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Prediction 2010: Granite Countertops Are So Last Decade

comments (55) December 22nd, 2009 in Blogs
JFink Justin Fink, Senior Editor

You know that feeling you get as you walk into a house with puke-yellow kitchen countertops, pale blue bathroom tile, and olive green shag carpet? How about that "what were we thinking?!" reaction when you look at pictures of your first house, complete with fake-wood paneling in the living room, stained glass light over the table, and linoleum flooring in the kitchen?

Mark my words: That is exactly the response that people will have 10 years from now when looking back at granite countertops. 

Predictions 2010

New Home Construction Shifts From Job Site to Factory

Blue is the New Black: Water Conservation Matters
Granite Countertops Are So Last Decade
Contractors See Lean Times and Big Opportunities in 2010
Insulation Upgrades and Deep Energy Retrofits

No, I'm not some simpleton that can't appreciate the beauty of nature. In fact, I can see the appeal of having granite, if only for the unique charm of incorporating Mother Nature's 500 million-year-old child in your brand new kitchen. Unfortunately, my gut tells me that most people choose granite because their neighbors have granite, not because it's a great countertop material. In short, it's become nothing more than a "Keep up with the Jones'" thing.

Let's face it. Granite is ridiculously expensive (typically $80 to $100 per sq. ft. installed), and frankly, a pain in the butt.

"Oh Barbara, you've GOT to get granite countertops for your kitchen, they are the best. Just don't forget to reinforce your base cabinets to carry the extra weight, seal the surface of the stone every 6 months, and never let anything concentrated or oily sit on the countertop surface."

I don't know about you guys, but if I'm spending $4,000 for kitchen countertops, I'd prefer not to have to buff the surface with a diaper and sing it lullabies before bed.

I'm sure many people will disagree with me, but the buzz among real estate agents seems to confirm my stance. As "Boston Real Estate Now" journalist Rona Fischman said in her 2008 column on the death of granite: "I have never liked granite, but for a while, my clients wanted it. Then about a year ago, I started to hear "granite, blah, blah..." or "I am so sick of granite and stainless steel." I think granite has died a natural death, gone the way of harvest gold bathtubs, paneling and Navaho White paint."

Still don't believe me? Consider this report from the U.S. International Trade Commission, which shows a roughly 50 percent decline in the import of "worked granite" last year.

My advice? Don't rule out laminate or solid surface countertops too quickly. Laminate is still used in 75 percent of all new kitchens, and even the most expensive varieties are still less than one-fifth the cost of granite. Want something more like granite? Consider solid surface, which will give you a 10 year guarantee - just about perfect timing to be replaced when your kitchen needs a style facelift in 2020.

posted in: Blogs, 2010, predictions, granite countertops

Comments (55)

Loriltx Loriltx writes: So here it is over 4 years since this article was posted and I'm still seeing granite in all the high end houses (over $1m). If it's not granite, it's quartzite, which is even more expensive. As long as the granite is not some off color and overly busy, it is timeless. I thought I might like soapstone, but then I noticed at a friend's house that it looks stained when it is wet and remains that way until it completely dries. I have had a granite island for 18 years and it looks as good as the day we bought the house. Easy maintenance--just wipe with dish cloth, and then once a year maybe I wipe it with a sealer. Gosh, the 5 minutes it takes to do that is excurciating. We're getting ready to remodel. I'm replacinng the Corian perimeter which has always looked cheap (even when the house was brand new) with titanium granite.
Posted: 1:03 pm on May 20th

bardonsmith09 bardonsmith09 writes: That granite counter top is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this post! I recently replaced my countertops Victoria and I have hope that they will last me longer than ten years. They are beautiful and I would like to not have to remodel for the next 15 years. Granite counter tops seem to be very popular right now, and they seem durable.
Posted: 7:54 am on February 11th

Jigs-n-fixtures Jigs-n-fixtures writes: My sister put granite countertops in a high end log home she and her husband built.

They also heated it with wood stoves and fireplaces.

The granite breakfast bar was such a heat sink that you couldn't have breakfast on it. Your eggs were cold before the second bite.

We were taliking about it the other day. She would now do laminate. It comes in huge variety of colors, and paterns, and is easy enough to change out that she could change the color scheme of the kitchen every year if she wanted.

And personally, it used to be a high end item, but with it in every double wide, it looses that luster.

