Laminate and other manmade materials have come a long way in the last decade. Gone are the days when faux stone materials were obvious at a single glance. Today’s fake granite countertops may look very realistic from a distance, even though they are not real stone. While these materials can be attractive, it’s important to know what you are buying. Real stone is a premium material that can last a lifetime with timeless appeal. Here’s how to spot fake granite while choosing new countertop materials or buying a home.
Observe the Pattern and Coloration
Look at the overall pattern and colors of the countertop. If it appears fairly uniform across the entire surface, it may be a manmade surface. Every slab of granite is unique. If the stone is real, one area of the surface should not look just like another area. Manmade countertops rarely have imperfections in their pattern. Even the most uniform granite patterns have many natural imperfections that are easy to spot.
Tap on the Surface
Tapping lightly on the surface of the countertop with something metal like the ball end of a hammer can tell you a lot. Marble produces a ringing sound. Granite also produces a ring, but to a lesser degree than marble. Manufactured stone is made from resin mixed with some crystals of real stone. It will not produce this ringing sound.
Consider the Cost
If you are buying new countertops, the cost is a clue as to whether you are buying real stone or a look-alike. Slab granite can start at $60 per square foot, and the price can range a great deal, topping at $200 per square foot. The price for manmade surfaces that look like granite may start around $45 to $80. If the cost is too low, you are likely looking at laminate countertops with a veneer or very low-quality granite.
Look at the Seam
If the countertop is already installed in a home, check the seam. With a manmade countertop, there will be almost no shift in the flow of the pattern between the slabs at the seam. With granite, there will be a noticeable change in the pattern from one slab to the other at the seam. Skilled granite installers can minimize the pattern shift at seams, but it can still be noticed with close inspection.
Use the Water Test
Because engineered stone is made mostly from epoxy resin, it is completely nonporous. When water is poured on engineered stone, it will not be absorbed because epoxy cannot absorb liquids. Pour a small amount of water on the surface of the stone and wait for a reaction. Granite will darken as it absorbs the water. This should happen within a few minutes if the stone is unsealed and very porous. However, this method is not foolproof for spotting fake granite, as it may take more than 30 minutes if the stone is dense or it might not occur at all if the granite is well sealed with a high-quality granite sealer.
If you’d like to learn how to seal granite properly, or if you have other questions about caring for natural stone, reach out to Granite Gold® today. All of our products are safe to use on granite, marble, limestone, slate, and other types of natural stone. Call 1-800-475-STONE today to learn more.