When redesigning a kitchen or bathroom, homeowners are often drawn to the idea of granite countertops because of the elegant, sophisticated appearance. Granite has many properties that make it an ideal material for kitchen and bathroom countertops. Understanding these characteristics can help you decide whether granite counters are the right fit for your home and help you to care for them properly if you choose granite.
Granite is an igneous rock that contains feldspar, quartz, mica and traces of other minerals. Its color is determined by the amount of each mineral contained in a particular piece. Granite can be found in many parts of the world, but is typically mined from quarries in Spain, Africa, Brazil, India, Norway and China.
One of the reasons granite is used for kitchen and bathroom countertops is its durability. It is the second hardest natural stone in the world, next to diamond, so it holds up extremely well to wear and tear. In particular, it works well in a kitchen or bar area because it is not vulnerable to acidic substances like citrus fruit, tomato sauce, alcohol and vinegar. It is not weakened by water or moisture either, which allows it to maintain its appearance longer than other stone or tile countertops.
Because granite countertops are so dense, they do not conduct heat well. As a result, you can place hot pots and pans directly on the surface without worrying about it being burned or scorched. Granite can withstand extremely high temperatures, so it is ideal for use beside your stovetop as well.
Since granite is the second hardest stone in the world, it is nearly impossible to scratch. You can cut fruit and vegetables on a granite countertop without marking the surface; the only damage likely to occur is the dulling of your knife's blade.
Granite is a fairly porous stone. As a result, it may absorb liquids and develop stains. However, once the countertop is treated with a sealer, it loses its absorbency and is protected from stains. Reapply the sealer about once a year to ensure that the surface remains stain resistant.
Granite countertops are often thought of as luxury design item because of their sleek, elegant look. They are also quite costly, though the price varies based on where the granite is mined. However, while it may be an expensive initial investment, granite countertops last for years and add to your home's resale value, so you may decide that they are worth the cost.
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