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jenson13_gw

Granite Counter Tops

jenson13
11 years ago

Would like some feedback from those who have this. I am thinking about updating my kitchen, but here it is terribly expensive. Any info would be appreciated. Also here it is a pain to keep it wiped up? Streaks and stuff?

Comments (30)

  • azzalea
    11 years ago

    Don't they take a LOT of maintenance? Resealing, etc? Seems like a lot of work. Also, I don't like adding a lot of extra weight to the house that it wasn't built to handle.

    More importantly? I think they're a fad--a pretty expensive one at that. Give it another 4-5 years, and there will be something 'new' and 'up-to-date' and the real estate shows will be telling us granite counters date our house and for the best chance of selling, we need to replace them with the latest fad.

    I'm planningn on replacing the counters in the country house as soon as we sell the one in the suburbs. Have already been scouting. Found a laminate that looks like it will go perfectly with my kitchen--it's going to same a lot of $$$ to go that route, and laminates last wonderfully with very little work. The formica counters in the country house were installed when the house was built in the 50's--they're not horrible, just have a couple of small issues, and I'd like to change the color. The laminate in my suburban house was put in 30 years ago, and they still look brand new--not a single scratch, stain or other problem.

    The granite does look nice, but I find I can be just as happy with something that's cheaper and less work

  • renee_b
    11 years ago

    I just LOVE my granite counter tops! Never had them before and 3 of my friends are in real estate and they all said you can never go wrong with granite. They never lose their value and in fact will make a house sell better. I have them for 4 years now, kitchen and both bathrooms. They are very low maintenance. I use a wet paper towel to clean up messes and use Fantastic Clean & Shine with another dry paper towel. Takes the same amount of time clean as if I had formica.

    Visit some grante yards to see what they have. Alot of places will have sales on the most popular designs or even dropped the prices on slabs that people have changed their minds on. You just may get lucky and see something that you like at a real good price.

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  • Toni S
    11 years ago

    We have granite, black with gold/green scattered through it. I love it as much now as the day it was put in. Depending on the rock, whether its honed or shiney, will determine it's up keep. It's tough and beautiful all at the same time. From what I understand there are pieces that are budget priced now that come in longer lengths.

    I figure my family is going to make a mess on the counter tops anyway, why not have something under it all that gives me a smile every time I find it!!

    There are certain cleaning products for it, some homemade and yes it may require a few more seconds to analyze the streak situation but for me it's not a concern.
    And rocks can be cold in the winter if your house is cold. Also cool in the summer. Doesn't affect me, I just eat on it. :)
    I say, if you love it and it's in the budget, get it.
    Like Jackie O's hair, it's never out of style.

  • fran1523
    11 years ago

    I love my granite too. I just wipe them down with a damp dish rag and buff with a towel. Occasionally I'll use a granite polish if I'm having company. You can put hot pans and dishes right from the oven on it without worry. Another thing I like is that a package of frozen hamburger thaws really fast on granite.

  • maire_cate
    11 years ago

    Yes they are expensive. I love mine. You might want to check on the Kitchen Forum for more information. There are so many different granites that the hardest part is selecting one. Mine was installed 6 years ago and they sealed it at installation - it was simple - wipe it on, let it sit, wipe if off. I have not sealed it since then because it doesn't need it. My son has pure black granite in his rental apt and while it looks sharp it's like any shiny black surface - it shows every speck of dust. But there are other blacks that are matte or have specks in them and they are easier to deal with.

    For cleaning I just use a quart spray bottle with 1/4 cup isopropyl rubbing alcohol, 1 teaspoon dish detergent (Dawn) and then water to fill. Almost all commercial granite cleaners use this basic mix and then many add scents to make it more appealing. Just spray and wipe.

    There are different grades of granite that indicate what type of install it is good for. Just like wood you wouldn't use a soft wood in an area that's going to have heavy traffic. Some granites that are more porous than others. There's a simple test you can do. Pour a little oil on the surface, let it sit 10 minutes, wipe off and then check to see if the stone absorbed the oil by looking for a change in color. Do the same with acid - vinegar or lemon juice. I tested my granite before it was sealed and nothing was absorbed.

