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Granite Countertops

Today, granite is still the premier material used by granite fabricators in the construction industry. The classic beauty of granite and its inherent ability to withstand the elements are the reasons why granite is very expensive.

This is the reason why granite countertops continue to be among the most expensive countertops ever built by man. There maybe a lot of new innovative materials developed in these last decades or so, but still, countertops made of granite are preferred by traditionally minded homeowners.

Nature is responsible for the exceptional qualities of granite. Its gorgeous colors and its strong mineral structure are created in the crucible of tremendous heat and pressure several hundred miles underneath the earth’s surface. These conditions are very difficult to synthesize that’s why the extraordinary properties of granite are hard to copy. The colors of granite range from light to dark shades. The lighter shades are white, yellow, beige and gold. Darker shades of granite include green, blue, red, burgundy, brown and black. These colors are also commonly differentiated by various color hues. The vein patterns of granite give dynamism to these colors. These vein movements can either be subdued or prominent.

granite countertopsTypes of Granite Used In Building Countertops
The average homeowner thinks that he can’t afford granite. While this is generally true, it does not paint the whole picture on the cost of granite countertops. Granite slabs are indeed very expensive but there are other types or grades of granite that are more affordable. To give you a better grasp of the different classes of granite, here is a list that you can use.
• Granite Slabs – granite countertops made of a large single piece of granite are the most expensive. Their actual cost will depend on the combination of colors and vein movements. The more exciting colors and vein movements, the more expensive your countertop will be.
• Prefab Granite – these are pre-fabricated granites which are smaller than granite slabs. They are not as expensive as granite slabs. If you use this to build your countertop, it will have grouts and seams.
• Granite Tiles – these are even smaller pieces of granite, in tile form. They are also thinner and are less costly than prefab granite. They are already equipped with granite edges enabling you to save on installation costs.
• Granite Remnants – these granite pieces can either be left-over from the cutting of granite slabs or small granite slabs that are not large enough to be used for a countertop. They are the lowest priced granite available. You can build a granite countertop using these smaller pieces at roughly 75% lower than the cost of a granite slab.
• Composite granite – these are the latest innovation in granite countertop construction. They are made of about 90% to 95% crushed or powdered granite crystals combined with 5% to 10% polyresin and color pigments. They are also rather expensive.

Advantages of Granite Countertops
The most notable advantage of having granite countertops is their ability to withstand the elements. If you have properly sealed and laminated the surface, you can expect it to last for years. Granite’s internal structural is so dense that it won’t permit water or dirt from seeping in. And if you reinforce it with sealing and lamination, you have made it literally impenetrable to all types of foreign elements. This makes cleaning and maintaining granite countertops very easy. The value of your house will also increase if you have a number of granite countertops in your premises.

Disadvantage of Granite Countertops
The biggest downside to granite is its expensive price. But knowing the different grades of granite, you will be able to flex your requirements so you can still have the granite countertop that you want. Another disadvantage is its huge weight. You need to adequately support your granite countertop because if you don’t, you will experience chipping, cracking and even breaking of some sections, especially if you have an overhang.

Proper Care and Maintenance
All granite countertops must be adequately supported. This is basically provided for by the platform cabinet. But if your granite countertop has an overhang, consider installing countertop brackets underneath it. This will help carry the weight of the overhang. In cleaning the countertop surface, always use mild soaps and cleansers. Never use cleansers containing harsh chemicals because they may ruin the seal and lamination of the surface. Always use soft non-abrasive cloth when wiping off water and dirt from the surface. Avoid using brushes with hard bristles because they may leave accidental scratches on the surface. Schedule a periodical re-sealing and re-laminating of the surface. This will keep the luster and shine of the surface for years.