Granite Countertops In Houston: Your Modern Alternatives
In addition to being the most populous city in Texas, Houston is also one of its wealthiest. As such, premium countertop materials are in high demand here. In this post, we’ll take a look at granite countertops in Houston and provide our expert opinion concerning the material’s strengths and weaknesses.
What Are Granite Countertops?
Granite is an extremely hard igneous rock that primarily contains quartz, feldspar, and mica. It originates in quarries, where workers use a variety of methods (including blasting and chiseling) to remove slabs that are later refined into countertops.
Granite’s popularity as a construction material has made it one of the most commonly-quarried dimension stones in the world. The United States alone produces more than 400,000 tons of granite annually.
For years, granite countertops in Houston were incredibly popular. Consumers have soured on them lately, however, due to more modern countertop materials that provide better looks and better durability.
While you’ll still find granite in many homes throughout the City of Houston, quartz countertops are currently in greater demand.
To understand exactly how granite fell from grace, let’s take a look at its pros and cons.
Granite Countertops In Houston: Pros and Cons
Granite is an incredibly heat-resistant rock. The temperatures achieved by appliances in your kitchen will almost certainly never damage granite. Heat can still damage the sealant, though, so this isn’t necessarily something you’d want to test.
Furthermore, while heat itself won’t damage the countertop, rapid changes in temperature will. Placing a hot pan on the countertop and then replacing it with something cold can cause cracks and other types of damage.
Granite ranges from 6 to 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. Most materials in your kitchen won’t be able to scratch it. In fact, cutting directly on granite will dull your knives long before scratching your countertop. Still, this may produce metal marks, so it’s not recommended.
Suitable For Outdoor Use
Granite countertops in Houston tend to be quite popular among people with outdoor entertainment areas. There’s a catch, though. While granite will easily withstand the Texas heat, you’d need to maintain a proper seal year-round. Otherwise, the infamous Texas humidity will wreak havoc on your outdoor countertop and cause mold.
Unfortunately, granite’s downsides heavily outweigh its benefits for indoor use.
Requires Frequent Sealing
Granite counters are among the most high-maintenance of all surfaces. Because the rock is so porous (particularly granite countertops in Houston that are cheap), neglecting to maintain a proper seal can be disastrous. To paint a clear picture, barbecue sauce plus exposed granite equals major stains.
Some manufacturers recommend resealing your granite surface twice annually, which can be an inconvenience both financially and in terms of your time.
Expensive To Repair
While granite is very hard, a blunt force can still crack it. If that happens, you’re in for a very expensive repair.
With granite, the edges of undermount sinks are particularly prone to cracking and chipping. That forces many homeowners to forgo this trendy style option in favor of something safer that won’t potentially break their bank later on. At Caesarstone, we don’t think you should ever have to compromise on your vision to make up for a material’s shortfalls, so this is a clear strike against granite.
Limited Aesthetic Options
Particularly when buying granite countertops in Houston on a budget, your range of aesthetic options is limited. Nature does produce some more exotic variants of the rock, but these can cost beyond $400 per square foot.
If you’re not willing to pay those exorbitant prices, you’re primarily left with granite in various shades of gray and brown.
Granite Is Suffering Steep Declines In Popularity
All of these downsides (and particularly the rise of quartz, which doesn’t share them) have contributed to granite’s steep decline in popularity. Granite countertop prices have not followed suit, meaning they’re still priced at a premium despite adding less resale value to your home than they did even 10 years ago.
Other Materials Used To Make Kitchen Countertops In Houston
Before we discuss quartz countertop benefits (quartz being the ideal modern alternative to granite), let’s look at some of the other popular materials for kitchen countertops in Houston.
Quartzite Countertops In Houston
Quartzite is another type of natural stone. While it’s easy to confuse ‘quartzite’ and ‘quartz,’ there are many substantial differences. Quartzite countertops in Houston need to be resealed as often as twice annually, making them cumbersome to maintain. Without consistent resealing, stains are likely.
Concrete Countertops In Houston
Concrete countertops in Houston tend to be popular among those seeking a rough, industrial look. Concrete shares many of granite’s downsides, however, including susceptibility to staining. The material also tends to look and feel very unrefined. Quartz treated to resemble concrete (such as in the case of our Rugged Concrete 4033) strikes a better balance between industrial and refined.
Epoxy Countertops In Houston
While most materials require a good professional installer, epoxy countertops in Houston take that to truly painstaking levels. All work needs to be done on-site and is particularly error-prone. You can never be sure what your countertop will ultimately look like since the finished product depends heavily on the conditions and mixture. Additionally, the finished surface often ends up being inconsistent and lacking in heat resistance.
Laminate Countertops In Houston
Laminate countertops in Houston are the least refined and aesthetically pleasing option on the market. These surfaces are made from sheets of particleboard glued together. Cracks, chips, warping, and bubbling are all very common issues with laminate.
Most people choose this material due to its affordability. But while laminate is cheaper than any other material, it will cost you in the long run through frequent repair and replacement as well as decreased home resale value.