    You can do it cheaper by using remnants if it works in your kitchen or you can install individual granite tiles - but then you have the grout to deal with. Visit a granite yard and talk to the pros. I brought home a large remnant and laid it on my counter to see how I liked it in my home before deciding. Here's a link to the one we picked.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Juparana Florenzia

  • patti43
    11 years ago

    Updating a kitchen is so exciting, so enjoy the planning stages. There's a lot I'd like to do in our kitchen but we're taking it one step at a time. We replaced our white formica with Silestone quartz a few years ago and I've never regretted it. It's so easy to take care of. I wipe it down every day like an other countertop and use Clorox spray cleaner a couple of times a week. If it gets "cloudy" looking, I found a product by Method called "Daily Granite" that you apply and then buff off. The stuff is a miracle! The price of Silestone has gone up while the cost of granite has gone down some, at least at our Home Depot. You can put hot pans and cut on the Silestone--but I never do either.

    They have granite that does not need resealing, too. I don't think it's a fad any more than Formica was when it first came out. Or Corian. I think it just depends on how much you use your kitchen and what you're willing to pay. Now, I do think SS appliances are a fad. I remember so well having to have avocado green appliances!! After the avocado, harvest gold and brown had been around a few years, almond became all the rage. So I stick with white.

    Have fun, jenson13!

  • wanda_va
    11 years ago

    I want new counter tops in our main kitchen, but after hearing that it would be about $10,000, I decided I didn't want them that much. I was also concerned about the weight. But the main reason I ruled out granite was the salesman admitted that it wouldn't be possible to have a perfect match because our counter tops (including the island) are 35 linear feet long.

    Formica now makes a very nice laminate that looks like granite, for about half the price of granite.

  • juellie1962
    11 years ago

    I LOVE my granite. Mine is a speckled one; doesn't show any dirt or dust. The gal said I'd probably want to sell my house before it needed resealing. I use a cleaner/polisher spray that DuPont makes.

    I don't make a habit of it, but it's nice to know I can put a hot pot on it and it won't be ruined. You can cut on it too, but you'll ruin your knives!

    Almost anything could be considered a fad. Just like everyone wanting open concept living. In 25 years, people will probably be putting up walls again....everything changes over time.

  • luckygardnr
    11 years ago

    I've been getting quotes for my kitchen. Most of the stones are around the same price, laminate is much cheaper. I've decided on man-made quartz, in a very light colour. It's more stain, heat and scratch resistance, and price wise, it's around the same as granite. My first quote came in at around $4000. That includes installation and I have to come up with the new sink and faucet.

    I asked them to give me a quote for the bathroom couter, since you can see it from the kitchen, both quartz and laminate. $950 vs $350. I've decided on laminate for that room/

  • maire_cate
    11 years ago

    Wanda- how long is the longest run of your counters? I ask because I have 40' of counter tops- but it's not one long run. The two longest are the island at 11' and one counter is 13' but since the slabs were 145 by 10 there was plenty of stone to use. The 13' counter was matched at the sink so you don't notice the seam. The other counters were shorter.

    And yes you do need to check the weight. If you have a bouncy floor you might want to consider tightening the floor joists.

  • debo_2006
    11 years ago

    We did a DIY remodel 3.5 years ago and had granite put in. We were going to get Silestone but it was rather boring, IMO. I'm pleased with our choice and love our granite. I haven't had to seal it yet. Our kitchen is of "classic" styling with everything else and the movement in the granite is the highlight of the kitchen.

    It's so easy to clean - I use steaming hot water and a microfiber and occassionally I'll polish it with a spray on/wipe off "Method" product. It takes no more cleaning than any other counter top and we've had several different materials in the homes we've owned.

    A fad, doubtful - that's been proven already! Granite has been around for a long time in homes and still going strong. It seems to be the material of choice for most; just ask RE Agents.

    {{gwi:1589892}}
    {{!gwi}}

  • patti43
    11 years ago

    Debbi 2006, I love your window--and the subway tile!!

  • joann23456
    11 years ago

    Usually you don't need to worry about the weight of a granite counter top. A 3 cm granite counter weighs something like 22 pounds per square foot, nothing terribly extreme. So, for a 2'x2' area in your kitchen, you'd have the cabinet (50 pounds max) plus 88 pounds of granite, or 138 pounds. Like having an average woman standing in the same area elsewhere in the kitchen.

    That said, I love my granite. If you pick a shiny, dense granite (usually a dark one), no sealer is needed. Even if you do need a sealer every couple years, it's just wipe on, wipe off.

    I use the Simple Green stone cleaner, or just andamp rag, and so care isn't much different than any other counter.

    Price depends on the stone you choose and the edge you choose. If you choose a more-available granite (like Ubatuba, the dark green/black granite I have) and a simple edge, it's doable on a budget. I paid $1,400 for 35 square feet in my kitchen.

    As for whether it's a fad, if it is, it's certainly a long-lasting one. Not as long-lasting as stainless steel, though. I remember wanting stainless in the 70's, and Mike and Carol Brady had it in their kitchen a decade earlier.

