Granite: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
For years now, granite has become increasingly common in homes across America. While it may not quite as trendy as it once was, granite is still highly in-demand among home owners and home buyers. It’s desirability is well deserved as granite has many merits to its name. However, like all materials, it does have disadvantages. The important thing, before committing to any material to be used in the home, is to fully understand the pros and cons. Here we will take an in-depth look at granite…the good, the bad, and the ugly.
To start with, you should know what granite is. The most basic definition is “a rock”. However, more specifically, granite is a rock composed of inter-locking crystals formed over millions of years from compressed molten rock beneath the Earth’s surface.
Granite can be used in a lot of different ways in the home. For example:
- Fireplace Surrounds, Mantles, Hearths
- Outdoor Kitchens
- Shower Surrounds
- Speciality Sinks
- Table or Desktops
- Tub Decks
As mentioned above, granite has a lot of “good” or advantages. These pros include:
Granite is a rock which means it can stand up to temperatures which would discolor or harm other materials (ex. laminate). However, keep in mind that extreme, quick changes in temperature may cause granite to experience “thermal shock” and crack as a result. To avoid thermal shock, use hot pads and trivets when possible to protect your granite countertop.
Granite comes in wide variety of colors and patterns. In fact, no two slabs of granite are identical which means when you purchase granite you’re getting a one-of-a-kind look. For example, let’s say you and your neighbor are both getting new granite countertops and you both pick New Venetian Gold as your color. Even if you both pick the same color and get the granite from the same place at around the same time, the slabs will look different. Your New Venetian Gold may be lighter with more cream in it and your neighbors may be darker with more tans and browns in it.
Again, granite is a rock so it’s pretty darn durable. Granite is a great countertop choice for families who spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Whether your children are eating breakfast at the granite island, you’re whipping up a Thanksgiving feast, or you’re helping your child finish a last minute science project, there isn’t much chance that you’re going to scratch your granite countertop on a day-to-day basis.
No material is prefect, and granite does have a few flaws. The cons include:
A seam is where two pieces of granite are joined together. Depending on the size of your project, you may require one or more seams. In some materials (ex. solid surface), seams are practically invisible. However, with granite, seams tend to be visible. Exactly how visible your seams are depends on a variety of things including positioning, color of the granite, and the installer.
Approximately once a year, granite requires sealing. Sealing granite helps retard staining and maintain the natural beauty of the stone. Luckily, this process is relatively simple and all the supplies you need can be purchased from your local hardware store.
Certain items (ex. acidic materials) can stain granite. If you’re concerned about staining, consider choosing a darker colored granite or a slab that has a lot of variations in color and patterns as these will help hide any staining that does occur.
Okay, there really is nothing ugly about granite. It’s a beautiful natural material that’s perfect for just about any room of the home inside and out. However, you shouldn’t select granite simply because it’s a popular material. Instead, evaluate granite for its beauty and see whether it is the best fit for your home and your lifestyle. If, for you, the good outweighs the bad, then go with it!