Marble Countertops In Houston
Like granite, marble countertops in Houston aren’t as popular as they once were. Marble is certainly a beautiful material but its weaknesses (including susceptibility to scratching, cracking, and staining) outweigh that. The ability to achieve a look similar to that of marble with quartz (such as in the case of our Empira White 5151) has been the nail in the coffin for marble.
Quartz Countertops In Houston: The Ideal Modern Alternative To Granite Countertops
Pictured: Coastal Grey 6003
Lastly, we come to quartz countertops in Houston - the undisputed leader in the market. Here’s a quick rundown of why quartz has become the material of choice for bathrooms and kitchens alike.
Polished quartz surfaces are about as low-maintenance as countertops get. Cleaning and even stain removal are processes you can do yourself in most cases.
Other finishes, such as our Honed, Concrete, and Rough types, require some additional care. Still, this care is much cheaper and less intensive than you’d experience with granite.
Behind quartz’s low maintenance requirements is its durability. The loose rock that makes up roughly 90% of most quartz countertops is actually harder than granite. It’s still possible to scratch or crack quartz but not as easy as it is with granite.
Pictured: Taj Royale 5212
There’s no denying that natural stone is beautiful. However, your choices are limited. This is particularly true if you’re working with a limited budget. Remember, as mentioned earlier, certain more exotic types of granite can cost upwards of $400 per square foot.
Quartz is engineered stone. At Caesarstone, we manufacture it in a variety of styles, textures, and patterns. The result is a collection of surfaces with something for everyone.
Increased Home Value
Because quartz is the most popular countertop material on the market, it tends to retain value better than anything else. Of course, there are a variety of factors that contribute to home resale value so this isn’t a guarantee of any kind. However, if you’re looking to maximize potential resale value, quartz is virtually impossible to beat.
Once upon a time, granite was the most popular countertop material in Houston. Over time, however, advancements in technology have made it less desirable. In light of these developments, granite’s weaknesses have become quite evident.
For homeowners, the greatest of these weaknesses is granite maintenance requirements. You need to reseal the surface as often as twice annually to avoid staining or otherwise damaging the material.
Quartz combines lower maintenance, greater durability, and a wider array of options, making it the material of choice for all types of countertops in Houston. Visit one of our Caesarstone locations today to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you clean granite countertops?
With granite, you need to be particularly careful about what you use to clean the surface. Harsher chemicals will require more frequent resealing. Particularly avoid anything acidic, like cleaners containing lemon, vinegar, or bleach.
For day-to-day cleaning, warm water, mild soap, and microfiber cloth are all you need. Be sure to dry the surface after cleaning to avoid water stains. If you’re looking to do a more rigorous disinfecting of the surface, use a 50/50 mixture of water and isopropyl alcohol.
How much do granite countertops in Houston cost?
Granite countertops start at roughly $40 per square foot and can extend beyond $100. Homeowners typically spend as much as $4,500 for granite countertops, installation included. When granite was more popular, this was a decent investment that added to your home’s resale value. Today, you’re less likely to recoup those costs.
How do you polish granite countertops?
Given the cost of granite, if you’re inexperienced with polishing stone, you’re better off leaving this to professionals. If you’re determined, however, there are granite-safe polishes on the market. Simply follow the instructions on your polish of choice.
Experts consider dry polish to be more effective at removing scratches but wet polish is otherwise the preferred method.
How do you remove stains from granite countertops?
Some types of polish can remove stains on granite surfaces. Otherwise, use a baking soda and water paste along with a bristled brush to remove stains. A granite-friendly poultice or extractor can also be used to remove especially deep stains.
How are granite countertops attached?
Installers glue granite countertops down with silicone adhesive.
How do you remove burn marks from granite countertops?
Because of granite’s heat resistance, burn marks tend to be superficial and limited to the topmost surface. You can typically remove this type of burn mark with water and soap once the surface has cooled down.
With deeper burn marks, you’ll need to call a professional or use a poultice.
5 Things To Do In Houston
Houston is a historically significant and culturally rich city with more than enough to keep you busy. Here are five of the most popular attractions.
#1. NASA Johnson Space Center
NASA’s Johnson Space Center is more than just a museum for space enthusiasts. It’s an active training, research, and testing facility. As such, visiting the facility offers a glimpse into not just its past but also the present operations of the U.S. space program.
#2. Museum of Natural Science
The Houston Museum of Natural Science has been around since 1909. Since then, it’s become one of North America’s most popular natural science museums. It contains everything from dinosaur fossils to space station models and mineral collections.
#3. Downtown Aquarium
The Downtown Aquarium is another favorite within Houston. Here, you’ll find 500,000 gallons of water filled with hundreds of exotic species. The facility also hosts a shopping center, bar, and restaurant.
#4. The Galleria
The Galleria is known as Texas’ most luxurious shopping center. It hosts many stores unique to Houston but also international favorites like Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co., and Louis Vuitton.
#5. Miller Outdoor Theatre
Catching a show at the Miller Outdoor Theatre is a must. The venue hosts a variety of shows, including children’s programming, concerts, movies, and plays. It is the focal point of Hermann Park, a 7.5-acre sprawl.
Map of Houston
History of Houston
Looking for a deep dive into Houston’s history? Check out this video from Houston Public Media.