porous, prone to staining and difficult to seal they just shouldn't be installed.

However, the idea that all granite stains easy is a gross generalization and distortion of the truth. Protecting and cleaning granite countertops is hardly a concern and certainly not the problem or hassle that some in the industry would have you believe.

Many varieties of granite (especially darker colors like Uba Tuba granite, blue pearl granite, absolute black, black galaxy or baltic brown granite... and many others) are so dense they simply will not stain and thus do not need sealing... ever.

These super-dense varieties of granite are without question the very best countertop surfaces available. However, since it is a natural product variation in density can occur and it is always recommended to test the absorbency even of those varieties known to be especially dense. In some cases a sealer could be applied.

A simple water test is all that's required to check absorbency and determine if and when sealing granite countertops is necessary (or not). And applying a granite sealer is a quick and simple project.

We highly recommend using SenGuard Permanent Sealer or one of these impregnating sealers when testing shows it would be beneficial.

Granite Countertop Colors & Patterns

From a design perspective granite is a dream. Many popular colors like Santa Cecilia granite, baltic brown or ubatuba granite work with a wide range of design themes, however, the broad spectrum of colors (2500+) and interesting array of patterns offer endless possibilities... far more than available with any other countertop material.

And the choices are continually expanding as more countries and regions around the globe begin to explore their unique geology to bring new granites to market.

Colors include many choices in golden browns, pale pinks, deep plums, romantic reds, exotic blues, greens, blacks, white granite and many subtle shades in-between.

Surface patterns typically will have a flecked or pebbled appearance which can vary in size and shape and in the density of the pattern depending on the particular mix of quartz, crystals and minerals that make up the stone.

The pattern can be highly structured offering a uniform appearance over the entire countertop or the pattern may change continually, without repetition, called "movement".

granite countertop colors - Amarello-Real
granite-countertop-colors-Himalayan-Blu

Movement (on the right) is often desired for the organic and dramatic look it adds to your kitchen or bathroom design.

Remember, granite counter tops and other stones developed their color and pattern over millions of years of natural formation creating a surface that is truly unique.

So, it's never a problem finding a granite color or pattern that fits with your design. The trick is deciding which of the gorgeous granites you love the most!

Texture. As if the endless combination of colors and patterns weren't enough to choose from, you also have the texture or finish of your granite counter tops to consider.

The most popular is a polished surface, but granite counter top finishes also include honed, flamed and brushed.

You'll find more information about all of the above at our page on Granite Colors & Design.

Granite Tile Countertop and Slab Sizes

granite countertop photos-quarry

Slabs

for your granite countertops are cut from monolithic blocks and come in thicknesses of 2cm (3/4 inch) or 3cm (11/4 inch) or custom sizes.

The 2cm is most commonly used and generally less expensive, but the 3cm is becoming more popular. It really just depends on the look you're trying to create especially concerning the edges and your kitchen cabinets.

A thicker slab gives you more options when choosing your edge profile/style.

Tile

Granite Tiles are excellent for bath or kitchen flooring or anywhere else around the house inside or out. Also, a granite tile countertop will save you a bunch of money... up to 60%... while still providing the distinct look and desirable qualities of a full-slab countertop save a little extra grout maintenance.

Cost

Depending on the granite color you choose the cost of granite countertops will run from $60 to $85 sq. ft on average, but could be up to $125 for some rare, expensive slabs. And you can still get a quality installation for as low as $45 sq. ft. sometimes, but you should expect a bit more especially if you want a fancy edge or have many cut-outs.

How about those ads for $25 sq ft? If you are smart and want your countertops to look good, you'll just ignore those cut-rate advertisements.

In order to charge so little, these backyard fabricator/installers must use cheap, low-grade and thin slabs, unskilled workers and also cut every corner possible. This means mistakes are highly likely. What you save in money you'll lose in quality and you'll just have to live with it because they can't afford to spend any time on "customer service".

You'll get a song-and-dance that the problem or shoddy installation is "normal". Nobody wants a crummy-looking countertop no matter how cheap. People install natural stone because they want their kitchen or bathroom countertop to look fantastic. Believe me... we've consulted with far too many people in this unfortunate situation.... you'll regret it!

Versatile, resilient and naturally beautiful, granite is an excellent surface for any project you're planning. No other natural stone or engineered stone can match the numerous and unique characteristics of granite countertops.

Consider the elegance of a granite for: kitchen counter tops, kitchen islands, outdoor kitchens, bathroom vanities and granite tile for: tub decks, shower surrounds, interior and exterior flooring, wall cladding and a granite tile countertop.

Answers To Granite Counter Top Questions

Learn even more! Click on the links below to read detailed answers to common (and unusual) marble cleaning questions.

Are Kashmir White Granite Countertops Good? 
QUESTION: I'm thinking of putting in Kashmir White granite counter tops, but I have heard that it is more difficult to care for than other granites. …

Granite Countertop Seam and Crack Issues 
QUESTION: We recently had Black Galaxy granite counter tops installed. After installation, we noticed a 4-foot-long line through the counter. It goes …

Granite has blotchy appearance 
QUESTION: I hope somebody can give me some advice! We just had new granite counter tops installed in our kitchen -- White Spring? It is absolutely …

Honed Absolute Black Granite
Countetops For Kitchen
 
QUESTION: I have been told that the honed absolute black granite countertops stain very, very, very easily by some and that this is not true by others. …

Matching Different Granite Slab Colors 
QUESTION: I recently got 3 slabs of tropical brown prefabbed granite for kitchen countertops. We didn't notice that one granite countertop slab …

Granite vs Man-Made Stone 
QUESTION: We are remodeling our kitchen countertops and are getting answers all over the world - this one chips,$35 more per square foot, this one stains,etc.. …

Kosmus Granite Countertop 
QUESTION: We are about to install Kosmus granite counter tops. It seems to have a lot of mica in it and my installer has told me that it is a very …

Unlevel Countertops Not rated yet
QUESTION: My installer put in our granite counter tops and they are not level. He blames the cabinets for not being level and said they are set in …

Why Isn't My Granite Super High Gloss Shiny Not rated yet
QUESTION: We had a granite counter top installed two years ago. I have noticed a few pits in it and it does not appear like it has a thick coating of …

Best Country Origin For Granite Not rated yet
QUESTION: I am going to install granite countertops in my new home, I have seen stones from India, Canada and Brazil. Is any stone origin better …


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