Granite is a popular countertop material that can add beauty and class to a kitchen or bathroom vanity. The only problem is that granite countertops are extremely expensive and can run from $40 to $60 per square foot for material and installation. However, if you want a cheaper way to bring the look of granite to your home, you can use prefabricated, or "prefab," granite material. Knowing the differences between prefabricated granite and natural stone will help you make the best decision for your home.
The most important thing to consider when thinking about prefab granite is whether it will look different from natural stone. Unfortunately, the answer is a bit complicated. Because granite is formed via natural processes, there is plenty of color variation, veins and atypical patterns. Prefab granite is all standard, which could be a good thing if you want a uniform look. In addition to the lack of variation, prefab granite also lacks the luster of natural stone and is thinner than natural stone slabs.
Prefab granite is much easier to install than natural stone, because it can be created and shaped in any way you want. This will result in less seaming during installation, which will give the countertops a smoother look. However, because prefab granite is a little bit thinner, there is a greater chance of the countertop cracking during installation.
Although prefab granite does have the basic look of granite, it does not add value to a home in the same way that regular granite does. Prefab granite only adds value to your home if you are replacing broken or heavily damaged countertops. However, if you want to add several thousand dollars' worth of value to your home, natural stone is the way to go. This is only important, though, if you are planning on selling your home or getting it appraised.
Because granite is a natural product, it is more expensive than prefab granite. In fact, prefab granite is often half the price or less than regular natural stone, so it's an inexpensive way to add the look of granite to your home without all the cost. Prefab granite is also a great choice if you have a lot of countertop space, as costs can skyrocket for large installation projects.
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