Granite is a popular choice for kitchen countertops. It is an excellent surface for kitchens and is extremely hard. In fact, very few substances are harder than granite. Knives and cutlery will not scratch the surface of a granite countertop. Because granite is a quarried stone, no two countertops have the same pattern or appearance.
Advantages of Granite Countertops
Granite is a stable material that is durable, easy to clean (a soft cloth and warm water is all that's required), and stain resistant--provided spills are wiped up in a timely manner. In addition, granite does not conduct heat or cold. All of the features are what many people desire in a kitchen countertop. Granite can withstand heat up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit without any affect on its surface. It also lends a natural or formal look to the kitchen depending on how the surface is finished.
Precautions to Take with Granite Countertops
Although it is a dense material, granite is somewhat porous so it is necessary to apply a water-based sealant or non-yellowing paste wax every one to two years to protect the stone. When cleaning the surface, avoid using too much soap, which may leave a residue, or products containing lemon juice or vinegar, which are highly acidic and may etch the granite countertop if not completely removed. Do not use scouring powder or steel wool, both of which may dull the finish. Spills including water, wine, and soft drinks should be wiped up immediately.
Maintenance of Granite Countertops
Granite countertop finishes are either polished or honed. Polished granite has a smooth reflective glass-like surface, while a honed surface is either flamed to create a matte surface with textural interest or tumbled to resemble a natural stone finish, more rustic in appearance than the other two. Once polished, granite will retain its polished appearance for the life of the countertop.
Cost of Granite Countertops
Granite countertops are priced by the square foot. Some types of granite such as the blue variety are more expensive because they are rare or need to be imported from overseas. Others such as the black, gray, and white variety are more common especially in the United States and are therefore less expensive. Granite comes from several sources including the United States, Canada, Brazil, India, China, and Norway. The slabs are typically cut to size from pieces that are 2 inches thick and 4 feet x 8 feet in size.