I'm designing a new kitchen for my house. 84-inches of stainless at the sink, a seamless commercial double basin, with integral 32-inch drain board on one side, 12-inch drain on the other, integral front drop like a farm sink. Laminate for the rest of the counter with a maple front edge, so it is extremely easy to peel off and replace the laminate. Butcher block on the island. With a slab of marble, (sink cutout) I can set on the island if I need a cold surface for making pastries, bread or candy.

Posted: 4:46 pm on February 22nd

MasterMarbleMason MasterMarbleMason writes: Mr Fink I think your perdiction sucks !! it's obvious you dont have the experience in home renovation especially with fine home builders,you must have only seen what they have to offer for stone at home depot, a very limited selection and ya i could see people getting burnt out very fast.there are to many clours and patterns of different stones to list from all over the world and its in your local major city plus you forgot marble,limestone,travertine honed granite,leathered granite i could go on and on eginered stone etc,oh and do a google on what surface is best for ceaning up of harmfull bacteria such as samonilla.ill tell you 1 thing it sure is not laminate....p.s. do more research before you bash a hard working trade.
Posted: 6:08 pm on November 24th

MasterMarbleMason MasterMarbleMason writes: Mr Fink I think your perdiction sucks !! it's obvious you dont have the experience in home renovation especially with fine home builders,you must have only seen what they have to offer for stone at home depot, a very limited selection and ya i could see people getting burnt out very fast.there are to many clours and patterns of different stones to list from all over the world and its in your local major city plus you forgot marble,limestone,travertine honed granite,leathered granite i could go on and on eginered stone etc,oh and do a google on what surface is best for ceaning up of harmfull bacteria such as samonilla.ill tell you 1 thing it sure is not laminate....p.s. do more research before you bash a hard working trade.
Posted: 6:08 pm on November 24th

carmensanchez519 carmensanchez519 writes: Thanks for sharing this post! I recently replaced my countertops Victoria and I have hope that they will last me longer than ten years. They are beautiful and I would like to not have to remodel for the next 15 years. Thanks again!
Posted: 4:29 pm on November 16th

taylorparker taylorparker writes: That granite counter top is gorgeous! My husband and I have been thinking about re doing our counter tops. They are very outdated and incidentally enough, stained. We bought the house a couple years ago, and the counter tops were stained from the previous owner. My husband and I decided to buy the house, because we got such a great deal on it, and that we would save up and purchase new counter tops when the time came. We've been thinking about going out to look at new granite countertops il . Granite counter tops seem to be very popular right now, and they seem durable. Are granite counter tops good to buy? Are they worth the price? Are they as durable as they seem?
Posted: 9:43 am on August 2nd

Parhelian Parhelian writes: So glad to find others who feel the same way about granite! When I look at a granite encased kitchen I see:

1. My old Biology and Chem lab from High School
2. The shiny, water pooling counter tops in public restrooms
3. If it's speckled stone, gravestone head stones ( there is actually a company near me that sells granite counter tops and gravestones - you choose!)

I have a similar problem with subway tiles because, well, they remind me of subways. Not nice clean new subways, but old stained subway tiles at downtrodden stops - why would I want that in my kitchen?

I have a small kitchen with white counter tops and a deep, double stainless steel sink with a great goose neck faucet. My floor is 12" warm sienna colored tiles, with a "chocolate" grout rather than brite white grout.The back splash is bead board that I installed myself and painted with a waterproof white paint, then repainted a warmer white. The frig is white (stainless would add too much gray) but the stove is stainless. My smallish island has a maple top that I recently sanded down and re sealed - it looks so fresh and kind of Swedish modern... Everyone loves my little kitchen, we all hang out there when I entertain.!
Posted: 8:57 am on August 15th

KingofTex KingofTex writes: this take on granite. I have been saying this same thing for years. What really creeps me out about granite is the surface. I know, it's very porous, which helps prevent bacteria build up.. But I HATE the way the water pools on it. Reminds me of a public restroom.

I predict another thing hopefully on it's way out - center of the house kitchens. charm. Tons of cabinets. I predict we will go back to isolated kitchens with tons of light with an actual kitchen table in the middle. We are going to build a house with this look - the only thing that I can't figure out is how to incorporate an island since I love to cook like a chef and still retain the centered kitchen table.
Posted: 11:15 am on March 7th

ctpro ctpro writes: I do agree with you. Granite will go out of style one day. Too many clients go with the same colors over and over. It's just usually way too busy, too much pattern. Granite is far from a "green" Eco-friendly product. Think about how much devastation is done to the environment to get granite. First they have to de-forest the area to get the machinery in place. All those machines use oil and fuel to operate, plus let off emissions. Then, they tear down half of a mountain that's been there 250 million years or so. And just think about all the fuel used to transport it all over the world, trucks, trains, ships, etc..... I would think it must be one of the least eco friendly products around.

