Granite is an igneous rock composed mostly of quartz. What what might surprise homeowners is that much of the stone sold today as granite actually are other types of stone. In some cases, this can benefit the homeowner because some are stronger than granite and more durable. Other types of stone labeled as granite are softer and weaker.
Granite is hard enough to take a high polish, handle hot pots and deflect knife marks. It ranges widely in color and in price.
While granite is a durable product, it requires a great deal of maintenance. If you do not care for it properly, granite can stain or become dull. You need to purchase stone cleaners, wipe up spills immediately and seal your stone.
If you are cooking with foods that contain acid, you could remove the finish from your counter. The remaining dull can show fissures or pits in the stone that the polishing process has hidden. Cleaning with vinegar or bleach can harm your stone, as well.
Granite is a durable material that kitchen knives cannot scratch. For this reason, you may choose to cut on granite, rather than a cutting board. Doing so can ruin your knives. Granite will blunt and dull the blades of even the hardest knives.
You may think of granite as being smooth and polished, when in fact many types of granite contain small fissures, or cracks, holes and pits in the surface. The vast majority of these marks are cosmetic, but some can stress the integrity of the stone. If a fissure is near a sink or stove cutout, the stone might crack.
Granite counters can have a vast range of prices starting at $25 a square foot and increasing to more than $300 a square foot. While it is possible to find granite for prices that are comparable to other countertops, you need to factor in higher installation costs and the ongoing maintenance.
Sink cutouts, edging and stove cutouts can dramatically increase the cost of the counter. In addition, stone sealants and cleaners can add to the cost.