7 things to consider when buying granite

If you’ve decided to update your home floors / work surfaces with granite, you’ve likely already learned about color options, movement, and durability. But how can you tell if you are getting good quality granite? After all, you are making a large investment in your home, and you want to make sure you get exactly what you expect. As you begin your selection process, be sure to ask these questions and pay attention to detail.

  1. If you buy granite for countertops, look for slabs that are a minimum of 3 meters or more in length, as this is one of the key indicators of a quality granite piece. These will cost more, but they really are the best.
  2. Will granite be cut with water or kerosene? While either is acceptable, the higher quality choice is water cut granite as it is better for granite and does not detract from the stability and strength of the stone. If the granite has been cut with kerosene, then the latent ferrous and ferric mineral particles are activated which will eventually cause discoloration and pitting of the polished surface. Kerosene cut granite also begins to show dull spots within 6 to 18 months, giving granite a dull appearance. Lastly, kerosene cut granite should not be used in homes with radiant heating as the kerosene will evaporate from the stone causing unpleasant odors and health hazards.
  3. Can the supplier use granite slabs from the same block for a single job? This will add to the overall look of the finished project. If more than one slab will be used, then the material should be a near perfect match in tone and color (an exact match is rare due to the natural coloration and movement of the granite).
  4. The finished product should have a mirror-like appearance (ask to see the finished parts in the showroom to find out what to expect from the installer / fabricator), as well as consistently high gloss.
  5. Your granite countertops, once installed, should have seams that are as smooth and nearly invisible as possible. Again, you’ll want to see showroom samples for this. Check that the edges are slightly beveled and well polished at the top edge of the joints or seams. Edges that are simply cut will appear lighter than those that have been beveled and polished.
  6. Look at the showroom samples and note the edges. Good quality granite countertops will have smooth edges without the wavy, rippled look that occurs when a fabricator uses handheld equipment instead of an automated edging tool.
  7. Do the colors and grains “match”? Although an exact match is unlikely, when the surface finish is applied, there should be a consistency to the granite, even if there are seams and multiple pieces of granite used for the project. Additionally, the granite slabs must fit together precisely for the countertops to flow smoothly, which adds to the elegance and overall appearance of the stone.

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