Our Complete Guide to Granite Countertops

Installing granite countertops in your kitchen is an investment in beauty and durability. These countertops will work for you for years to come. Even if the rest of your kitchen becomes outdated, your granite countertops will not.

Granite is a highly durable material that is ideal for work spaces such as kitchen countertops. It can also be used in the bathroom, patio, as floor tiles and around fireplaces. But it’s in the kitchen that granite is the most versatile.

And, there are so many colors and designs to choose from. With over 2,500 color choices, you’re sure to find one that you’ll fall in love with.

Where Does Granite Come From?

Granite is a natural material that is mined from the earth’s core. It’s formed by the extreme heat and pressure of the liquid magma. Through this process, materials such as mica, quartz, feldspar and other minerals are forged together to form beautiful combinations of colors and patterns.

This produces a highly durable material that is unique in its design.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Granite Countertops

There are many advantages of installing granite countertops and not too many disadvantages. Let’s explore these in more detail.

Advantages Of Granite Countertops

  • Unique design. Because granite countertops are a natural product, the one you choose will be totally unique. In fact, even slabs cut from the same rock will have slight variations.
  • Unlimited choice of colors and patterns. Currently there are over 2,500 colors and patterns to choose from.
  • Choice of installation types. You can choose from thin or thick slabs, tiles or modular pieces.
  • Durable. Granite countertops are suitable for heavy use and are almost impossible to scratch. Plus, you can place hot pots and pans on them without damaging the surface.
  • Easy to clean and hygienic. Most granite countertops can be cleaned with just a soft cloth and hot water. Granite does not readily stain or absorb bacteria from food. You can even purchase a quality granite cleaner to keep your countertops in top shape.
  • Never becomes dull or etched from foods with a high acid content.
  • Unlikely to fade. Unless the countertops are exposed to continuous sunlight all day, the color will not fade or become dull.
  • It’s easy to apply a sealer if needed.
  • Granite countertops are easy to repair if needed.

Disadvantages Of Granite Countertops

  • Some colors are susceptible to staining. Because granite is a rock, it is porous to a certain degree. Therefore, lighter colored granite may be susceptible to staining. However, this is easily overcome by applying a sealer to the surface. On the plus side, darker granite like Absolute Black or Blue Pearl do not require sealing as they are too dense to absorb stains.
  • A granite countertop may need re-sealing after a period of time. However, sealing is as easy as painting a wall so this should not be a concern.
  • The initial cost of the granite and installation can be quite high. But, think of it as an investment in your home. A granite countertop will not need to be replaced and will help to increase the value of your home.

Colors And Patterns

As mentioned, granite countertops are available in over 2,500 color and patterns. Some popular colors are:

  • Absolute Black
  • Amadeus White
  • Alaska White
  • River White
  • San Gabriel Black
  • Ruby Velvet
  • Delicatus Cream
  • Atlantis Granite
  • Boreal Granite
  • Coral Gold
  • Copper Silk
  • Rosewood
  • Shalimar Gold
  • Desert Gold
  • Astoria
  • Imperial Coffee + many more

Not only can you find many different colors but there are also variations in the pattern styles of the granite. Patterns can provide a flecked, pebbled or course-grained appearance. Some of the more uniform pebbled granite colors include:

  • Bianco Catalina
  • Black Galaxy
  • Azul Platino
  • Bianco Dimante
  • Giallo Artic Gold

Other granite patterns display more movement that reflects the flow of the lava. Colors in this style include:

  • Indian Juparana
  • Azul Aran
  • Juparana Colombo
  • Black Phantus
  • Altair

Compare these to the more dramatic pattern and colors. These are regarded as exotic granite and are more expensive. Color include:

  • Exotic Copenhagen
  • Dellano Exotic Blue

Finishes

Not only do you have a huge selection of colors and patterns to choose from but granite countertops also come in several finishes.

Polished Granite

This is probably the most popular choice due to it’s mirror-like shine. This finish looks great and is easy to clean. The polished look helps to enhance the richness of color and pattern in the granite.

To achieve this polish, the granite is subjected to intense abrasion and friction using large industrial machines. This also helps to reduce the porousness of the granite. Therefore, a sealer may not be needed unless the countertop is in a very light color.

