When it comes to kitchen countertops, granite remains one of the most popular choices for homeowners. With its natural beauty, durability, and timeless appeal, granite countertops are still a go-to surface for many kitchen remodels and new constructions.

What Makes Granite Such a Great Choice?

There are several key factors that contribute to granite’s enduring popularity as a countertop material:

Timeless Elegance and Beauty

Granite is loved for its unique natural patterns and colors. No two granite slabs are exactly alike – the swirling veins, speckles, and crystals create a one-of-a-kind work of art in every kitchen. Granite makes a bold statement and instantly elevates the aesthetics of any kitchen. The natural stone appearance evokes a sense of luxury and timeless elegance.

Durability and Longevity

Granite is arguably one of the most durable kitchen countertop materials available. Made from natural stone, it can withstand years of everyday use without significant wear and tear. Granite is resistant to scratches, stains, heat, and damage. With proper sealing and maintenance, granite countertops can look pristine for decades, outlasting trends and homeowner turnover. This longevity provides great return on investment.

Easy Maintenance

Despite its durability, granite still requires proper maintenance. Annual sealing is recommended to prevent stains and damage. But routine cleaning is simple-just use mild soap and water. Granite’s non-porous surface makes it resistant to bacteria growth as well. For most homeowners, the modest maintenance needs are worthwhile to enjoy gorgeous granite countertops for years.

Great Value

While granite is more expensive than options like laminate, it offers greater long-term value. The average lifespan of granite exceeds that of many other countertop materials. And granite’s beauty and durability allow it to retain its value well, recouping much of its initial investment upon home resale. The variety of available granite styles and prices also allows flexibility to match any kitchen remodeling budget.

Abundant Selection

From whites and beiges to bold blues and blacks, granite comes in a spectrum of colors. The unique mineral composition of each slab means no two are the same. Homeowners can select a style that aligns with their tastes and complements the overall kitchen design. Many distributors also offer digital visualization apps to preview how a particular granite will look in your space. This vast selection makes matching any home style possible.

Key Characteristics of Granite Countertops

There are a few key traits that set high-quality granite countertops apart:

Hardness and Strength

Granite is rated a 7 on the Mohs scale, meaning it is resistant to scratches and everyday wear. Quality granite contains high percentages of quartz and feldspar, which make it very hard and dense. This enables granite to support heavy use and last for years.

Stain Resistance

The non-porous nature of granite makes it difficult for liquid to penetrate, preventing staining. Most spills can be wiped away easily if addressed promptly. Sealing also boosts stain resistance. However, highly pigmented liquids like wine can still stain if left for prolonged time periods.

Heat Tolerance

Granite can withstand heat up to several hundred degrees Fahrenheit, making it an ideal surface for the kitchen. However, sudden temperature changes can potentially cause cracks. Using trivets for hot pans is still recommended to prevent thermal shock.

Non-Toxic and Non-Porous

Granite does not emit harmful gases like some engineered surfaces. It also resists buildup of bacteria, mold, or mildew when properly sealed.

Sound Dampening

Granite’s density absorbs sound and vibrations more effectively than most hard surfaces. This can reduce clanging and noise in the kitchen.

Seamless Look

Most granite is installed in slabs to provide a seamless appearance, although some movement between sections can occur. Seams are still fairly inconspicuous. Solid surface or quartz often use more visible seams.

Pros and Cons of Granite Countertops

Granite has clear advantages, but also some potential drawbacks to weigh:


  • Timeless natural beauty and elegance
  • Extreme durability and longevity
  • Resistant to heat, stains, scratches, and damage
  • Easy cleaning and maintenance
  • Value – retains resale value well
  • Vast selection of colors, patterns, and prices
  • Can complement any home style


  • More expensive upfront cost
  • Can crack if subjected to heavy impact or improper installation
  • Porosity requires annual sealing
  • Some risk of staining from highly pigmented spills
  • May require professional installation

Cost Breakdown of Granite Countertops

Here is an overview of the typical costs associated with granite countertops:

  • Material – $40-150 per square foot installed. More unique granite slabs run higher.
  • Edge Profiles – Basic square edge runs $5-15 per linear foot. Decorative ogee or chamfered edges can double the price.
  • Cutouts and special shapes – Expect to pay extra for cutouts around sinks or specialty edges around cooktops. These typically add at least $100-200 per opening.
  • Sealing and Finishing – Sealer costs about $1 per square foot. Finishes like polishing or added texture can range from $5-20 per square foot.
  • Installation – Professional installation averages $40-100 per hour. DIY is possible for skilled homeowners.
  • Total – Expect to invest $60-250 per square foot for installed granite countertops. High-end granite and complex projects run higher.

Granite Countertop Styles and Colors

Granite comes in a diverse spectrum of styles to complement any kitchen. Here are some of the most popular options:


  • White Fantasy – A partially solid white surface with grey veining. Provides clean, bright look.
  • New Venetian Gold – Subtler cream tone with golden accents and minimal patterning. Warm and inviting ambiance.
  • Peach Cream – Soft beige background with peach and reddish-brown mottling for dimension. Natural, light feel.


