Pros & Cons of Granite Countertops

Pros & Cons of Granite Countertops

For years, granite has been a top selection for homeowners looking to improve the look and feel of their overall kitchen. How do you know if granite is the right surface selection for yours? Below is a list of the pros and cons of this timeless material. 

THE POSITIVES

They are visually appealing.

granite countertops

Every granite slab is unique, featuring its own individual lines, colors and patterns. This uniqueness enable you to have an individual countertop that won’t exist anywhere else. You can find a one-of-a-kind slab that works well with the look of your kitchen cabinets and walls while giving the room an added beauty.

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They add value.

Granite Countertops Pros & Cons

Granite countertops not only add an instant upscale appeal to your kitchen or bathroom, they are a timeless investment that give your home lasting value. Click here to see how to clean and disinfect granite so that your countertops last a lifetime.

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They are very durable.

Granite Countertops Pros & Cons

Although granite is not unbreakable, it will certainly last for decades as it is a very hard substance that is not susceptible to scratches. Did you know that the only thing hard enough to legitimately scratch granite is a diamond of another piece of granite? Talk about durable!

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They resist heat.

Granite is a heat-resistant material so it becomes very practical when cooking near a range or cooktop. Placing hot pots or pans directly on your countertop is acceptable since granite can take the heat without being damaged or weakened.

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Remove the cold feel of your granite countertop. FeelsWarm.com

They resist stains.

granite countertops

Not only is granite heat-resistant, but it is stain resistant as well. Granite countertops won’t absorb liquids when they are properly sealed. Work with a professional to ensure that your surface is sealed correctly so that it maintains its attractive good looks indefinitely.

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THE NEGATIVES

They can be porous.

Granite Countertops Pros & Cons

If you don’t seal your granite countertops, or the stone was poorly sealed from the start, there is a chance that liquids could be absorbed, creating long-lasting stains. A poorly-sealed countertop can also house bacteria in its pores. To avoid these issues, it important to get your countertop resealed on a yearly basis.  

They are prone to cracking.

Granite Countertops Pros & Cons

Granite countertops may be very durable, but there is still a risk of chipping the stone. If a heavy object is dropped on a corner overhang, for example, a granite repair specialist may need to step in to fix any cracks or damage.

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They are cold to lean on.Granite Countertops: Heated Overhang

One common complaint about granite and other stone countertop materials is the coldness. The reason for this is because the mass of granite instantly pulls heat away from skin, causing the brain to perceive that the surface is cold. An easy solution to this problem is a thin stick-on warming mat for under your counter.

They are costly.

Granite Countertops Pros & Cons

In addition to the price of a professional installation, granite countertops can cost anywhere from $100 to $250 per square foot. Comparing this to the cost of laminate, Corian or Marbelite, granite is on the higher end for spending. Keep in mind that the thicker the slab, the more you can expect to spend.

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They most likely come with seams.

Granite Countertops Pros & Cons

Due to the size of the typical slab, your granite countertops will most likely be installed with more than one slab. This is in contrast to the solid surface countertops that do not need seams because the material is manmade and is poured to form the countertops.

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A Unique Trick to Making Your Showroom Stand Out

A Unique Trick to Making Your Showroom Stand Out

Buyers entering a showroom, especially those who are renovating or building, are looking for a shopping experience that is as easy and stress-free as possible. With that in mind, it is no surprise that the most profitable showrooms aim for three main factors: be innovative, be interactive and be customer-centered.

One way to hit these three key targets is to display a differentiating product: heated countertops. Fabricators everywhere are choosing to include warmth as a luxury add-on, especially for buyers who love the look of granite but dislike how cold it feels to lean on.

Adding a small, heated demo in your showroom is a simple way to engage customers. Many companies choose to heat a small slab of unused stone or some even choose to warm a reception desk, table or countertop. No matter how the concept is displayed, people love being able to feel the difference between a heated countertop compared to one that is “cold” (room temperature).

