Select, install and maintain your granite countertop
Granite counters add class to any kitchen. Given the wide selection of granite countertop colors available – and there are thousands – it’s easy to create a stunning space that you and your family will love. Generally speaking, granite countertop prices start at around $60 per square foot; considering their durability and long lifespan, that’s a very wise and affordable investment.
Advantages of Granite Countertops
Granite is a naturally occurring stone found in many areas of the world. It has been used in home construction for centuries and is a very abundant resource. It is very hard to scratch the surface of granite; therefore, bacteria cannot get trapped in its surface, making it ideal for kitchen countertops.
Though it takes considerable time to polish raw granite to a sleek finish, there are few kitchen surface products that are stronger and more resistant to wear and tear. Hot pans do not cause the kind of blistering or cracking you’ll encounter with laminate surfaces. In the rare event that your granite countertop does suffer a chip, it’s an easy fix because it can be sanded down, buffed and resealed in mere minutes.
Choosing a Granite Countertop
In 2008, newspapers picked up a story about a woman whose granite countertops tested positive for radon. Radon is a harmful gas is found far below ground level, and it has been known to cause lung and other forms of cancer. While very few granite tile countertops have actually tested positive for radon, the Marble Institute of America is establishing new testing procedures to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. If you are concerned about radon and have put off buying granite for this reason, ask your dealer to perform a test to ensure their granite stock is safe.
Once you’ve decided to purchase granite, you’ll have two styles to choose from: solid countertops and granite tile countertops. Granite tiles are easy to install as a DIY project. However, given the weight of solid granite countertops, you’ll need to enlist some help or leave the job to professional installers.
Solid Granite Counter and Granite Tile Countertop Installation
Creating and installing solid granite counters are tasks best left to the professionals. First, the counter space need to be measured, and the actual counters cut to fit within it. When the counters are ready to install, you’ll find their weight an enormous encumbrance. Also, if you install them incorrectly, you risk cracking the counter.
If you opt for a granite tile countertop, on the other hand, you can tackle this easy project on your own. Start by laying a sheet or two of plywood cut to fit over your cabinetry. You will need a diamond wet saw to cut the tiles to fit; to practice, you may want to purchase inexpensive ceramic tile if you’re new to cutting tile.
Granite Countertop Maintenance
Granite countertops are sealed to keep liquids out, though you will need to reseal the countertops about once a year. The sealant is a yellow waxy paste that you can easy apply yourself.
If you spill something on your countertop, you should wipe it up immediately to prevent staining. Generally, though, maintenance is easy – you’ll simply need to wipe down the counters with warm water and a mild dish soap or granite cleaner. It is critical to make sure your cleaner is properly pH-balanced; acidic products like vinegar or lemon juice can damage the stone. With the right amount of care, your granite counters will last you a lifetime. Considering all factors, from cost to durability to ease of care, choosing granite is wise.