There are so many different kinds of countertops on the market today that it can be a little overwhelming when you’re shopping around. Laminate or solid surface? Quartz or marble? Tile or granite? Then, once you make a material selection, you suddenly have a million more choices. Alaska Blue or Andromeda White? Black Mist or Black Taurus? Patagonia or Pitaya?

Most Colorado homeowners opt for granite countertops for a few reasons:

  1. Beauty: The number one reason for homeowners choosing granite is how beautiful and elegant it is! The colors, veining, and patterns are stylish and can have breathtaking designs. You can find granite in the standard brown, white, and black, but you can also find it in emerald green, cornflower blue, and gold – there truly is something for everyone.
  2. Durability: Granite is one of the most durable countertop options on the market because it is heat-resistant, stain-resistant, chip-resistant, and scratch-resistant. With proper maintenance, it can last multiple decades of daily use.
  3. Maintenance: Which brings us to another reason why people choose granite: it is pretty low maintenance. When it comes from the manufacturer, it has already been sealed professionally, and that seal can last up to 10 years. If you use your countertops regularly, you may need to do a spot seal every year (or every few months if you use it a lot) to keep your counters from absorbing oils, acids, or other liquids that can stain. Still, compared to some of the other natural stones on the market, granite needs relatively little care.
  4. Uniqueness: Lastly, each slab of granite is unique – even compared against other slabs quarried nearby. With granite flooring, countertops, or wall-covering, you are guaranteed to have a one-of-a-kind product.

With all of those positive attributes, it’s no wonder that granite is so highly sought after by homeowners! If you’re shopping around for granite countertops, beware of the impersonators. Granite countertops are often imitated (but never duplicated!) because they provide so much additional beauty and value to a home. As you do your research, here are some things to watch out for so that you do end up buying genuine granite and not a knock-off.

The Impersonators

  1. Engineered Stone: Engineered stone is precisely that: engineered. While engineered stone does have its merit, it can’t hold a candle to the natural elegance that is granite. Additionally, it isn’t unique the way that granite is because engineered stone is manufactured in large quantities.
  2. Stained Concrete: Concrete has come a long way, and you can find it stained, painted, or with aggregate mixed in so that it looks like granite. Don’t be fooled, though! Concrete doesn’t age as well as granite does, and it doesn’t hold its value as well, either. For more information on concrete countertops, visit this page.
  3. Laminate: Easily the least expensive countertop option out there, one tell-tale sign is that there is usually a dark seam where the laminate has been cut and glued together. Nowadays, you can find more expensive laminate that has the same color all the way through it, but it’s still no substitution for granite.
  4. Solid surface: Solid surface is yet another impersonator for granite. We’ll hand it to you – sometimes it can look very similar to granite, but it’s almost entirely man-made and very much less durable.

So what can you look for when you’re trying to determine if a countertop is granite or not?

Here are three things to watch out for:

  1. Imperfections are a MUST – Now, we’re not saying that you should see large cracks running through your countertop (in fact, if you do see a large crack, run away as fast as you can!), but you shouldn’t see a perfectly repeating pattern either. Granite is formed through an igneous process when magma slowly cools and crystals form. You should see a change in color, pattern, and veining from one slab of granite to the next – even if they were quarried inches away from each other. Though not technically an imperfection, you should also be able to see a seam, though a good installer will be able to minimize its appearance. With engineered stone or solid surface, the manufacturers can make the seam almost invisible because the materials are all man-made. Not so with granite! There isn’t a way to make a granite seam perfectly disappear, which some homeowners consider even more charming.
  2. Give it a good ‘ol listen – One interesting way to test if granite is genuine is to listen to it. Yes, you read that right. Due to it being a solid, natural material, when you (gently!) tap it with a ball-peen hammer, you should hear a clear, ringing sound. Engineered stone will have a similar, though duller, sound, but laminate and solid surface will produce an almost thud-like sound when tapped.
  3. Know the price range – Good-quality granite should run in the price range of about $50-$250 per square foot, so if your proposed product is much less than that, it’s either a knock-off or poor quality granite. To know the qualities of good granite, check out this article.