The below video shows just how easy it is to get a heated countertop demo in your showroom. Once you have something warm on display, you can begin to offer this unique amenity alongside each countertop project, taking advantage of the dealer discount and a leg up on the competition.

Interested in learning more? Click here to see how a heater is added to a new countertop installation. 

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10 Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz Countertops

10 Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz Countertops

quartz

In recent years, quartz has become a widely popular countertop selection for homeowners and business owners. Its elegance, beauty and durability are among the many reasons why it is so highly praised.

Below are 10 of the most commonly asked questions about quartz countertops, with answers from top professionals in the industry. 

Are quartz countertops seamless in design? quartz

“Whether or not your quartz countertops will be seamless completely depends on the size of your kitchen and the layout of your lower cabinets. Like granite, quartz is sold in slabs; however, all slabs max out at a certain length.

The most common maximum slab length for both granite and quartz is 125” L x 65” W. This means if your lower cabinets are longer than 125” in length that your countertops will have to be seamed. Otherwise, you can achieve seamless quartz countertops.”

-Savvy Studio Kitchen & Bath

How do I care for my quartz countertop? quartz

“Quartz countertops are easy to care for, and because the surface is non-porous, they are hard to stain. Use mild dish soap and water for everyday cleaning and stay away from harsh, abrasive cleansers, and cleansers that contain bleach. You can gently scrape hardened material off with a plastic putty knife.”

-PF Custom Countertops

How is quartz different from marble and granite? quartz

“Quartz countertops which are sold under brand names such as Zodiaq™, Hanstone™, Silestone™ and Cambria™ are man-made stone surfaces. Quartz products offer consistency in patterns and colors that natural stone can not. Quartz surfaces do not offer the uniqueness and varied random patterns of natural granite and marble.”

-Hatton Granite Countertops

Is quartz less expensive than granite or marble? quartz

“No, not necessarily. Depending on the level of granite or marble and the particular company or pattern of quartz; granite can be a significantly more cost effective material. However, if you are considering a level 3-4 granite/marble, or an exotic stone; quartz is most likely going to be a more affordable way to go.

Some factors that change the cost of granite are the extraction of the stone, and the shipping of the material which consumes a lot of time, money and energy. Factors that change the price of quartz are company, pattern or color of material, demand, labor rates, thickness and edge treatment, among others.”

-Indoor City

Can I heat my quartz countertop to avoid leaning on such a cold surface every morning? 

“Yes, the easiest, safest and least expensive way to remove the cold feel of this material is to apply a stick-on countertop heating mat underneath your quartz overhang. If you are installing new countertops without an overhang, your contractor can easily lay out the heating mat under the stone.”

-FeelsWarm Technology

Can quartz chip? 

“Under normal use it is very unlikely that your quartz countertop will ever chip. Edges are usually more susceptible to chipping than the middle of the surface, and if hit with enough force, chipping can occur. These occurrences are generally not covered by any manufacturing warranty, but would usually be repairable, depending on the size and scope of the chip or damage.”

-Selective Countertops

Will quartz products vary in color? 

“Quartz countertops are composed of 93% natural quartz. Variation in the natural stone (quartz) color, pattern, size, shape, and shade are inherent and unique characteristics to be expected with quartz products.”

-FLOFORM Countertops

What special precautions should be taken when cooking near quartz? 

“Quartz can be affected by extreme heat, so manufacturers recommend using cutting boards, trivets and hot pads while preparing meals. Quartz is very durable, but remember that any material can be damaged if not cared for properly.”

-Natura Quartz

Will quartz countertops stain? 

“The hard surface of Quartz is non-porous and very resistant to staining, even better than marble.  Quartz counters can resist oil, coffee, wine, juice and most other common kitchen spills. It is not 100% stain resistant though and is susceptible to stains from solvents, sodium hydroxide, and permanent markers.”

-Graniterra

What are the advantages of Granite Countertops? 

“Maintenance free, non-porous, requires no sealing, food safe, large color selection, stain resistant, scratch and chip resistant.”

