Natural stone is the preferred choice of discerning designers for a variety of uses. In the kitchen, in the bathroom and in workrooms and laundry rooms, granite and other natural stones are beautiful, last forever, and are easy to clean and keep clean. Learn how to buy granite countertops and revitalize your home with the beauty that only nature can provide.
What is granite? A durable and unique stone, granite consists of crystallized minerals compacted under great pressure deep in the Earth's mantle. Because of its natural formation, there is a wide variation in color and appearance–even with similar types of stone.
Where should granite be used? Countertops in the kitchen are a perfect place for granite because of the durability and resistance to breakage and staining, according to the Marble Institute of America. Granite is heat tolerant up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit and resists the growth of bacteria.
How to buy granite countertops? Granite is widely available and sourced from around the world. Much of the U.S. supply is quarried locally with the balance imported from Brazil and India. Sources include big-box home improvement stores, designers, architects, builders and independent stone suppliers. Do your homework and consider the following factors before buying granite.
Color—Granite comes in a wide variety of natural colors–from pale beige and blush to pure black with reds, greens and multicolored tones. The beauty of natural stone is the variations and character that make each piece completely unique.
Finish—Granite is available in polished and honed finishes. Honed granite has a satiny matte finish that is luxurious and richly burnished. Polished granite has a glossy shine that is easy to clean. More unusual finish options include leathered, brushed and antiqued. Each finish has strengths and weakness, so be sure to pick the best finish for your location.
Cost—Shop around to verify pricing for granite in your area. Your builder or designer should also be able to steer you in the right direction. Visit online estimator websites as well. Homewyse has a handy calculator that takes quality, square footage and ZIP code into consideration when supplying an estimate.
Visit the stone supplier and hand select your stone if possible. This is also the time to go over edge profile options, backsplashes and finish choices. Set up time for a template and estimate. When ordering stone from a supplier, be sure to verify references.