Granite is the most popular material used for countertops today. Its durability, heat-resistant quality, and easy maintenance features have caused granite countertops to be a step ahead of the other materials like marble, synthetic, tile and laminate. This igneous rock is used for countertops and flooring. Its heat-resistant and scratch-resistant qualities make it an ideal choice for kitchen countertops. Granite is not only durable, but also gorgeous in appearance. It comes in various colors and styles and its speckled, salt and peppered appearance enhances the beauty of the kitchen.
Granite is the most expensive countertop material available today. Its installation requires new cabinetry to be placed as a part of the entire kitchen makeover. This substantially increases the cost of installation. Moreover, granite slabs have to be selected, matched, cut, polished, sealed and installed with little room for error.
Granite countertops have to be sealed on a yearly basis to maintain their shine and luster. Neglecting sealing on a regular basis can cause the granite countertop to become cloudy and stained. Kitchen sinks have to be carefully purchased, because replacing the sink installed in-between the granite countertop will prove expensive, as it will require the removal of the entire granite slab.
Surface Affected by Acidic Liquids
When acidic solutions used as ingredients in daily cooking, like orange juice, lemon juice, wine, coffee, alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, etc., are brought in contact with the granite countertop, the surface can become dull or even etched. The expensive granite you invested in, can lose its sparkle and shine. As far as possible, to minimize the damage, clean spills right away.
Since granite is porous, it requires to be sealed. Granite needs to be maintained on a yearly basis, which means the surface needs to be sealed every 12 to 14 months. If the surface is not sealed regularly, it may become more susceptible to stains. Besides, stains and bacteria can find their way into the crevices of the granite surface.
To prevent the granite surface from being stained, etc. the countertop must be sealed. This sealing has to be done before staining has occurred, or else the stain will remain for life. You can either seal the granite countertop on your own or seek professional assistance. However, it's important to carry out sealing regularly or else the stone will get ruined.
Over the past decade, various allegations have been made regarding granite countertops emitting dangerous levels of radon. Radon gas is a radioactive element and is a leading cause for lung cancer. This allegation has been mostly made by competing countertop material distributors. Research reveals that some granite countertops release radon gas, which has left homeowners worried.
Critics say that the amount of radon gas emitted by granite countertops is insignificant and is not capable of causing any health problems or damage. However, the safe level of radon exposure is not yet known to man; neglecting this fact is quite difficult. It is also believed that not every type of granite is harmful, thus, worried homeowners can get their homes tested for radon gas, with do-it-yourself radon test kits to check if they are living in high levels of radon.
Hot Dishes Spoil the Surface
Though granite countertops can withstand tons of abuse, its surface can get chipped if steaming hot pots and pans are placed directly onto the granite. This is because the hard granite stones comprises some soft, thin strips of granite, which cannot absorb all the heat applied to its surface. Thus, one must be careful to place hot dishes on trivets and hot pads.
Harsh chemicals stain the surface
Harsh cleaning agents such as bleach, kitchen degreasers and glass cleaners can strip the granite surface off the sealer, and can permanently stain the surface. This is because these common household cleaning agents contain acids, alkalies and other chemicals, which can harm the granite. One must be careful to only use mild soap and water to clean it. Even frequent use of soap can make the granite surface dull.
Not Easily Replaceable
While the durable and long-lasting nature of granite is advantageous, it can at the same time be disadvantageous. If you get bored of the color or pattern of the granite over the years, you cannot replace the granite easily. Once installed, granite is difficult to remove and on removal, will damage the kitchen cabinets; thus, replacing them would mean remodeling the kitchen.
Granite is a durable and easy-to-maintain countertop material. It does have its disadvantages, however, mostly all products in the market have some or the other drawback. While deciding on which countertop material to buy, one must weigh the pros and cons. Despite these cons, granite countertops are elegant, unique and enhance the beauty of one's kitchen.