The Pros and Cons of Granite Countertops
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The COVID-19 pandemic, massive and unprecedented, has brought the world to its knees. Most industries halted operations during the first quarter of the year, and many, while now reopening, are still reeling from the economic blow dealt by the health crisis.
Those whose jobs could afford them a telecommuting arrangement are still sticking to that setup, turning the home into the ultimate activity hub for the entire family. People have also found ways to entertain themselves while stuck in their houses, with many discovering (or rediscovering) their culinary talent. Whether cooking one’s favorite meal, preparing a homemade feast for the entire household, or baking a bit of dessert, Filipinos are finding joy in their kitchens as they cope with the pandemic.
And with the release of a vaccine against the coronavirus still a long way away, people will likely continue to stay at home and make meals in the safety of their kitchen. As such, now is this the best time to start working on the improvement of those kitchens, using beautiful countertops that can motivate aspiring chefs to cook their best.
There are many kitchen countertop materials to choose from; there’s marble, engineered quartz, ceramic tile, high-pressure laminate, wood, and even concrete. But if you’re gunning for something natural, classy, and sturdy, then granite may just be the best material for your kitchen.
The great thing about getting a granite kitchen countertop is that you’re not just buying a polished stone—you’re placing a piece of history in your home. These extremely durable stones, found deep within the earth, are igneous rocks created from volcanic activity. The molten rocks crystallize for millions of years, thanks to heat and pressure found way below the earth’s surface. This long process affects the minerals found in granite (quartz, mica, and feldspar) that ultimately makes it a very tough rock.
When quarried, granite comes out in huge chunks. These are then cut into slabs using an equally huge gang saw—kind of like a bread cutter slicing into a fresh loaf.
These slabs are then polished to bring out the stones’ vivid color. The most common ones are gray, white, and pink, but you can also find countertops that are deep red, gold, green, blue, and black.
As granite is a natural resource, you can rest assured that your countertop is one-of-a-kind and will always look different from others. The color of your choice of granite reflects its country of origin, but usually, these stones come from China, India, and Brazil.
How Much Does a Granite Countertop Cost?
Cost, naturally, would play a significant factor in the purchase of your countertop. Here in the Philippines, a granite countertop can set you back anywhere between Php5,000 to Php50,000—or more, if you are a bit more indulgent on your kitchen’s look.
Design matters as well, as the rarer colors command a higher price. “Salt and Pepper,” which is the most common granite, is more affordable compared to the more uncommon ones, especially if a company sells it exclusively.
Take into consideration, too, from where the granite comes from; China has lower labor costs and is closer to the Philippines, and that makes product prices more wallet-friendly.
Also remember that the thicker the slab, the more expensive it becomes, and if you can’t DIY, you also need to prepare to spend for installation.
Is Granite for You?
Like any other kitchen countertop material, granite has both its pros and cons. It would be up to you to determine whether this material would be best for your kitchen improvement needs—but to help you weigh your options, here is a list of both.
What are the Pros of Having a Granite Countertop?
a. Granite is Extremely Durable
Arguably its best asset, granite’s durability is unrivaled when it comes to kitchen countertops. Hence, this feature makes it a wise lifetime investment for your home.
b. Granite is Naturally Beautiful
We can’t stress it enough: granite is very pretty! You’ll probably be surprised to find yourself more inspired to spend time in the kitchen, whipping up all your favorite dishes. After all, every kitchen preparation begins with a sparkling inspiration.
c. A Granite Countertop Ups Your Home's Resale Value
As mentioned above, a granite countertop is an investment—and a wise one at that, because having such a beautiful fixture in your house instantly makes the property more valuable. Granite countertop commands higher sales value than homes with kitchens having ceramic or porcelain tiles on their counter.
d. Granite is Heat-Resistant
Such feature is especially important to a kitchen busybody since there will be less worry about countertop damage whenever you place something hot on its surface. Of course, experts recommend that you use a trivet to put a bit of distance between your countertop and, say, a hot crockpot since such appliances can emit heat for long periods, which could compromise your granite countertop, or cause it to crack.
e. Granite is Scratch-Resistant, too!
If you are not familiar with Mohs scale of hardness, it’s the universal standard for measuring the “resistance of a smooth surface to scratching or abrasion” (thank you, German mineralogist, Friedrich Mohs). The scale, which uses the numbers one to ten – one being the least resistant and ten the most— ranks granite at six or seven, making it one of the more durable materials for a kitchen countertop. This feature makes granite especially important since you will use a lot of knives inside the kitchen.
f. Granite is Hygienic
Hygiene is all the rage now because of COVID-19—and a granite countertop fits that requirement perfectly. Unlike ceramic or porcelain tiles, which is another popular countertop option, a granite countertop has minimal joint connections. Lesser grout lines mean fewer chances of water ponding in crevices and harboring dangerous viruses and bacteria.