Honed Granite

This produces a matte look in the granite without the shine of the polished granite. This type of finish gives a more muted look. It is, however, more prone to staining so a sealer is necessary.

Textured Granite

Granite countertops are also available in a variety of rough, textured surfaces. These are referred to as leathered, brushed, hammered, antiqued and vintage.

These types of surfaces can hide fingerprints, scratches and water spots. Due to the rough textures, these countertops are not quite as easy to clean as the polished or honed granite.

Granite Countertop Types

To add to the choices that you have, there are also several granite countertop types. You can get countertops in slabs, modular pieces or create a countertop from granite tiles.

Slab Countertops

These are the most expensive but the most durable and aesthetically pleasing. The slabs are cut from huge blocks of granite. They come in 2 thicknesses, either ¾ inch (2cm) or 1 ¼ inch (3cm).

Once you select the slabs that you want, they’re then cut to size for your countertops. You’re going to need between 2 to 3 slabs for an average kitchen. An average slab size is around 9 ½ foot long by 5 ½ foot wide.

Modular Countertops

These are extra large tiles that are cut into common shapes. There are prefabricated pieces to fit around your sink and into the corners. It is possible to install these yourself and that cuts down the cost over getting granite slab countertops installed.

The downside of these is that you will have some joins. Plus, there are limited colors available. But, you can still choose from colors like white, green, blue, beige, gray and black.

Tiled Countertops

This is the cheapest option when it comes to granite countertops. But remember, this will mean that you’ll have a lot of grout lines. This can make the countertops much harder to keep clean.

In addition, the grout is likely to need replacing or repairing. For this reason, tiled granite countertops don’t last as long as slab ones.

Average Cost Of Installing Granite Countertops

The price of your granite countertops depends on the type of granite that you choose. This includes the color and the pattern. Some colors are definitely more expensive than others.

On average, you should expect to pay around $45 and $65 per square foot unless you’ve chosen a rare color. This includes installation. For an average sized kitchen you could pay between $2,000 to $7,000 for quality granite countertops.

Some factors that can influence the cost of your granite countertops include:

  • Granite color
  • Whether you choose a thin or thick slab
  • The number of cutouts needed in the slab. (Standard costs include 1 cutout for the sink and cooktop.)
  • The number of faucet holes that will need to be cut from the slab.
  • If your kitchen cabinets are an odd shape and you have odd corners.
  • The type of edge profile that you choose.
  • Whether you want your old countertops removed.
  • The distance the granite countertops have to be transported.
  • The backsplash design that your choose.

Granite vs Quartz: What’s The Difference?

We’ve discussed that granite is a naturally formed rock made with quartz, mica, feldspar and other minerals. Therefore, it’s a highly durable material for countertops.

On the other hand, quartz countertops are made with 95 percent ground quartz and 5 percent polymer resins. Therefore, granite countertops are naturally-formed slabs while quartz countertops are manufactured from natural and non-natural materials.

Quartz countertops are also fairly comparable in price to granite ones. They might be very slightly cheaper but these countertops are heavy so they need to be professionally installed.

Quartz is also harder than granite. However, it’s not heat-resistant like granite is. Quartz is also not porous so it’s more hygienic than unsealed granite.

Whether you choose one over the other depends on your personal preference. I do think that granite does have a warmer feel to it and adds another dimension to your countertops.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are granite countertops going out of style?

Granite countertops will never go out of style. They’re 100% natural and their beauty, strength and durability will always be popular. Plus, there are so many colors and patterns to choose from.

What color granite is the most expensive?

The most expensive granite is blue granite.

Which edge is best for granite?

The most preferred edge for granite both for aesthetics and durability is half bullnose. This gives emphasis to the granite thickness and gives a nice rounded finish.

What is the most popular granite countertop color?

In 2020, the most popular colors were Alaska White, Black Pearl Leather, Blue Pearl, White Ice and White Sparkle.

Final Thoughts

We hope you found our guide for granite countertops interesting and informative. Granite countertops are truly a great investment for your home.

You’ll enjoy their durability and good looks for many, many years to come.

Do you have any questions about granite countertops? Have you recently installed them in your kitchen? Please feel free to share your experiences with us in the comments below.