Get Granite Countertops Installed by Maryland Pros
Are you looking for beautiful and durable granite countertops for your home in Maryland or DC.
Granite countertops have unmatched natural strength and are available in a wide variety of colors. Their one-of-a-kind beauty is unlike any other countertop surface available.
At Express we focus on only one thing–selling and installing countertops. We consider ourselves countertop experts and would like to share our knowledge. Keep reading to learn if granite countertops are right for your home’s kitchen or bathroom.
Why is Granite So Durable?
Of all of the natural stone countertops, granite is the most durable.
The granite stone used for a countertop has already existed for thousands and thousands of years. Like marble and other natural stones, granite rock is formed beneath the earth’s surface during the compression of heat and fusion. However, unlike marble, granite is composed of hard silicate minerals, making it significantly more durable.
Granite is a metamorphic and igneous rock, which is resilient against extreme temperature as well as stress and heat. Granite possesses a smooth surface and is cool to the touch.
Are Granite Countertops Perfect for You?
Granite is the most popular option for many homeowners. See all the pros and cons of granite countertops below.
|GRANITE COUNTERTOP PROS||GRANITE COUNTERTOP CONS|
|Countertop material of choice; a mixture of natural beauty and elegance.||Granite can be expensive depending on the type of stone and sizes of solid pieces to be installed.|
|Holds up to heat and is scratch resistant.||Requires use of a cutting board.|
|Permanent and substantial look. Very durable. These will last a lifetime.||Is porous, and without regular sealing, it can stain.|
|Offered in less expensive versions.||Needs to be resealed more often than other surfaces.|
|Unique; no two granite tops are exactly the same.||Granite may crack and could be costly to repair or replace.|
|Coloration will never change; it will always remain as bright and vibrant as when first installed.|
|Adds a great amount of resale value to your current home, more so than any other available material.|
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Granite Countertops Cost
The average cost of granite countertops is anywhere between $30 and $200 per square foot. When you begin to think about other factors such as design, edge styles, colors, and even other fixtures in your home you realize the true cost is more. However, there are some ways to lower price by selecting a countertop color, type, or cut that is less expensive.
Capturing the Beauty of Granite for a Lower Price
Are you on a tight budget? Don’t count out granite just yet. There are various other strategies that you should consider if you are dying to have granite countertops in your Annapolis, Baltimore or Alexandria home but are afraid that it might be a bit too expensive.
- Have your granite countertop installed in several different square pieces or opt for a granite tile countertop instead of one solid piece. This will give you the exact same natural beauty as a solid stone slab, but at a lower price and weight. Installation and repairs will be easier since no reinforcement is needed. Tiles allow for more versatility as well.
- Granite counters can have varying quality. Factors that will affect granite countertop price and quality include the following: country of origin, granite color, patterns or veins, the thickness of the slab, the amount of soft minerals within the stone, and current fashion trends.
- Luna Pearl is a stone that is offered by many different builders. It looks the same from both near and far and under certain lighting conditions. The big benefit to Luna Pearl is that it is less expensive than most other types of granite.
- Prefabricated granite countertops are counters that are made ahead of time. This is done by building counters whose dimensions are commonly used in homes all over. With counters that are prefabricated, you can significantly cut down on the time it takes to get your new counters. Since these are standardized they come at a cheaper cost to you.
- Make sure to pay attention to the number of cuts and seams that will need to be made within stone slabs can also help you to keep the price to a minimum.
- Be sure to ask your installation professionals if you will be charged for the use of wasted materials.
- Hire reliable professionals. Failing to properly set a newly installed granite countertop can create a variety of extremely expensive problems.
Granite Countertop Colors
Granite comes in a variety of colors. You can find something to match any decor from greens to blues, blacks to pinks, whites to red, and even yellows and browns. See our full range of colors below.
Granite Finishing Options
They can be polished, honed, flamed or brushed; each technique will add its own unique look and texture to the stone.
- A polished finish is definitely the most common because of a few key factors involved. Polished finishes will help to give your home a distinct and elegant look. This type of finish is a great choice, especially for kitchens. A polished finish is easier to maintain than most other finishes and its sparkling appearance brings out the all of the color in your granite. Granite’s polished finish can often be described as both shiny and mirror-like.
- Honed finishes are slowly becoming more and more popular for newly installed granite countertops. This type of finish is smooth and also less shiny than the polished finishes. Its less shimmering appearance gives your home a slightly more casual and contemporary feel while still maintaining the elegant feel granite is known for providing.
- Flamed finishes – This exposure to extreme temperature change causes the granite to melt, and in the process, shatter some crystals. This leaves the granite with a highly textured surface. Flamed finishes are the perfect solution if you are interested in a surface that is textured and slip resistant.
- Brushed finishes, which are also known as antiqued finishes, are created by gently brushing the granite’s surface which develops a worn-in look throughout the stone. This finish can give your countertops a more dramatic look when compared to the other finishes.
Granite Countertop Refacing
If you’re looking to restore the granite countertops you currently have installed, you may want to consider refacing your countertops. There are several different things that you can do to bring your old granite surfaces back to life, including:
- Repainting–This is one of the simplest steps you can take in order to reface your countertop surfaces. You can either refresh the coat of paint that’s already in place or put an entirely new one down as part of a drastic change.
- Installation of Granite Tile – While many people with granite counters get the traditional granite slab, some prefer granite tiles in order to get the job done. Granite tile countertops are a great alternative to the traditional slab because they allow you to enjoy many of same colors, finishes, and edging styles at reduced cost and weight. So it’s easy to see why this might be your ideal option when it comes to refacing your countertops.