What are the Cons of Having a Granite Countertop?
While durable, a granite countertop is not impervious to damage—especially if a heavy object hits it. It’s not common for this to happen, but it’s still best to be careful when working on this kind of surface.
b. Some Granites are Porous
Staining commonly occurs when your granite countertop does not have a sealer, so make sure it does, and that you reapply the sealer at least once a year. Otherwise, you can eventually say hello to discoloration, which won’t sit well with you and your culinary explorations.
c. Granite Countertops are Permanent
Granite countertops are a long-term investment, yes, but that also means you’ll have to live forever with the color that you finally choose. They can’t be swapped out quickly for a new one, should you suddenly feel the urge to have a different color in your kitchen.
Because a granite slab is heavy and requires special installation tools, only qualified professionals should place your granite kitchen countertop. If you’re worried about the cost of labor, just think of how more expensive it will be to repeat the whole installation process, should you mess it up by going DIY.
e. Granite's Appearance is Inconsistent
Lastly, if you are the type who prefers a very consistent look for your kitchen countertop, granite may not be for you, since each slab will look different from another, given that granite is a naturally formed—and not a man-made, mass-produced—stone.
What Should You Look for When Buying a Granite Countertop?
If, at this point, you are still scrolling through this article, then there’s a high chance you’ve decided to go for a granite countertop for your kitchen. Kudos to you! The next step is to make the purchase official. To do so, you need to equip yourself with the proper knowledge in natural stones to make the right choice.
First things first: Assess your budget. A granite countertop in the Philippines can range from P5,000 to P50,000, and possibly even more, depending on your kitchen’s size requirements. It’s easy to fall for the narrative, though, that all granite is expensive—so don’t. Exhaust all your supplier’s options and ask them thoroughly about the products they offer.
To further equip you with granite-shopping knowhow, below is a list of different countertop colors for your kitchen countertop. There are plenty to choose from; select one that will fit the aesthetics you want in your kitchen:
a. Black Granite Countertops
Classic, sleek, sophisticated—this color is versatile and lends a modern, minimalist look to your kitchen. Create a high-contrast space using white cabinets, or go all-black for a unique aesthetic.
b. White Granite Countertops
Honestly, who can go wrong with white granite? It suits anything and everything. Plus, it makes your kitchen look fresh and clean. Of course, natural granite isn’t one hundred percent pure white; while milky white quartz and opaque white feldspar dominate such stone’s mineral composition, these are also either gray-flecked, black-spotted, ivory-threaded, or slightly bluish—which only adds to its timeless charm.
c. Gray Granite Countertops
If you’re looking to have a more industrial style kitchen, a gray granite countertop is the perfect complementary piece. It’s also a classy-looking fixture since gray granite can have a silvery shine to it.
d. Brown Granite Countertops
If earth tones are your thing, then a brown granite countertop should be your leading choice. Pair it with wooden cabinets, and you’ve got a photo-ready kitchen that’s sure to get as many likes as the yummy food you post on social media.
e. Beige Granite Countertops
A small kitchen can benefit from a beige countertop since it can bounce light around a room and create a visually expansive space. Dark cabinets would blend well with a beige countertop, too.
f. Red Granite Countertops
This is a less common countertop color, but that shouldn’t stop you from choosing this for your kitchen interior! Having one instantly gives your home an eye-catching conversation piece; you’ll be hosting parties left and right.
g. Blue Granite Countertops
Blue granite countertops are best paired with white subway tiles for a great looking kitchen space. You can mix and match it with white appliance for a clean and crisp kitchen.
h. Green Granite Countertops
Bring a bit of nature into your kitchen with a green granite countertop—it’s a color that can easily give your cooking space that calm, cool, serene vibe to help you come up with more creative dishes.
Because we live in a pandemic-ridden world and will continue to do so, at least, throughout the next year, hygiene has become paramount in whatever we do and wherever we go—and especially in our homes. Current research even suggests that homes are now “health hubs,” meaning they should be safe spaces both for our physical and mental well-being.
And that’s it! With all these information, you are ready to go out—following, strictly, health and safety guidelines—to find the perfect countertop for your kitchen. The pandemic won’t be here forever, but a granite kitchen countertop can undoubtedly guarantee that it will last for a lifetime.
Find a Granite Countertop Supplier Near You
Let us help you take the first step toward your dream kitchen. Our wide selection of granite slabs are available for your purchase—just drop by any of our stores in Cebu City, Davao City, and Cagayan de Oro City. We’re opening in Iloilo, soon, too!