The popularity of granite kitchen countertops has increased dramatically in recent years, with the media focus on kitchen remodeling and personal incomes rising. Originally the choice for granite countertops was limited to wealthy individuals. Today, homeowners of moderate means choose granite countertops for their durability as well as beauty. In addition to their utility and longevity, granite kitchen countertops are one of the few home improvements that maintain their value. Typically, any appliances, flooring or cabinetry decisions will only add about twenty-five percent of their retail value to the appraisal value of a home. In addition to long term value, the beauty and warmth of granite makes it an ideal material for aesthetic appeal among homeowners and interior designers.
The natural beauty of a granite kitchen countertop complements any style of cabinetry, from French country to the sleek lines of cosmopolitan styles. This ancient stone adds warmth and character to any kitchen, whether it's a new build or a remodel. Granite is found world wide, and is available in hundreds of colors. Brown and beige tones are the most popular, as they work well with a variety of kitchen color schemes and offer a great deal of flexibility. Some granite colors exhibit "movement," or a noticeable design within the color, while others have very small patterns. The combination of color and movement means that no two countertops look exactly alike.
Opinions regarding the color that is best for a kitchen will vary. Dark cabinets can be warmed up with a light colored stone, while light colored cabinets can be anchored with a dark stone. When choosing the granite that will be added to a kitchen décor, it is best not to make selections from “chips” that the decorator or major retailer has on hand. There is too much variation in the color and movement in each slab to be captured in a single chip. Rather, it is better to go to the stone supplier and look at each slab. The slab needs to be reserved at the time of decision, or it may not be available at a later time.
Granite countertops are a favorite choice for their beauty and durability, however they are not impervious to damage. Regular care includes proper cleaning and the use of sealers to prevent staining. Granite can also easily be chipped, although a professional can perform “invisible” repairs.
The installed prices for granite countertops range from $60 to $120 a square foot, installed. The initial cost is much more than other countertop surface treatments. The majority of the cost is not in the stone itself, but in the cutting, transportation and labor of installation. When it comes to granite countertops this is one home project that needs to be left to the professionals. Despite the strength of granite, the oversized sheets are extremely delicate and must be precisely cut. Failure to properly set a granite countertop could cause it to break during regular use.
The durability of granite as a countertop makes it a favorite of home chefs, as it can withstand more abuse than standard laminate countertops. A hurried cook can quickly set down a hot pot without fear of damage to the polished finish. The hardness of this ancient stone serves as an excellent surface for rolling dough and working with confectionery. When it comes to rolling the perfect piecrust, it's easy to chill a section of the countertop by setting a bowl of ice water over the chosen workspace for 15 to 20 minutes.
Granite kitchen countertops have proven to be a wise investment for homeowners. While the final cost of installing granite countertops will be more than other countertop material choices, granite will outlast other materials. Selecting granite as a counter surface proves to be an investment in the value of the home as well as the enjoyment of use for the family chef.