I feel granite has always been a "luxury" item, but now with pre fab, the price has come down so low that almost it anyone and everyone has it. People will eventually want something that their neighbor does not have yet. Especially in the higher end homes. I think this will shift the market to another product.

I am ready for a shift in the market. Hopefully it will be back to solid surface. The manufactures are getting better, making more natural patterns and unique colors.

Posted: 6:21 am on January 4th

RockCarver RockCarver writes: Mr.Fink
Your personal preferences aside, 57% of houses over 300k(last years real estate stats) have stone counter tops. Most of these are granite or marble although soft stone (soap stone slate etc..) is making large inroads due to the muted colors and being "trendy".
Remember that stone has been used for THOUSANDS of years for many building applications and still remains the greenest, most durable material for working surfaces. With literally thousands of colors and patterns to work with in design applications.
If you had maintenance issues with your tops then it was either NOT granite or it was sealed improperly or with a poor quality sealer. More than likely the counters were gneiss or juperana(metamorphic stone) not igneous
Like any product stone sealer has varying quality and life span usually from 1 year to as long as 25 years. I recommend a sealer with at least a ten year life span to ensure minimum maintenance issues.
As an owner and fabricator / installer of stone products for the last 22 years I must protest your inferences that granite is on the way out. It has always been and will continue to be the preferred material of discerning designers and owners the world over.
Posted: 4:57 pm on April 28th

CPOJon CPOJon writes: Everyone misses the mark. Granite is the original green material. The China export market supplies granite at a fraction of the cost custom installers charge or even big volume hardware houses. Design your cabinets to pre-fabricated countertops and save huge dollars. Granite from Italy or China is still granite.
Posted: 10:04 pm on January 27th

AntonyThomsan AntonyThomsan writes: Hi,

I am not disagreed with you. You are telling absolutely right but sometimes anybody can not take all decisions for his house maintaining. My family members want granite and I will try to convince them.

Posted: 2:26 am on January 18th

AntonyThomsan AntonyThomsan writes: Hi,

I am not disagreed with you. You are telling absolutely right but sometimes anybody can not take all decisions for his house maintaining. My family members want granite and I will try to convince them.

Posted: 2:26 am on January 18th

AntonyThomsan AntonyThomsan writes: Hi,

I am not disagreed with you. You are telling absolutely right but sometimes anybody can not take all decisions for his house maintaining. My family members want granite and I will try to convince them.

Posted: 2:26 am on January 18th

AntonyThomsan AntonyThomsan writes: Hi,

I am not disagreed with you. You are telling absolutely right but sometimes anybody can not take all decisions for his house maintaining. My family members want granite and I will try to convince them.

limestone exporter
Posted: 2:25 am on January 18th

AntonyThomsan AntonyThomsan writes: Hi,

I am not disagreed with you. You are telling absolutely right but sometimes anybody can not take all decisions for his house maintaining. My family members want granite and I will try to convince them.

limestone exporter
Posted: 2:24 am on January 18th

AntonyThomsan AntonyThomsan writes: Hi,

I am not disagreed with you. You are telling absolutely right but sometimes anybody can not take all decisions for his house maintaining. My family members want granite and I will try to convince them.

limestone exporter
Posted: 2:24 am on January 18th

StoneBizEditor StoneBizEditor writes: Just wanted to note that the "report from the U.S. International Trade Commission" isn't really a regurtitated government press release at all. I go into the raw country-by-country totals and develop StatWatch reports exclusively for Stone Business Magazine.

Emerson Schwartzkopf
Editor, Stone Business
Posted: 8:51 pm on January 11th

ReluctantDesigner ReluctantDesigner writes: I am remodeling my kitchen and not thrilled with the look of granite, but it seems to be the most functional option out there, and I am leaning toward purchasing it. It's heat resistant, it doesn't stain, and it cleans up beautifully every time. I have two children who love to cook and I don't want to be worried about my countertops. I have looked at all of the other options and can't find a more durable choice. It may be on the way out in terms of style, but it will always be functional, and it's hard to argue with that.
Posted: 10:55 pm on January 7th

