If there’s anything we’ve learned from more than 20 years of House Hunters now (crazy, right?), it’s that granite countertops are a timeless staple of any good kitchen. On every episode the houses either have natural stone, or the plan is to put granite countertops in after the home is purchased.
But why is that? Is it just everyone following the trend, or are there real, practical advantages to choosing granite countertops over other options available? The answer is kind of both, actually. While granite has been used as a building material since ancient time, it has definitely made a resurgence over the past few decades. However, that doesn’t mean it’s just blind trend following, there are some serious advantages that we are going to set in stone here for you today.
In Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast on ancient Rome, he describes Roman soldiers as being 50% warriors and 50% construction workers due to their incredible ability to build out infrastructure everywhere they went. That includes military installations and makeshift forts as well as incredibly useful road networks to transport troops and supplies across Europe.
Granite slabs in particular were a favorite of Roman military forces for its ability to hold up to literally millions of people and beasts of burden over decade-long campaigns in pursuit of expanding the Roman empire. With that being the case, it stands to reason granite would be more than up to the task of taking on kitchen counter duty in your home. With a Moh’s hardness rating usually falling in the ~7 range, there aren’t that many materials in your kitchen that are likely to damage the surface.
That’s not to say that granite is impervious to chips or scratches, it’s just unlikely to happen.
2) Unique Look
Every slab of granite you see is as unique as the thumbprint on your hand. That’s not just to say that the pattern on your countertop will be different from others mined from the same quarry, but that there is a huge array of shades, tones and patterns you can get from granite. From whites and greys, to tans, browns, blacks and even some silver and gold textures thrown in.
The point is that granite is not a generic or ubiquitous look. With the wide range of mineral compositions out there, you can get just about any color palette and patterns you can imagine. This is why it’s important to go through your local stone dealer or installer’s inventory yourself if you’re looking for something unique. You never know what you’ll find, and finding a piece that looks similar can be downright impossible.
3) Higher Home Value
Whenever a home is put on the market, it will immediately be judged against other options in the area. That makes sense, right? Even if you’re not on House Hunters, most people shop around and compare homes to see which not only suits their needs the best, but would require the least amount of work and expense to get things where the new owners would like them to be.
Like we mentioned above, granite or other natural-stone countertops are becoming a default must-have and can be a deciding factor when it comes to choosing one property over another. Sure, if other homes in your area don’t seem to feature stone counters, you might be OK. However, the odds are stacked more and more heavily against you if other homes for sale in your part of town feature them. It’s not just about how much you can sell for, but how long your house has to remain on the market to get a worthwhile bite.
4) Enhanced Appearance
As a nice tie-in to the previous points — a huge part of the value of granite as a building material comes from its natural beauty. Sure, it has an impressive track record of being a very tough material, but for most modern homeowners, aesthetics play a much more important role than they once did. As it just so happens, though, granite can be quite the naturally beautiful material, especially with some more exotic minded compositions.
More than each slab of granite’s unique grain structure and streaking, granite just has a regal feel to it. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and judging by the paint-flecked and patterned linoleum that is being featured in new home and apartment builds, the granite look is what everything that isn’t natural stone seems to be going for.
5) Easy to Clean
Maintenance of granite countertops is a very straightforward process once you establish some ground rules. The first of which is that acidic chemicals are the enemy of any natural stone. This is because granite contains a fair bit of calcium carbonate, which is easily eaten away at and damaged by low pH chemicals. That means anything with vinegar, citric acid or acetic acid will first eat away at the stone’s protective seal, but then damage the surface of the stone itself. This damage is called etching.
That’s why it is always important to wipe up spills as they happen, as things like tomato sauce, wine, fruits, coffee and tea can damage and stain the surface of your stone. This is why it’s always important to avoid your average household cleaners, as they contain chemicals that are too acidic or too alkaline for the stone to comfortably handle. Granite Gold Daily Cleaner® is a pH balanced solution formulated specifically for use on natural stone, and is even available in easy, disposable wipe form as well.
It’s also important to maintain a proper seal on your stone to avoid stains and chemical etching in the future. In order to preserve the integrity of your seal, it’s a good idea to play it safe and quickly wipe up spills as they happen. At minimum, this saves you a headache in trying to get up a stain, and in the worst-case scenario this can save you a costly visit from a stone restoration professional.
You can check out our guide on sealing your stone here.
Have more questions or concerns on how to care for your natural stone? Consider reaching out to our team of stone care experts with more than 50 years of stone-care experience at 1-800-475-STONE. Be sure to check out our full line stone care products to make sure you’re doing that beautiful stone justice.