A Buyer’s Guide for Granite
Every buyer should be empowered to make informed decisions when it comes to buying granite and ensuring they choose the right granite slab, fabricator and installation process that meets their needs and aligns with their budget. A buyer’s guide for granite offers practical advice to homeowners, contractors, interior designers and other industry professionals. There are many factors that should be considered in your granite selection.
What is Granite?
Granite is a natural stone that is derived from the earth and quarried into slabs. These slabs are used for various applications and are very popular with home and design renovations. Understanding granite’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as its most common uses, can influence your decision-making when buying granite.
Granite is made up of many minerals including quartz, mica and feldspar which result in its distinctive patterns and speckle. Since granite is a natural stone formed from the earth’s surface, no two slabs are alike. Therefore, the variations and colors among granite slabs are endless.
These minerals also give granite distinctive characteristics and features that make the material attractive to buyers, including:
- Durability: Granite is one of the hardest materials on earth and extremely durable, making it suitable for high-traffic areas.
- Array of colors and patterns: Every slab of granite is unique because its mineral makeup varies due to its formation process. Granite comes in many colors that can fit any design style.
- Versatility: Granite can be used nearly anywhere and for any application.
- Low maintenance: Granite is relatively easy to care for. Maintenance includes wiping spills as they occur with a neutral soap and water mixture, as well as polishing with a stone-intended cleaner for an extra shine. It has porous qualities, so it should be sealed routinely for overall longevity.
- Value: Granite is an attractive material with natural beauty and perceived value. Granite installations can increase the resale value of your home or property.
Granite Applications and Granite Countertops
Granite slabs are used for various applications including:
- Bar tops
- Butler’s pantry
- Fireplace surround
- Shower surround
- Outdoor projects
Granite is an extremely versatile material and has many uses. First and foremost, you should decide whether granite is the best option for your application and what it will be used for. You should consider whether granite meets your expectations in terms of functionality and performance. Granite is aesthetically appealing and performs well in most spaces.
Considerations for granite may vary depending on the application or use. Granite that is used for an outdoor installation will likely require additional upkeep and sealings. It’s important to understand that granite can perform differently according to its susceptibility and exposure to wear and tear.
Granite is one of the most popular stone materials that is quarried into slabs for various uses. There are thousands of types of granite that come from all around the world including Italy, India and China. The formation process for granite is different at every mine and every layer, which influences its mineral composition. This creates a variety of colors, patterns, and veining possibilities within each slab of granite. The types of granite are characterized by their origin, color, mineral makeup, uniqueness, and other consistencies among certain slabs.
Popular granites include:
- Colonial White Granite: A dull white granite with gray undertones and specks of black and silver mineral deposits. It possesses many traits of granite including scratch resistance and durability, and it’s often used in residential and commercial projects for various applications including countertops and flooring.
- Thunder White Granite: White, gray and cream granite with unique gray veining resembling a marble look. It’s an affordable and low maintenance option with a high-end look. This is a great choice for kitchen countertops, vanities and backsplashes.
- Viscount White Granite: White granite with bold swirls of light and dark gray hues. This is one of the most durable granites with few fissures and strong heat and stain resistance. It’s perfect for countertops and fireplace surrounds.
- Blue Dunes Granite: This granite has earthy tones of white, gray, brown and black with subtle hints of blue and green. The patterns and variations are unique to each slab. Blue Dunes is an extremely strong and durable granite, and its neutral tones will never go out of style. It can be used for almost any application including countertops, bathroom vanities or shower surround.
There are hundreds of types of granites and millions of variations. Selecting the type of granite you want is an important step in your granite buying process. This should be done in person and by hand because the mineral composition is different in every slab.
Choosing the Right Granite Fabricator
The most important factor when buying granite is choosing a reputable supplier and fabricator. Finding a fabricator that sources from well-known suppliers is essential to finding a quality product. Not every supplier provides the same quality of granite and some even imitate granite while passing it on as regular stone. The source for your stone and fabricator matters more than you might expect.
Not all fabricators have the experience, knowledge and equipment to successfully install all applications. Special equipment may be necessary, especially if your stone has certain customizations or features. Make sure your fabricator is qualified and able to create the stone design needed for your specific project. Each job is unique, and each slab may react differently while undergoing fabrication. A highly skilled and experienced fabricator will be able to achieve excellent results on complex projects.
Quality is important because it contributes to the overall outcome of your granite design application. Considering overall craftsmanship including the ability to mitigate and hide seams, create an edge profile and make intricate cuts is essential to ensuring the best result for your project. Do your research when finding a granite supplier and fabricator. Asking for references and recommendations, reading reviews, and looking at previous projects can help you to decide who to go with.
Other factors that you should take into consideration are whether the timeline and scheduling provided for your project fits your timeline. A supplier or fabricator may not have your slab in stock and may need to have it ordered. The complexity, size, edge profiling and finish can also influence the timeline schedule. Aside from this, the budget may influence whether a fabricator is suitable.
Edge Profiles for Granite
There are a variety of edge profile options that can be given to your granite. The edge of your stone influences the overall look. You should take into consideration the aesthetic you are going for, as well as practicality. Some edges can be sharp for a modern look, while others duller and more traditional.
