Granite is beautiful, there is no denying that. Whether it is used for flooring, in the bathroom or for kitchen countertops, it is a beautiful, versatile material that is not only elegant but durable as well. It can also be fairly pricey if you are not aware of ways of reducing some of your costs. Before you choose your granite countertops, it is important that you understand what increases the price and how to reduce it as much as possible.
Should You Use Real or Manufactured Granite for Your Countertops?
Granite can be real, which is a mined resource that must be found, shaped and shipped. Or it can be engineered which while not real stone still possesses most of the appearance benefits and strengths of the real deal. Manufactured stone may also have a number of other benefits that might make it the more attractive choice. It is also the lower cost alternative in most cases.
Benefits of Real Granite Countertops
There are several benefits that make granite a great suggestion for your countertops. These benefits include:
- A very durable surface. Granite has the second hardest surface rating of all materials. Only diamond is harder than granite
- With the correct sealers in place, granite can be impervious to stains and other damage and should last virtually forever.
- It resists heat damage
- Granite comes in thousands of different colors and because it is natural can have interesting variations that make it a stunning design choice.
Some Drawbacks of the Real Granite
Of course, there are some negatives that you must keep in mind. Those negative things include:
- Granite is very expensive, especially in certain areas. The more travel time that is included, the higher the cost will be.
- If the sealants are not applied properly, the granite can become stained.
- While it is incredibly hard, granite can in fact crack or become damaged if handled improperly. It is especially at risk before it is installed.
- Granite can be especially hard on your utensils, especially knives if you cut foods directly on the granite surface.
Benefits of Engineered Stone
If you would prefer to use the lower cost, engineered stone, there are several benefits that you might consider. These include:
- A wide range of colors- as many or more colors as you would see with granite countertops.
- Much easier to maintain because the yearly sealing process is not needed with engineered surfaces.
However, many of the same drawbacks apply with this choice. In some cases, the engineered stone can be just as expensive as the real granite.
Reducing the Cost of Your Granite Countertops
There are several ways to reduce some of the cost factors when you choose granite countertops. The more that you can do for yourself, the lower the cost will be. Remember, if you try to do things that you are not able or qualified to do you might increase your cost by forcing the need to replace broken or ruined tools, damaged countertops or both. Your options include:
- Picking up the countertop and transporting it home on your own. (But still having a professional install it)
- Picking up and installing the countertop on your own.
- Choosing a precut countertop at a warehouse supply store or a wholesaler.
- Using a second or imperfect countertop (This will reduce the number of color options that you have).
Granite countertops can be installed using fairly common tools and some basic knowledge of the process. It is suggested that you use a circular saw and/or grinder. It is important that you consider all of the steps before you get started.
- First and foremost: check to make sure that your cabinet bases are strong enough to hold the granite. Granite slabs are very heavy.
- Measure the cabinet very carefully so that you can order the right size slab.
- Consider creating a template especially if you have tricky corners to work with.
The more complicated the countertop, the more likely you should consider using a professional
Is This Cheap Granite Countertop the Real Deal?
While trying to reduce the costs of your countertop, it can be easy to be tricked or fooled by unscrupulous business practices. Before you pay for a service or item that seems too good to be true, remember that that is likely to be true. Here are some other red flags to watch out for:
- The delivery drivers seem to be having an incredibly easy time lifting the “granite slab”. This may indicate that it is not actually granite they are bringing to you.
- The cost that you are quoted is substantially lower than the average cost of others in the area. If one company or supplier is offering granite at prices that undercuts everybody else’s, it may be a scam or there may be something else that indicates a problem.
Be safe; protect yourself and your family from bad business practices. Choose your cheap granite countertops from companies that have a good reputation in your area. If you hire a professional to install the countertop for you, choose one that is licensed and bonded and get referrals from prior customers before you hire them. Get a few quotes before you make a final choice. The countertop is usually a major part of the expense of a kitchen remodel project and will be one of the pieces that will remain unchanged for years to come. You want to be happy with your choice but you want it to look good and perform as expected for its entire lifetime.
As a final note, always make sure that you are given instructions for the care and cleaning of your granite countertops. In many cases, you will be given a warranty which may cover repairs in certain circumstances. Those circumstances will not include damages caused by improper use or failing to follow the care guidelines.