What causes a myth to begin? Is there some small grain of truth that sparks the beginning, or do some situations and circumstances create the myth? Some myths are started by people who are trying to sell something, or by individuals who are trying to prevent you from buying something. No matter the reason for the myth, the more you know, the better able you will be to make an informed choice.
In the matter of granite countertops there are a lot of myths. Perhaps because natural stone is a relative newcomer to the kitchen decorating world, people have questions about it and are a bit unsure. However, once we debunk the following five common myths about granite countertops, you will see that granite is basically a worry-free countertop material.
1) Granite is expensive
This myth got started because granite is so lovely, natural, and durable that people think it is going to cost a lot. It has a variety of prices, though, and you can spend more for customized or specialty pieces if you want—but you don’t have to. It’s actually quite affordable. In fact, the price has dropped significantly, and it may even be lower than some synthetic choices. The cost at the high end is about $60 a foot, but cheaper options are available. Price wise, this makes it a very economical option, considering you get a custom-cut piece with stunning visual appeal and durability that could actually increase the value of your home.
2) Granite holds onto bacteria
Forget this one. It started because people saw granite as porous, and believed that bacteria would seep down inside the stone and remain there. Bacteria is no more likely to remain in the granite as it is in any other type of countertop. A kitchen countertop may be susceptible to bacteria because food is prepared on it, but if you wipe it afterwards, it will be fine. Bacteria will not be living in the heart of your countertops waiting to strike.
3) Granite emits dangerous radon gases
This myth does spark from a speck of truth—in part. Granite is a stone that is mined from the earth and, within the earth, naturally occurring radioactive materials do exist; however, the EPA has issued a statement declaring that granite countertops only rarely cause a threat. If radon is a concern, it is more likely to be coming in from the ground or the basement under your house than it is from the countertops. Although it is very unlikely that radon will be in your granite countertop, the threat is no joke. Radon is the cause of a significant number of lung cancers. A test kit will cost about $25 if you are concerned that radon is a problem in your home.
4) Granite is a pain to take care of
This one is not true. It may have arose from the idea that granite is precious, and therefore high maintenance. Granite is very stain resistant and does not require special protection or cleaning treatment. One myth around this says that granite needs to be constantly re-sealed to prevent it from staining, but in fact, granite does not stain easily. Normal kitchen use cannot stain granite, as it is extremely hard-wearing. It doesn’t even need special cleaner. Just wipe it with a soft cloth and clean it with soap and water.
5) Granite is tougher than diamonds
This is not true. Diamonds are harder than granite by three points on the Mohs hardness scale. Diamonds get 10 points, and granite gets a 7. Still, that makes it pretty hard, and therefore not much is going to be able to scratch it, chip it, or break it. In addition, granite is heat resistant, so you can put hot dishes straight from the oven down on it without worrying about damage.
Granite is an excellent choice for your countertops. It’s natural stone, and has been a part of this earth for a long time. Granite is environmentally friendly, inexpensive, and it’s very durable so it won’t need replacing every ten years. However, like in all things, learn as much as you can about it before you buy. Peace of mind comes with knowledge and understanding. And the more you know about the myths that stop people choosing granite, the more pleased you will be with your choice.
This article was written by Katherine Delaney, an interior decorator who specializes in writing articles about granite countertops, which are one of the oldest and most widely used building materials in history.