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 homeowners aren’t familiar with the reasons behind the material’s longstanding pre-eminence. Not only does granite connote luxury and opulence, but it’s also extremely sanitary, resistant to heat and
water, and far more long-lasting 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 often the perfect choice for all kinds of kitchens. Here, Melbourne Kitchen + Bathroom Design explores the unique 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.
“Granite is one of the most versatile natural stones on the planet,” says David Onesti. “[Its] wide-ranging colour variations are due to the different minerals within the stone, which also determine the patterns and speckles [throughout the slab].
“Granite is often available in white, black, brown, blue and red varieties, which means there is a colour to complement the interior design of any home! In addition, granite is available in a range of popular finishes, including leathered, brushed and honed.”
Whichever colouring you opt for, granite’s inimitable veining and complex flecks of
translucent quartz and silvery mica guarantee no two slabs will ever be the same.
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.
“The kitchen is the heart of the home, so [it needs] a stone that will last a lifetime,” says Onesti.
“Granite synergises beauty with resilience, which makes it a truly natural masterpiece. It’s difficult to scratch, burn or etch, and it isn’t easily damaged. Overall, granite is a very firm material that [can withstand] the test of time.”
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.
“Although granite is a durable natural stone, it still needs ongoing maintenance and care,” explains Onesti. “It’s important to do your research on the best cleaning products to use for your specific granite benchtop, as over-the-counter products could damage the stone.”
When it comes to caring for your granite with a professional solution, Onesti recommends Lithofin products. “Made in Germany, Lithofin is the European standard in stone cleaning and maintenance,” he says. “Lithofin MN Easy-Care is [a great] all-in-one cleaner that will enhance and maintain your stone’s visual appeal. If you find your granite benchtop is getting greasy, I’d recommend cleaning it with Lithofin MN Power-Clean, which will eradicate all dirt residue and grease.”
It’s important to note that while some superdense strains of granite 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 the material’s superior durability is 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.
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.
“You should always remember that your kitchen is one of the most popular areas of your home, which means it’s worth spending a little more to get it perfect,” says Onesti. “If I could give any advice after 21 years in the stone industry, it’s to always do your homework. Seek a few opinions and review different stones, [as this will help you] find the best [product] for your budget.”
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.
Images courtesy of CDK Stone