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What to Look for When Buying Granite Countertops

Updated:2013-11-14 15:26:51

Granite is one of the strongest and hardest natural materials. A granite countertop provides both function and aesthetic appeal in the contemporary kitchen and bathroom. It's resistant to heat, scratches and bacteria, and every piece of granite is unique in its colors and patterns. With basic care and maintenance, a granite countertop will last many years.

                                                       

Color and Pattern
Granite comes in an almost limitless choice of colors and patterns. Granites quarried from different locations around the world have unique patterns of colors not found anywhere else. From golden browns and soft grays, through vibrant pinks, vivid reds and deep purples, to the darker shades of blues and blacks, there are colors of granite tile to suit any home décor scheme. Some colors, such as soft pinks and greys, are more highly prized, and therefore more expensive than the more common colors and patterns of granite. Also highly prized is "movement" in the granite, which occurs when the pattern changes continually without repetition across the granite surface.
Finish
The finish of the countertop can change its appearance. A polished finish to a granite countertop produces a mirror-like quality which enhances the depth of the granite slab color. It gives a physically smooth surface that is easy to clean. In contrast, a honed finish results in a more muted and flat-looking countertop. This gives a warmer appearance than a polished finish, but has a tendency to stain more easily and to show fingerprints more. Alternate finishes, such as flamed and burnished, create a rough surface with a great deal of texture and are not suitable for countertops.
Tiles or Slabs
You can use either a granite slab or granite tiles for your countertop. Granite slabs, carved from a large block of granite, are solid granite and will have a pattern and color that continues throughout the piece. Granite tiles are cut from various left-over pieces of granite and may be difficult to match. Tiles are thinner than granite slabs and are less expensive. The care and maintenance of granite slabs and tiles is similar, with the addition of the need to clean the grout between the tiles.

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