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How to Choose Countertops

How to Choose Countertops: Granite, Marble, Quartz and Solid Surface

Granite, marble, quartz, and solid surface can all be great countertop options.  With so many choices available, a key question is “How do I choose the right countertop?”  Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to making a great choice for your remodeling project.

1. See All the Countertop Choices - See what granite and other choices are available --- visit the homes of friends and neighbors, go to local granite distributors or visit our showroom at Triangle Granite and Tile.  Check out kitchen, bath and remodeling magazines and look at pictures online to see the variety of options.  Write the names down of the types of granite, marble, or quartz that you like.

2. Think About the Environment - Think about what the granite will work with in your living environment.  How will it fit in with the cabinets, appliances, sinks, faucets, decorations and walls?  While there are many beautiful granite and natural stone choices, some colors and styles work better in certain situations and worse in others.

3. Choose the Feeling you Want – Think about the overall style and feeling you want to achieve for the room.  Do you want a contemporary feeling that is sleek and streamlined?  Then consider black, white, or gray granite as they can work well in creating a modern, open and contemporary mood.  Or, do you prefer the relaxed and comfortable feeling of a country kitchen?  If so, then earth tones may be a good fit. Perhaps you want a traditional style that is timeless and versatile.  Many classic granite colors and elegant marbles in the brown and green families could be a good choice. 

4. Choosing the Granite Color – Choosing the right color is the most important consideration in your granite selection process.  Granite colors have a broad range and can be black, white, brown, gold, blue, red or green.  Within the colors, there a many shades and each has a blend of other colors, speckles, and highlights that result in a broad array of choices.  Here are some important considerations:

  • Bold versus Neutral colors – you may want to make a bold statement with a piece of granite that is unique.  Adding a unique flare can be a nice choice, but ask yourself if it is something that you may grow tired of over time.  Also, consider the impact on a potential resale.  The boldness you find attractive could be a turn off to a potential new buyer.
  • Natural Lighting – Dark versus light colors.  If the kitchen has plenty of bright, natural lighting, then putting in a darker color could be a perfect fit.  In a darker kitchen, a lighter countertop may provide just the right touch of brightness to liven up the area.
  • Complementary or Contrasting – You get very different effects when you choose granite that blends in with the cabinetry than when it contrasts.  Either choice can work, so think it through, look at examples and decide which way you want to go.

5. Beyond the Color – Perhaps the most special and beautiful characteristic of granite and natural stone is how each piece has unique characteristics beyond the color. 

  • Granite Composition: granite is mostly made up of three types of hard rock ingredients: feldspar, quartz, and biotite.  But percentage of composition of these varies in each slab, resulting in a variety of colors and styles.  
  • Granite Highlights: In addition to the key components, each piece of granite can have unique mineral ingredients such as mica or hornblende that provide highlights to the granite slab.  As a result, one piece of granite could pick up the wood color of your cabinets, the silver of your appliances, and also highlight the sunlight coming in from the kitchen window. 
  • Movement versus Uniformity:  A hot trend in design is “movement” which refers to the natural patterns and waves that occur in granite.  Consumers are trending away from the “uniformity” and consistency provided by solid surface countertops like Corian and other non-natural surfaces.  There are two main types of movement in granite:
    • Dot-RedLinear Movement: Linear movement is when the color patterns of the stone flow in a horizontal or vertical direction.  There are typically waves in the movement, but it flows mostly in similar direction.
      Dot-RedRandom Movement:  Random movement is a highly sought after characteristic because it provides the most significant departure from the uniformity of non-natural countertops.  In granite with random movement there are fewer repeatable patterns and more unique swirls and flows that have no defined boundaries.   Some of the highest end slabs such as: Typhoon Bordeaux, Talisman, Noble Gold Lot, Delicatus White, and Cold Spring Lot have the pleasing, natural look of random movement.

6. Bring Home Samples – Once you’ve got an idea of what type of granite you like, it’s a good idea to get samples and bring them home into the environment.  Sometimes a slab that looks great in the showroom may not give you that same feeling at home.  Room size, lighting and being in the actual setting with your cabinets and appliances can make a big difference in how the granite looks. 

7. Size Matters for Designs and Seams – Make sure you get a slab that fits the size and design of your project.  If there is a particular section of the granite you want to feature in a certain place in your layout, make sure to discuss this with the fabricator.  Also, on any large countertop there will be seams, but don’t worry.  By taking the design and movement into consideration, a good fabricator can lay out the design in a way that creates a very attractive and natural looking seam. 

In addition, if you have multiple surfaces such as the countertop and an island, you will want to consider how those two areas will work together.  Each piece of granite is unique, even pieces from the same quarry will vary in color, density, and the particles in the stone.  As such, if your job requires more than one slab, we will select two matching slabs that go well together.

8. Consultation: Trust an Expert – The addition of granite can make a beautiful transformation to your living space.  It should be a great experience as you bring your dream kitchen or bath to life.  But it can also be stressful because of the cost and the fact that you don’t want to make a bad decision.

Getting help from an expert can really help you in the process.  Find a designer or granite specialist that’s been there and done that many, many times.  They can listen to you and help you narrow down the choices and make the right decisions.

How to Choose Countertops

Bold versus Neutral colors

How to Choose Countertops

Natural Lighting 

How to Choose Countertops

Complementary or Contrasting 

Agata-linear-movement

Agata-linear-movement 

Bamboo Green-linear-movement

Bamboo Green-linear-movement

Barbarella-linear-movement

Barbarella-linear-movement

Blue Fire-random-movement

Blue Fire-random-movement

 

 

 

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