-Contour Countertops

The Top 7 Modern Countertop Ideas You've Never Thought Of

The Top 7 Modern Countertop Ideas You've Never Thought Of

modern countertop ideas
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Just when you think you’re caught up with the current trends in home design, something new pops up. Design trends are always changing, especially with the ongoing advancements in home technology. 

Below are 7 of the most extraordinary and modern countertop ideas for your ever-changing kitchen. 

Wireless Charging

modern countertop ideas

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Did you know that you can add wireless charging to your countertop? Dupont Building Innovations and the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) have collaborated to embed wireless charging solutions for smartphones and tablets into DuPont Corian solid surfaces used in furnishings for home and public spaces. Simply connect a receiver to your smart device and put your device on the charging spot to power up.

No more having to use an outlet with your chargers on display. Keep your countertop clutter-free with this amazing advancement!

Heated Countertops

modern countertop ideas

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Over the past 6 years, homeowners have been adding heat to the area of their countertops where they sit most. FeelsWarm® ultra-thin heating mats are stuck directly under the overhang, providing enough heat to make sitting at your granite island more enjoyable. Plugging into a standard outlet in your cabinet, the mats can be customized to fit the exact shape and size of your stone countertop.

Enjoy the luxury of granite without the cold!

Glass Countertops

modern countertop ideas

modern countertop ideas

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Glass is a very unique and modern selection for your kitchen counters. The material is non-porous, heat resistant, highly customizable and low maintenance. Not to mention, the ability to illuminate the glass from below is something you can have a lot of fun with. The only major downsides of this countertop selection is the cost as well as its ability to be easily scratched. 

River-Shaped Kitchen Sinks

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Take your modern countertop to the next level with a custom-shaped kitchen sink cut out. Artistic sinks give kitchens a lot more personality, whether they’re decorated in modern, traditional or rustic styles. Elkay has created a number of creative sinks for virtually any style or occasion, offered in a fun variety of shapes, styles and sizes for both residential and commercial use.

Countertop Overhang Lighting

modern countertop ideas

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Light doesn’t just have to come from the ceiling. Adding under-the-counter LED lighting will brighten your kitchen at night and will make the room feel taller. This small detail can make all the difference to enhancing your modern kitchen.

Induction and HD Backsplash

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We already have this technology; it just isn’t being integrated yet. Designers are thinking countertops that turn into stovetops with the push of a button. The stove can also be activated by voice as well. The backsplash will allow you to search the web and pull up recipes and nutritional advice. Talk about modern!

Yet to Come: Self-Cleaning Countertops

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The latest modern countertop development is anti-microbial hard surfaces. Cupron and EOS Surfaces have teamed together to create a countertop that kills infection-causing viruses and bacteria on its own, forever.  The companies are waiting for final approval from the EPA to market their health-promoting claims. Read more.

Get more kitchen countertop ideas by following us on Pinterest!

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10 FAQs About Granite Countertops

10 FAQs About Granite Countertops

granite

For many reasons, granite continues to be the material of choice for homeowners remodeling their kitchens and offices. Its durability and elegant appearance make it a top contender for countertop selections year after year. 

Below are 10 frequently asked questions about this luxurious surface, with answers from some of the top fabricators and remodelers in the industry. 

What is a sealer and how do I know when it is time to apply one to my countertops? 

granite

A sealer is like a coat of armor for your countertop. Natural stone can be dense or porous, and is absorbent to some degree. Stones that have more swirls or veins tend to be more porous and absorbent. Sealer will decrease the opportunity for something to stain or harm your surface. A protected stone will be easier to clean, resist staining, and provide a safer and healthier environment. By sealing your stone, you will more easily retain the natural beauty of the surface.

To test your countertop’s sealant, apply a drop of water at least ½-inch in diameter to the stone and let stand for at least 15 minutes. Cover with a glass to reduce evaporation. If the stone does not darken then it is probably sealed against water-based stains. To ensure the beauty and longevity of your stone, we recommend sealing your stone yearly.” 

Marble & Granite, Inc.

What is the difference between marble and granite? 

