Renovating a kitchen or building one from scratch is not a job for the faint of heart. Visualizing what the new space will look like can be intimidating, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed when presented with lots of choices. We asked professionals who work with granite countertops for their top tips on what to look for when you inspect slabs of granite for your kitchen. Here’s what they recommend.
Inspecting Granite Slabs for your Kitchen Countertop
1. Visually inspect a slab.
You should ensure that the surfaces are uniform and don’t have any scratches, chips, cracks, discolored spots, or other signs of damage.
2. Check edge straightness with a straight edge.
You need straight cuts!
3. Check the dimensions.
All the slabs must be cut in strict accordance with the requested dimensions. Don’t accept the slabs if they don’t match the specs you need.
4. Choose thicker slabs.
Thicker slabs are usually more expensive, but they’re also much more durable.
5. Do the coin test.
Take a dime out of your wallet and brush it on the polished side of the slab. This way you can determine if the polish is good or not. Low-quality polish and sealant are quite easy to scrape with a coin.
6. Do the lemon test.
Squeeze some lemon juice right on the polished surface to see what happens. If the liquid is absorbed, you can conclude that the polish is porous and unacceptable. If the juice leaves a white stain, it means that the slab has high calcite content and it’s also unacceptable.
7. Do the kerosene test.
Rub the slab (preferably the unpolished surface) with a damp cloth soaked in alcohol, and then with another cloth soaked in kerosene. If the surface loses its color, you can be sure that the material is artificially colored to hide the natural unattractive color. This trick is usually used to sell cheap material for a price of a high-quality gem.
Blemishes, Color, Clarity, and Size
Are there any significant blemishes in the slab that are unable to be worked around? Although you may be purchasing one or more slabs, depending on how your cuts layout, these may be able to be worked around.
Color and Clarity
The color of one slab of the white granite you love may change from [one batch to] the next. Mother nature is not consistent. The organic nature is the beauty of granite but also something you must be very aware of. You may be looking for a specific color to match your cabinetry. Bring samples with you to the slab showroom to ensure the particular slab has the tones you are looking for.
Although most slabs are roughly the same size, you may be able to squeeze your countertops into fewer slabs if they are a bit larger. Discuss with your fabricator how the cuts are placed and if that’s an option.
Nicole is the Founder and Principal Designer of The Social Design Studio, a full-service interior design studio specializing in boutique hospitality and residential interiors.
Keep Cleanliness in Mind
Especially light-colored granite is not very resistant to stains. Consider applying several coats of sealer or asking the granite company if sealing is included with installation.
Resistance to cleaning products
I like materials to be as resistant as possible to a variety of cleaning products, either bought from the store or homemade, without affecting the aesthetics of resistance. Keep in mind that granite isn’t very resistant to acidic compounds such as lemon, vinegar, bleach, or ammonia. For me, all four of those are extremely common cleaning products, so that makes granite a sensitive product to work with. Find out the exact type of granite you’re considering for your countertop and do some research on its specific properties and weaknesses.
You have hundreds of colors and styles to choose from. When it comes to maintenance, there are two things I’ve found:
- Very dark granite shows fingerprints so it’s hard to make it look spotless.
- Very light granites (such as white) can stain easier. I think anything in between would work just fine.
Patterns are also important. An “eccentric” pattern will look great, but make sure the rest of your kitchen has a discreet and elegant vibe, otherwise, it will be too much. The same goes the other way around. If your kitchen cabinets or appliances have a lot of personalities, look for countertops with a simple, elegant, and subtle pattern.
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