Help on types (quality of) granite countertops!

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Old 06-14-07, 11:43 PM
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Help on types (quality of) granite countertops!

I am looking at adding granite countertpps in my kitchen and in my bathrooms - but I am so confused at all the stuff out there. There is:

i) thickness of granite - 2" or 3" and is one better than the other - stronger?
ii) granite from taiwan or brazil (or elsewhere) - is there a difference in quality?
iii) and fine and medium and coarse granite (what the heck is that all about)?

Can someone please help - I want unbiased answers as opposed to trying to sell me the more expensive stuff - cause its better quality - or so they tell me.

Thanks so much!!
 
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Old 06-15-07, 04:56 AM
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I would avoid Home Depot, it is unlikely that anyone there can answer your questions. Check with friends, relatives, co-workers, etc., for referrals to granite people. You want someone that has been doing that for a long time, there is no substitute for experience. If no luck there, check with bath/kitchen specialty shops, they know the local granite people.
 
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Old 06-15-07, 10:06 AM
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Granite typically comes in 2 or 3 centimeter thickness. Obviously, thinner is cheaper, and can be broken easier by someone (kids) leaning on it or cabinet subs standing on it (even though we asked them not to - but nothing broke!). We went with 3 cm thickness because we think it looks better (beefier, solid look).

Granite is a rock and the different mineral/rock deposits around the world give the various granites their different colors. It also affects the price to the consumer (mining and shipping costs). Our granite came from a valley in Spain.

Never have heard of the terms fine, medium, and coarse granite.

Agree with Just Bill to stay away from the box stores for granite. My BIL bought from one and when things weren't done properly, they just wanted to give them some money back instead of correcting the problems. Find a reputable installer and get it done right. Do shop around. We had about 6 quotes from $8500 to $14K+ for the same granite (which would all be coming from the same warehouse) and same exact install specs. We checked out the $8500 bid people for workmanship and quality details and went with them and they did a very nice job.
 
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Old 06-19-07, 03:25 AM
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The way I understand the thickness issue is it is relative to application. 2cm is used for bath vanity tops (although 3cm can be used) and 3cm is primarily used for kitchen tops. The varied costs aren't neccessarily for differenet quality but rather colors and patterns. The more common the color/pattern (e.i. Baltic Brown) the less expensive. I agree that getting an experienced fabricator is key. The abilty to hide seems is something that is important to consider. But even that is relative to the pattern on your granite. Also, if you go to a box store, don't trust the display to give a real example of what your granite will look like. Granite is a natural stone and not one slab is the same as another. If you can, go to the distributor and pick your own slabs. Its an interesting experience. Good luck
 
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Old 06-20-07, 11:34 PM
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Thanks guys,

Just wanted to say thanks Just Bill, Formula and Newsy for your response. So I guess it doesn't really matter where the granite guys get their granite from then? Its whether I like the color or not right?

One more thing guys, the specks in the granite - is it better to go with the bigger specks or pick the little specks? Is one more durable then the other?

And do you think I should I go with a 3cm with no bullnosing or go with the thinner with nosing (to make it look thicker)? Is the 3cm more durable - less likely to crack?

And what should I use to sell the granite - as I understand you should seal it?

Thanks very much guys.
 
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Old 06-21-07, 03:34 AM
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I don't believe the pattern in the granite is relative to it's durability. I would recommend 3cm if its going in your kitchen. I think most fabricators would also. As far as sealing is concerned, many fabricators will seal it before installing it. Mine was sealed prior to installation with a "7yr" sealer. Even my fabricator says to re-seal it at 5yrs. Be sure to ask your fabricator if they seal it. Good luck and take you time choosing your granite slabs.
 
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Old 07-09-07, 09:18 AM
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OK, so I am a geologist and thought I would chime in here. The issue with coarse, medium, or fine granite has to do with the grain size of the individual grains in the granite. Granite is an igneous rock (i.e., it formed deep in the Earth's crust from a molten material - magma - and the "grains" are individual minerals that precipitated as the magma cooled). Very rapid cooling results in finer grained material, whereas coarser material cooled very slowly. Both materials will be equally durable given the mineral content is the same... however, as was alluded to earlier these are natural materials and not all granites are the same. All granites contain quartz and plagioclase and generally one or two micas (white = muscovite, black = biotite), but they also contain "trace minerals" such as magnetite. If properly sealed, these impurities add character, but if not properly sealed, well something like magnetite will do exactly what would happen if you leave a magnet outside, RUST. In general grain size should be a matter of taste. Just make sure you follow the manufacturers recommendations for sealing the granite.
 
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