  • chisue
    11 years ago

    We have about 100 sq ft of polished granite in our kitchen: On kitchen countertops, raised bar, a buffet and a desk. It -- and the house -- are 10 years old. On the advice of the granite installer, I've never sealed, polished or buffed this granite. Other than two small brown spots where wine and lemon juice (acid) spills were left unnoticed overnight, it looks exactly as it did when first installed. I wipe it with a clean, damp cloth and never dry it. Can't recall the variety of granite -- something like Costa 'Esmerelda'. It's a light green with small streaks of black and white. At the time we bought it, DH called it 'money green'.

    One of the things I like about the installation is angled corners -- fewer bruises. We did need to brace under the 8-foot bar portion. As has been mentioned, granite is COLD. It's also unforgiving if you drop a glass or dish on it. (I bet the cold surface would be great for making piecrust -- if I made that anymore. lol)

    I also like the pale Corian countertops at our condo. The sink is integral, making it very easy to keep clean with just Bon Ami and a damp paper towel. That's also 10 years old.

    Old formica was super easy to keep clean. The newer stuff is a little different. I think the older material contains a now-banned component.

    Before you invest in an expensive upgrade, think about what other homes like yours have in them. Years ago a neighbor/realtor saved me money by nixing some kitchen upgrades I was considering, saying we'd never recoup the expense, given our neighborhood. Of course if you don't CARE about resale...nevermind!

  • Jodi_SoCal
    11 years ago

    Love, love, love my granite. Both the ease of care and color I chose. It's simple and perfect for the look I was going for. We got an eased edge for the clean, simple lines.

    Ours didn't need to be sealed according to a chart someone posted on the Kitchen forum but the installer sealed it anyway. When you seal a granite that doesn't need sealing, the sealant (at least in our case) is a bit splotchy because only parts of the granite absorb the sealant. No one would notice but me but I'm hoping the sealant will eventually wear off and I will have a more uniform shine.

    Easy to care for with 50% water mixed with 50% rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and a clean microfiber cloth.

    Impala Black granite.

    Jodi-

  • susanjf_gw
    11 years ago

    anyone have their tops checked for radon gas??

  • ntt_hou
    11 years ago

    I too love my granite countertop. I had to modify my kitchen for accessibility. The old countertop was peeling off and had sharp edges; it needed to be replaced. I ended up chosing granite for my own pleasure. I'm planning to live in this house for a long long time; so, I didn't do it for sell value.

    The granite I chose, turned out to be of low maintenance. I have it for 3 years now. Never had I needed to polish it. For cleaning, I mix 50/50 water & 91% Isopropyl Alcohol in a spray bottle. I avoid using any liquid soap/detergent because that can dull its finish much faster.

    As for the price, I have one of the exotic granite. I did alot of homework and learned how and where to nogotiate for price. I paid less than $3500 for 72 sq/ft (2 slabs, 3cm thick). Here are 'before & after' snapshots. There are more countertops than these photos are showing. I have a bar area on the opposite side.

    BEFORE...

    AFTER...

    If your countertop does not have curves and it is straight or an L shape, check out for prefab granite countertops. All you'd need to do is finding someone to cut to size and install it for you. I was going to do the same but then, I saw and fell in love with my current granite.

    If you want to check out prefab granite countertops, you can also look them up on eBay. On eBay, chose local vendors only for easy pick up.

    Here is a link that might be useful: More ntt's kitchen photos...

  • bulldinkie
    11 years ago

    I really like mine now when we put ours in it just got poular we paid 11,000 for ours it wasnt big area.I polish mine about once a year.

  • sheilajoyce_gw
    11 years ago

    I bought Absolute Black, and though it looks pretty, I do NOT recommend that color. It is like having a mirror for a counter in that everything shows on it. However, I do recommend granite with some kind of a "pattern."

  • terilyn
    11 years ago

    I love my granite, the easiest thing I have to keep clean! I took my sink cutout and put it on top of an old sewing machine treadle to make a little table outside.

  • ravencajun Zone 8b TX
    11 years ago

    If I could have my heart's desire when we do our kitchen re-do I would LOVE to get Pyrolave, I fell in love with it a few years ago and still desire it. I saw a beautiful kitchen with a deep blue countertop in pyrolave it was so amazing. They have a color called Azur that is the one I would want. It is quite expensive though, it is from a volcanic lava stone that is from a small area of France. It is almost like enamel ware. Has crazing in it since it is volcanic stone it can withstand pretty much anything so is super easy to maintain.

