Granite is often used as material for countertops in kitchens and bathrooms. The natural stone is attractive, and makes a durable work surface that will last a lifetime if cared for. With all of the advantages that the material presents, there are also a number of disadvantages to be considered before installing the stone countertops in your home.
The naturally porous stone is highly susceptible to staining. Water spills and condensation may leave temporary stains as the liquid finds its way into the micro-pores in the stone. More serious, are coloured liquids that can leave their colouring agents in the pores even after the liquid has evaporated or been drawn from the stone. The most damaging stains come from oils that never leave the pores. Stains such as these will permanently mar the countertop.
The same pores that allow water to seep below the surface of the granite countertop also allow bacteria to be harboured. Wiping a cleaning towel across the unsealed surface pushes food, liquid and bacteria into the pores. The bacteria survive in the holes, to be transferred to your food or dishes as they come in contact with the surface.
Granite countertops are much heavier than the same size solid-surface countertop. Placing a granite-slab countertop on cabinetry that is not built to support it causes problems that range from drawers that bind, to cracking and outright breakage. The weight of the single-piece countertop is also a disadvantage to the home remodeler who must rely upon a team of professionals for installation.
When compared to other countertop options, granite is found at the high end of the cost scale, if not the highest. Manufacturing a granite slab countertop requires extracting the granite block, slicing it into slabs and then forming the slabs into finished countertop. On top of these expensive operations, installing granite is not a do-it-yourself option, requiring professionals perform the task.
Though granite is exceptionally durable, it requires a high degree of maintenance in order to maintain its beauty. The surface must be regularly treated with a sealant to prevent staining and water infiltration. You must also be selective about the cleaning agents that are used on the surface. Granite requires a neutral pH balance in a cleaner; if the product is acidic it can actually ruin the polish of the surface.