7 things to consider when buying granite

If you’ve decided to update the floors/work surfaces in your home with granite, chances are you’ve already learned about color options, movement, and durability. But how can you tell if you’re getting good quality granite? After all, you’re making a big investment in your home, and you want to make sure you’re getting exactly what you expect. As you begin your selection process, be sure to ask these questions and pay attention to detail.

  1. If you buy granite for countertops, look for slabs that are a minimum of 10 feet or more in length, as this is one of the key indicators of a quality granite piece. These will cost more, but they are really the best.
  2. Will granite be cut with water or kerosene? While either is acceptable, the higher quality option is granite that will be water cut as it is better for the granite and does not detract from the stone’s stability or strength. If the granite has been cut with kerosene, then latent iron and ferrous mineral particles are activated and will eventually cause discoloration and pitting of the polished surface. Kerosene cut granite also begins to show dull spots within 6 to 18 months, giving the granite a dull appearance. Lastly, kerosene cut granite should not be used in radiant heated homes as the kerosene will evaporate from the stone bringing unpleasant odors and health risks.
  3. Can the seller use granite slabs from the same block for a single job? This will add to the overall look of the finished project. If more than one slab is to be used, then the material must be a nearly perfect match in tone and color (an exact match is rare due to the natural coloration and movement of granite).
  4. The finished product should have a mirror-like appearance (ask to see the finished pieces in the showroom so you know what to expect from the installer/fabricator), as well as a consistent high gloss.
  5. Your granite countertops, once installed, should have seams that are as smooth and nearly invisible as possible. Again, you’ll want to see showroom samples for this. Check that the edges are slightly beveled and well polished at the top edge of the joints or seams. Edges that are simply cut will have a lighter appearance than those that have been chamfered and polished.
  6. Look at the samples in the showroom and take a look at the edges. Good quality granite countertops will have smooth edges without the wavy, wavy look that occurs when a fabricator uses manual equipment instead of an automatic edging tool.
  7. Do the colors and grains “match”? Although an exact match is unlikely, when the surface finish is applied, there should be consistency in the granite, even if seams and multiple pieces of granite are used for the project. Additionally, the granite slabs must fit together precisely so that the countertops flow smoothly, adding to the stone’s overall elegance and appearance.

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