How to avoid buying a bad granite worktop for your kitchen

Granite isn't all the same. It's priced by quality and most people don't know what serious problems can occur if you use poor quality granite for your kitchen surface.

For instance, poor quality granite may be easily scratched and more heavily pitted. It can even twist over time or break in installation or after.

Cheaper granites are more widely available now in the UK from India and China. The best granites come from South Africa, Belgium and New Zealand. Think of your granite like a diamond: the price reflects the quality you're getting and the pleasure you'll get over the years.

Granite kitchen worktops in place

Bon Accord granite worktop with 1½ bowls, polished cut-out and drainage grooves with window ledge from Granite Worktops UK Ltd
Bon Accord granite worktop with 1½ bowls, polished cut-out and drainage grooves with window ledge from Granite Worktops UK Ltd

1 - Hairline cracks

Granite slabs can contain multiple hairline cracks, weak flaws along which the slab can easily break. Cheaper granites tend to contain more hairline cracks. The risk is that, particularly with slabs cut with holes for sinks (leaving two relatively thin 'arms' of granite around the hole), if the slab is twisted at all during installation, it is very easy to break. Be sure to agree who pays for a replacement. Slabs can shear after fitting too if there's any movement, and replacing a slab after all the fittings and tiles are installed is a problem job.

2 - Inconsistent thickness

Low quality granite often isn't even the same thickness for its whole length, we've seen a slab lose 6mm in thickness from one end to the other. Even if it's not immediately obvious, take a look along the edge. If the thickness isn't consistent, that will need to be bolstered during fitting, costing you time and headaches.

3 - Edge polishing

A proper polished edge takes about an hour's labour per foot length and lasts practically forever. Cheaper granites aren't properly polished, but are given their shine using a spray on wax. Of course this wears off pretty quickly. You can scratch wax off with the edge of a coin.

4 - Contractors

Companies often claim fitters are employees, but they are most often contractors. The job is split between one person who measures the job, another who cuts the granite, and a final team who fit it. There's little communication between those teams, so, for instance, you can get problems with getting slabs through the door into the house. When something does go wrong, who do you blame? It's much better to use a specialist who measures, cuts and fits and who takes responsibility for the whole job.

5 - Hardness

The hardness of granite varies, and with software granites it's quite easy to mark them with an ordinary kitchen knife. Once marked, you can always tell, even if you have it polished out (you'll still see the dip). Ask for a sample and try to mark it.

6 - Pitting

Granite contains holes throughout, no matter how much you polish it. The question is: how many holes and how big are they. Look closely at the reflection of light in your granite to see the pitting. The fewer pits there are, the better (and the easier it will be to clean if you ever roll flour on it). Quality granite has fewer, smaller holes.

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7 - Graining

With a reputable supplier you can choose your own granite slab. Check it's a consistent colour from one end to the other, otherwise when you join two pieces, they won't quite match.

8 - Joints

It's quick and simple to butt two granite surfaces together and stick them with sealant, but everything moves over time and how is that joint going to look over the months and years to come?

A good quality joint is pinned underneath to ensure that the joints remain tight over the life of your worksurface.

9 - Water content

Granite should dry out properly before fitting. When it's cut it's drenched in water to cool the sawblades.

I don't recommend you do this, but if you apply a blowtorch to cheap granite you'll often see condensation from the water it contains.

Granite gets sealed. If water is sealed inside, the slab can bend and twist, just like wood, making for joints that aren't tight, or even worse, the stresses can make a worksurface shear along a weakness.

Your granite needs to be completely dry before installation.

10 - Great service

Check your suppliers customer service record. Get references, check online for complaints, ask about guarantees and their procedures in case of complaint.

Many companies have appeared selling cheap granite with a brazen disregard for customer service. Ask how long your supplier has been in business.

Comments 18 comments

phil 7 years ago

WO WO WO this is guy (yes you) is trying scare tactics!

Dont get me wrong there is granite out there with faults etc but nearlly all companies will advertise this at a special lower rate explaining that it does not reach there high standards...although before all this there tell you how they hand pick there stone so they only get the best quality......ANSWER....they don't choose it a guy in India does and if you are unfortunate then a guy in china does.

