Types of Granite Countertops
The most basic factors that determine the type of granite countertop is the construction method employed and the materials used. Let’s take a look at construction methods first.
There are three construction methods that greatly affect the cost and quality of a granite countertop: solid slabs, overlays and veneers.
Premium slab countertops
This is the oldest method of making granite countertops and is also the most expensive. Countertop surfaces are made from large, solid pieces of granite.
It practically goes without saying that the durability of this method of construction is unmatched. The downside is that not all imperfections that show up after long years of use can be eliminated. Choose this option if you are in it for the long haul. Unless you are swimming in dollar bills, you won’t be able to swap it out for a different color or style on a whim a few years later.
Granite overlay countertops
This is a new, innovative method that is somewhere between slap countertops and veneer countertops in quality, although a closer relative to the veneer method.
First off you need an existing countertop already in place, so this solution isn’t for new home builders. The idea is to build on top of the old countertop using thin pieces of granite that don’t greatly alter the shape of the existing design.
Although the slabs are very thin, durability is superior to veneer countertops. As expected this is the middle option in terms of price. You get a look and feel that is very similar to traditional slabs for much less. One key disadvantage is that it is tough to find suppliers that offer this alternative. Since it is a new method, pros and cons of long-term ownership are cloudy.
Although inexpensive, veneer countertops are still a huge step up from countertops with cheap synthetic surfaces. A veneer is an ultra-thin layer of authentic granite placed over some type of wood composite material.
When done right veneer countertops can look incredibly attractive. Since you are using such a thin layer of granite you can use a higher quality pattern without increasing the price as drastically as if it were a solid slab.
The downside is that veneer countertops aren’t as durable as real slabs. If the surface gets scratched it’s tough or impossible to buff out because the layer of granite is so thin. Although it will last for many years, it won’t last for possibly many lifetimes like an authentic granite countertop. If you are on a tight budget or like to renovate your kitchen often, this may be the option for you.
We’ve looked at the importance of construction methods. Now let’s turn our attention to materials as this is the other important factor that separates one granite countertop from another.
Granite is the most widespread type of stone on the earth, so it makes sense that there is a tremendous variety. The most basic way of organizing raw granite material is doing so by color. Different varieties include white, beige, yellow, gold, green, blue, red, burgundy, brown, gray and black. For more details you can read the full article on granite countertop colors.
Besides colors, patterns in granite also differ greatly. This is where pricing becomes based on art and fashion and less on objective measurements. Patterns deemed more fashionable have a greater demand and therefore can fetch a premium price.
When selecting a type of granite it is recommended that you try to overlook fads and pick a color and pattern that resonates with your individual tastes. A solid granite countertop will last a lifetime so it makes no sense to pay an extravagant price for “the latest thing.” It will likely cease to be so in a couple years.