  • Uba Tuba – Rich green and black swirls atop muted beige base. Organic yet elegant.
  • Baltic Brown – Deep chocolate brown with flowing tan veining for texture. Dramatic and bold.
  • Santa Cecilia – Vivid golden brown with translucent crystal swirls and speckles. Timeless and luxurious.


  • Absolute Black – Matte black hue with faint grey patterning. Striking sophistication.
  • Nero Impala – Pure back with faint white spiderweb veining and small crystal flecks. Mysterious “midnight” ambiance.
  • Jet Black – Intense solid black with no veining or marks for minimalist look. Polished sheen amplifies the crisp darkness.


  • Rainforest Brown – Bright white swirled with green, brown, and black for an earthy mosaic.
  • Emerald Pearl – Deep green stone with white wispy patterns and dark brown accents. Lively and organic.
  • Blue Eyes – Icy grey-blue stone with burgundy garnet crystals and black marble accents. Glamorous pop of color.

How is Granite Harvested?

Granite used for countertops is harvested from quarries across the world. The process involves carefully cutting large blocks from granite bedrock deposits:

  • Removal – Large blocks up to 25 feet long are outlined and separated from surround stone using diamond cables or explosives.
  • Lifting – Cranes lift the freed granite blocks from the quarry. These blocks can weigh over 50 tons.
  • Cutting – Blocks are cut into more manageable slabs approx. 10 feet long using diamond blades and water.
  • Finishing – Slabs are polished on both sides and trimmed to uniform thickness, typically 3cm. Slabs may be cut to size.
  • Shipping – Slabs are packaged in wooden crates and shipped to distributors or customers.
  • Inspection – Every slab is unique and inspected for aesthetics, flaws, and cracks before selection and installation.

Quarrying granite is labor-intensive and costly, part of what drives the higher price of natural stone counters. But the process enables the creation of one-of-a-kind countertops.

How to Choose the Best Granite Slab

Picking the perfect granite slab for your kitchen requires careful inspection and planning:

  • Review inventory at local stone yards and pick 3-5 favorites that fit your budget and style. Limiting choices helps decision making.
  • Verify sufficient quantity is in stock of the slabs you prefer. Rare or imported granite may be limited.
  • Inspect each slab closely under lighting for variations, flaws, or repairs that may affect appearance. Look at edges too.
  • Consider the color uniformity and flow of veining patterns. Avoid slabs with abrupt changes or marks concentrated in key areas.
  • Picture how edges and joints will look. Some granite has more variation across slabs than others. Minimal mismatch is ideal.
  • Review technical specifications like porosity rating and density to gauge durability. Compare to your needs.
  • Take home small samples to visualize in your kitchen under normal lighting conditions.
  • Ask about warranties and what replacements would be available if your slab develops cracks during fabrication.

Careful slab selection helps ensure your countertops meet expectations and last.

How to Care for Granite Countertops

Simple maintenance keeps granite countertops looking like new:

  • Annual Sealing – Sealing fills pores to limit absorption of spills. Reseal every year. Avoid wax-based sealants which can discolor and need more repetition.
  • Daily Cleaning – Use mild soap and water for regular cleaning. Avoid abrasive cleaners or pads that could dull the surface.
  • Address Spills – Wipe up acidic substances like wine or fruit juice immediately to avoid etching or staining. For best results, use a granite-specific cleaner.
  • Heat Protection – Place trivets or hot pads under hot pans. While granite can take the heat, sudden swings in temperature risk cracks.
  • Avoid Scratches – Don’t cut or chop directly on granite. Use cutting boards to protect the surface.
  • Check Seams – Inspect for gaps at seams annually and reapply seam adhesives or grout as needed.

With proper care granite can stay looking like new for many years. The small maintenance investment pays dividends for decades.

Benefits of Sealing Granite Countertops

Annual sealing is highly recommended to protect natural stone countertops like granite. Here’s how it helps:

Prevents Stains

Sealing minimizes absorption where spills can permeate into the stone and cause discoloration. The sealant creates a protective barrier.

Repels Bacteria

Unsealed granite is somewhat prone to bacteria and mold growth. Sealant inhibits propagation in tiny pores and crevices.

Reduces Etching

Acidic liquids like wine can etch lightly onto porous stone. Sealing limits this reactivity and makes etching less likely.

Simplifies Cleaning

Sealed granite repels grime, grease and liquids. This makes cleaning easier as spills stay on the surface where they can be wiped away.

Avoids Water Damage

Excess moisture penetration over time can undermine granite’s structural integrity. Proper sealing protects against this long-term damage.

Enhances Shine

Sealant fills in microscopic surface pores to enhance the polished lustrous shine of granite slabs.

Lengthens Lifespan

All these benefits combine to preserve the pristine factory finish of granite. This enables it to better retain its value and last for decades.

