If you have decided to upgrade your home’s floors/ work surfaces with granite, then chances are you have already learned about the color choices, movement and durability. But how can you tell if you are getting good quality granite? After all, you are making a major investment into your home and you want to ensure you are getting exactly what you expect. As you begin your selection process, be sure to ask these questions and pay attention to the details.
- If purchasing granite for countertops, look for slabs that are a minimum of 3 meters or more in length as this one of the key indicators of a quality piece of granite. These will cost more, but they are truly the best.
- Will the granite be cut with water or kerosene? While either is acceptable, the higher quality choice is granite that will be cut using water as this is better for the granite and does not take away from the stability and strength of the stone. If granite has been cut using kerosene, then dormant ferrous and ferric mineral particles are triggered and will eventually cause discoloration and pitting in the polished surface. Kerosene cut granite also begins showing dull places within 6-18 months giving the granite a dull appearance. Lastly, kerosene cut granite should not be used in homes with radiant heating as kerosene will evaporate from the stone bringing unpleasant odors and health hazards.
- Can the vendor use granite slabs from the same block for a single job? This will add to the overall look of the completed project. If more than 1 slab will be used, then the material should be a nearly perfect match in shade and color (an exact match is rare due to the natural coloring and movement of granite).
- The finished product should have a mirror like appearance (ask to see finished pieces in the showroom so you know what to expect from the installer/fabricator) as well as a consistent high shine.
- Your granite countertops, once installed, should have seams that are as smooth and as nearly invisible as possible. Again, you will want to see showroom samples for this. Check to see that the edges are slightly beveled and well polished at the top edge of any joints or seams. Edges that are merely sawed off will have a lighter appearance than those that have beveled and polished.
- 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 hand-held equipment versus an automated edging tool.
- Do the colors and grains “match”? Though 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. In addition, the granite slabs should fit precisely so that the countertops flow smoothly which adds to the overall elegance and appearance of the stone.