Granite adds elegance and durability to any kitchen or bathroom and often costs less than other remodeling projects. If your counter tops are a dull, boring laminate, granite may be just the thing your home needs for an updated look. Whether you are improving your counter tops to sell your home or just to treat yourself, follow these tips to ensure you pick the right type.
Style- Because granite is a natural stone, it comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns. If you are looking for a contrast against light colored or white cabinets, then try charcoal gray, black, or brown. Pick lighter colored granite if you want to contrast darker cabinets. Light tan, off-white, or soft gray works well to balance dark wood. For a popular style, do white kitchen cabinets, white walls, and an ashy gray granite counter top.
Size- Make sure you have someone measure your counter tops before you decide on a piece of granite. You want to make sure that they have enough of the material to cover your counter tops; since granite is natural, they can’t exactly produce more of the same material in a factory if they run out. You’ll also need to know how much you need so you can figure out the cost and work it into your budget.
Tip: If you are doing a small space, such as a bathroom sink, ask for remnants. Granite suppliers often carry small remnant pieces at a discount price.
Depth- You will want granite at least 3cm thick. Anything thinner than 3cm may be susceptible to breaking. You can go thinner in bathrooms than you do in kitchens, however. For a high-end look in the kitchen, choose a 2in thickness. While it is more expensive than other forms of granite, it can be carved into neatly designed edges or can be extended out from an island or buffet cabinet to create bar seating.
Sealants- Many granite installing companies will include a granite sealer for free, but it’s important to ask whether they include it or not and if they charge for it. Granite sealer helps to maintain the natural look of the stone and protects it from wear and tear. Granite stone is extremely sturdy and heat-resistant, but the porous nature of it collects dirt and grime. You can purchase granite sealer at most hardware stores and apply it yourself for around $20, so keep that in mind in case the company charges an arm and leg for it.
Edges- Granite professionals should always seal the edges of a granite slab; however, this process can take several hours per slab. Some companies take a shortcut by spraying on wax instead of sealing it to make the edges appear shiny. Test it out: wax will come off with a small scrape of a coin. You want to choose granite from a company who seals each piece carefully, so if you run into this problem, find a different granite supplier.
When it comes to picking out the right granite, go with your gut instinct. Take pictures of your counter tops at home so you can compare them while you are out granite shopping. It may take time to find the best looking stone, but when you do, you will have a timeless look to enjoy each time you walk into the room.
Nina Hiatt has a personal goal to help people find beauty and balance through landscape and interior design. Nina’s writing has covered a range of home topics, from installing garage doors to Calgary home buying. She learned how to install her own doors with the help of The Garage Door Company.