Kitchen Remodeling and Granite Countertops

by J on August 24, 2009

When considering a kitchen remodeling project, many homeowners think about replacing their countertops. Scratched, cracked or outdated countertops dull the look of a kitchen. Replacing them can quickly make your kitchen seem crisper and cleaner. Over the next few blogs, we will consider some of the choices for countertop material, starting with granite.

Granite is a popular choice among homeowners. It is an extremely hard natural igneous rock, which makes it durable. While granite has a few drawbacks—expense and maintenance—homeowners value it for its elegant appeal and the resale value it adds to a home.

A kitchen design and remodeling expert can help you wade through all the choices concerning granite, but here are a few basic considerations. First of all, granite is classified in different levels, with the higher-numbered levels being more valuable and, therefore, costly. Second, the thicker the granite, the more expensive it will be. Decide if you want a solid slab of granite (most expensive) or one where the front edge is built up to make it appear thicker.

Next, let’s consider the maintenance.  Most granite should be sealed, which you can do yourself. Sealing doesn’t make the granite stainproof, but it does give you a little extra time to wipe up any spills on the countertop. Be especially careful with acidic foods such as tomatoes or wine or oily substances, because these will  stain your countertop if they are not cleaned up. Don’t use any acidic cleaners, either. Usually, a moist sponge does the job best.

To determine a final cost for your project, you must figure in the costs of cut-outs to the granite for sinks, drop-in stoves, and electrical covers. Of course there will be the cost of removing and installing the old countertop, delivery charges and any plumbing charges associated with the remodel. Be sure to thoroughly address all these items with your kitchen design expert. Don’t forget to decide if you want a backsplash (see previous blog); if you do, will this also be granite, or do you want to use a different material? Granite starts at about the $60 per sq. ft. range, installed. It comes in hundreds of colors, allowing you to match any color scheme in your kitchen.

A recent addition to the granite family is a stain-resistant granite called Stonemark. It is advertised to resist marking for 15 years. A nice feature is that it costs about the same as other granite.

You just can’t beat the appeal of a granite countertop in the kitchen. With careful planning and expert advice, you’ll enjoy your new countertop and your beautiful kitchen for many years to come, and if or when you ever move, you will have made an investment in the re-sale value of your home.

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