Go with a company you fill comfortable with not someone trying to scare you into thinking every other companies the bad guy! as in fact he probally is doing all these things


Ranju 7 years ago

You get good Granite and bad granite in South Africa, Belgium, New Zealand, India or in China.

You want good granite and don't want to pay for it, well, what do you get..

Pay the right price, and get very good granite even in China.


Paul Bond 7 years ago

We are a company that sells only the best granite, hence no unsatisfied customers guaranteed. We do not use grantie from China or India - cheap or not.


belfast maine 7 years ago

Great Hub you have here :) Please check out my Belfast Maine website would love to network!


Justin 7 years ago

This is funny. It's as if Granite is hand made. This stuff is made my God above and where it comes from has nothing to do with Quality. That’s like saying a pine tree from Colorado is better than one from Georgia. In most cases the cost is relative only to supply and demand. In most cases the more exotic the color the crappier the material and the exotic colors are more expensive. Go find what you want and make sure the contractor is competent this isn't complicated


Dan (creative stone) 6 years ago

Justin has no idea about granite, it has different density. if you had ever seen the difference between black absoluto and ice blue for example, you would know the difference


Granite Guy 6 years ago

Dan has no idea about granite, though he thinks he does. It has different density, because it is a different stone. The stone we call "granite" ISN'T granite 99 times out of 100. Absolute Black is an Ionic stone (volcanic) and Ice Blue is a stone called gneiss. Stop pretending.


question guy 6 years ago

hey all you granite gurus is crema bordeaux a real granite and is it good for kitchen tops?


Blake 6 years ago

I had granite counters installed and found two cracks, one in each of the cut-outs, stove / sink. They smoothed out the top and tried to buff it, do you think it worked? No, How would you handle the installer/stone company? Oh yeah, paid in full....


worktop expert 5 years ago

If any one reading this string is thinking of buying a granite worktop and is worried about getting a poor quality install check out http://www.henderstone.co.uk/guide-to-choosing-a-w...

for a free unbiased guide to finding a reputable supplier


putackbrond profile image

putackbrond 5 years ago

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stone products (Tile,Slab,Cut to size,Counter Top,Vanity Top,Ceramic Sink,Stainless Steel Sink).

Attached pls find some of picture for our factory and latest products.

For more details,pls view our web http://www.xmjuli.com to get more information.

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julie 4 years ago

has anyone brought from granite team uk? the aftercare is rubbish, we have made numerous calls to rectify an issue and they promise to come round and fix it...we are still waiting from october


Paul 4 years ago

Hi Julie - this is the problem companies who don't know what they are doing. A lot of companies use sub-contractors so therefore are not in full control of jobs which are being fitted. Any problems you have got with granite, please let us know and we will try to rectify them for you. Paul


Jonathan 3 years ago

Just saw this, Ive used Granite Team UK before. they were fine. really good in fact, one of the guys had a weird accent and I couldn't understand him, other than that all good. so...yeah...they're above board.


abigail 3 years ago

I want to buy granite worktops, and I'm really confused by all the different opinions, everyone thinks they are right, Its put right off ,


Deborah 3 years ago

Hi Abigail

Don't be put off by granite worktops. Our company has been around for 15 years and we are very experienced in different granites. We are not trying to scare anyone but trying to give the customer some facts. If you are looking at black granites you just have to be weary. There are chineese and indian black granites and in our opinion, these are not very good granites. We only use African black granite which is the best. If you are still interested in getting a quote, please email us your details sales@graniteukltd.com where we will be happy to help - Deborah


joe shmoe 3 years ago

This article is pretty funny. It seems like most of these responses are from hard surface retailers trying to have a piss contest. Sure the quality of granite from china and india is generally of lesser in reference to africa or south american, but so is the prices. I can get an 9x3 ft slab with 3 pre-fabricated edges for under $200 of some chinese colors (padang yellow). same size in a brazilian color would run almost $800 (maybe more). so all im saying is do what you feel best fits your situation. after further fabrication (unless you have a 9x3 counter top) plus installation i found the $500-800 per slab range to fit the needs within our personal home. but honestly most of the time i would probably have put the cheaper stuff in if it was a rental or was for sale


getmarbleworktops profile image

getmarbleworktops 4 months ago

Good article with some good tips

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