Granite Countertops: An Overview
Home remodelers and builders have experienced a boom in the demand for granite countertops in kitchens and bathrooms. The beauty and warmth of granite makes it an ideal material for aesthetic appeal in home design, and the durability and easy care of granite countertops keeps them a favorite for homeowners who are looking into the future. Though adding granite countertops to any kitchen can be quite costly, they remain the premiere choice in upscale homes, as they retain their value better than most other improvements.
Granite, like marble and other popular stones, are as old as the earth. Granite is found all over the world. As a preferred material, granite was used in the construction of temples and other public buildings in ancient societies. In the recent past many builders continued to use granite for pillars and exterior finishes. Stone suppliers didn?t begin experimenting with polished granite until 1831. The preference for polished granite began in 1851, when a finished piece of granite was displayed in London at The Great Exhibition of the Industry of all Nations.
Granite makes an excellent medium for countertops, as it is the most durable of all stones. The hardness of granite is rivaled only by the hardness of diamonds. The durability and versatility of granite countertops makes it a favorite of professional and home chefs. Granite can withstand the placement of a hot pot and serves as an excellent surface for handling doughs and confectionery. The natural beauty of granite countertops complement any tone of wood or style of cabinetry, from French country to sleek modern styles. Granite is an attractive stone that adds color and warmth to any room.
A popular choice of designers for decades, granite countertops have now become popular with the public. There are literately hundreds of colors of granite, from variations of white through browns, reds, greens, blues, and black. Brown and beige tones are the most popular, as they work well with most any kitchen color scheme, allowing greater flexibility in redecorating over the years. Some of the granite colors exhibit "movement," or a design within the natural color. Movement from large patterns can carry the eye quickly over the surface of the countertop, while small patterns have a more sedate appearance. The combination of color and movement means that no two countertops are exactly the same.
While granite countertops are a favorite choice due to their beauty and durability, they are not impervious to damage. Regular care includes proper cleaning and the use of sealers to prevent staining. Although granite is quite hard, it can be easily be chipped. A skilled professional can perform repairs that are nearly invisible.
Granite countertops can cost more than other countertop materials, with prices starting at $60 a square foot installed. The majority of the cost is not in the stone, but in the quarry work, cutting, transportation, polishing and installations. It is not recommended that the do-it-yourself homeowner to take on this project. Despite the strength of granite, the oversized slab sheets must be precisely cut to fit the counters, and are very delicate when transported. Special care must be taken to reinforce the base cabinets, and the slab must be set perfectly level. Failure to properly set a granite countertop could cause it to break during regular use.
When a homeowner desires the utility of granite countertops, but is unable or unwilling to pay a premium, discounted granite for countertops may be a good option. Retailers maintain groupings or tiers of stone based on popularity of color and movement. Lower tiered cuts of stone maintain the consistent characteristics granite is known for, but the shade of a color may vary according to current fashion trends.
Granite countertops will continue to remain a favorite of homeowners, architects and interior designers. The ageless beauty and durability of granite makes it a home improvement treasure to last a lifetime.
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