Zoyd Zoyd writes: Olive-green shag carpets and granite countertops in the league? Please. Perhaps some of the more garish colours and patterns will become less popular but granite going the way of fake wood paneling? Maintenance? You must be thinking of soapstone. Granite is a viable and attractive countertop material and will continue to be used as it has since long before the 1990s.
Posted: 7:19 pm on January 3rd

bob329 bob329 writes: Lots of comments here! Everyone has their own likes and dislikes. I like granite, but I do agree that it's getting old. We're a trendy society, and the "next big thing" is just waiting to become the new must have. The timeless white appliance will be back too, just watch!
Posted: 5:15 pm on January 2nd

goldmbr goldmbr writes: As a rational consumer, I look to independant experts for Advice. The folks at Consumer's Reports do an annual kitchen issue each Aug and they rate the countertop options. From a performance point of view, Quartz and Granite are the top materials each year - their rating is much above the next best competitor. From a green perspective, I believe the best option is one that won't have to be replaced due to wear and degradation. This criterion also favours stone based materials. Having replaced worn, stained and burned laminate and solid surface in my past two homes, I believe the greenest product is one which doesn't need replacement - notwithstanding style preferences which seems to be the editor's thesis. I can't agree with his babysitting comments as I've had stone counters in two different kitchens which have required minimal maintenance and look as good as the day they were installed.
Posted: 10:36 pm on January 1st

Stauff Stauff writes: Interesting discussion.

I just completed countertops in my home. I choose soapstane and purchased slabs on-line. Outside of the weight it was easy to work (even for a first time amateur like me) and once installed looks great. I realize it will scratch and possibly chip but in our craftsman style home i believe that will just become part of the character of the kitchen. Once oiled the seams disappear and the white talc streaks on the nearly black surface look great.

I'm not sure where granite is going but based on my experience soapstone is a great material and the price was right.
Posted: 9:19 am on December 30th

VanMan120 VanMan120 writes: Keeping up with the Jones? Not me. I chose granite because it's the best material, period. I was considering laminate until I could effortlessly scratched a sample with a house key. Granite is very low maintenance (contrary to your assertion) and lasts forever. At $2800 for my $10,000 kitchen, it was a no-brainer, and half the cost of a composite.

Nice try, Justin. I'm not buying.

Posted: 5:24 pm on December 29th

HossPhil HossPhil writes: Ok, everyone rela! Just like there are billions of people in the world with different personality, there are as many choices for counter tops. Before my comment, there were 29 different versions of how good or bad the granite counter top is. And, boy every one had an opinion about it. People make discions about what to use on their counter tops based on their taste, budget and how well their sales person suckers them into buying that material, at that particular time in their lives. So, if we really throw this article out there and get everyone's opinion then you'll see no one is right. The quality of the counter tops depend on the individual use of them. So, we can jump up & down about it and no one is going to be exactly right at the end. I can tell you stories about my counter tops then I have to write a book about it. Remember when you bought that old Chevey of yours and were going around bragging about it? Well it was the best for you at the time, but as you got older then you had to change to Cadillac because you could afford it, so same goes with your counter tops. Of course you need to ask about the cooking habits of those who put the granite down or the ones who condemned the laminated ones then you'll get your answer. Granite, is beautiful, but if you got the eyes for the beauty, and it can be ugly or hard to maintain, if you got no eyes for the beauty and you never clean after yourself in the kitchen.
Posted: 3:30 pm on December 29th

DDF DDF writes: I agree - I'm tired of granite. But mostly I'm tired of the choices people make - most granites that people select are just boring. And then there are the awful choices of back splashes they put in that in my mind, for the most part, detract from the granite. And then everyone oohs and awes about how beautiful it is! Really?
And how about all the home shows on TV and people walk into the kitchen - "oh, look at the beautiful granite counters" .....boring!

Think about how in Europe for years they have been using marble as well as granite and let it age. Marble at least, is so much more interesting than most granites.

In my kitchen I have a granite counter on my island which I don't really like, but I don't dislike it enough to change it, and then I have good old plastic laminate on the rest of the counters. This has been in my kitchen for about 18 years now and I have not ONCE treated the granite and it is perfectly fine - so no babying there!

And for thoses of you who dislike plastic laminate - look at some of the high end (and I don't mean Scavolini!)European kitchens that use plastic laminates - they are outstanding!

I work as an Interior Designer and do quite a few kitchens and quite frankly, there is no RIGHT answer - every kitchen and client is different - different lifestyle, different likes, different budgets. We're lucky to have so many choices!

