What’s in a name?

“Granite” is a catchall term, and geologists can bore you stiff telling you that your high-end granite is actually something else. Don’t worry -- when they start throwing words around like “gneiss,” “anorthosite,” “gabbro,” “mozonite” and “syenite,” they’re just strutting their geological stuff, so to speak [source: Carter]. ­

Granite Countertops: Pros and Cons

Like many things, granite countertops have their advantages and disadvantages.

Pros
  • Granite countertops don't d­epreciate in value.
  • It's a one-of-a-kind, natural surface that has an almost luminous look.
  • Granite adds value to your home.
  • It's sanitary -- bacterial contamination is not a problem with granite.
  • Formed by heat and pressure, it can take the heat of a pan.
  • It's easy to clean with warm water and a mild detergent.
Cons
  • Granite countertops last forever. If you get tired of the color, you'll either need to learn to live with it or rip out the entire counter, because you can't change the color.
  • Each slab of granite is different, so it may not be a good choice if you prefer a completely uniform look.
  • Granite itself is expensive, and the labor-intensive installation can run three times more than the cost of the material.
  • Granite can be permanently stained if you seal it with a preexisting stain.
  • It can crack when hit by a hard, sharp object like a meat cleaver.
  • Because it's so heavy, granite often requires additional structural support, especially in spans and cantilevers.
  • Once glued onto the cabinets, granite is quite difficult to remove, and may result in damage to the cabinets.

Now that you've read about how to install, cut and seal granite countertops, as well as granite's pros and cons, you might want a few more details before you begin your project. To learn more, visit some of the Web sites on the following page.