There are plenty of materials on the market today for kitchen countertops, but you’ll find most homeowners still opting for the one and only – granite. It’s one of the few stone options that offers the best of both worlds – beauty and brawn. It’s a natural stone that can be affordable and sometimes budget breaking.
The durability of granite counters allows it to trump over the others. Plus, it features literally hundreds of colors, patterns and shades to choose from. Finding a granite countertop that is best for your kitchen isn’t difficult, and if anything, you may have a hard time choosing the best one.
The Cost of Granite
One of the reasons granite remains at the top of its class is because it isn’t overly expensive. Just make sure the supplier you purchase from charges you only for what you use. Some will charge you for the entire slab even if you don’t use it all. It’s also bet to work with a countertop installation company that can properly measure how much you’ll need so you can plan this in advance. Some also offer slabs you can purchase, so it’s a one-stop shop.
Do keep in mind that the pricing for granite is based on availability. During certain seasons, granite is scarcer due to high demand, which causes prices to hike higher. So be savvy about when you choose to purchase and install your granite kitchen counters.
Common and Rare Colors
You can opt between selecting granite countertops that consist of natural hues, or you can go with those that have rare colors, such as bright blues and purples. These will affect the cost of the slabs you purchase. Obviously, the more rare the color, the more you’ll have to dish out. But the price you pay may be worth it if you plan to stay in your home for many years to enjoy it.
Where Granite Comes From
Granite is mined and shipped from all over the world, but you’ll typically find it entering the United States from places like India and Brazil. The granite that derives from India, such as Madura Gold, has a more dense composition and can be found in bigger slabs. Plus, it’s surprisingly affordable. The slabs you find coming from Brazil are in abundance and very beautiful.
The Makeup of Granite Counters
You have to be careful about where you purchase your granite from because not all granite is actually granite. There are many companies out there that call their countertops granite, but just use it as an umbrella term for stone. There are a variety of dense stones that can pass as granite, but actually aren’t. When you test them on Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness, these rank between seven and eight. This determines the stones’ resistance to acid. For example, Rainforest Brown is known to be serpentine, which has a hardness that’s between granite and marble. Just make sure to clarify what type of stone you’re actually getting if you truly want granite countertops.
Consider Iron Red Granite
This is growing in popularity because of its mesmerizing reddish hue. The beauty is definitely there, but there are some challenges associated with it that you should be aware of. For instance, most slabs are between 80 and 90 percent iron ore, which means it’s magnetic. It can also be a bit difficult to cut. Because of this, the cost to fabricate the countertop slab may be a bit higher than other granite stones.
Shopping Around for Granite Counters
It’s common for suppliers to have different names for the same stone, which can be a bit confusing for newbies. If you’re shopping around for a specific stone type, the it’s best to get acquainted with the different names that are commonly used for it. For instance, Van Gogh and Luisa Blue slabs are one and the same.
Becoming familiar with the lingo of stones will help make your shopping experience more pleasurable and less confusing. For instance, Japurana is a word that’s used to describe slabs that have a flowing pattern, while Giallo simply means a slab that is golden or yellow.
Should You Buy Dyed Slabs?
This is a question you’ll have to consider, since dyed granite slabs are an option that’s on the market today. Some people like the idea of a one-toned granite counter that’s black, white or another color. If you opt for dyed slabs, consider getting them from China or India, where it’s very common for slabs to be dyed.
Become Acquainted with Your Supplier and Fabricator
Buying granite counters is a big decisions financially and design-wise. Kitchen counters aren’t something you want to consistently change due to pricing and the hassle involved. So you need to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible the first go around.
One way to ensure this is to get to know your supplier and fabricator. Learn from their experience and use that as a guide to help you understand the buying and installation process. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – in fact, you should ask plenty. Find out about the durability and maintenance to ensure it’s something you actually want. You also want to make sure that you’re aware of everything that can potentially affect the cost, so there are no surprises.
The best time time to start shopping around for your granite slab is during the early kitchen remodel process. This will give you assurance of the costs and the design for your kitchen. You can make plans to have certain areas featured, or have the slab cut or given edges that resonate with what you want.
You can ask the fabricator to lay out the sections of the countertop, so that you can see what it will look like in advance. This will ensure your favorite portions are visible. You don’t want the special area cut out for the sink by accident.
Once you have found the granite slab you want, make sure to purchase it right away, because these are selling like hot cakes and won’t be guaranteed to be there tomorrow!