ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Choosing Granite Countertops

Updated on February 4, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Choosing granite countertops can be part of creating a dream kitchen for many homeowners. Yet, if they have not carefully counted the costs, financial and otherwise, they may find that they are disappointed. While granite counters are beautiful and luxurious they are, like any other countertop material, not perfect. It is important to weigh all of the information before you decide that this is something you want in your home for the long term.

imagesxc  photo credit:quelbs
imagesxc photo credit:quelbs

Choosing Granite Countertops

Choosing a granite countertop is a matter of personal taste. There are a number of colors to choose from in this beautiful stone. You should choose what you like best but keep in mind that traditional colors will look great for decades while trendy colors may make your kitchen look dated in a few short years. Classic colors are:

  • Black
  • Gold
  • Dark Green
  • Cocoa browns
  • Red tones

While a large amount of veining may look beautiful it also means that the stone is more fragile and therefore has more of a chance of breaking or cracking. Try to choose slabs with the least amount of veining for the most durable material.

Pros and Cons of Granite

Like anything there are good things and not so good things about granite. You will need to decide if it is something you want based on your own beliefs and lifestyle.

Pros:

  • Non-porous surface does not allow bacteria to cling
  • Easily cleaned
  • Luxurious
  • Beautiful
  • Doesn’t lose its beauty over time

Cons:

  • The granite is unique. If part of the counter needs replacing it won’t match.
  • Expensive
  • Not a sustainable material, once it is gone it is gone
  • Because it is a natural material there is no warranty on it, just on the installation
  • Possible health hazards (see below)


Granite Countertop Health Risks

Although the Marble Institute of America dismisses worries about radiation from granite there have been some reported concerns. The EPA recommends that people be exposed to no more than 4 picoCuries per liter of air in their homes. At that level the danger from Radon is, according to the EPA, equal to smoking half a pack of cigarettes per day.

Radon is a cancer causing gas that can’t be discerned by the five senses. Homes need to have tests to see how high the levels are. In some homes the levels of radon were significantly higher after the installation of granite countertops that before. This is a health concern because it is estimated that radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers today.
Some colors seem to emit more radon than others, especially those with:

  • Pink
  • Red
  • Purple

Granite Overlay

One type of granite countertop to consider, especially if you will not be replacing your cabinets is granite overlay. In this process natural granite is engineered into a veneer like material and applied right over your existing countertops. This makes it less expensive that traditional granite as well as lighter. Installing needs to be done by professionals but the actual installation can be done in as little as one day.

Like granite the overlay is:

  • Heat resistant
  • Stain resistant
  • Scratch resistant
  • Easy to clean with mild soap and water
  • Water resistant
  • Non-porous

In addition to the above, granite overlay is less expensive than traditional granite and does not release radon gas.

Cleaning Granite Countertops

Granite should not be cleaned with abrasives or harsh cleaners. Plain mild soap and water works well for most things. Never use anything acidic, not even vinegar and water. These products can cause pitting in the surface.
About once a week you can clean it with a special stone cleaner for granite and marble. Once in awhile you should plan to have it resealed. Check it by allowing drops of water to stand on the surface. If they bead up it is still fine. If they absorb into the stone then you will need to reseal.

For some, granite counters create the ultimate, luxurious kitchen.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Paul 

      6 years ago

      This is some interesting formation about granite vs quartz. Granite is an will remain the most sought after countertop product because of the many points made in this hub. We have collected much of the documented research and post it here: http://www.granitemakeover.com/Granite-Countertops...

      On another note granie is not typically replaces in pieces, nor is any other contertop surface so I think that statement lacks merit.

    • profile image

      JM 

      6 years ago

      From being in this business for about 4 years, here is some information to digest if you are considering granite: The radon "issue" is completely embellished. Yes, it does emit radon, and no, the amount is so insignificant that it doesn't come with any health risks.

      No cleaners are good for granite, (anything acidic will eat through the sealer and give you dull tops) mild soap and water is always best! Speaking of sealer, it is recommended that you seal a kitchen area once per year.

      If these types of things worry you about choosing granite for your home, maybe Engineered stone is something to look into. Not a completely natural product, but it's a no maintenance product (no sealer needed... ever!), comes in MANY colors and patterns, and in some cases can be antimicrobial.

      Keep in mind, just because your big-box retailers sell counter tops... it doesn't mean they are going to provide you with any more service than a fabricator. They will charge you a fee and use a sub-contractor anyway. Do yourself a favor, get the same tops and great service from a local fabricator, just make sure that they are licensed, bonded and insured and you're good to go!

    • profile image

      j sanjeev 

      7 years ago

      The only problem with granite is that you have to seal it regularly as it is porous.

    • whitton profile image

      whitton 

      7 years ago

      Nice Hub. I never knew that you shouldn't clean granite with cleaners. Thanks for sharing your information.

    • ed77burns profile image

      ed77burns 

      7 years ago from USA

      Nice hub, The hub gives many ideas which we don't know and its of great use.

    • angelaglancy profile image

      angelaglancy 

      8 years ago from Seattle

      Interesting hub. I have never heard of the radiation threats of marble and granite. Thanks for the info.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)