Give Me Granite
Granite is a perennially popular choice for kitchen benchtops, islands and splashbacks, as well as bathroom counters, outdoor surfaces, fireplace surroundings, tables and decorative accents. However, most people aren’t familiar with the reasons behind the material’s longstanding pre-eminence. Not only does granite connote luxury and opulence, it’s also extremely sanitary, resistant to heat and water, and far more longlasting than alternative surface materials. Kitchens are a hub of activity in most homes, and in order to withstand heavy usage, surfaces must be highly durable, as well as beautiful. Resilient, easy to clean and available in a plethora of different styles, colours and finishes, granite is the perfect choice for all kinds of kitchens. Here, Western Australia Home Design + Living explores
the benefits of granite, the different types available, and how it can dramatically improve your kitchen space.
Benchtops and islands are the main focal points in any kitchen, so it’s important to select a statement material that encourages your desired ambience. Granite has long been one of the most popular choices among natural stone varieties due to its dramatic beauty and luminous appearance. Quarried throughout the world, it’s available in a seemingly endless variety of colours and patterns that are influenced by the specific geological conditions of the region from which it came. “There are hundreds of different types of granite
colours,” explains Mark Tomeo. “Granite is a great all-rounder. It gives a much greater gloss to the [surface] and a more three-dimensional depth, with unique bold colours and patterns that only Mother Nature can achieve.” Whether you opt for black, white, pink or yellow, granite’s unique veining and complex speckles of translucent quartz and silvery mica guarantee no two slabs will ever be the same. “[If you’re looking for] waves, patterns and veins, granite is the way to go,” says Tomeo. “Over all other products, granite gives that feeling of grandeur and prestige.”
HARD AS ROCK
Granite is formed in the earth’s molten mantle
at temperatures of around 760°C. This intense heat creates a heavy-duty stone material that’s renowned for its resilience. On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness – where talc is one and diamond is ten – granite has a rating of eight, which means it’s an exceptionally hardwearing and scratch-resistant material. Additionally, when properly sealed, granite has the ability to withstand hot cookware or boiling liquid better than other surface materials, such as marble or dolomite. “Granite is the only choice when it comes to alfresco benches, as it’s far more durable [than other options] and has a far greater heat tolerance,” says Tomeo. “Alfresco kitchens are a heavy-wear area, so the team at Granite Warehouse only recommends granite. Marble is softer and engineered stone is not UV stable or as heat-tolerant.”
A CLEAN SLATE
Granite’s hardiness means that you’re unlikely to incur any major costs for fixing cracks, chips or scratches, and caring for it is fairly simple. A well-sealed granite countertop is relatively impervious to bacteria, but as with any stone surface, it’s important to clean up any spills as soon as they occur. “At Granite Warehouse, we stock a great cleaning range for natural materials,” explains Tomeo. “[In particular], MB Stone Care is a safe product for cleaning your surface, as it’s carefully blended to work with natural materials. The maintenance and preservation of natural materials is a little different to standard materials that you may be familiar with, but the difference is mostly in the cleaning agents you use, and once you know what to use, the rest is easy.” It’s important to note that while there are some super-dense strains of granite that are naturally stain-proof, most varieties are relatively porous and generally require re-sealing every three to five years. However, if you ensure your granite benchtops are professionally installed, sealed and regularly maintained, they will continue to give you outstanding beauty and performance in the decades ahead.
The upfront costs of installing granite in your kitchen might seem high, but its durability is precisely what makes it such a cost-effective
investment in the long run. While your friends and family may be repairing or replacing their laminate benchtops every few years, or frequently re-finishing their timber island bench, your granite surfaces are guaranteed to stand the test of time. If you decide to replace them down the road, it will be because you want to and not because you have to. “We get a lot of homeowners coming in saying they changed their granite benchtops for engineered stone during their last renovation, as they were told it’s better, but that’s not 100 per cent true,” says Tomeo. “Most of them say their granite was still good when they sold their last house or renovated, and the engineered stone hasn’t held up [quite] as well, and now they want the granite back.” Additionally, granite doesn’t depreciate in value and can provide a significant return on investment. Homebuyers are often willing to pay a little extra for a kitchen with granite surfaces, which makes choosing granite a financially sensible solution for homeowners who may intend to sell in the future. “Everyone thinks that granite is more expensive than engineered stone,” explains Tomeo. “However, there are some very cost-effective granite varieties available. [Granite Warehouse] labels all materials that are in the same price ranges regardless of the type, so when customers come out to the warehouse, all surface options are tagged in either the low, mid, high or exotic range. This gives them an idea of what materials are in similar price brackets. Once [you’ve] picked that perfect colour and product, it’s [just a matter] of caring for it correctly.” There’s something about granite and its luxurious appeal that simply cannot be replicated by other surface materials. Throughout the years, granite has secured its place as a sophisticated, highend stone material for kitchen spaces, and the reasons for its enduring popularity are rock solid. If you’re looking to update your kitchen with granite surfaces or splashbacks, speak to a reputable stone supplier about your project. With the right advice, you’ll be able to choose a type of granite that’s perfect for your kitchen.