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Granite Kitchen Countertops, the Elegant Choice

Strong, durable, beautiful and elegant. These are words used to describe granite. It is consumers’ number one choice in natural stone countertops. Granite’s stony durability does require maintenance, including occasional sealing and stain prevention. Yet its toughness, resistance to heat and wide array of color choices are enough to keep granite at the forefront of kitchen countertops.

Formed from volcanic activity, granite has a long history as a structural and aesthetic natural stone. Its propensity for staying cool makes it ideal for homeowners who love to bake, as the cool countertop is ideal for activities such as kneading dough.

Colors

Granite countertops come in hundreds of different colors, possibly thousands. Most of the spectrum lies in different shades of a handful of colors. These include white, beige, yellow, gold, green, blue, red, burgundy, brown, gray and black. Granite is abundant and mined all around the world, lending it such an inclusive color palette. Bear in mind that regionally mined granite, including locally manufactured granite countertops, may be cheaper because of lower transport costs, not to mention the inherent saving of fuel and subsequent eco-friendliness of local products.

Cleaning and Maintaining Granite

For daily maintenance, such as dusting, a soft microfiber cloth is best. Other than that, water is your best cleaning product. Once a week or so you can use a cleaner, but be sure that it is formulated for stone countertops and has a neutral pH balance. Harsh cleaners or abrasives are a no-no as they’ll scratch the surface and compromise the sealant. While granite is resistant to heat, you still should not put very hot items directly onto the surface, as it can damage the finish and increase susceptibility to staining and cracking.

Removing stains from granite is difficult, but not impossible. One method is to make a paste from flour, mild dishwashing liquid and water. Apply the paste to the stain, cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight. In the morning, scrape the paste away with a wooden utensil and rinse well with water. For grease stains, substitute hydrogen peroxide for the dishwashing liquid.

Granite kitchen countertops should be sealed every year or two to preserve their natural beauty. The hardness and absorbency of granite countertops vary, so be sure to speak in detail with the installer about a proper maintenance regimen. And don’t let all this talk about maintenance totally turn you off to granite countertops. With a little precaution and some annual maintenance, a granite countertop will last for many, many years.

Granite is Seen as an Expensive Choice in Countertop

Shop around, and you may be pleasantly surprised to find a discount retailer that carries the stunning pieces at a more affordable price. Granite tiles are another option for the thrifty consumer. Some home improvement stores offer regular sales on the tiles and you can find them for as little as $3 per square foot. Don’t forget to factor in installation costs when deciding which material to choose. Request free estimates from kitchen remodeling contractors in your area today.

Countertops are certainly a main focal point in any kitchen, so if you want yours to radiate “sophisticated and classy,” granite may be the way to go. Here are a few pointers to help you decide.

Costs

A decade ago, granite countertops were hard to come by, but today there is a much greater supply and thus a lower price tag. After installation of the granite kitchen countertops, the cost should fall between $75 and $125 per square foot.

Pros

Granite comes in a large array of colors.

With a polished, high-end look, granite can add value to your home.

Countertops made from granite will not depreciate in value.

Cons

If hit by a hard metal object, granite can crack.

Granite, along with other engineered stone countertops, requires professional installation.

Durability

Granite countertops will basically last as long as you want them to. The material is extremely sturdy and can even take the heat of a pan on its surface. Just be careful not to hit it with a metal object—this can cause chipping.

Maintenance

Luckily, granite is an inherently sanitary material, so bacterial contamination in your countertops shouldn’t be much of a problem. Plus, the maintenance is extremely easy.

  1. Clean with warm water and mild, non-abrasive soap.
  2. Make sure to clean up grease immediately to avoid accumulating stains.

Common Questions and Answers

Do granite countertops need to be sealed?

Basically, light granite needs to sealed, and dark granite does not. If you aren’t sure about your particular stone, spill a few drops of water in a discreet area of your countertop. If the granite darkens, it needs to be sealed, but if it remains the sam

Will all cabinets support granite countertops?

Luckily granite spreads its weight fairly well, so most cabinets will support it. However, it’s important to ask a kitchen contractor about your cabinets in particular before moving forward.

History

Because of its natural abundance, granite was used as foundation for the original homes in New England. It wasn’t until the last decade or so that granite became a popular choice for kitchen countertops due to its durability and high-end appearance.

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