When it came time to pick the granite countertops for our new dream kitchen, I was stumped. I thought almost every slab was beautiful. After weeks of research, I finally found the ultimate granite for our home. Here are a few things I learned during the process:
1. More expensive stone doesn't equal better ... it equals fragile. I loved an expensive type of granite called quartzite. Every granite slab yard had some, and the colors were incredible. Some had bits of opal or other gemstones in them. However, I was told that quartzite is much more fragile and brittle than regular granite. Not a great idea if the kids throw their ice skates on the counter (not my kids, of course -- just an example).
2. White or light-colored granite can stain. We love the look of marble and found some beautiful granites that had a marble look. But like marble, these countertops will stain from wine, mayonnaise, oils, and citrus unless wiped up right away. In our busy household, cleaning sometimes happens more than a few minutes after countertop spills, so lightly colored granite was not durable enough for our kitchen. (We did get our marble; we used it as our backsplash instead.)
3. Searching online first will save time -- and gas money, too. My kitchen designer joked that I'd been to every slab yard in the state. I think she was right. I eventually found that many slab yards have photos online of their inventory. Of course, I recommend seeing the granite in person, but picking out some favorites online saved me a lot of time when making my final choices.
4. Working with a fabricator means no surprises. Choosing the granite is only half of the puzzle (and the price). Once purchased, it is then sent to a fabricator who will cut and polish the granite, seal it, and install it. I worked directly with the fabricator to layout the slab, determine where it would be cut, and figure out what seams would be visible; this ensured it was done just the way I wanted it.
5. Second opinions help. My husband wanted no involvement in our kitchen project. But after weeks of looking at slabs, I had to get his opinion. We went to my favorite slab yard. He came in, and picked one within two minutes. Done. That is, until the next morning when I remembered a similar one I'd forgotten but liked better. He loved that one more and then we were really done. I needed his opinion to know I was making the best choice.
We get compliments on our granite all the time! It is called Crema Azul and we really love it. The time I spent finding it was worthwhile. It has bits of mica and veins of grey and blue quartz on a white background. And it doesn't show kids' smashed cookie crumbs or splattered sauces (again, not mine -- just an example).