Granite Countertops

How Granite Countertops became popular?

Granite Countertops became popular lately. It is because granite is one of the most functional building materials in the world. Processing of this material has been revolutionized in the last 20 years with improvements of diamond cutting tools.

Granite Countertops

In the late 80’s, granite technology improved and made granite an affordable raw slab material.  Granite is abundant in India, Brazil, Norway, United States, Canada, and South Africa as well as the island of Sardinia. Black, blue pearl, and Luna pearl granites were some of the few varieties until the 80’s.

Granite is very resistant to heat and stains

Due to its ability to absorb heat and resist scratching and staining, granite is the most popular material in most kitchen and bath countertops and vanity tops, both residential and commercial. In addition to most residential granite countertops, it is also popular among hotel owners in bathroom vanity tops. 

Granite Countertops
Kitchen interior with granite tabletop, wooden furniture and oven open to the staircase

Most granite countertops come in 1 ¼” or 3cm sizes up to 10‘x 6‘. These sizes make it quite functional to use as a seamless piece of material in kitchens for countertops and kitchen islands.

Popular Granite Colors

Some of the most popular granite colors include absolute black, tan brown, chestnut brown, blue pearl, and marina pearl.  Recent discoveries in Brazil and India brought a lot of unusual granite colors to the market that look like marble with the big broad open veins. These granites such as Taj Mahal and the various quartzites from Brazil are very popular among kitchen designers.

Granite Rocks

Installing granite countertops must be done by a professional fabricator. Fabricators are qualified and licensed stone cutting companies. In order to cut granite, one has to have a wet saw with diamond blades as well as skilled craftsmen to finish the edges. Cutting and polishing granite countertops is extremely hard and you must have proper tools.

Installing Granite Countertops

Installing granite countertops in residential applications are relatively easy as qualified companies can do it usually in 1 to 2 weeks. First, existing countertops are removed, then, a template of the new material is taken and fabricated, and finally, the granite countertop is installed.

Granite Countertops
High-end luxury kitchen with granite countertops and white cabinets.

You can also choose various forms of granite for the kitchen backsplash as to go on top of the granite countertops. You can use leftover pieces of granite, if so desired, by putting your 4-inch backsplash on top of the countertop. Another option is using a different type of water jet mosaics and/or different types of ceramic tiles to go in between the space between the kitchen countertop and the cabinets. This space is called backsplash.

How to select granite countertops

  • Step one is to have your kitchen cabinet samples.
  • Step two is to go to a slab yard, or slab wholesaler, that carries a wide variety of granite countertops.
  • Step three is to try to coordinate your granite countertop along with your kitchen cabinet sample and flooring material.

PRO TIP:

Most granite countertop materials or slabs are displayed vertically on what’s called a frame. It may be difficult to visualize a horizontal surface displayed vertically. It is recommended to have your kitchen layout in order to coordinate the available slabs along with your available sizes and matching the veins, if there are any. We recommend visiting the slab yard shortly before your kitchen cabinets go in. Most slab yards will not hold slabs for long periods of time, therefore do not make your final selection months ahead of time. You may have to pay a separate visit to your fabricator and have your firm kitchen layout face taped on the actual slab to visualize how the piece will look in your kitchen. You should also have some idea about the type of edge work and sink cut out you desire.

Granite Countertops
Granite Slab

There are two types of kitchen sink cutouts. The first option is dropped in and the second is under-mount. Under-mount is more expensive, but easier to use.

Most wholesalers will not quote you an actual price. You will have to get a price from your fabricator. Slab yards will tell you a price range in terms of low, medium, high, exotic, and high exotic. To most consumers, these are meaningless. However, your fabricator will be able to translate this into actual quote depending on your kitchen. There are risks involved by the fabricator in carrying the slab and they will have to absorb the waste of cutting. You may also have some leftover pieces from your kitchen countertops. You can use these leftover pieces as a cutting board and/or depending on the piece, you may frame it and use it as an art piece in your kitchen.

How to seal granite countertops

  • Step one is to clean the granite with a soft sponge and the natural stone cleaner.
  • Step two is to apply the granite countertop sealer evenly and throughout the surface. Wait for it to dry a little bit and, if necessary, apply a second coat of sealer until the stone absorbs it. We recommend using a good quality sealer like Fila.
  • Step three is to clean the surface with a good, dry cloth and remove all debris and the excess sealer.

What are some of the advantages of granite countertops?

Ability to observe heat. Unlike other building materials or countertop materials, you can put most hot plates or pans on top of a granite countertop without damaging the stone.

Granite Countertops

Ability to resist scratching 

Granite is one of the hardest materials in the world and, therefore, it is extremely difficult to scratch it, particularly darker colors which are extremely hard. In most typical kitchen applications, such as using a knife on your countertop or cutting and using other pots and pans, it is difficult to scratch most granite countertops. Please check with a licensed fabricator in order to warrant the uses of Granite countertops.

Ability to resist staining

One must caution that some of the lighter color countertops may absorb water and look wet immediately after use. However, it will dry after a small period of time. We recommend sealing all-natural surface materials, including granite, after installation and throughout its life from time to time to prevent staining. Darker color granites are almost impossible to stay in an everyday use.

PRO TIP:

Granite is also acid resistant. If you clean relatively quickly after use, most granites will not etch with acid such as lemon or wine.

What are some of the disadvantages of granite countertops?

In comparison to Corian, quartz, and similar materials, granite countertops might be slightly more expensive. However, granite countertops will last a lot longer than comparable materials.

Granite Slab

Most granite countertop materials are known as monochromatic and has an even pattern throughout the stone. Some of the soft quartzite also commonly known as granites. These granites may have veins and usually have to be matched in your desired direction.

Granite Manufacturers

Today, most of the granite countertop manufacturing is done in Brazil, India, and China. The United States and Canada have well-known granite quarries. Jet Mist from Virginia and Dakota mahogany are some of the most popular granites in the world. Marble Systems, Antolini Luigi, Pokarna granites, Granitex, Thor, and Levantina are some of the most popular granite manufacturers in the world.

There are over 300 different very popular varieties of granite countertops that are available through most of the wholesalers including Marble Systems.

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