    I probably will not go with granite, might go with soap stone that has movement in it or the glass composites, also love the look of the pewter countertops some of the edges they can do are amazing

    {{!gwi}}

    {{!gwi}}.

  • debo_2006
    11 years ago

    Thanks Patti for your kind words. Our goal was to keep it all simple with clean lines and a style that won't date itself too soon.

    Susan: We performed a radon test and it was all good.

  • vannie
    11 years ago

    I love my granite and can't imagine why anyone would think they were hard to keep clean. Nothing to it!! My DD is a remodeler and she says they're here to stay and really add to the value of your house when you re-sell. So glad I went w/ granite!!!

  • maire_cate
    11 years ago

    I don't think granite is a fad. But I can see where someone might label it a fad because it's become more popular. However the popularity is due to the fact that the price has come down substantially in the last 30 years. There are now some synthetic quartz countertops that cost the same as granite.

    We put an addition on our home 25 years ago and enlarged the kitchen. At that time granite was unbelievably expensive. We were quoted a price of $12,000 just for our island which was 13' by 5'. We went with Formica instead. However 5 years ago we put granite in our entire kitchen - over 40' linear feet for significantly less than the $12,00 we were originally quoted for the island.

    The price has come down considerably since the 80's for several reasons: competition, availability and consumer interest. But probably the most important factor is the development of modern tools for every step of the process from cutting the block in the quarry, to transporting, cutting into slabs and polishing. The new machines are more efficient, require fewer man hours and and there is less waste.

  • joann23456
    11 years ago

    RavenCajun, I agree with you. Pyrolave is just gorgeous! Not even close to my price range, but gorgeous.

  • jemdandy
    11 years ago

    The only caveat I know of is in case of chipping. If something heavy gets dropped on the counter top near an edge, it may spawl off a piece. That can be repaired with expoxy fill and srone chips, then snoothed and polished, but is is difficult to get a good match with the parent material. Of course, one way to repair is total replacement and that is expensive. Happily, granite is tough, but given the right conditions and impact, it can chip. It takes a good sized blow with a heavy object to do it.

  • chessey24
    11 years ago

    I love my granite also - it is similar to Jodi's. It was "factory sealed" and never has to be done again. I've had it 5-6 years and it looks as good as the day it went in. I think it will keep it's value, certainly better than stainless steel appliances for instance. I like not having to worry about stains or accidently setting a hot pot on it, etc. A little spray and a little buffing and it looks great.

  • debo_2006
    11 years ago

    The only people I've ever heard of getting chipped edges are those that have the squared edge which is sharper and easier to chip. The half-bullnose (rounded) edge generally won't.

  • 725BuilderTom
    11 years ago

    First I am not a fabricator but have over 30 years experience as a home builder. A couple of comments on Granite.
    First in this forum like many granite is talked discussed as if it is a commodity - all granite tops are created equal. Granite is not like salt or soy beans. There are many grades of granite and the prices vary widely many with similar or even the same names.
    There are also many levels of fabricator from the sophisticated fabricator using computer operated cutting and polishing machines to the guy who will literally cut granite in your back yard. I was at a "shop" the other day where they were cutting granite with a hand saw on 2x4's in the parking lot. Many new fabricators were working for someone else and when the economy slowed they were laid off. These employees then went into business for themselves often without proper financing or even proper tools. The prices fell as these fabricators using lawn signs to advertise and working for wages and cutting corners: waxing edges instead of polishing, using mismatched remnants, dyeing granite to make it look more expensive, cheap uncertified give away sinks, and other tricks that do not show up until the check clears.
    Radon is pretty much a non issue but check it if you like.
    Do not buy from a fabricator unless you have seen the shop and the equipment they are using. If they have their own slab inventory it is a good sign that they are better off financially.
    Reverse look up the phone number. If it comes up a cell phone and they fabricator does not have an office look out. Many of these guys change numbers often to avoid warranty.
    Yes all granite should be sealed. Darker granite will hide the absorbed water but still needs to be sealed.
    Quartz, solid surface materials and even the composite sold by Granite Transformation have advantages and disadvantages. First they are more uniform because they are manufactured product. The is no such thing as a B or C grade quartz. These product do not have the veining and character as granite.

    Here is a link that might be useful: ANO Sales

  • chisue
    11 years ago

    Tom -- Thanks for the great advice! Now you're in for it... lol

    WHY should all granite be sealed, and how often? Sealed with what? (Very unlikely any of my countertops see much water except right AT the sinks.)

    What is your take on using alcohol/water or alcohol/detergent/water to clean granite?

    How do I make and use a poultice to remove the two acid-caused brown spots on my granite?

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