Posted: 11:25 am on December 29th

yellowdogwood yellowdogwood writes: Just like time, everything changes. I agree granite will not withstand the test of time long term. Solid surfaces, butcher block and plastic laminates will last the longest due to pricing, construction and the overall economy. I am a custom woodworker, so I am more partial to solid wood butcher block tops or a mixture of solid surfaces and plastics. I have all three in my Log home. Solid surface in the kitchen with hardwood butcher block island, laminate tops in mud/laundry room, tile tops in baths. of Taken care of, all will last a lifetime with minimum maintenance.

Like the seasons, all things change. Just have to decide which is best for your business, home, lifestyle and your conscience.

Thanks, Yellow Dog WoodWorking

Posted: 12:10 am on December 29th

AZDoodle AZDoodle writes: Looked at laminate - reminds me of the linoleum floor that needs to be ripped out and replaced with ? Looked at quartz - same price as granite. Why granite? We like things that please the eye and soothe the viewer. Laminate and quartz are boring because from end-to-end they're identical, and there's nothing to draw the eye to anything of interest. Some people like that. But, it's like looking at a great painting: our eye is drawn to the unique details, the flower drawn to perfection, but not an exact copy of a real flower. Boring is a blank canvas, no matter its color; "busy patterns" drive us nuts because they're repetitious. We like natural wood precisely because each board varies in an infinite variety of pattern, and dislike that old paneling precisely because it doesn't and after a while when the eye finds the printed pattern we look away because we know it's fake.

Remember when all homes had oak floors and the craze for "wall-to-wall carpeting" dictated that those oak floors be covered over? And then what happened? The carpeting got old and dirty (and if you've ever removed old carpeting and shaken it out, you know what dirty really is!) and the oak flooring was rediscovered, refinished and sanity prevailed in the room after decades of (ugh!) shags, pastels, browns, greens, orange shag, and white, sisal, etc.

Why didn't concrete counter tops catch on? Boring! Stainless steel is eminently practical as a counter top, but it's - boring. Granite maay fade in and out of use, but I'd guess it's mostly about the color than it is about the granite itself. It's not going away any more than painted fiberboard kitchen cabinets are ever going to make a permanent come-back and replace real wood cabinets. The lesser products simply appeal to a lower price-point, and though those bored with granite will probably replace it, why are you planning to replace your laminate in 10 years if you're not already anticipating becoming bored with it? Anyone with granite anticipating its replacement in 10 years with a laminate product? I didn't think so...

Posted: 10:06 pm on December 28th

phillyjoec phillyjoec writes: I really wish people that write articles would bother to get the facts straight before they publish articles that make them look like so called "experts". I've owned a kitchen and bath showroom for almost twenty years and remodeled thousands of kitchens and baths and never once had to reinforce the base cabinets before installing granite countertops. Additionally, granite requires almost zero maintenance and unless you clean your granite with a cleaner containing ammonia you don't have to seal your countertops every six months. Every one to two YEARS is adequate and it takes all of about ten minutes and costs $10. Of course granite imports are down 50% over the last year, homebuilding is down probably 75% over the same time frame. The price of granite countertops WAS $80-100/sf five years ago but the price has come down by almost 50% during that time. We very rarely charge more than $60/sf unless the customer chose an exotic stone. I don't remember the last time a customer walked into my showroom and asked to look at laminate or solid surface unless they were remodeling a kitchen in a rental unit. It will be a long time before granite is not the preferred material for a mid to high end kitchen remodel!!

Posted: 10:06 pm on December 28th

timrowledge timrowledge writes: The thing that will end granite's high fashion appeal is nothing at all to do with the qualities of the material. The very fact that it has come down in price is what will make it unfashionable; that's always what happens. The entire point of fashion is that something is not available to everyone. The usual way of making sure that it is available only to a few is price, though there are other ways.

Same thing with stainless steel appliances. Originally it was simply that expensive units were stainless steel and so people wanted them; manufacturers made new models that used s/s but were less and less expensive and suddenly it's just ordinary. Same with Titanium; a few years ago anything titanium was ludicrously expensive and then the ex soviet union countries that had all the Ti mines wanted money and flooded the market and now you get titanium... anything.

