Granite Countertops: Durable and Easy to Maintain
Whether you’re planning to do some renovation around your house, updating your kitchen, or in the process of constructing your dream home, you are probably faced with the decision of what material to use for your countertop. There are plenty of options available. You can choose from granite, wood, quartz, or other man-made stones. Among them, granite is the most commonly used material for countertops, backsplash, and other household installations. Why is granite the popular choice?
What is Granite?
Granite is a natural stone. It came from molten magma that flowed into other rock structures and became solid. The result is a rough, textured, but durable rock. Because it flows into other rock structures, it is composed of different minerals such as feldspar, quartz, mica and other minerals. These combinations give each tile a unique design that is hard to replicate. The mixture of quartz gives the stone white or pinkish hues, while feldspar provides the red or pink highlights on the stone. Mica is visible on the granite slab through the black or brown veining in it.
The mineral composition of granite would depend on where the stone was quarried from. The unique textures contributed by these minerals give each tile a character that is unique to each countertop. This is one of the many reasons why granite is a popular choice among other stones.
What are the Different Uses of Granite?
Although granite is often used as countertops, it can also be used in other parts of the house.
Here are some other ways you can use granite:
- Bathroom Vanity Tops and Sinks. Granite is water-resistant and can prevent molds from forming, thus making it resistant from bacteria.
- Backsplash. If you prefer a visual continuity from your countertop to your walls, you can use the same granite design for the back walls of your kitchen.
- Granite Sinks and Basins. Like vanity tops, granite is ideal for sinks and basins because it is resistant to water and easy to maintain.
- Tabletops, Desks, and Shelves. Aside from its strength and durability, the elegant designs of granite make it a stylish option for dining tabletops, home office desk, shelves, and bars.
- Patio bar, outdoor table, and the outdoor counter. Because of its resistance to water and capacity to handle high temperatures, granite can be used as outdoor furniture. Unlike other stones, it will not discolor under direct sunlight and is resistant to scratches.
Why is Granite the Popular Choice of Material?
Granite is a Natural Stone
One of the factors that put granite on top of the list is its sustainability. Because it is a natural stone, granite is renewable, and thus environment-friendly. Although it would take thousands of years before it can be renewed, it is the material of choice for the green building movement.
In addition to this, it reduces your exposure to chemicals and additives that are used in man-made stone countertops. Although granite is known to contain radon, the traceable amounts of chemicals are not enough to cause for worry.
Granite is Durable
Granite is made from molten lava and mixed with other rocks and minerals that have been cooled and compacted for thousands of years. Because of this natural process, granite can withstand high temperatures and are scratch resistant. Compared to other materials, you can place a hot pot on a granite countertop without damaging it. It may damage the sealant but not the surface.
If you have a bright kitchen where the sun shines directly on your countertop, you do not have to worry about the sunlight damaging it because of the heat or cause discoloration. As a natural stone, it retains its color and texture despite being exposed to elements. It is for this reason why granite can also be used as driveway paving, patio bars, outdoor tables, or even building facades.
Accidents happen around the kitchen and pots and pans could fall on your countertop. The minimal impact would not damage it but in case chipping, or cracks occur, the damage is easily repairable with kits available from most hardware stores. It is also scratch resistant, and some even use granite as cutting board.
Granite is Easy to Maintain
Man-made countertops are non-porous making them stain-resistant and super low-maintenance. Quartz countertops, for example, contains a considerable amount of resin that makes it very easy to maintain. On the other hand, granite is a porous stone and therefore could stain easily. Spills could cause stain and discoloration on the countertop. Despite this minimal flaw, the maintenance of granite isn’t difficult.
Granite countertops are now fabricated and installed with sealant to protect it from stain and other marks. But over time, the sealant would wear off and would leave it susceptible to stains and other marks. To avoid stains from spills or melted countertops from hot pots, it needs regular maintenance. The technology for sealers has improved a lot, thus requiring reapplication only every few years. Homeowners could perform the maintenance work on their granite countertops on their own.
There are More Colors to Choose from with Granite
The various minerals that compose granite give each tile a unique design that gives your countertop a character of its own. For man-made stones, your choices are often limited to the samples available in the store, warehouse or stone yard. With granite, you can pick out the exact tile that you prefer for your countertop. You would be able to compare and choose the intricate patterns and color combinations for your countertop.
Because granite is a natural stone, the colors are limited to what mother nature could produce. It is very seldom to find solid-color tiles or even bright-colored ones. Fortunately, the components of granite create beautiful patterns of myriad colors and unique designs. While it makes finding enough material to cover everything if you have a large kitchen, it would make for a one-of-a-kind look for your home.
Summing it up
The cost of your countertop could take up a big chunk of your kitchen renovation or construction budget. Knowing this, it is normal to weigh in the advantages and disadvantages of every material available that you can choose from. If your budget is limited and yearns for the aesthetic of a granite countertop without sacrificing the quality, you can opt for a modern laminated countertop. If your goal is to have a kitchen work surface that is easy to maintain and still eye-catching, and you’re not worried about the bill, you can choose a butcher block. Depending on the species of wood it was from, it could be as expensive, if not more, than a stone countertop.
Quartz countertop should be your choice if you want something that needs little to no maintenance. This engineered stone can be as beautiful as granite countertops with unique patterns and can compete with granite in terms of durability. It can be quite expensive, though, compared to granite.
Granite countertops are an aesthetically appealing and eye-catching element in your kitchen. It is resistant to heat, water, mold, and bacteria. Minimal maintenance is needed, and if maintained properly, it can last longer than the other installations in your kitchen. On top of that, a granite countertop gives your kitchen an elegant and classy vibe.
Ultimately, granite countertops, with their aesthetic quality and durability, would provide you the best value for your money.
- Dale Basilla