The most popular natural stone countertop material, granite is what many homeowners turn to when it's time to upgrade. The sharpest knives won't scratch it, and a bubbling pot won't mar it. Granite is available in hundreds of colors, both bold and muted, including shades of white, black, gray, green, blue, red, pink, yellow and tan. Patterns are speckled, dotted, veined and more. Every piece possesses its own mineral makeup, meaning each countertop is a unique work of art.
What is it? An igneous rock (formed by the cooling and solidifying of molten materials) composed chiefly of quartz and feldspar, granite is one of the hardest surfaces on earth. Because of the considerable variation, it's wise to visit the stone yard to choose your own piece if possible to avoid surprises.
Thickness, Overhangs and Edges. Countertop thickness varies by geographic location, from a three quarter inch to an inch and a quarter inches (preferred). Thicker slabs cost more. Standard overhang is one inch to an inch and a half. Larger overhangsfor workspace or seatingmay require additional support starting at 8 to 12 inches. A range of edge treatments is available, including straight, beveled and rounded.
Forms. Granite counters can come as slabs or tiles.
Finishes. Three types of finishes are recommended for granite countertops.
Maintenance. Wipe the countertop with a soft cloth and warm water daily. Mild household cleansers are suitable. Certain oils and acids can stain. Most natural granite should be resealed annually.
The Bottom Line. Granite imparts a timeless, high-end look ideal for traditional and classic spaces. Smooth and cool to the touch, it is popular for baking centers due to the ease of rolling out dough.
Best for low-traffic spaces, marble countertops impart elegance and improve with age.
Consider function, style and budget when shopping for counters for your remodel