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Kitchen Countertops: Granite for Incredible Longevity

This natural stone has been around for thousands of years, and it comes in myriad color options to match any kitchen

Granite, the same stone that portions of ancient Egyptian pyramids are composed of, is ubiquitous in the kitchen for good reason. This stout stone that can weather millennia easily stands up to kitchen use and abuse. Is granite right for your kitchen? Have a look. Compare: More kitchen countertop materials

What to Know About Granite Countertops

The basics: Granite is a natural stone, composed of at least 20 percent quartz as well as mica and feldspar. Colors choices span the rainbow, from a monochromatic slab to bold patterns.

Countertop finish options include: Polished: The most common finish; it’s mirror-like, stands up well to stains and is the least porous

Honed: A matte finish that is typically not recommended, as it can stain and scratch more easily

Brushed/satin: Similar to a honed finish, though less matte in appearance and better performing

Leather: More polished than a honed or matte finish, but with a little texture

Flamed/thermal: Created by running a flame over the slab surface; has a rough, textured appearance and a varying surface depth

Antique: Has a brushed, dull appearance that is slightly textured

Cost: $50 to $100 or more per square foot installed.

Advantages: Granite is tough to beat when it comes to durability, due to its heat- and scratch-resistant qualities; it can bear up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Granite can also be stain and water resistant when it’s properly sealed. Those seeking an unusual slab or a unique pattern will not be disappointed with the seemingly limitless choices.

Disadvantages: Installation can get tricky due to granite’s hefty nature. And if you choose some of the more exotic slabs, costs can quickly escalate.

Sustainability: Granite's durability means this product can outlast you and even your home. However, mining stone does disrupt local ecosystems and depletes finite, nonrenewable resources. Ecofriendly granite can be had with salvaged slabs. Also, you can choose granite that's mined in your region to reduce transportation-related energy costs. Learn more about the cost to install granite countertops

Maintenance: Limit routine care to a soft cloth and warm water or cleansers made specifically for granite. You’ll want to seal your slab every year or two with an impregnating water-based sealer made for granite. Special considerations: You might have heard questions about radon content in granite.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that there is little or no health threat from granite counters, due to their relatively low radon content. You can read more here.

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