Kitchen Design & Remodeling Blog

Granite vs Laminate Countertops - Top FAQ's

Posted by Dianne Aucello on Sat, Jul 14, 2012 @ 11:17 PM

Granite vs laminate countertops? While beautiful and durable, granite is considered an investment in your home.  Here, the top questions I have been asked about granite, from clients that currently have laminate countertops. 


1.  Can I cut on my granite?

Yes you can , but please don't.  Repeated cuts on the stone can dull your knives.  Also, a decorative edge, such as Dupont, can be chipped out accidentally by a knife.  Using  a cutting board is good for sanitary purposes as well, since granite is porous.

 

 

2.  What is the maintenance for granite?

Your new granite top will arrive sealed.  First the slabs arrive from the warehouse sealed.  The installers typically add another coat of sealer after they complete the install.  However, when the water no longer beads up, similar to a newly waxed car, or if water left on the top absorbs and leaves a dark ring, it is time to seal it again.  After the water stain has dried out, simply wipe the sealer on with a clean cloth and allow it to dry overnight.  Clean up every day spills with a damp cloth and mild soap, especially oil or an acid like lemon juice.  Do not use harsh chemicals.  A bottle of granite sealer is sold at most hardware stores for about $15.

 

 

3.  How do I chose which countertop?

Color  When choosing a slab at the stone yard, every stone will look beautiful.  Bring your finish samples to direct with your color choice.  The warehouse will be especially cold during the winter, because the slabs give it off.  If the stone is kept outside, you must reschedule if it rains.  The stone will look darker when wet.  Call ahead, some don't allow children under 18.  And honestly, as an investment, you should have your attention directed towards this decision. 

Movement of the slab  Some slabs have movement, or direction, to them, vs a standard pattern.  This is pure preference. If you have a U-shaped cabinet layout and decide on a slab with movement, you must decide on the grain direction.  For this type of top, it is imperative that you view the templates on the slab and are comfortable with the overall look. 

Price  There are several factors for why stones vary in price - rarity, size of the mine, difficulty to quarry the stone, where it is quarried, transportation costs, color.  A quote based on your layout is the only way to get an accurate countertop quote.

 


4.  Will my counter have seams?

Granite slabs can vary in size - blue colored stones are rare, and are smaller in size.  Green slabs are more common, are less expensive and come in bigger sizes.  Slabs are approximately 60" tall x 110" long.  If there must be a seam, determine seam location before finalizing the cabinet layout.  If you do not want a seam on your island, and most people don't, then choose a large enough slab, or cut back on the island size.



5.  How long until the installation after the template?

It will depend on several factors - Have your slabs been delivered to the fabricator from the warehouse? When can you view the templates on your actual stone slab? You should view your slabs with your templates to ensure how the finished product will look.  Typically fabrication takes 7 - 10  business days, but allow for extra time if there is an upcoming holiday.


granite vs laminate countertopsReviewing your template on your slab is a step that should not be skipped!

 

 

6.  Can I out something hot on my countertop?

Yes! That is the best feature of a new granite countertop.  It is stone, and came from a quarry.  It can handle the heat from a pan or stock pot.

 


7.  What type of finishes are available?

There are 3 types: Polished, honed, antiqued.

Polished granite is the typical finish that you see.  There is a shine on top of the surface.

Honed granite describes when a buffer is run along the entire top to remove the shine of the polish.  This look is perfect for a reproduction kitchen in an antique home.  There are slabs that are readily available with this finish, honed at the quarry with overhead machines.  Some fabricators can hone the stone that you select with buffers by hand.  This process will typically add between $5-$10 per square foot.  Expect imperfections from the hand machined surface.  The honing will turn the slab a grey, so the color will not look the same as polished.  Do get a sample of your granite choice honed, to make sure you will still appreciate the color.  You will not be able to have the entire slab honed prior to committing. Applying a stone enhancer will help to bring the color out, if the sample is too grey.

Antiqued finish, or leather finish, refers to an uneven honed surface.  This surface is only applied at the quarry, so the selection is minimal.  However, you will be able to review your exact material prior to purchasing.

 

 

8.  What are the edge profiles?

There are many edges, the simple ones such as eased, pencil and 3/8" round are no charge.

More detailed edges require more labor, and therefore, are more money.  The cost is calculated on a linear foot charge. 

 

granite vs laminate countertops

For an elaborate look, consider a built up (double) edge for an island.  Contemporary kitchens have either a straight edge with 3/4" thick slabs, or 3" high built up straight edges.

 


granite countertopThe decorative edge was applied around a matching granite sink.

 


9.  what type of sink should I get?

Definitely an undermount!  You will enjoy no longer having the maintenance of the edge of an overmount sink and the gunk that collects there.  Options include a single, double or triple bowl; materials can be stainless, quartz, cast iron or granite.

For more sink information:

Undermount Stainless Steel Single Bowl Sinks

Double Bowl Undermount Sinks

 


10.  How does the dishwasher get mounted?

With a laminate top, the dishwasher's metal tabs, at the top of the unit, were screwed into the underside of the countertop edge. With granite and the newer dishwashers, there are drill holes on the sides of the appliance, behind the rubber gaskets.  The screws get attached to the adjacent cabinetry.  If you are reusing your older dishwasher and those drill holes do not exist, have the appliance installer run a bead of silicon to the top of the dishwasher and have the unit raised to the underside of the granite.  The dishwasher installation booklet will show which wheel to adjust for the height.  Installing the dishwasher is not the job of the granite installers.  If the dishwasher is "falling out of the hole" then it has not been mounted properly.  Proper installation is the responsibility of the appliance installer, commonly the general contractor.


What type of countertop do you currently have?  What countertop do you wish you had?

What to learn more?  Download our white paper: Kitchen Countertops: How to Choose the Correct Type for You!

How to choose a kitchen countertop

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Tags: granite, granite countertops, kitchen granite countertops