None of it has any relation to the virtues of the materials; granite is still a fine worktop material, stainless is excellent on appliances, titanium is still incredibly strong for its mass, etc.
Posted: 6:32 pm on December 28th

JeffM131 JeffM131 writes: About five years ago, I pulled warped butcher old block countertops out of a 100-year-old Victorian (countertops were probably 20 years old). They were stained, of course, beyond recognition. I replaced them with new cherry cabinets and soapstone countertops. Love soapstone? Try dropping a drinking glass from upper cabinet height onto the countertop. 9 times out of 10, you'll end up with a 1/4" deep gouge in the soapstone. I'll never use it again. What did I use for countertops in the house I finished earlier this year? Granite, baby. No tile grout lines to keep clean, like I'd see with a tile countertop. No plastic to melt underneath a hot pan, like I'd see with solid surface. No delamination or swelling of the substrate like I'd see with laminate. No worry about water spotting like I'd see with a butcher block countertop. No daily, weekly, or monthly sealing with mineral oil like I'd see with a soapstone countertop. I am a bit worried about the radon radiating from my countertops as proven by the study sponsored by the solid surface industry. I guess you can just count me as an old, out-of-date, fogey. I've got granite in my kitchen, my bathrooms, my laundry room, and I love it.
Posted: 6:22 pm on December 28th

adguy adguy writes: Has anyone heard of Fireslate? When I remodeled 3 years ago, I looked at granite, soapstone, Corian, quartz products, etc., searching for the perfect countertop material. Needless to say, I didn't find it, but I did find Fireslate, which is the same product used on chemistry lab table tops, and is only available from the manufacturer. This is the product I installed, for about 35% of the cost of granite,and I couldn't be happier. I think what I like best about it is that no one else I know has anything like in their house.
Posted: 6:17 pm on December 28th

tiquose tiquose writes: Julia Child set a good example of putting functionality first. Combining counter surfaces was very common in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Stainless steel was sometimes used next to stoves as Julia did with tile.

Why do people have such an aversion to laminate? It's quite practical. The very least of its qualities is that it can be replaced without guilt after ten or twenty years if tastes change or remodeling occurs.
Posted: 6:11 pm on December 28th

fireater fireater writes: Funny, no one has talked about the "ideal" material for counter tops. Over the years, several famous chefs have been asked about the best material for counters. Never has granite been among the chosen materials. All have demanded different materials for different areas. Julia Child had 4 materials: stainless or soapstone for sink and surrounds for toughness and easy cleaning, tile next to stove for hot pans, marble for pastry preparation area, and butcher block for the island. Granite looks best in magazines and in kitchens where no actual cooking is done. I'll take soapstone and butcher block for my kitchen.
Posted: 3:21 pm on December 28th

Cadabra Cadabra writes: Granite is here to stay. The price point, while still high, will likely fluctuate downward a bit. Granite's solid character and timeless natural beauty can't be replicated by the cheap laminates or the plastics. Granite's beautiful dark greens and blacks will continue to blow-away all of the cheap imitators. Two of the things that keep Granite at or near the top of the kitchen list are 1.)its cheap imitators always look and feel cheap; and 2). its stunning combination of low-maintenance and solid natural beauty.
Formica, Corian, and ceramic tile will rank in the distance below concrete, sheet-copper and exotic woods. Tile is the most 'yesterday of them all. The Green crowd will make a minor splash with Bamboo and Cork, which have some genuinely appealing qualities. Teak anyone?

Posted: 2:37 pm on December 28th

Mewtzo Mewtzo writes: I must tell everyone that when we built our "high end" custom home beginning in 1993 and ending in 1996, granite was the "must" of kitchen and bath design. I was miffed over the dictate of those statements and designed my kitchen and baths with mexican tile and cherry hardwood floors. When we had to sell our home last year-we received top dollar BECAUSE we did not have granite countertops and stainless steel appliances! As the potential buyers all commented on how sick they were at seeing nothing but granite and stainless steel at our price point!

Now in the historic home we purchased in another city, we are faced with the same "battle". Kitchen renovation has yet to be started as I can't decide what counter material to use in a home built in 1905! One thing I do know is granite will not be an option! Any suggestions?
Posted: 12:32 pm on December 28th

Druid_Man Druid_Man writes: You are blowing in the wind. Granite has been around forever. It will remain around. With the cheap pre-fab edged and cut stuff from India and China it will stay in the high to middle customer range. The exception being art style concrete, the low will always be plastic. Let's hope the highest end stay away from extinction threatened woods.
Posted: 11:49 am on December 28th

TTFIV TTFIV writes: pihed wrote: "No, granite will never go away...granite is timeless."

Granite may be timeless, that is, millions of years old; but fashion trends are anything but.

When I first got into the the bath and kitchen design business we were telling people that Harvest Gold was the new neutral, it would be around forever.

