As a kitchen countertop material, granite has been the top choice of many homeowners since technology made it affordable. It remains popular despite newer and less expensive alternatives rapidly developing around it. However, when something remains popular for a long time, myths start circulating about it. Some of these may get spread by people trying to sell you granite or competing products. Whatever the reason, addressing these common misconceptions will help you decide whether to choose granite countertops for your home.
Debunking Granite Countertop Myths
Despite granite being a beautiful natural stone that many people fall in love with, you may be misinformed about it. Your decision to select or reject granite as a suitable countertop material should be based on facts and your needs, not on myths. To that end we have compiled a list of misconceptions and the truth behind them.
1. Hot Pans or Pots Will Discolour Granite
One of the primary reasons people choose a granite countertop is its high durability and heat resistance. The latter quality doesn’t apply to the sealer though, which may be the reason behind this myth gaining popularity. Also, some suppliers may pass off other stones as granite which are not heat resistant.
The fact is that unlike quartz, which can fade if a hot pot is placed on it, granite is not so easily affected. It takes a lot of heat – in the region of 600-650°C – to crack granite; something much hotter than a hot pan or pot can possibly get.
2. Granite Countertops Are Absorbent
Granite is impervious to water. It’s a common material in high rises because it can withstand wind and rain. Additionally, granite is less absorbent than solid plastic surfaces.
3. Granite Is Expensive
There are cheaper alternatives to granite, like laminate or tile. In the early days, when granite countertops first made their way to Canada, sources were limited, with only one or two countries shipping to Ontario and other parts of the country. But this has changed. Today, Africa, Saudi Arabia, India, Italy, Brazil and even the U.S. provide an ample supply of granite to Canada, meaning there’s an abundance of the material now. As a result, prices have decreased significantly. Take into consideration its longer lifespan and low maintenance and granite is hardly an expensive choice.
4. Granite Can Lose Its Shine
Granite is harder than metal so you can rest assured that your regular household activities won’t come close to creating the abrasion needed to dull it. With regular use, granite can show some signs of wear but rarely of dullness. If you do notice some, simply apply a polish to rejuvenate its sparkle.
This myth exists because a lot of people confuse marble with granite. Which brings us to the next myth.
5. Granite and Marble Are the Same
Granite and marble are both natural stones, but they’re not the same. While granite is an igneous rock formed under extreme heat, marble is a metamorphic rock formed out of limestone. Granite is harder than marble, although both are reasonably durable.
Since both materials come from local and global quarries, weigh about the same, and are equally resistant and versatile, people often confuse the two. Both are excellent kitchen countertop materials, but marble lags behind in some qualities, such as fading or dullness.
6. Granite Is Hard to Maintain
This is perhaps one of the most common myths. Granite is one of the hardest natural stones in the world; resistant to heat, scratches and most chemicals. Yes, sealing it from time to time is important, although not as often as is popularly believed. In fact, you can get sealants with a lifetime warranty against staining.
As for cleaning or polishing your granite countertop, you determine the frequency. Though it’s advisable to give your countertop a weekly polish – the more you polish, the better it looks – it’s still not very time consuming. By simply washing it with a granite cleaner or soap & water and applying a granite sealer when dry, you can sustain its longevity for a long time. The entire process may take less than 15 minutes, and you only need to seal it every 12 to 18 months.
7. Granite Is Radioactive
Radioactivity is all around us – in the air, water and even sunlight. A common myth about granite countertops is that they cause cancer since granite emits radon, a colour and odourless radioactive gas that is toxic and can cause lung cancer. However, the amount of radon being emitted by granite countertops is so minute that you may have a better chance of radon exposure from going to your basement than spending the entire day by your kitchen countertop. According to a Marble Institute of America Technical Bulletin,
[C]ompared to other radiation sources in the home and outside, the risk to the home-owner from radioactivity emitted from a granite counter-top or tiles is practically non-existent.”
Doubting your choice of countertop material is normal. However, before you come to a conclusion on the merits and drawbacks of granite, question the authenticity of the myths surrounding it. After all, you wouldn’t want to let a few fake facts get in the way of having a beautiful kitchen countertop.