Best Alternatives to Granite Countertops
Not sure granite is right for you? Read more about our recommendations on granite alternatives below.
Looks Most Like Granite: Soapstone or Marble
If you’re looking for alternatives to granite countertops that look like granite but come without the steep price, your best choice will depend on what kind of granite look you want.
- If you want the black granite look: Soapstone is great at offering deep, rich hues like black granite. It usually comes in dark grey colors and has a very smooth, soft feel. It’s mostly stain resistant and naturally resistant to heat. Plus, it requires little to no maintenance.
- If you want the white granite countertop look: Marble has a more luxurious look than white granite, making it the primary choice for many homeowners. However, if you want a surface that’s less expensive than marble, consider quartz. It’s affordable and can imitate both white granite and dark granite.
Most Luxurious: Marble
Next to granite, marble is the highest-demanded natural stone. It’s a durable and long-lasting material that comes in many warm, soft, beautiful, and luxurious patterns. The unique veins in marble countertops mean the appearance of your counter will be completely your own and one of a kind.
The only downside of marble is that it requires regular and consistent care to maintain its distinguished appearance. However, it is heat resistant and waterproof. If properly taken care of, marble countertops will provide years and years of service as an attractive granite alternative.
Increased Durability: Quartz
Technically, quartz countertops are actually engineered stone. This process results in a surface that is free from fissures and cracks. Quartz crystal is also impervious to water, moisture, and bacteria, making it an ideal surface for your kitchen, bathroom, or anywhere else you want to keep your family safe. In fact, quartz is our top alternative to granite countertops due to its superior quality and wide range of colors!
Best Choice to Go Green: Recycled Glass
If you’re concerned about the environment and want to choose an eco-friendly option, consider recycled glass countertops. Made of leftover glass from sources like curbside recycling, demolished buildings, and other sources, recycled glass is mixed with concrete binder to become an attractive surface that’s as unique as you! No two recycled glass surfaces are exactly alike.
Recycled glass is also a great choice if you need a surface that is non-porous and resistant to stains and bacteria.
Since these materials are non-toxic and environmentally sound, they are perfectly safe for you and your family and a perfect addition to any “green” household.
Best Choice for Low and Minimal Maintenance: Solid Surface Countertops
Designed to look great even with low maintenance, solid surface countertops can “mimic” the appearance of other traditional countertop materials, including marble, wood, and stone.
Solid surface countertops are easy to keep clean and attractive. By choosing the look of one of these materials instead of buying the real thing, you’ll not only save money, but you’ll also make maintenance a lot easier, too.
Plus, the seamless nature of solid surface materials means harmful bacteria won’t have any place to hide. This can protect your family from some of the bacteria found in foods (such as raw chicken).
If your solid surface countertop should ever become stained or scratched, don’t worry: this material is easy to fix.
Maintaining Your Granite Countertops
Granite countertops do require some additional maintenance. Because the stone is porous, granite should absolutely be sealed. It should be resealed at least once every year to ensure its ability to repel stains. You can tell if your granite needs to be resealed by putting a few drops of water on the surface, if it absorbs the water then it needs to be resealed.
Cleaning Your Granite Countertops
There are ways to remove stains and scratches on your own. Here are a few things to remember about cleaning granite countertops:
- If a spill should occur on your countertop, clean it up before the stain gets a chance to penetrate the porous surface of the stone. Although very solid, granite is also somewhat absorbent. It can absorb spills and become stained if spills are left for a length of time.
- Granite is the most vulnerable to stains that are created by oil and/or acid.
- The removing of any diamond rings before using the surface is recommended to help avoid scratching the surface.
- Generally, you are able to clean your granite countertop with a soft clean cloth and a neutral cleaner.
- You should consider using a disinfectant cleaner that is specifically designed for use on granite.
- Using regular cleaning chemicals on your countertop should be avoided at all cost. It will strip the seal right off and leave the vulnerable and porous surface of the granite unprotected and exposed.
- Do not hesitate to call your stone dealer with questions or even to ask for suggestions on maintenance, care and even cleaning.
Cleaning Up Spills on Granite
Granite is most vulnerable to oil and acid stains. If you should spill something be sure to clean it up as quickly as possible. If by chance a stain occurs you can remove them yourself with these methods:
- Cleaning Granite Countertops After Oil-based Spills (e.g. grease, oil, milk, etc.)
Mix one cup of flour and 1-2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide in with water in order to make a thick paste like substance. Smear this concoction onto the stain, cover it up with plastic wrap and then let it sit overnight. The following day, scrape away the paste with a wooden utensil and rinse with water.
- Cleaning Granite Countertops After Organic Spills (e.g. coffee, tea, fruit, etc.)
Combine hydrogen peroxide with just a few drops of ammonia. Rinse the surface after washing it with the solution and then dry it with a clean, soft cloth.
- Cleaning Granite Countertops After Non-Oil Spills (e.g. ink, markers, wine, etc.)
To clean non-oil stains, use a lacquer thinner or acetone to clean ink or marker stains from a darker colored stone. On lighter colored granite counters, you can use hydrogen peroxide to remove these types of stains.
Contact Us About Granite Installation
If you would like more information about granite countertops in Maryland, Virginia, DC, Columbia, Annapolis or Baltimore contact us at Express Countertops at 410-712-0601 or click here for a free countertop cost estimate.
Express is the home of the famous 1-week installation guarantee. We understand that the kitchen is the center of the family home. When you contact for installation us we’ll be in and out in 1 week or less – GUARANTEED!
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