If you want to buy granite countertops, there are several important factors to consider.
You’ll want to make sure you get the right color, thickness, and finish, as well as make sure you understand the maintenance request.
You should also hire a professional installer.
Granite countertops are a valuable investment for your kitchen or bathroom. They are stunning to look at as well as being heat and leak resistant.
Let’s take a look at the top five mistakes to avoid when buying granite countertops.
Choosing the wrong color
Granite countertops will often make up the focal point of your kitchen or bathroom and they aren’t exactly easy to change out. So you’ll want to make sure that you get the color right the first time.
They also come in a variety of colors and patterns so it can be hard to choose.
You’ll want to think about what the dominant color in the kitchen is going to be and then make sure that a primary color in the granite matches that color.
Or you can go for a more subtle approach by finding that dominant color in the veins of the marble.
You should also think about whether you want to have a light or dark counter and the effect that will have on the overall design.
If you have a relatively small kitchen, it might be helpful to pick out a lighter color like white or beige. However, these are also more prone to staining.
The pattern is another key consideration – perhaps more so than the color itself.
If you have a really busy kitchen with lots of different colors or design elements, you might want a more subtle pattern in the granite, for example.
Not considering maintenance requirements
Make sure you understand the maintenance requirements of granite countertops before you have them installed.
They are so popular precisely because they are so durable but you don’t want to ruin them with improper maintenance.
Generally, all you need to do is wipe them down with warm water, mild dishwashing liquid, and a soft, clean cloth. You should avoid using cleaning products with any kind of acid or abrasive as they may cause de-colorization and scratches.
These countertops are generally resilient to most stains from citric acid, coffee and tea, alcohol, and wine. But make sure you wipe them up and don’t leave them on overnight.
Granite countertops are much more susceptible to stains from oils so don’t put any greasy frying pans or pots on their surfaces.
If you do, make sure to blot the oil and clean it with warm water and soap.
The countertops are largely impervious to scratches but they can be chipped if they’re hit with a good blow from a heavy pot. Oftentimes you can epoxy the chip back into place.
Not considering the thickness of the granite slab
You should also spend some time thinking about the thickness of the slab you want.
Granite countertops come usually in one of two sizes, either 1-¼” or ¾”. Kitchen countertops are usually 1-¼” thick while ¾” is more common for bathroom granite and marble vanity tops.
The thicker slabs are more expensive compared to the thinner ones.
You can sometimes find 1-½” thick slabs but these are usually just two ¾” slab glued together and should generally be avoided. It’s possible to get a custom slab of a larger size but it will be more expensive.
What thickness you choose will depend on a number of factors, including style. What do you want your kitchen or bathroom to look like?
Thicker slabs will generally fit better in a contemporary, modern or minimalist design.
The color you want will also affect what thickness you’re looking for as it is generally easier to find thicker slabs in dark colors.
You’ll also have to consider budget because thicker slabs will be more expensive.
Not choosing the right finish
Along with choosing thickness and color, you’ll also have to settle on what sort of finish you want. This can be just as important as color and can really set off your kitchen.
Let’s take a look at some of the finishes:
- Polished: This is the most common finish that most people think of when they think about granite. A reflective, shiny finish that almost has a mirror effect.
- Honed: This is a more smooth, matte finish with a soft, satiny feel. This is a non-reflective surface that is more common in flooring. However, they are gaining in popularity.
- Leathered: This is a mixture of polished and honed. You basically take a matte finish and use a special tool to make tiny divots. This adds an interesting texture.
- Caressed: This is like leathered but you take a polished surface and prick it with the special tool.
Not hiring a professional installer
One of the biggest mistakes to avoid is trying to install a granite countertop by yourself unless you are very experienced.
The slabs can be very heavy and awkward but also very brittle and prone to damage while you’re moving them around.
It’s best to hire a professional installer who has many years of experience.
Granite countertops can last a lifetime so don’t skimp out by hiring an experienced contractor.
Granite countertops can last a lifetime so make sure you consider all of the factors before purchasing them for your kitchen or bathroom.
This means making sure you get the right color, finish, and thickness.
You should also understand all of the maintenance required to make sure they look beautiful for years to come.
Lastly, you should strongly consider hiring an experienced installer unless you are absolutely sure you can handle the installation.