Granite, while beautiful, has become trite. People will not continue to pay top dollar for something that has become so commonplace that you can even get it in your new double-wide.
I agree that granite is singing its swan song. Just waiting to see what is going to take its place.
Posted: 11:09 am on December 28th

Lefturner Lefturner writes: I also predicted the out-dating of granite counter-tops to come about soon. Never liked them, never seen these mass market installers make a decent seam, hate the germ filled joint between the slab and sink, cold, too hard. Same can be said for quartz. But it just irks the heck out of me that people can take a material, millions of years in the making, use it temporaraly (10-20 years), and then just toss it out in the garbage next to the Almond appliances of yesterday. I think solid surface is realy the only forever material for counter-tops.
Posted: 10:48 am on December 28th

rfishko rfishko writes: Our last 2 renos used brushed stainless countertops, about half the price of granite, and, if commercial grade and brushed (I chose #6 finish)and properly installed, goregeous, durable and indestructable. Everyone is very happy.
Posted: 10:43 am on December 28th

Beachton Beachton writes: "Oh Barbara, you've GOT to get granite countertops for your kitchen, they are the best...." How did you just HAPPEN to pick MY name for this line, Justin?! I've been anti-granite this whole time. I had a friend replace the counters in his 3 yr old house with granite against my VEHEMENT objections. His kitchen has laminate FLOORS! That's just trashy. It's like women going in Walmart wearing $4 flip flops carrying a giant handbag with designer logos printed all over it.

I have solid surface counter in my kitchen that I bought from a surplus and salvage place that was covered up with the stuff when everybody started switching to granite. What will the granite be used for when everybody decides it's passé? Thermally massive floors next to a south facing window to soak up winter sun?
Posted: 10:32 am on December 28th

Bitjockey Bitjockey writes: I hope 'homeinspector' isn't really a home inspector. Granite is by no means a 'major source' of radon. Educate yourself:

"In a small number of homes, the building materials (e.g., granite and certain concrete products) can give off radon, although building materials rarely cause radon problems by themselves. In the United States, radon gas in soils is the principal source of elevated radon levels in homes."

Listen to the EPA, not some blowhard on this web site.
Posted: 10:24 am on December 28th

pihed pihed writes: You are nuts,,,, Pure and simple. Natural stone is beautiful and with a brushed finish it brings out the beauty of the stone. Just a center island with granite can add to a kitchen.
No, granite will never go away even tho there are many finishes to choose from. People will continue to buy what they like so be it, but granite is timeless.
Posted: 10:23 am on December 28th

tiquose tiquose writes: I am so sick of granite, granite, everywhere. Perhaps one does not want a trendy kitchen? Perhaps one wants a kitchen that fits one's 1930s house? Sorry!

Even laminate looks like granite, at least the laminate that's displayed in the big box stores. Fortunately, with a little research, you can indeed find solid-color laminates that look fine with a period house. You can even find solid bright red, and I might just order that to be contrary!

Don't get me started on stainless steel appliances.
Posted: 10:17 am on December 28th

bmd bmd writes: I disagree...
There is a lot of variation in granite,
so it's not just the avacado ref. or the harvest gold range that you alluded to.
The price of granite is relatively inexpensive compared to 'equal' quality materials.
The price of granite has free falled since availabilty and competition have increased.
The imports have probably slowed, due to domestic quaries.
The first granite top I installed was in 1990.
Plastic laminate should be set aside as a 'pre-historic' material that should be laid to rest, I used it about 20 years ago as a color instead of lacquer or paint. (I never really liked the stuff!)
The only good thing about PL, it is cheap and it may fit into a lot of peoples budgets.
Concrete counter tops remind me of eating on the garage floor, with the oil stains.
Solid surface reminds me of a chemical waste.
I like natural stone, and wood. (here to stay)
Posted: 10:01 am on December 28th

ACHughes ACHughes writes: I think your prediction is wrong. I have granite, and I definitely do not buff with a diaper and sing it a lullaby. I have 2 young children, and thank goodness for the granite. Laminate would never have held up to them. Like everything else, all it takes to care for granite is common sense. If you want your kitchen to look like a showroom 24/7, then don't put a kitchen in your home at all. Show me a laminate kitchen truly used for it's purpose that doesn't have a scratch, chip or stain. I use my countertop fryer, decorate cakes, etc., and my countertops still look great. I've even had things fall out of the overhead cabinets with no affect.

The only thing I suggest is be careful of the pattern or colors you choose. Uba Tuba, Venitian Gold, and colors like that are a good bet. I'd put them up against any laminate 10 years down the road. And until the man-made products come off their prices, we will continue to see this argument for a long time.
Posted: 9:49 am on December 28th

homeinspector homeinspector writes: One thing that home buyers and most builders aren't aware of about granite is that it is a major source of Radon. We'll go to great lengths to build radon safe homes or retrofit older homes to protect against radon, and then we plop a major source of the stuff right in the middle of the most used room in the house!
Posted: 8:59 am on December 28th

Dreamcatcher Dreamcatcher writes: I should note that this discussion brings to mind the Dr. Seuss story of "The Star-Bellied Sneeches".

