Granite Countertops for Birchwood Homes
Granite countertops are beautiful. Using the paraphrased words of the legendary Lee Iacocca, if you can find a prettier countertop, go for it! The classic elegance of granite countertops exude chic distinction in your bathroom or kitchen. When paired with their amazing durability, granite countertops you select might even be the last ones you ever need for your Birchwood home.
Granite countertops do require some special care, and they aren't cheap. But, if you're willing to maintain their maintenance and care needs, the look and performance you get from granite countertops will give you more than you expect for decades to come.
Things You Should Know About Granite Countertops
Granite, as a natural stone, comes from igneous deposits found all over the world. It starts as magma flowing into other rock structures, and it cools slowly. The stone itself is textured and rough, but is ground and polished into countertops so it has a smooth surface with a rich luster.
Granite is made of several different minerals that contribute to its unique, attractive appearance. If granite has a lot of feldspar, it's more likely to have red and pink highlights. Mica in granite gives it veining of black or brown. Quartz gives granite black, pink, or white hues.
Variations throughout the granite are desirable because they give each stone a unique character unlike any other. That's why it's important to select slabs that come from the same stone for countertops, which will mean they have similar coloring and veining.
When you shop for granite countertops, you'll have a lot of different colors and "looks" to pick from. Matching the right shade and stone to your design will be part of the fun of shopping.
Granite Countertops Pros and Cons
There are lots of reasons to pick granite countertops for your home. But it's also important to think about any cautions, as well, before you select them. Here are some of the strengths and weaknesses of granite countertops.
Granite Countertop Advantages:
Creates some of the most beautiful countertops
Highlight the overall look of your quality kitchen cabinets
The natural stone provides a more eco-friendly countertop material
With proper care, granite countertops have excellent durability and strength
Material is resistant to damage from scratches and heat
Material is resistant to staining and easy to clean with correct sealing
Granite Countertop Disadvantages:
If not sealed properly or re-sealed regularly, countertops can become stained
If not sealed properly or re-sealed regularly, countertops can harbor bacteria
Number of varieties and patterns can make it difficult to find the right overall look for a kitchen or bathroom
Countertops, especially corners, are vulnerable to chipping or breaking with heavy objects dropped on them
Granite countertops can be costly compared to other materials, such as wood or laminate
In summary, the primary advantages of granite countertops are unique beauty and outstanding durability with proper maintenance. The biggest potential disadvantage is staining that happens if the countertops are not properly maintained or when they are not properly sealed when installed.
Fortunately, most granite slabs are sealed at the factory, so they don't need to be re-sealed for a minimum of five years. In addition, re-sealing countertops is affordable and easy, especially compared to replacing countertops.
Granite Countertop Prices
Granite countertops are more costly compared to other materials, but pricing is in line with other materials like recycled glass, stainless steel, and quartz. Some of the factors impacting cost include:
The grade of the material: prices increase with increases in grade (discount, builder, premium, designer)
The installer's skill: cost can vary based on DIY installation, using a handyman, vendor, or contractor, with costs increasing based on ability and licensing
The job complexity: higher complexity in design, such as more seams or more difficult edge styles, the cost of fabrication and installation will be higher
The local cost of living
Granite countertop estimates you get are based on a blend of these factors. You can see there are lots of combinations that go into the estimate. Here are some costs you can expect to find:
Supplies: $100-150 for every 50 square feet of countertop for products like braces, grout, fasteners, and sealer
Materials: Approximately $50 per square foot for discount/clearance materials, and up to $125 per square foot for premium granite slabs using a custom edge design
This means your total costs can range approximately:
from $50 per square foot up to $140 per square foot
Are Granite Countertops Right for Your Home?
Here are some questions you can think about to help decide whether or not granite is right for your home.
Can your budget handle the higher cost of granite countertops? You can save money using cheaper grades of granite and with less experienced labor, but most experts recommend quality materials and highly-skilled installation. It's important to remember that you'll get what you pay for.
How long will you stay in your current home? The longer you stay in your home, the better value your granite countertops will bring. With the right care and maintenance, they'll perform and look great. With cheaper alternatives, you could be replacing your countertops every five to fifteen years. If you're going to sell your home in the next few years, the cost of the countertop upgrade probably won't come back to you in the sale of the house.
Are you able to keep up with the care and maintenance of your countertops, even if it makes you seem "fussy"? You'll need to wipe up stains immediately, protect the countertops from wet items staying on them, always using a cutting board, and using extra care with heavy objects near the countertops to prevent dropping them and causing damage. If this doesn't seem like too much, you may be a good candidate for granite countertops.
Are your family members prone to spills without cleaning them up? Anyone who uses the countertops needs to practice the same care and maintenance as you do.
Is environmental friendliness important in home materials? Granite is a good choice for eco-friendly homeowners because it's a natural material that uses less energy and no harmful products when manufacturing.
Is elegance and beauty of high value to you, especially compared to the time and energy needed to keep the granite looking its best? If you prefer to maintain high-quality products rather than replacing lower-quality products, granite countertops can be a long-lasting, valuable investment.