Granite at a Glance
Granite is an igneous rock primarily formed from quartz and feldspar. The two minerals give granite a unique and attractive look, making it a go-to choice for kitchen or bathroom countertops. Granite has an array of gorgeous finishes – black or white are the most popular, but you can also find granite in more unorthodox colors if that suits your style better.
Why Homeowners Love Granite Countertops
If you’re looking for the best option from a visual standpoint, you’d be hard-pressed to find something better than granite. Granite countertops are stunning and timeless. They also match seamlessly with various styles and play nicely with other materials.
Practically speaking, granite is a hard substance and difficult to scratch, so it’s perfect for average everyday use. And it’s perfectly capable of taking some heat from a hot pan or repelling the stain from your signature marinara if it starts bubbling over. It won’t absorb liquid, provided it’s appropriately sealed when installed. Sealing is essential for granite – it’s something you can do yourself, but it’s much more effective when done by a professional.
Why It’s Not For Everyone
If you don’t have sealed granite, the porous rock can absorb liquids, meaning that a wine spill will cause a stain that you won’t be able to get out. Repelling stains isn’t the same as resisting them. So while the sealing can help, acidic foods and beverages could damage granite countertops. Bacteria can also make itself at home in unsealed granite, so if you’re used to a lower-maintenance material or have young children in your home, you’ll have to be extra cautious if you install granite counters.
And the reality is that granite is already an expensive material, so finding a quality one will be that much pricier. Also, while granite is considered timeless by many, not every granite slab style has a fresh look to it. The more modern styles are out there but might be more expensive or require some more digging to find.
How Expensive Are Granite Countertops?
The price of granite slabs will vary depending on the cut and where they’re sourced from. You’ll probably at least pay around $40 per square foot. If you’re less scrutinizing and shop around, you could find prices around the $30 range. In contrast, exotic, high-quality granite will run you at least $100 to $150 per square foot.
The average granite countertop installation will cost a homeowner roughly $3000 overall. There’s a healthy amount of wiggle room in the middle, so with some research and smart sales shopping, you might find the perfect balance of quality and price. If you’re interested in the look of granite without the hefty price tag, you could opt for granite tiles. They’re made from smaller bits of rock and are much cheaper than slabs. Tiles are also easier to install, but keep in mind that they won’t have the same look as slabs, and you’ll still have to deal with maintenance and care.
When you compare common countertop materials, granite tile is easily the cheapest, while granite slabs fall between concrete and marble. The dramatic range in price is due to the rarity of specific colors and patterns. The more of a unique pattern or color you’re after, the more your countertops will cost.
Popular Types of Granite Countertops
The wide variety of types is exciting to some and daunting to others. Here’s a breakdown of some of the more crowd-pleasing choices you can consider before locking in your decision.
White granite can be described as simple, classic, and elegant. This style has a large amount of quartz, giving it a shinier quality and more texture. Many white granite slabs also contain colored flecks that impact the appearance.
This granite style evokes luxury and appeals to those looking for a sleeker aesthetic. It’s incredibly visually appealing and pairs impeccably with virtually any home environment. But the term “black granite” is slightly disingenuous – gabbro, another type of rock that comes in slabs, is often marketed as black granite. Still, it’s similar to granite in durability and looks, so it’s a suitable swap for the real deal.
Gray is way more exciting than you’d expect – this granite category has the most color and texture diversity. Gray granites are frequently dappled with shimmering blues, greens, pinks, and even silver and gold. They also carry a depth and breadth of characteristics, giving you a staggering number of options to create a custom look.
Browns conjure a more natural, earthy look for your kitchen countertop. Contrary to other choices, brown granite’s sole purpose is to blend and meld to create a comfy atmosphere. It’s subtle enough for more traditional-style homes while still looking fantastic.
How to Care for Granite Countertops
Before you get deep into meal prep on your new granite countertops, you should make sure to seal them. Sealing is the best way to prevent any scratches or staining. Seal your countertops often to ensure nothing ends up ruining your beautiful investment.
Some cleaners are formulated specifically for granite, so it’s a good idea to have one on hand. You could also use a pH-neutral soap if you didn’t find a granite cleanser. Whatever you do, avoid harsh chemicals or vinegar – both can strip your counter of the protective seal. Otherwise, granite is relatively easy to clean.
Spills are inevitable in the kitchen, but stains aren’t. Be diligent about cleaning up spills the moment they happen. If you’re dealing with a more serious spill, like oil or juice, you can use hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to help scour the stain. But your countertops won’t look pristine forever, so try not to worry too much. Natural materials like granite never have a uniform look anyway, so the everyday wear-and-tear could add some character throughout its life.
For a Gorgeous Countertop, Go for Granite
If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind countertop for your kitchen remodel or new home, it’s hard to argue there’s something greater than granite. If you’re willing to commit to some light maintenance and have the means for this magnetic material, you’ll love how it transforms your kitchen. While prices fluctuate wildly and the choices are abundant, careful selection could bring you some breathtaking results. Taking time with your decision will be worth the effort when you have everyone fawning over how beautiful your kitchen looks.