Some popular edge profiles include:
- Free or Straight Edge: A flat and 90-degree angle
- Standard or Eased Edge: Slightly rounded edge
- Beveled Edge: A 45-degree angle from the top of the edge
- Bullnose Edge: Edge is fully rounded or top edge is rounded
- Ogee edge: An intricate, S-shaped curve
- Cove Edge: A concave or indentation from the top of the edge
- Dupont Edge: Concave into a rounded edge
- Chiseled Edge: Rough and textured edge
- Waterfall Edge: Continuous edge that wraps the countertop or island
- Mitered edge: Conjoining of two pieces of granite to create a 45-degree edge for a thicker appearance
The choice of edge profile should be based on design aesthetic, functionality and personal preference. These edges can be fabricated on most granite slabs; however, each slab reacts differently when undergoing fabrication. Achieving an edge profile can be dependent on the thickness and softness of your stone. It’s important to consult with your fabricator on what edges can be done to your slab of granite in particular.
Prior to installation, your granite is given a textured finish that contributes to the overall look and feel of your stone. Options for granite finishes include:
- Honed: A honed finish creates a soft and smooth surface without glossiness. This finish is often used in kitchen and bathroom applications.
- Polished: Polished granite gives the stone a shiny and reflective appearance. This is the most popular finish for granite and is often used for kitchen or bathroom countertops, or fireplace surrounds.
- Leathered: A leathered or brushed finish gives a dull, matte-like appearance and texture similar to leather. It is a nice finish for outdoor installations.
- Flamed: Flamed surfaces are created through a thermal treatment process that leaves a rough and textured finish.
When buying granite, you should decide on a budget. This will allow you to narrow your selection and home in on a granite that meets your needs. The options can be overwhelming, and there is likely a granite that is within your budget and can encompass your design expectations.
Granite comes in different grade levels which are contingent on the supplier’s price point that they are selling the stone for. The price is driven by several factors such as origin, cost from quarry, freight, rarity, how clean the material is (meaning does it have cracks in it or rust spots), thickness, and what’s trending in the market. Suppliers sell granite for what they believe the market can get for it after considering their margins and competitors in the industry.
Aside from selecting your granite, other costs that are associated with granite applications include the amount of square footage needed, its edge profile, finish, any sink or faucet cut-outs, or any additional features. The more material and customizations needed to complete your stone design, the more it will increase the overall budget.
Care and Maintenance
Granite is well-known for its easy maintenance. With proper care and upkeep, you can prolong the lifespan of your granite, making it a cost-effective option in the long run. There are many ways to properly care for and maintain your granite such as:
- Register For Warranty: Many suppliers offer warranties for their stone. You can register for a warranty on the supplier’s website. Terms and conditions vary by supplier.
- Sealing and Stain Prevention: Routine sealings are recommended for maintaining the longevity of your stone. Granite is porous, so reapplying a sealant will help avoid liquids and bacteria from breaching the surface and prevent staining or etching. As for stain removal, a simple poultice is the best approach. This is a homemade recipe that is relatively easy to do and successful. Anything aside from this, you should call a professional.
- Troubleshooting: Common issues that may arise with granite include statins or chips. Applying a poultice to a stain can help remove or weaken the stain. Chips can be easily filled with an epoxy similar to the color of your granite.
- Maintenance Schedule: A recommended maintenance schedule for granite includes weekly polishings and yearly sealings. This may vary depending on where and how your granite is used. Creating a maintenance schedule for your granite will help it to last for decades.
There are a few things that should be considered for your granite installation. Stone is heavy and the installation process can be dangerous. It is especially important to hire a skilled professional for the job because it can be the determining factor in how your project turns out.
Consider whether the installation company is licensed and insured to protect you if any damage arises. In addition, consider whether they use proper equipment and safety gear as well as their techniques and craftsmanship. Ask to visit their showroom and see their work firsthand before you make your decision.
In addition, when choosing an installer, you should make sure their timeline and scheduling align with yours. In home building and renovation, the timeline is a crucial factor that may determine whether you go with one installer over the other. Once you’ve chosen an installer that meets your needs, you can make preparations for your granite installation.
Preparing for Installation
In preparation for your granite installation, there is a checklist of things you should account for. One of the most important considerations is whether your cabinetry is sturdy enough to withstand the weight of your granite throughout its lifespan. Granite is one of the hardest and heaviest stones on earth, so it needs to be supported by a strong base or structure.
Another thing to consider is whether any electrical or plumbing will need done prior to installation. If so, you should arrange for these services far enough in advance that it does not delay your project. This can include sinks, faucets or electrical outlets.
Lastly, the installation process can render dust or damage something nearby. It is recommended to move anything at risk out of the way, as well as covering anything close to the work area to avoid debris or dust particles.
Recruiting Granite and Marble Designs for the Job
Granite and Marble Designs fabricates and installs all granite and stone applications. We are a team of professional and experienced individuals who will work with you from concept to the completion of your stone project. We offer many types of granite slabs and work with many suppliers to expand our inventory and keep up with the demand for popular granite slabs.
Our work is backed by our StoneDoneRight™ Approach where we promise the quality and consistency of our work. Through quality control, specialized equipment and our expertise, we will aim to exceed your expectations. Each project is treated as unique because every slab is different, and our ability to customize your project and tailor to your needs is what makes us stand out from competitors.
Call 303-551-6000 or request a quote to get started on your granite design.