When my husband and I decided to buy our home, there were many features we fell in love with: The brick fireplace…the wooded yard…the built-ins.
But the one thing we couldn’t get past was the bathroom countertops. Straight out of a 1982 home design magazine, the bathroom included countertops with 4-inch tiled squares. So far so good, right?
Did I mention the tiles were pink framed with brown wicker baskets festively filled with spring flowers?
If that wasn’t bad enough, in what I can only guess was an attempt to naturalize the flowers, at one point one of the prior owners spray painted the counters white. Yes, you read that correctly: spray painted. The result was half white, half brown baskets of spring flowers adorning the bathroom counters.
It was not a hard decision that our bathroom was the first home improvement project we were tackling. For countertop materials there are a variety of options, but I knew immediately I wanted granite.
Choosing a Countertop Material
I always liked natural stone. I enjoy that no two countertops are alike. Those flecks of varying colors infused into the stone are just one of the things that drew me to granite – or, as I say, “Every ubatuba is different!” (Inside granite joke.)
I was told (and it was great advice) to go to the store and hand-pick my slab. Since colors vary, it is important to look at more than a sample piece. I had an idea of the color I wanted for my bathroom, but once I saw actual slabs in the sunlight, the amount of color variations was amazing. And paint colors in your kitchen or bath can pull out certain color veining that’s embedded in the stone.
Benefits of Granite
Aside from aesthetics there are several practical reasons to choose granite. Granite doesn’t melt or blister when exposed to heat. But even though pots in kitchen and curling irons in the bathrooms can be placed on the granite, I was told that due to the sealers, it is recommended to still use a trivet, hot plate or towel before placing a hot item on a counter.
Granite scores a seven on the Moh’s 10-point scale for hardness. Comparatively, a diamond is a 10, so granite is very difficult to scratch.
How much does granite cost?
Granite is more expensive than other countertop options. The Natural Stone Institute reports that the average price for a typical granite kitchen countertop is $3,000 to $4,000. Price is impacted by color, thickness of the slab, size of countertop and shape – such as cabinet bump outs, islands and corners. You can also pick the type of edge you want, called the bullnose. Different styles cost more.
If you like how granite looks, but not the cost – don’t rule it out yet. There are a few ways to bring down the cost. A typical granite countertop slab is 3 centimeters thick, but it also comes in a lower cost 2-centimeter version. Granite can also be bought as tiles, rather than a full slab, to lower the price tag.
Depending on where you live, you may have multiple options for suppliers. It’s good practice to get a few quotes to compare. If you have a small project, some stores sell slab leftovers. Often greatly discounted, remnant pieces are a good option for small bathrooms or bar areas.
How to install and care for granite countertops
Installation can be tricky. The weight of granite makes this a multi-person job. Granite needs to be installed to the exact measurements of your cabinets. Since the countertop can’t be measured until cabinets are installed, it can add time to the completion of a project.
After installation, granite should be sealed to help provide additional protection against staining and bacterial growth. Regular use gradually wears away at the sealant, which can leave your counters susceptible to stubborn stains. Granite should periodically be resealed every 2 to 4 years to help protect the finish.
It’s important to clean and buff granite regularly to keep its glossy shine. You can also use soap and water for everyday clean ups. Steer clear of abrasive cleaners, acidic substances or scratchy pads which can wear away at the seal.
For additional protection, avoid placing oils, acidic foods, wet containers or meats directly onto the granite.
How to get the right insurance coverage for your granite
You picked out every detail – like those granite countertops – to make your house feel like a home. At ERIE, we think your homeowners insurance should have that just-right feeling, too.
Better yet? Every ERIE policy comes with a friendly face right in your neighborhood. Find a local Erie Insurance agent to get the conversation started.