As most homeowners with granite countertops will tell you, these beautiful and durable surfaces are well worth the money, but if you’re on any kind of a budget, it’s important to acknowledge that they’re a significant investment. That’s why it is vital to sidestep avoidable mistakes wherever possible. We’ve put together a list of common mistakes that homeowners make when choosing and installing their granite countertops so that you can steer clear.

1. Sloppy measurements

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is be careful during the measurement process. Some granite manufacturers will take customer-provided measurements without a problem. Others require one of their employees to measure the space so that they can assume liability.

If you take the measurements yourself, do everyone a favor and measure (at least!) twice. Start by drawing out the layout of your kitchen, and then take three measurements for each long stretch of countertop: closest to the wall, in the middle, and along the front edge. Sometimes when walls aren’t plumb, you can get the wrong measurements, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

In your measurements, you also need to include the accurate measurements for all appliances and sinks. That means you need to decide on your sink and appliances before you order your countertops.

If your granite company comes out to measure, be sure to verify their measurements before they leave to start the manufacturing process. “Measure twice; cut once” is solid advice.

2. Incorrect Seam Placement

Between a great installer and granite’s natural colors and patterns, seams should be almost unnoticeable. That said, you are almost guaranteed to have a seam somewhere on your countertop, so you should try to plan for it. The more direct action a seam gets from you and the family, the faster it will wear out.

If possible, try to position the seam in an inconspicuous place away from water. You don’t want it right next to your sink if you can help it, but if it has to be nearby, try positioning it running perpendicular instead of parallel to the sink’s side edge. Doing it that way will provide extra support to the sink and prevent unnecessary strain on the joint.

3. Choosing the Wrong Color

You probably already have a good idea of what color you want in your kitchen, but there is a bit of a science to it.

  • Lighter colors make the space seem bigger and brighter – a necessity for closed-in or small kitchens. The problem with lighter colors is that they tend to stain easier than darker granite colors.
  • Darker colors are more eye-grabbing and dramatic, and they often hide stains and scratches better than lighter colored granite (though they show more dust or dirt). Black granite also tends to be very dense, which could mean less maintenance over time. The problem with dark granite is that it can make a small kitchen feel even smaller.

Even if you have a neutral kitchen, there are still probably quite a few different colors, shades, and textures in your kitchen. The grey granite you have your eye on may not match the grey paint on your walls or cabinets, so don’t select your granite until you see the colors side-by-side. Ask to bring a gallery sample home with you, or bring your cabinet door, a spare piece of flooring, and paint chips in when you visit. Whatever you do, make sure that you see your colors and textures next to each other before you buy.

4. Sacrificing Quality

One of the major factors in how well your granite lasts over the years is how well it came to you in the first place. You may be tempted to pick the cheapest granite slab on the lot, but you often get what you pay for. When you pick out a slab, be sure to visit the stone yard in person, if possible, and select the slab you want by hand. If it’s available for purchase, the employee will put your name on it so that no other potential buyers can snatch it up. Be sure to check for cracks, large pits or dings, or other problems. Having significant structural damage can impact the integrity of your entire countertop, so you want to avoid that at all costs.

5. Choosing the Wrong Edge

The type of edge you choose in your kitchen says a lot about you and your home.

  • A straight, beveled, or eased edge is great for minimalistic homes with a lot of clean lines and angles.
  • Waterfall or bullnose edges are smooth and create the feeling of flow in the kitchen. That edge is perfect for kitchens with softer design elements or little children who tend to bang their heads on the countertops.
  • The ogee edge, on the other hand, is excellent in kitchens that exude drama and finesse.

Choosing the wrong edge can make your kitchen feel disjointed or haphazardly thrown together. When you consider the edge, look for other elements in your kitchen that you love and mimic them. You can find inspiration in your cabinet designs, curtains, or even the décor that you have out.

Your kitchen is a central spot in your home, and your countertops can take quite a beating between dinner prep, last-minute science projects, and late-night hunger pangs. Granite is an incredibly durable material that can withstand almost anything you throw at it. Choose and install it wisely, and you’ll be set for years to com.