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The Ultimate Granite Buying Guide for a Homeowner on a Tight Budget

Kitchens today are a  blend of aesthetics and luxurious functionality. With the contemporary lifestyle, the design language and concepts have seen an evolution; and with it, the kitchen has evolved too. It’s become a place to entertain, a place to socialize, a place to bond with friends and loved ones over the holidays. In fact, this is why so many people remodel their kitchens every year: it has a huge demand with prospective homebuyers, simply because it has a huge demand in their everyday life.

No wonder more and more homeowners are opting for kitchen remodeling. The numbers only go up each year. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that kitchen remodeling is a serious business that asks for mindful planning both in terms of budgeting and purchases. Of all the elements that go into making your kitchen complete and functional, the countertop plays the hero of the script…and why not? That’s the first element that we see or touch as we enter a kitchen. It is also the one that’s abused the most over the years.

So, it’s not a surprise that many homeowners make countertop remodel the first priority. But there are a plethora of countertops out there. How do we decide which is best for us?

Let’s go back to the basics for this one. Among all the materials available for kitchen countertops, Granite has been stealing the show since ages. With good reasons, though. The material is stunning and comes with a range of designs and patterns to choose from.  Besides, granite is tough enough to resist abrasion, strong enough to bear a significant load, inert enough to withstand weathering…and it takes a brilliant polish. These features make it the topmost choice for a countertop.

Yet, homeowners shy away from investing in granite countertops as the material is pricey. Is there any way to incorporate granite as your kitchen countertop without burning a hole in your pocket?  Indeed there is. There are many tips that you can use to help you budget your money for a granite top.

Why is Granite Costlier than Other Materials

There’s a huge variety of materials available for kitchen countertops that you can pick from. Solid surfaces, laminates, marble, granite, and quartz come to mind. However, we love the classic granite for one too many reasons…and we aren’t alone. Many homeowners prefer it for its durability, ease of maintenance and much more.

As for the cost, the average cost of granite countertops runs anywhere between $40 and $100.00. On the other hand, granite tile costs $2.50 to $5.00 per square foot. A high-end variety can cost you a good $6.00 to $15.00 or even more per square foot, depending on what you’re looking for.

That’s to say, granite is not always pricey. There are, in fact, factors that drive up the cost. If you can find ways to work around them, you can find ways to cut corners.


Factors that Drive Up the Cost of a Granite Countertop

1. Size of Granite Slabs

A lot depends upon the size of the pieces. This means that a granite countertop composed of a few large pieces will cost you more because of its seamless finishing. Also, larger the piece, the more consistent is the pattern and the color. This can also influence the price.

Then, there’s the width and thickness of the material that makes a big difference too. Thicker granite slabs are often used for a refined look in the kitchen. They tend to be costlier as the material gives the colors and patterns a stronger visual presence.

That being said, you may be able to cut back the cost by buying smaller pieces. It also means that there will be more seams that will require professional installation; so you have to account for the difference as well. Either way, granite is heavy and is best installed and fabricated by a professional supplier — so you might be good to go.

2. Design and Colour

Granite is also called a “dimension stone”. That means that it’s essentially a natural rock material that has been cut into blocks or slabs of specific length and width. Besides, granite is available in both common and rare colors. Greens, browns, and beiges are more common colors and are generally not so expensive.

However, the rarer ones like purple, red and blue run high on cost. The design too adds to the cost. For instance, a common green piece with the finest cuts might cost more than a rare blue granite with a simple design.

3. Durability

Granite is exceptionally durable and strong. For all you know, you may never have to change your kitchen countertops ever again. All they need is proper care and maintenance and you can be sure to enjoy their presence for years ahead. That being said, that definitely drives up both costs and popularity. Nothing you can do to avoid this one, sorry.

4. Availability

In case you order the material from a distant location, you will have to pay more for the transportation cost. That goes for material that’s imported as well, such as the Blue Pearl from Norway. It’s a good idea to procure the material closer home to save on the cost.

Installation of Granite to Save Costs

Granite countertops are simply gorgeous. There’s probably no other natural stone countertop out there that can match up to the beauty and the durability of the material. Having said that, there are some that cost less to install than the others.

As per the above, while it’s okay to stick to darker shades and avoid exotic ones to cut costs, you must be careful while picking slabs that are too thin. Sure, thinner slabs are cheaper as compared to thicker ones. But they may also not be as strong and require professional installation. A professional installer will do the adjustments to place them without breakage while also preventing it from being scratched. You have to factor in the difference between labor costs and material before making a call.

Driving Down Cost with Prefabricated Countertops

In case, you are on a lookout for customized fabrication for your countertops, be warned that you will have to pay some bucks for all those special cutouts. On the flip side, if your kitchen sports a simple no complicated design, consider going in for prefabricated countertops that will save you some bucks.

DIY Installation of Granite Countertops

Even the hardcore DIYers prefer to leave granite countertop installation to the professionals. Sure, you can do without fabrication services but don’t take chances with the installation. If the material ends up getting damaged in the process, it is you who will have to bear the cost. Plus, it is not an easy task.

Nevertheless, if you have the right experience and the training to tackle the job, you can perhaps handle the basic aspects like taking off the countertop. This will cut down on the cost as well as the installation time.

Also, think in terms of treating the granite after installation rather than before. Once the countertop is installed, consider giving the finish yourself rather than hiring a professional for it.

Granite = Saving in the Long Run

By choosing granite to be a part of your kitchen space, you also end up opting for luxury without going over the budget. Be it river white, black galaxy or brown pearl — there’s a perfect granite for every taste and kitchen.

Plus, the countertops are super easy to maintain. All they need is to be sealed to improve their resistance to moisture and stains. As for the rest, there is nothing a soft cloth and a mild cleanser can’t handle.

In fact, one of the reasons why homeowners are hung up on granite is because of is its durability. Granite can give any other countertop material a run for its money in terms of looks too. As pointed out earlier, granite countertops can last for decades. This brings us to another potential benefit of granite countertops. Opting for granite countertops is one of the most lucrative investments that a homeowner can make. Kitchens with granite countertops add a considerable estate value to their homes.

Keep in mind that though granite countertops may cost more than its peers,  the cost will be well made up not only in monitory value but also in the final opulent appeal for the entire house. It doesn’t matter whether you plan to upgrade your granite countertop or install a new granite top; both the investments are worth every cent you put in.

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