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Granite 101-Truths and Misconceptions

By
Home Builder with J. Craig Homes

Granite countertops are one of the main features that are found in quality custom built homes.  This countertop material has been popular for several years and looks to continue being popular for the forseeable future.  It has an elegant appearance and is a very reliable and functional material to use in your kitchen or bath.  However, in order to be an educated consumer, there are several things to know and several myths to dispell about this building material.   Several basic things to know about granite are:

Granite comes in two basic thicknesses, 2 cm and 3 cm.  It is my opinion that 3cm is worth the extra money.  It's less than a 10% upgrade in cost but it has a much more substantial appearance.  When thinking resale value, most consumers are impressed by the thicker granite, even if they don't quite realize what is contributing to the kitchen having a more upscale appearance.  The thicker granite also holds a better edge, meaning that a bullnose, bevel, minature bevel, etc finish on the edge will have a better feel and appearance than with a 2cm countertop. 

The price of granite has become more affordable during the past few years.  The average kitchen has 70 sq ft of countertop.  This would put the average 3cm granite in the $3000-$3500 price range.  Comparably, the same kitchen in laminate would cost 50% less, but the price difference now puts granite as an upgrade for only an additional $1500-$1750. 

Granite remnants are perfect for smaller bathrooms and are usually sold at an affordable price from the local granite distributor. 

The most popular misconception about granite is that granite is high maintance and needs to be sealed periodically.  This is completely not true.  Although granite can be sealed (the process is similar to waxing a car and the sealant can be purchased at any Home Depot or Lowe's) most quality granites are now resin-coated.  This means that structurally, the granite is no longer a "porous" material and does not need to be periodically sealed in order to keep the stone's integrity or appearance.  And, yes, resin-coated granite will prevent water marks from forming......just in case you were wondering!

The best website I have found to do research about granite (as well as debunking misconceptions about granite) is the Marble Institute of America (MIA) website at www.marble-institute.com

Craig Williams is owner and custom home builder in residential construction for J. Craig Homes. J. Craig homes builds custom homes in Mobile, AL, Daphne, AL, Spanish Fort, AL, Fairhope, AL, Semmes, AL and West Mobile, AL and other areas located inside Mobile and Baldwin Counties of Alabama.

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J Craig Homes home builder mobile alCraig Williams of J Craig Homes is a custom builder in Mobile, Alabama & Remodeling Contractor in Mobile, AL. When looking for home builders in Mobile AL Craig Williams builds a beautiful custom home and makes the home building process enjoyable at every step. Mobile AL "true" turn key builders, don't miss out visit www.jcraighomes.com 

Comments (11)

Shirley Parks
Sands Realty 210-414-0966 - San Antonio, TX
Broker, 210-414-0966, San Antonio TX Real Estate

Hey Craig, I saw a news story about granite countertops saying that there is a danger of radon gas and radiation emmissions.   Have you heard anything about this and what do you think?

May 30, 2008 01:16 PM
Lisa Friedman
Alliance Realtors - Bedminster, NJ
Central New Jersey Real Estate

Craig - Someone told me something interesting about granite recently which I wondered it it was true as it sounded sort of far fetched. They told me that if someone has a lot of granite in the house - multiple countertops, baths, etc. - that they could have a higher radon level than homes without granite. They said that granite gives off radon.  Is that true?

May 30, 2008 01:18 PM
Matthew Share
Maximum One Greater Atlanta Realtors - Marietta, GA

I have also heard that granite can contribute to higher radon levels in a home.

May 30, 2008 01:21 PM
Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239
Real Estate One - Commerce, MI
Michigan homes for sale ~ yesmyrealtor@gmail.com

Wow two comments about radon.  I have to park it here to find out the answer.

May 30, 2008 01:22 PM
Jennifer Davis
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR

Hmmmm interesting radon? My husband is a home builder and we put granite in almost all homes I will come back and see what comes of this.

May 30, 2008 01:24 PM
Craig Williams
J. Craig Homes - Mobile, AL

According to the Marble Institute's website and a 4-month study conducted, showed levels of radon were present, but not at significant levels. I'm going to do more research on the subject and post back. Thanks for the great comments. You can read more about their study on their website at http://www.marble-institute.com/

May 30, 2008 01:26 PM
Lisa Ryan
Callaway Henderson Sotheby's International Realty - Montgomery, NJ
Selling Princeton,West Windsor and Montgomery Town

Craig~ great information. I didn't know about the resin coating.  Is that a fairly new process?

May 30, 2008 01:52 PM
Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

Craig~ It would make sense about the radon levels, I never thought about granite contributing to the amount of radon in a home...Hmmmm......

May 30, 2008 01:54 PM
Susan Hilton
CENTURY 21 Beal, Inc. - College Station, TX
Texas Aggie Real Estate, College Station Bryan Texas Real Estate

Thanks! I thought I knew about granite but I learned soemthing new!

May 30, 2008 01:54 PM
Denise Allen
Resh Realty Group - Chesapeake, VA
Realtor@ Chesapeake, Hampton Roads

Thats why you see granite with 15 year no stain warranties nowadays.

Jun 03, 2008 10:12 AM
Jason Rose
123 ConEd LLC -- Michigan real estate continuing education - Farmington Hills, MI
www.123ConEd.com

Great information about granite, Craig. I learned a few things that I did not know.  Thanks.

I wanted to comment on something raised by Shirley, Lisa and Matthew in their comments about the possibility of radon exposure from granite countertops. 

Granite is a naturally occurring igneous rock, meaning that it was formed by the cooling of molten rock. It is quarried and processed to produce commercial products such as countertops. It is possible for any granite sample to contain varying concentrations of uranium that can produce radon gas, a source of alpha and beta particles and gamma rays. Some granite used for countertops may contribute variably to indoor radon levels.

While natural rocks such as granite may emit radon gas, the EPA currently believes that the levels of radon attributable to such sources are not typically high. According to the EPA, the principal source of radon in homes is soil gas that is drawn indoors through a natural suction process. At this time, the EPA does not believe sufficient data exists to conclude that the types of granite commonly used in countertops are significantly increasing indoor radon levels.

Most people do not know this, but radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and is believed to be responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths per year.

I'm writing from Michigan, where, according to the CDC, more than 600 radon-related deaths are projected to occur in Michigan this year alone. According to the EPA, one in eight homes in Michigan is expected to have an elevated indoor radon level, and in some counties more than 40% of the homes are expected to have a problem.The only way to know if a home has a problem is to test.

If you are a real estate professional, radon and indoor air is something you should know about. It is a serious health risk, but there are simple and inexpensive ways to test for it and fix it if necessary. Like any health risk today, it is something that more and more people know about either through a home sale or through the media.

Radon is such an important issue for real estate professionals that I'm in the process of preparing a continuing education course exclusively on radon for my online continuing education school. The course will inform Michigan real estate professionals all about radon and what they need to know in order to properly advise buyers and sellers.

Feb 20, 2009 03:16 AM