Pros and Cons of Granite Benchtops

When it comes to selecting the perfect material for your kitchen benchtop in Perth, granite often emerges as a top contender. Its timeless elegance, durability, and heat resistance make it a popular choice among homeowners and designers alike.  However, like any other material, granite comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Whether you’re seeking a timeless and opulent upgrade or are weighing the practicality of granite for your busy family kitchen, we’ve got you covered. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the pros and cons of granite benchtops to help you make an informed decision for your kitchen renovation or construction project.

Pros of Granite Benchtops

1. Aesthetic Appeal: 

One of the standout features is Granite’s natural beauty. Each slab of granite is unique, with intricate patterns and a wide range of colours to choose from.  This makes it easy to find a benchtop that complements your kitchen’s design and style. Whether you prefer a classic, elegant look or something more contemporary, there’s likely a granite option that suits your taste.

2. Durability

Granite is an incredibly durable material that can withstand the daily wear and tear of a busy kitchen. It is highly resistant to scratches and stains, making it an excellent choice for families or those who love to cook.  With granite, you can chop, slice, and dice directly on the surface without worrying about damaging it, though this is not recommended as it will blunt your knife. Granite is a lot more resistant to scratches than most engineered stones and will continue to look brand new way past the life of an engineered benchtop.

3. Heat Resistance

Granite can handle hot pots and pans without being damaged, but just remember that no one has control over the extent of thermal expansion , so it’s wise to use trivets or wooden bread boards when putting very hot items down. Better to be safe than sorry. This heat resistance is a valuable feature in a kitchen where cooking accidents are bound to happen. Unlike most engineered stone and laminate, granite will not burn or discolour from heat.

4. Easy Maintenance

Maintenance is relatively simple. Regular cleaning with mild soap and water is usually sufficient to keep granite looking pristine, however if you want your granite to be streak free, then you can use a professional granite cleaner such as MB Stonecare’s ‘MB5 Stone & More’. This product has been specifically designed for marble & granite and will help to remove cooking oil and other spills without damaging the stone or breaking down the sealer.  For an extra special shine, use MB Stonecare MB13 polish to enhance the stones natural colours and provide a protective shield that repels water. Not only will this look great but this simple method will also help you extend the life of your worktops. You could also try MB stonecare Finito which is a finishing spray which protects, smooths and beautifies all polished and honed stone surfaces. It adds shine and creates a protective shield that repels water, reduces fingerprints and light scratches, smooths the surface and makes routine cleaning easier. Team this with a periodic seal using a good quality sealer such as MB24 barrier to help to resist penetration of stains into the stone. This is especially important for lighter granites to ensure they are properly protected. This sealing process helps protect the stone from absorbing liquids, which can lead to stains. While this maintenance step is necessary for some granites (not all), it’s not overly burdensome, and many homeowners find it worth the effort to preserve the beauty of their benchtops.

5. Longevity

With proper care, granite can last for decades, making it a wise investment for your home.  Unlike some other materials that may require replacement or refinishing after a few years, granite maintains its beauty and functionality for a very long time. This longevity can result in cost savings over the long term, as you won’t need to replace your benchtop as frequently.

6. Increased Property Value

Granites can add value to your home. They are considered a premium feature in the real estate market, which can attract potential buyers and increase your property’s resale value.  So, not only do you get to enjoy the benefits of granite while you live in your home, but it can also pay off when it’s time to sell.

7. Large Slab Format

Some granite colours can come in slab sizes of up to 3400x2000mm.  This will often allow for larger island benches than the two main engineered slab sizes of only 3000×1600 or 3200×1600. Your stone mason will often need more slabs of engineered stone to complete the same job in granite.

Cons of Granite Benchtops

1. Cost

The primary drawback of granite can sometimes be cost. There aren’t many selections of granite which will compete with the lowest builder range of engineered stone. However if you are looking at stone with a bit of pattern and not just the cheapest builder’s speckle look, then there is actually quite a selection of low to mid price range granites which will be similar in price.

2. Installation Complexity

It’s crucial to hire a professional stonemason to cut and install your granite to ensure a quality finish. It is less likely that homeowners could perform a DIY with granite as they might with a laminate benchtop. Granite, marble and engineered stone all have a similar processing complexity.

3. Sealing Required

While granite is relatively stain-resistant, it is still porous to some extent. To maintain its appearance and prevent staining, regular sealing is necessary. Depending on the type of granite and the level of use, you may need to reseal your benchtop every 1 to 3 years. Some darker granites however are so dense that they don’t need sealing at all so check with your supplier. White granites and lighter tones usually need a quick seal. You can do this yourself at an average cost of $40 per seal.  This upkeep can be seen as a minor inconvenience compared to the overall benefits of granite, but it’s important to be aware of this maintenance requirement.

4. Weight

Granite is a dense and heavy material compared to chipboard. However, any quality designed and manufactured kitchen cabinet should be able to already handle the weight of granite without the need for reinforcement.  Note that granite and engineered stone are both of similar weight.  However, it is important to work with professionals who understand the specific requirements of installing granite to ensure it is properly level and supported so it does not flex.

5. Limited Colour Options

 While granite offers a wide range of colours and patterns, some homeowners may find that it doesn’t offer the same level of customization as other materials like man made quartz. The uniqueness of each slab means that you might not be able to find an exact match for a specific colour or pattern you have in mind. For those looking for pure whites or whites with very little pattern, mother nature does not create many granites with only one mineral in it. Often white granites have more pattern due to the minerals folded in during its birth.  However, the vast array of choices that are available still provides ample options to suit various design preferences. 

6. Susceptible to Cracking

While granite is incredibly durable, it is not indestructible. In rare cases, it can crack if subjected to extreme force or pressure.  However, such occurrences are infrequent and usually result from accidents or mishandling rather than regular use. Do not stand on your granite to fix the light bulb above it, nor should you sit on the benchtop whilst talking to mates in the kitchen.

7. Natural Variations

While the unique patterns in granite can be a pro to people who appreciate the unique and want something different than everyone else, they can also be a con. Some homeowners may prefer a more uniform and consistent look so that their benchtop blends in rather than being a feature. This can sometimes be challenging to achieve with granite. The natural variations in colour and pattern may not be to everyone’s taste, and it’s important to choose a slab that aligns with your aesthetic preferences.

Wrapping It Up: Weighing the Granite Benchtop Pros and Cons

Granite is a popular choice for kitchens due to their aesthetic appeal, durability, heat resistance, and longevity. However, they can come with a slightly higher price tag in some cases, require professional installation, and will benefit from annual maintenance in the form of sealing. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons to determine if granite is the right choice for your kitchen renovation or construction project. Ultimately, the decision should align with your budget, design preferences, and lifestyle.  If you value the timeless beauty of natural stone and are willing to invest in a material that can stand the test of time, then granite benchtops may be the perfect choice to enhance both the functionality and aesthetic appeal of your kitchen in Perth. While they have their drawbacks, these can often be mitigated with proper planning and maintenance, allowing you to enjoy the many benefits of granite for years to come.

Leave your granite worries to Granite Warehouse

Whatever product you decide is best for your project, Granite Warehouse can help you find the right material to suit your needs. With over 40 years of experience and over 200 choices, you’re sure to find a product that fits seamlessly into your kitchen’s design and your lifestyle. Plus, our low business model means you pay less with our highly competitive rates, so browse our wide range of products today or contact us on 08 9209 2620 to speak to a member of our team!