Homeowners have many options when it comes to kitchen and bathroom countertop materials, but granite and concrete are perhaps the most popular.
Here, we examine both so you can make an informed investment for your home.
Concrete and Granite Countertops: A Comparison
Are you unsure whether to go with concrete or granite countertops? Let’s look at them side by side.
Granite is quarried from the earth and then cut into slabs of different sizes that are used to fabricate countertops. It’s primarily composed of feldspar and quartz, with a mixture of other minerals.
Being naturally occurring, each slab has a unique colour, pattern and veins. However, this also means it’s virtually impossible to find two granite slabs with the same design and your options are limited to what your provider offers.
Concrete countertops, on the other hand, are made from cement that is mixed and cast before having its surface polished smooth. Since it’s an artificial material, it’s possible to find concrete countertops in virtually any colour or shape. Instead of having holes cut out for sinks, the mould or form is designed to accommodate various built-ins. The material can either be coloured after it’s cured or when it’s being mixed, allowing manufacturers to create unlimited patterns and colours. Additionally, different objects such as seashells and coloured glass can be embedded in the slab to add visual interest.
If the budget of your renovation is not flexible, the cost of your countertop material is an important factor to consider when comparing granite and concrete.
On average, you can expect to pay around $60 per square foot for granite countertops; this includes installation costs. However, this price can go as high as $200 and as low as $35 depending on the product. Granite that is more readily available can be purchased at more affordable rates, but the source can also affect its price.
Concrete countertops tend to be more expensive than granite, starting at $65 for the simplest designs. This doesn’t include the cost of installation which can range between $30 and $90 per hour. To help you get an idea of price, a 50 square foot concrete countertop, precast, can take up to eight hours to install. Onsite ones can take around 24 hours to pour and set.
So, you can expect to pay about $1,750 for a granite countertop installation in total, whereas a concrete countertop of the same dimensions might cost about $3,500.
3. Outdoor Application
Both concrete and granite countertops are suitable for outdoor use, making each one a great choice for homes with open kitchens.
When sealed, both materials can resist hot pots and stains as well as changing weather. Furthermore, concrete can be sealed periodically and formulated to withstand extreme winter weather.
Concrete is a useful material in general which is why it’s used for building foundations, driveways and sidewalks, among other applications. It’s capable of bearing heavy weights and is durable enough to last many years.
However, it isn’t as practical as other materials, such as marble and granite, when used in bathrooms and kitchens. Being porous, it’s difficult to seal, which can result in stains and germs settling on the worktop. This tends to make the surface unsanitary and can contaminate any food placed on it.
Granite is much more durable than concrete, making it more resistant to chips and scratches. Its durability also allows you to put hot pots and pans on it without causing harm.
5. Environmental Impact
Both concrete and granite countertops have relatively large carbon footprints compared to other materials.
Unless you have a granite quarry nearby, for instance, the slab from which your countertop is manufactured will likely be shipped from hundreds or thousands of miles away. And the manufacturing process for concrete requires a substantial amount of energy.
On the positive side, granite’s near-indestructible nature ensures that it lasts, although it’s not a renewable resource. Concrete also endures a long time and incorporates various recycled materials such as slag from iron production and coal from furnaces. This makes concrete the greener choice.
The attractiveness and popularity of concrete kitchen and bathroom countertops are undeniable. However, durability and price make it a less desirable option than granite. If you’re thinking of replacing your kitchen or bathroom countertop and you’re choosing between concrete and granite, the safer pick is granite countertops.