You hear about people spending $3,000 to $5,000 on a granite countertop and that sounds expensive, but the cost of granite compared to other “substitutes” for the kitchen counter is actually very reasonably priced, especially compared to concrete. Looking at the entire process of what it takes to get granite (from Brazil in this case) to your home, granite suddenly seems cheap. In South American, Argentina is also a large exporter of granite and granite is imported from countries all over the world including India, Italy, South Africa, and even Zimbabwe. What does it take to get the granite from the ground to your kitchen or bar?
Brazil is a large importer of granite into the U.S. Where once dynamite blasting was used to get to the granite, today expanding powder and water is used to separate large slabs of rock without all the “collateral” damage blasting used to cause. At the quarry site, 30- ton blocks are prepared for transport to the fabricator where they are sliced to a thickness of 3/4 inch to 1.5 inches using some of the world’s biggest wet saws.
After the slices are cut, the stone need to be polished on site into what resembles the smooth look of granite we all can recognize. “Finished” slabs are trucked to a seaport, and then shipped to a U.S port. Most kitchens will require two slabs, so slabs from the same stone are kept together whenever possible for the closest match. Nature was not thinking of how this stone would look in your kitchen so variations in the slab, and from slab to slab are very common.
At this point, the slabs still have rough edges and “edge styles” picked out by the purchaser are often put on locally, along with the computerized cutting for the exact measurements over the cabinets or island.
Some granite needs to be sealed as the finishing touch. As a basic rule, some of the lighter styles of granite need to be sealed while many of the darker granites do not need to be sealed. All granite is very durable, and resists etching and scratching compared to almost all other kitchen countertop materials. (Most granite can withstand heat up to 1200 degrees F.) Most people confuse etching with physical scratches and this is not the case. Etch marks can come from acids (lemons) and even cleaning products, leaving dull spots or rings.
Getting back to the cheapness of granite, especially compared to concrete, our best answer is; granite has become so popular and there are so many suppliers today compared to concrete the price is comparable, even though concrete is far more abundant. Also, granite is a rare resource and concrete is incredibly abundant.
We feel as concrete countertops gain in popularity their cost will come down when compared to granite. So when you hear someone has spent $5,000 on a granite countertop, it may not seem as expensive if you know the entire process. Of course, if you consider it took millions of years to create this masterpiece of nature compared to just a few days for a concrete countertop, the cost seems even more of a bargain!