When it comes to quality, well designed kitchens and bathrooms, granite is the most
popular choice for countertops. Granite is also an ideal choice for outdoor bars and
cooking areas because of its durability. It adds a sturdy elegance to a kitchen or bath
makeover. Granite is a natural stone created over millions of years by mother nature.
There are granite quarries in just about every area of the world and when it is harvested,
cut into slabs and highly polished, the beauty of granite is breathtaking. Read this
article, "What is Granite?".
Granite Is A Work Of Art.
Although there will be similar design and color patterns of granite that come from the
same quarry, no two pieces of granite are ever the same. Each slab is uniquely different
in appearance. You might look at it as a unique piece of natural art. Colors and patterns
are infinite which means there are slabs of granite that will complement any interior
design theme. There are two types of granite. "Consistent Granite" is much easier
to match over a large area where seams are required since a consistent pattern exists on
multiple slabs harvested in close proximity. "Variegated Granite" features a swirling
vein throughout a slab that varies in color. Although variegated slabs are difficult to match
over a large area, it has the design advantage of being very unique. Click here to view
some typical color and pattern variations of granite.
Granite Durability & Resistance To Damage.
Not only is granite brilliantly beautiful, it is extremely durable. In fact its hardness is
rivaled only by that of diamonds. It is scratch and heat resistant. It will not burn so it is
particularly ideal in kitchens and around outdoor barbecue installations. However, in
its natural form, granite is very porous. It must be sealed at installation and re-sealed
at least twce per year to minimize moisture absorption and staining. Granite
can actually become a safety hazard if not properly maintained since it will permit the
penetration of bacteria. Although granite is hard, it can be cracked and chipped, but
often those can be repaired by a skilled professional.
Installing Granite Countertops.
Fabricating and installing a granite countertop is not a do-it-yourself project. A counter
top constructed of granite is a large investment and if you expect a finished product
that is a mark of distinction, the installation must be left to a skilled professional with
experience and the right equipment.
Existing cabinets may have to be reinforced to accommodate the tremendous weight
of granite. The proper slab size must be considered to minimize the number of joining
seams. Such things as the type and style of sink, faucet, and cooktops must be identified
before fabrication and installation begins to ensure that any drilling and cutouts are accurately placed.
Before making a final choice of a counter installer, interview more than one contractor
candidate and request to see some previous installations. A knowledgeable contractor
will help preplan the project to conserve costs while attaining the best results. If at all
possible, visit a countertop showroom to view example installations and sample granite
slabs. An interior designer that specializes in designing kitchens and bathrooms can not
only help conceive a proper design but can point-out all factors that must be considered
before beginning the project.
Cost of Granite Countertops.
Although homeowners can opt for less costly granite tile and standard modular pieces,
they will never achieve the upscale luxury appearance created from slab granite. Slabs
will minimize the number of joining seams giving a consistent patterned color across
an entire countertop. According to Rod Seaman of Elite Countertops in Tempe, Arizona,
a turnkey granite countertop installation including slab granite, fabrication and installation
can cost from about $55 up to over $100 per square foot.
The cost of slab granite can vary greatly depending upon the unique beauty and quality
characteristics produced by certain granite quarries. Slabs of granite can cost between
$20 and $70 per square foot by itself. Thickness of the slab, number of precision cuts
required and the shape of the countertop all have a bearing on final cost. Countertop
fabricators and installer contractors typically purchase granite from distributors that
feature a wide selection of granite slabs from which to choose. It is recommended
that a homeowner visit granite showrooms with the selected installer to view the available choices.
Upon completion of your granite countertop, your installer will seal the surface to
inhibit the penetration of moisture and to protect the surface against abrasion and
scratching. The surface should be re-treated with sealant at least every six months.
Your contractor will recommend the best brand of sealant and give you application
instructions. Read this article on "How To Clean Granite".
Other Related Information.