It’s sleek. Smooth. Luminescent and lightly reflective. Seductive. Natural. It moves.
And, while I try not to take the beauty of my granite for granted, I’m just going to say it — that thing that will most likely put me on the combined hit list of decorators, kitchen designers, Realtors, and people who make their living carving away the earth one layer at a time — if I had it to do over, granite is not the material I would choose for my countertops.
From my post, The Biggest Rock I Ever Bought
Actually, if I’m going to be really honest, I wouldn’t be picking counter tops at all. Because I’d be living in a grass hut in Fiji. Where our counters would be made of shells and sand. Or something. Which totally isn’t practical, but it would be Fiji, so practicality would be like… the last thing I care about. Because I wouldn’t cook. I’d subsist off a diet of tropical fruit, Nutella, and cocktails made from coconuts and rum.
Do they have Nutella in Fiji?
I hope so. Otherwise I might have to re-think this whole thing.
For the last 5 or 6 years, anyone who’s even thought about remodeling a kitchen — even if they don’t own kitchens but just like to watch HGTV — knows that granite has been like THE counter material of choice. In fact, if you recently remodeled your kitchen and used a material other than granite (or marble, but the idea is natural stone), you’ve likely been told that you better love it because you will never be able to resell your home ever again.
It’s gotten so bad that I’ve seen people stick slabs of this gorgeous rock across the tops of old, rickety base cabinets from the ’70’s — original hardware still intact — and call it complete.
Now please don’t get me wrong. I love the look of our granite (though I still wish we’d gone with something a bit more neutral). I mean, I minored in Geology and had a very impressive rock collection as a kid (seriously — I had a geology reference book when I was 12), so if anyone can appreciate the beauty of this stone, it’s me.
So if there was a way to say… hang a huge slab of it on my wall, or better yet, make a whole wall out of this stuff cheaply and without tearing massive scars into the earth’s crust, I’d be all for it. It’s like art — truly.
But for a countertop? Just. Not. Practical. Why? Here goes.
1) As proven by the fact that I’m not sure I want kids because it will cut into my “me” time, I am inherently lazy. Well, that’s not exactly true. I’m always up and doing something — it’s just that I like that something to be something I like doing. And that something has never — ever — included granite upkeep.
See, I’m not sure if you know this, but granite is a natural stone. Nothing in nature is constant over time, meaning its state can always change. Our particular slab of granite happens to be grainy. In fact, the fabricators had to come back several times to scrub it down with steel wool before it felt smooth — not grainy — to the touch. And still, every now and then, I need to go over it with the wool to get it back to that glassy, mirrored surface we all know and love.
Also, it’s porous. This means that unless it’s sealed really well — a process you should repeat over the course of your granite ownership — it will absorb anything that sits on its surface for too long. Especially oils. Oils are its drink of choice. I’ve learned that you can “suck” them out using a combination of flour and dish soap spread over the stain and covered by a piece of plastic wrap (yes, I’ve had to do this — several times), but it’s probably best to get used to the fact that your granite may not stay pristine forever.
2) One thing people love about granite is how hard and durable it is. Well, just remember that means it’s hard and durable. If you use it as a cutting board, it will turn your knives dull faster than Ben Stein can cause a roomful of students’ eyes to glaze over.
If, say… it decides to do battle with something you love, like a wine glass for example, the granite will win.
Every. Damn. Time.
And not necessarily just when a glass tips over onto the granite, but even if you set its fragile stem down just a little too zealously. Wine enthusiasm is not a wise move in granite covered kitchens, my friends.
The same applies to glass bottles, fragile dishware, and your face. Really. If you ever dance while you cook, trip over your own feet, and find yourself plummeting all-too-quickly towards that expensive slab of rock you so painstakingly picked out, you will know what it’s like to come close to death.
3) Sure, granite is heat-resistant. But because you’re so afraid of doing anything else that might damage it (like leaving an unnoticed puddle of olive oil sit overnight), it takes you a full 2 years to muster the courage to set down a hot pan. And, when you finally do, it’s not nearly as satisfying as you’d hoped.
I guess all I’m really sayin’ is, installing granite is like having a baby. You shouldn’t do it unless you’re willing to commit the time and energy it takes to make it the best granite it can possibly be. You have to accept the flaws you can not change, smooth over the flaws you can, and have the wisdom to know that in the end, you’ll end up spending a significant chunk of your savings on an ungrateful slab that absorbs all of your resources without ever giving back.
And it breaks wine glasses.