Are granite surfaces about to disappear?

Kitchen countertops must be strong, heat resistant and durable. Granite is a polished rock that is quarried and then transported and installed in your kitchen. There are several grades, and no two pieces are the same.

Granite fans enjoy the beauty of natural rock formations and the patterns that formed during the heating and cooling process. This is a beautiful natural surface for kitchens, very strong and popular. However, there is often a lively and contrary debate about which is better, quartz or granite?

There are other materials that are also being used, these days, too.

1. Laminate or Melamine (Formica)

Kitchen countertops can be made from different materials. `Plastic is clearly not a good option as it can melt. Instead, harder plastic polymers are used to make thin sheets that are layered on top of particle board, this is melamine or laminate.

These surfaces are easy to clean and can withstand heat, however, if there is one area that is chipped, the entire counter can swell and rot.

In a home with rising damp, it is possible for water to rise, kitchen cabinets, and in the worst case, kitchen countertops, to swell. Despite the risk of water damage, this is a very popular surface: over 80% of European homes have laminate.

2. Tempered Glass, Ceramic and Concrete

Modern trends are changing and kitchen counters are made from many different materials. Glass is specially made to have very high heat resistance, like Pyrex cookware, and can be used as a surface. It can also be repainted to match your color scheme.

However, it is quite an expensive option and there is always a risk of it cracking, especially if there is a difference in temperature, from cold to hot. This is called tempered glass.

Ceramics can withstand very high temperatures: aluminium, for example, starts to melt at 660°C, while ceramics can withstand temperatures of up to 2000°C. Concrete is even fashionable as a countertop, and it can be polished, however it can crack and chip.

3. Quartz

One of the biggest rivals and an increasingly popular option is quartz. This is not a completely natural product: it is made from 95% naturally ground quartz and 5% polymer resins. It is a very similar surface to granite but is less porous, easy to clean and does not need to be sealed or resealed every year like granite does. It can be used for backsplashes and comes in a wide range of colors.

It is not totally heat resistant, and you need to use trivets to protect a quartz countertop. They are super hygienic countertops and are 99% bacteria-free surfaces. (*when cleaned). A patina can develop on granite: oil stains can seep into the stone and discolor it if it hasn’t been sealed.

Granite kitchen countertops are very popular and durable, but there are some rivals that are growing in popularity on the market. What counter are you going to get? Well, it’s a good idea to check the cost first and make a decision from there.

Professional kitchen designers will help you choose the surface that best suits your needs. Quartz is also a popular choice for people concerned about the environment: the carbon footprint is smaller, as rock mining and transportation is not needed, in the same way that granite is quarried.

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