Give it another look.
Posted: 7:31 am on December 28th

speedgeezer speedgeezer writes: Right on (as we used to say). We sold--halleleuia--and now we're halfway through a build, and we are voting with our checkbook. Bought granite to sex up the house we sold, but that was the only reason. Pro: looked good. Cons: expensive; cold to the touch; horrible sound when putting down metal utensils, glass, or china; finicky in regard to standing water, acidic liquids, etc. Thought about a man-made stone top, but it shares many of the same problems. Going with the solid composite. And even that is something with an eye to future resale. Frankly, we liked best the laminated surface we ripped out to put in the granite. Almost 20 years with only one scratch and one small ding. PS: Speaking of future obsolescence, what's the stylistic half-life of those glass backsplash tiles?
Posted: 7:20 am on December 28th

Dreamcatcher Dreamcatcher writes: I think you underestimate the timeless appeal of stone; no matter where or how it is used in a building. Most natural materials are like that... timeless.

I can maybe understand some colors of stone, fabricated geometries, or amount of coverage being outdated. But then we are talking more of an outdated design than material.

I think the price of granite is accepted amongst most homeowners and so has become too commonplace for upscale clients to desire anymore. There will be a trend shift in that upper market towards the new and hard to find, but it will also be that market that (as usual) looks the most dated in 10 years.

I know I already feel sick when looking at 1980's and 90's upscale modern but a well designed traditional or rustic from the same time period seems to keep up to date.
Posted: 7:11 am on December 28th

oldat45 oldat45 writes: I deal in punchlist work at the end of residential construction. time and again I hear the buyer saying they love their new countertops and then hear a friend or relative ask if they've seen the relative or friends new recycled glass composite or concrete or soapstone or compressed cardboard composite or whatever is the latest to come along. I don't hear laminate mentioned anymore. I hate granite just like I'm sick of oak flooring but it keeps coming back. to me it seems to be style by inertia, its what people know and it's what they thought of ten years ago when they first started dreaming about buying a house
Posted: 7:06 am on December 28th

ClaiChe ClaiChe writes: I'm finishing a high-end home; it's taken three years. I can't say how many hours I discussed surfaces with builders, local merchants, designers, etc. all yelling that I must have what the house and I deserve, the most expensive finishes and products on the market. I stuck to my mantra "there is a product at a price that matches my need to reserve my retirement funds for retirement." Most granites are overpriced but I found granite slabs that rival solid surface prices by doing my own research and searching. It took the entire three years and a threat that the kitchen would be held up b/c of my insistence on looking for just the right pattern and price, but I'm very pleased with the outcome and most importantly know I will not need to replace the kitchen or baths during my lifetime.

Posted: 6:31 am on December 28th

CanAmSteve CanAmSteve writes: Well, I ma just a consumer, but I've done several kitchens using granite over the last 15 years, and they all still look as good as the day they were installed. I think it is important to choose appropriate colors and patterns, but I've never bothered to seal any of them and I'm a frequent red wine drinker.

And because granite is a natural product, it doesn't have that dated "man made" life-span. I'd say solid-surface has passed its prime, and concrete is but a flash in the pan. But granite will be appreciated for a long time.

Granite is still overpriced but in many markets (not the USA) its installed price has dropped by two-thirds over the last decade. In the US, it's still considered high-end and the price is kept artificially high - I expect that will soon change.

Let's face it - laminate does the job well at a good price/value ratio. It's simple enough to tear out and throw away should it become damaged - or even if you just tire of it. Granite is a commitment - but high maintenance? Compared to what?

The worst thing about granite is its unforgiving nature to your Pyrex and crockery. It won't hurt your granite to take hot casseroles straight from the oven, but don't set them down too hard!
Posted: 5:06 am on December 28th

Axlp Axlp writes: I can see solid surface making a comback (even though it's not exactly cheap either) but I think you will always have a hard time getting laminate into high end kitchens. Laminate's only possible chance of making it back is if kitchens go the way of bold colors and mixes of laminates and other materials,but you can almost see that being just a flash in the pan. I hope granite goes away so I don't have to budget thousands of dollars just for a kitchen counter,but I can't see what the future holds.
Posted: 8:07 am on December 26th

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