Granite Countertop: Is it the Right Choice for You?
Granite is one of the most durable materials you can choose for your countertops. It’s the same material used in building the Egyptian Pyramids, and Mount Rushmore was hewn from a granite mountainside. You can’t get much more durable than that. The paltry wear and tear you can do to a counter with your knives, pots and pans is hardly worth mentioning!
Is granite the right material for you? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of a granite countertop.
Granite is probably the best known of the igneous rock group. It’s a composite stone made up of several different minerals including quartz, feldspar, and mica. Granite is available in many colors and may be monochromatic or boldly patterned.
For the homeowner, the most important basics are that granite is very hard – from six to seven on the Moh’s Scale, and it is extremely dense, so it is difficult to stain.
Granite Surface Finishes
There are a number of finishes available for granite countertop. The most common finish is probably the most inexpensive and most easily sourced.
This is the shiny granite you’ll most likely find when shopping for your granite countertop. It’s the least porous finish and doesn’t stain easily.
As elegant as this finish looks, it’s generally not recommended for work surfaces, as it scratches and stains somewhat easily.
Brushed Or Satin
Less matte than honed granite, the surface is similar. It is somewhat more scratch and stain resistant than the honed surface.
Slightly more polished than a satin finish, the surface of this finish has some texture.
Flamed Or Thermal
This finish is rough textured and has varying surface depths. This is achieved by applying a flame to the surface of the slab.
Aging the appearance of a granite surface is achieved by adding slight texture and a dull, brushed finish to the surface.
Granite is very hard. On the Moh’s hardness scale, granite is rated at 7, and hardened steel is rated at 7.5. It’s going to take a chisel and mallet or an extremely heavy iron skillet to do even the slightest damage to the surface of a granite countertop.
Since it can stand prolonged temperatures of up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, setting a boiling pot on the counter is certainly no problem.
Well-polished granite is quite impermeable. If it’s wiped up promptly, that red Kool-Aid spilled on the counter probably won’t leave a stain. Proper sealing helps maintain its water-resistant property.
Mother Nature really showed her artistic flair when she created granite. You have almost limitless options when selecting a unique pattern or color combination for your home’s countertops.
The advantage of granite’s great density is a disadvantage for installation. Its weight can make installation a bit of a challenge.
Colors and finishes can up the cost of your countertop considerably. Exotic slabs imported from the far reaches of the planet can be costly and take a long, long time to arrive.
Maintaining Your Granite Countertop
It’s easy to keep your granite counter looking brand-new. Generally, a wet washcloth keeps the counter clean, but you can use a spray made from water, isopropyl alcohol, and a few drops dish soap to disinfect your counter.
Avoid abrasive cleaners or acidic ingredients. Do not use bleach or products containing hydrofluoric acid. Use a sealant annually to maintain the water-resistant barrier.
How Sustainable Is A Granite Counter?
This question doesn’t have an easy answer. The durability of this countertop means it can outlast you and your home by a millennium or two. However, granite is a finite, non-renewable product.
Mining disrupts local ecosystems and the impact of transportation on the carbon footprint increases the further the granite is shipped. Source local or regionally mined granite to minimize the impact of transportation energy costs, or get even more eco-friendly with salvaged slabs of granite.
Featured image source: Pixabay