Sealing may seem tedious, but is crucial for maximizing the durability and longevity of natural stone countertops.

Is Granite Safe? Radioactivity and Other Concerns

Some homeowners have concerns about potential health risks of granite countertops. However, granite is safe for use in the home when proper precautions are followed. Here are the facts on common concerns:


Granite contains trace amounts of naturally occurring radioactive elements like uranium and thorium. Levels are considered safe, emitting less radiation than common items like smoke detectors or televisions. To be cautious, have countertops tested, and avoid exceptionally radiation-rich granite varieties.

Hazardous Materials
Quartz and resins used in some engineered stones can emit small levels of VOCs. Unsealed granite poses no such risks but does require responsible sealing and care. When guidelines are followed, natural stone proves safe.

Bacteria Growth
Dense granite repels bacteria when sealed properly. Routine cleaning and disinfecting also keep bacteria at bay. Granite presents no major hygiene concerns.

Chemical Exposure When Sealing
Sealants require safe handling during application. Allowing proper ventilation while sealing and following directions minimizes any hazards. Once cured, sealants are inert.

Like most kitchen surfaces, simple precautions make granite a safe, hygienic, and radiation-free addition to any home. Homeowners can rest assured it poses no alarming risks to health or safety.

Granite vs. Quartz Countertops

Quartz has emerged as a top contender alongside granite in kitchens. How do these two popular options compare?

Cost – Quartz runs $10-20 less per square foot installed. Savings stem from easier fabrication.

Appearance – Granite offers a more distinct, natural look many love. Quartz provides more uniformity.

Durability – Both stand up well to heavy use. Slight edge to quartz on stain and scratch resistance.

Maintenance – Quartz requires no sealing. But granite mainly just needs annual sealing for upkeep.

Heat Tolerance – Granite endures heat better than quartz. Trivets still advised for both.

Selection – More abundant colors and patterns available in granite. But quartz choices expand each year.

Resale Value – Granite may retain a slightly higher value for future home sales or renovations.

Overall, granite and quartz each have advantages that make them ideal options. Granite brings unparalleled elegance, while quartz offers maximum convenience. Homeowners can weigh choices against kitchen needs and preferences.

Environmentally-Friendly Countertops

Eco-conscious homeowners have great options for green countertops. Two of the best choices are:

Recycled Glass Countertops

Countertops can be made from recycled glass combined with concrete or resin binders. This reuses old glass that would otherwise occupy landfills. The glass can be tinted and arranged to create decorative patterns and effects. Recycled glass counters are durable, non-porous, and stain-resistant like quartz.


A metamorphic stone, soapstone is primarily composed of talc with some mineral impurities. Mined in green ways, it requires no toxic chemicals for processing. The soft stone can be carved and finished with mineral oil. Soapstone develops a patina over time but can be sanded and resealed easily. Its natural look fits eco-homes well.

Other Options

Bamboo, reclaimed wood, and paper composite made from recycled paper or natural fibers offer additional green choices. Homeowners seeking an earth-friendly kitchen have many stylish and responsible countertop options.

FAQs about Granite Countertops

Q: How often does granite need to be sealed?

A: Sealing should be done annually to maintain protection. More frequent sealing is needed for heavily used surfaces. Granite should also be sealed after intensive cleaning or resurfacing.

Q: Can granite chip or crack?

A: Granite is quite hard and durable, but it can chip if subjected to heavy impact. Cracks are also possible, especially from improper installation or when granite is too thin. High-quality granite rarely cracks under normal use.

Q: Does granite stain easily?

A: When properly sealed, quality granite does not stain easily. However, highly pigmented spills like wine or fruit juice must be wiped up quickly to avoid absorption. Sealing makes granite quite stain-resistant for daily kitchen use though.

Q: What thickness of granite should I choose?

A: 3cm (1 1/4 inches) is the recommended minimum thickness for sufficient strength and durability in kitchen installations. Thicker granite options like 4 or 5cm are available for added heft and support if needed.

Q: Can granite be damaged by heat?

A: Granite can withstand brief exposure to heat up to around 500°F without issue. However, sudden swings in temperature can potentially create cracks or chips. Using trivets and care with hot pans prevents such damage.

Q: How long does granite last as a countertop?

A: With proper care and maintenance, granite countertops typically last 50-100 years before needing replacement. The durability and longevity of natural stone make granite a lifetime investment.

Q: Does granite need to be professionally installed?

A: Professional installation is recommended, especially for larger homes and complex projects. But smaller granite jobs can potentially be DIYed by handy and experienced homeowners.


Kitchen countertops see heavy daily use and get subjected to hot items, spills, impacts and more. Granite’s durability, longevity, and timeless beauty make it uniquely suited to endure years of wear while maintaining its elegance. While some drawbacks like cost exist, granite remains one of the best values and go-to choices for countertops. With proper selection, care, and maintenance, granite countertops enhance kitchen spaces with natural luxury for a lifetime. For homeowners desiring enduring quality and aesthetic appeal, granite remains hard to beat.