Benefits of GraniteOne article published in News & Observer, Living Space: Are granite counters on the way out? is quick to point out that nearly everyone who already owns granite countertops love them because they are durable and visually appealing, but hold some reservations because they require some degree of maintenance. Another reason why people choose granite according to the article is that it is a natural product made of natural minerals instead of a material developed in a laboratory.
Another article that has an identical name but was published by HowStuffWorks also begins with a section on the benefits of granite. According to this article, granite is more durable, heat resistant and scratch resistant than many of its counterparts, but sales have been declining because of a limited color selection and price. Today, however, granite countertops can be found in a wide variety of unique colors and patterns.
Finally, the price of granite has fallen substantially over the past two decades. While high-quality granite and installation may still carry a high price tag, entry-level granite is now available at prices that allow nearly any homeowner to enter the market.
Is Something Driving People Away From Granite?The 2012 Kitchen & Bath Style Report published by the National Kitchen and Bath Association states that granite use in kitchens dropped to 87 percent from 91 percent in 2011, but it held steady at 87 percent in the 2013 report. Another survey conducted by The Marble Institute found that 75 percent of homeowners intending to remodel their kitchens in 2012 were planning on installing granite countertops.
These surveys show that granite remains a popular choice, and very little new data shows any sign of a downturn, yet the Huffington Post Home Advisor states that designers are dropping natural stone in favor of six other materials that are less expensive, not as heavy and have greater color variety. In this piece, the author harshly urges homeowners not to “waste your kitchen remodel investment on this fading material.”
In the same vein, Today Home claims that “granite is great,” but provides a list of “eight kitchen counter options to make you forget granite.”
Alternatives to GraniteSeveral alternatives have been named as rising stars and are reportedly filling the gap left in the alleged decline of granite countertops. Following are few of the most popular and the reasons claimed as to why they may be moving up in the countertop market:
Quartz has become granite’s top rival and has been growing dramatically. It is available in a variety of colors and patterns, and it doesn’t need to be sealed or treated.
Solid surface does an excellent job of mimicking natural stone and has many other color options, and in many cases it requires less maintenance than granite. It can also be less expensive than higher-end granites.
Even though marble is gaining in popularity and is very attractive, it is not resistant to staining and scratching like granite is.
Soapstone is available in a limited range of colors and may become easily scratched or nicked by sharp objects, but it is stain and heat resistant.
Walnut, maple, bamboo, oak and cherry butcher block countertops are growing in popularity because they are seen by many as a green, recyclable alternative to granite.
Glass can resist high temperatures without scorching, does not stain and it is 100 percent non-porous. Glass countertops are increasingly becoming viewed as a versatile alternative.
New innovations in concrete manufacturing and fabrication are making this material more popular for kitchen countertops each year.
Waiting for the ResultsThe latest results on where granite stands after the 2014 calendar year have yet to be gathered, but if the media reports show even a sliver of truth, then granite countertop sales may have fallen.
However, I’m not sure if I would place any wagers on that at this point. I believe the jury is still out. Either way, it will be interesting to see whether granite can maintain its lead in the industry or if quartz and other surfacing materials will make gains on its top position.
I’d love to hear from some of you as to whether you have seen any decline in granite sales and/or migration to other products, or if you believe it is all hype.
Let us know your thoughts!