“Although both are stones and quarried from the earth, granite and marble (and marble’s relatives – limestone, onyx and travertine) are very different from each other. Granite is formed deep in the earth’s mantle at extremely high temperatures. It is a very hard, resistant stone made of crystallized minerals. The marble family – limestone, travertine, marble, onyx – start out as sediment – animal skeletons and shells, plant matter, silt – at the bottom of bodies of water. After millions of years this solidifies (lithifies) into stone. Because its main component is calcium, it can be affected by acids such as vinegar and citrus.”  

Great Lakes Granite & Marble

Can you heat a granite countertop? 

“There is a solution out there for homeowners who are unhappy with the cold feel of their beautiful stone surface, one that doesn’t involve the installment of brand new countertops. Stick-on heating mats for stone countertops are becoming a popular luxury item for both existing and new countertop installations. The ultra-thin mats simply stick on underneath the stone, warming up the surface about twenty-five degrees.”

FeelsWarm Countertop Heaters

Do all granite countertops need to be sealed? 

“No, only those that are porous. Although it is the hardest stone known to man, its porosity varies from quarry to quarry and from slab to slab. But this characteristic is easily checked by pouring a little water on it in an inconspicuous location. If it sits there for 30 minutes, the countertop does not need to be sealed. If it absorbs rapidly, the countertop should be sealed.” 

Cutting Edge Kitchens

Can knives scratch granite? 

“Knives cannot scratch true granite.  The only thing harder than granite is diamond.  For example, diamond is scored 10 on the MOH’s hardness scale and granite is scored 7.  Diamond blades are the only thing that can cleanly cut through granite.  Other natural stones like Gneiss and Schist are commonly called granite, but they do not have a MOH score of 7, and they can be probably scratched by knives.”

Arch City Granite & Marble, Inc.

Why does some granite have small pits in it? 

“Pitting is a common characteristic of many types of granite. This occurs because granite is comprised of many different minerals, all with varying degrees of hardness. The difference in hardness results in the top layers of the softest minerals flaking out during the slab polishing process.”

Northstar Granite Tops 

How easy is it to care for granite countertops & how do I clean off spills? 

“Very easy! Just wipe your granite countertops with a mixture made of mild soap and water, or you can use an ammonia-free window cleaner. That will keep them looking new for years to come. For spills, immediately blot the spill with a paper towel; do not wipe. If you see a stain (which will be rare), flush the area with a mix of plain water and a mild soap. Then dry the area with a soft towel. Repeat if needed.”

Minneapolis Granite

How can I prevent cracks and chips to my countertops? 

“Cracks and chips can be prevented by avoiding heavy traffic on the edge of a countertop (i.e., you shouldn’t sit on the overhang of a breakfast bar) and minimizing heat exposure. Do not set a hot pot or pan directly on your stone’s surface; always use a trivet as a barrier. The shock of heat exposure can weaken your stone surface and cause cracking.

If a crack does appear in your countertop, have a professional repair it immediately. Without immediate attention, the crack can continue to spread and eventually lead to a portion of your countertop breaking off completely.”

-Marva Marble

What are those tiny hairline cracks on the surface? 

“Granite, which is crystalline in structure, sometimes has natural fissures which may look like cracks, but are not structural defects and are a naturally occurring result of the immense heat and pressure that formed the granite eons ago. These characteristics are part of the natural beauty of stone and will not impair the function or durability of the material. A product of nature cannot be expected to look man made.”

-The Top Shop

What is the process for a standard installation? 

“Installation is usually 5-7 business days after digital measure. 

  1. Removal of existing countertops.
  2. Preparation of area for new sinks (if applicable) and countertops.
  3. Final preparation/review of new countertops to insure quality.
  4. New countertop placement and installation.
  5. Sealing of countertop into place.
  6. Final cleaning of new countertops to ensure no residue remains from the installation process.
  7. Final preparation of countertop for plumber/installation of faucets.
  8. Final inspection before departure to ensure all aspects of installation have been completed properly.”

TTS Granite, Inc