What Should I Consider When Getting Granite Countertops?

Cathy Rogers
Cathy Rogers
Silestone is an alternative to granite counter tops.
Silestone is an alternative to granite counter tops.

Granite consists of quartz, silica, mica, obsidian, feldspar, and other natural minerals. Those who choose granite countertops over other options, such as Silestone, Corian, or laminate, do so because of its distinct beauty. Each slab of granite has unique crystals, depth, and variations in color. Granite never changes colors, so it does not lose its brilliance over time. Granite used for countertops comes from various parts of the world, including the U.S., Brazil, Canada, China, India, Italy, Norway, and Sri Lanka.

Kitchen with granite countertops.
Kitchen with granite countertops.

The cost of granite countertops will vary according to square footage, as well as other factors, such as edge and backsplash selections. Round ¼ inch (6.35 mm) beveled edges are standard. A special edge increases the price. Although these countertops are extremely durable, the material itself cannot have a warranty placed on it because it is a natural stone. An installer can warranty the installation, however.

Granite can be cleaned with a mild dish soap.
Granite can be cleaned with a mild dish soap.

Substances that are not granite-countertop-friendly include wine, mustard, oils, and acidic chemicals. However, granite is heat-resistant, and won't scratch, blister, or crack with normal use. Granite can be cleaned with warm water and a light colored dish soap. Special stone cleaners are available, also. Do not use abrasive cleaners on granite.

Granite will need to be resealed when moisture soaks in, rather than beading up. Granite countertops must be resealed once or twice a year. Some professionals recommend a twice-yearly applications of a non-yellowing paste wax. No special expertise is necessary to reseal these countertops.

Mica is one of the primary components of granite.
Mica is one of the primary components of granite.

Because each piece of granite is unique, if a part of a countertop needs to be replaced due to damage, it will not match the original countertop. Although most installers try to avoid seams, granite countertops typically have some seams, as opposed to a Corian countertop. The location of the seams will depend on the layout of the countertop and the support needed. Seams are filled with color-coordinated epoxy.

An alternative to granite, Silestone is made primarily of quartz and is also durable and low maintenance. Unlike granite, Silestone, Corian, and laminate can all be warranted. Granite countertops are heavy, about 25-30 pounds (11-14 kg) per square foot (0.09 square meters), so you must confirm that your cabinets can withstand the weight. No sub deck is needed between cabinets and the countertops.

Discussion Comments


We have had granite countertops for four months. They were light grey on installation and have gone very dark. They are darker still near the hob.

In places where things were on the top (such as the bread bin/toaster) these have stayed the original light color. Is it normal for the countertops to change to a darker color so quickly, and in patches? Is there something wrong with the granite? I am very concerned!


@seag47 – They do require some maintenance, but they are so beautiful. I bought a home a few years ago with granite countertops, and I feel like I've been spoiled by them. I will never want any other kind.

They just make the place look so luxurious. A lot of newer homes in my neighborhood have granite countertops, because they were all the rage when the subdivision was being constructed.

A lot of people are attracted to the kitchens because of the countertops. Of course, there are other people who are probably turned away by them, but most people admire them.


Wow, I never knew that granite kitchen countertops were so much trouble! I would never remember to reseal them so often.

I can't believe that mustard and acids will harm granite. It would never survive in my kitchen, because I'm always spilling stuff on the countertops.


You have a crack in the middle of the front of the sink. That is the weakest part of your countertop, and the installers most likely mishandled it. If they are good, they should be able to fix it and make it "invisible". A top with a seam is also good. We always reinforce the seam-joint with a piece of granite underneath, and a bunch of Akime.

A nine foot top is also a good idea if it's available - the length - in the granite color you chose. Good luck.


There's so much more to picking granite.

First, find four stone types that you really like. Get prices on all four and bring the samples home. Ask your fabricator to give you all the places nearby that he gets his stones from and go look at the slabs. If you absolutely fall in love with a slab, tag it and then go to three or four fabricators and get prices.

Now you are in a position to bargain as you know what you want.

Prior to any of that, investigate the properties of granite online. Some need sealing, some don't. Some are more absorbent, some rarer and more expensive. Then there's the old radon issue, which has pretty much been debunked, but I still veered away from the couple of stones that had registered higher on tests.

You can find all that from the American Marble Institute. Happy shopping.


I have new countertops in my kitchen. The countertop that houses the sink is nine feet long and now has a crack in front of the sink (had it the day it was installed).

To make it good the installer is suggesting a new top with a seam. Is that necessary or should a 9 foot top be okay without a seam?


how do i pick out the right "slab" piece of granite?

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    • Silestone is an alternative to granite counter tops.
      By: CHnadales
      Silestone is an alternative to granite counter tops.
    • Kitchen with granite countertops.
      Kitchen with granite countertops.
    • Granite can be cleaned with a mild dish soap.
      By: Kuzmick
      Granite can be cleaned with a mild dish soap.
    • Mica is one of the primary components of granite.
      By: Tyler Boyes
      Mica is one of the primary components of granite.