Granite Countertops - are you concerned?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Alliance

There's been a lot of discussion over the past year regarding granite countertops and some recent studies which claim that small amounts of radon gas are showing up at higher than normal levels in kitchens.

Are you the least bit concerned about it personally (in your own home) and more importantly, do you advise your buyers of this *potential* hazard?  How about sellers, would you consider suggesting to them to have the kitchen tested for radon levels BEFORE listing the home so they could take steps to mitigate it if needed?  It would seem to me that spending $150 on a test (which you hope comes back favorably) and placing a copy of the report on the counyter would help put buyers at ease.  Sure, a buyer could have the test done as part of the inspection, but why not take a pro-active approach?  The fact that a possibility for high radon levels in kitchens with granite may exist, makes me wonder if we have any obligation (ethical or legal) to have this discussion with our clients.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

The only way to know if radon levels from your granite countertops or your home in general are at safe levels is to test for them.  For more info on radon gas, check out the EPA website

 - anthonyr
Anthony Rael & Assoc.
Metro Brokers Arvada-Northwest
12191 West 64th Ave, #210
Arvada, CO 80004
(303) 524-3990

Anthony Rael - Denver Colorado Real Estate

Anthony Rael is a Denver Real Estate Agent specializing in relocation, first-time buyers, home property values, residential home sales, Denver Colorado Real Estate & MLS/IDX Listings, single family homes, condos, lofts, short-sale, foreclosed, bank-owned & investment properties.  Providing professional & trustworthy real estate services to buyers & sellers throughout the Denver metro area including Arvada, Brighton, Broomfield, Denver, Golden, Highland/Sloan's Lake, Highlands Ranch, Lakewood, Louisville, Longmont, Thornton, Westminster, Wheat Ridge, Adams County, Denver County, Douglas County & Jefferson County in Colorado.

Comments (10)

Linda Flack
Realty Executives in The Villages - The Villages, FL
The Villages is where you retire with attitude

I am not concerned in Florida.  Yes we have radon in our area but our homes are not sealed as tightly as in the colder regions of the country.  We don't have basements and we don't have double paned glass.  Our energy efficient homes protect against the excessive sunlight; not leaking air.  We just open the door.

Feb 25, 2009 03:33 AM
Martin Kalisker
Natick, MA
Real Estate Ethics & Dispute Resolutikn

Fortunately, buyers are able to make an offer to purchase contingent upon the results of a radon test, but high flow areas such as a kitchen often get enough ventilation and cross draft that the radon (if any) emitted from a stone countertop probably wouldn't set off any alarms on a radon test.  What is even more concerning is to see the radon mitigation vents that sit on the roofline directly in the flow of a bedroom window or air conditioning unit.

Feb 25, 2009 03:35 AM
Kathy Knight
Intracoastal Realty Corp - Wilmington, NC

We typically don't have radon gas at the coast. I am really not that concerned as of yet...

Feb 25, 2009 03:40 AM
Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

Hi Anthony~ We are supposed to disclose everything we know, so I WOULD tell my clients about the potential risk of Radon existing.   It is up to them to do the test and see if it exists.  It is NOT up to me to decide for them .  By NOT telling them about it is WRONG!   I place the decision to test or not test for Radon back on the clients.   

Feb 25, 2009 03:53 AM
Bruce & Mary Smith
Savannah Lakes Homes - McCormick, SC
REALTORS, Savannah Lakes Village McCormick SC

A buyer concerned about radon should always have a radon test.  We are not smart enough to know if a home has a radon problem so we always recommend getting accurate information from a professional.

Feb 25, 2009 04:08 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

I read it. 

I tested.

It was low.

I ignored it.


Feb 25, 2009 05:51 AM
Elizabeth Bolton
RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA - Cambridge, MA
Cambridge MA Realtor

Hi Anthony ~ I had read of this but hadn't been too worried - I think the rates were pretty low.  I have to say though that I am very bored with granite so if this cuts down on it in kitchens I'm pretty psyched.


Feb 25, 2009 09:21 AM
Anthony Rael
RE/MAX Alliance - Arvada, CO
RE/MAX Alliance

Linda - good point about how homes are sealed in different parts of the country.

Weichert - I agree that radon mitigation vents are unsightly, so apparently if levels came back higher than normal in a kitchen, the mitigation would be the removal of the stone.  

Kathy - that's true.  Unfortunately in Colorado it's pretty common.

Vickie - I agree 100% with you.

Bruce & Mary - that's a given...but many buyers wouldn't think to request radon test in the kitchen because basements are where 99.99% of these are monitored.

Liz - my wife & I opted for Silestone several years ago (and we love it!).  Nothing against granite, we just knew we wouldn't be dilligent enough to seal it every year.  Some of the newer materials being introduced look like granite, but are half the cost.  It woudl not surprise me to see granite on NAR's list of fading fads.

Thanks for the comments.

Feb 25, 2009 10:15 AM

I am with a company I would suggest going to the Marble Institute of Ameirca's website to learn more about this issue

Feb 25, 2009 11:42 PM
Anthony Rael
RE/MAX Alliance - Arvada, CO
RE/MAX Alliance

I am pretty sure the Marble Institute is going to deny any and potential dangers with their product. Let's hope there's no truth to the studies or at least it's minimal because we'll have some major issues to contend with moving forward.

Mar 02, 2009 04:40 AM