When and how granite countertops became so popular can be traced back to a few sources. Granite countertops have always been a stylish and easy to clean countertop option. But they have typically had a reputation for being relatively expensive. Increased affordability, however, helped boost granite popularity and made it a household name.
At the end of the 1980’s, stone countertops were a rarity in homes across the United States. Much more common were laminate and tile countertops, which had many drawbacks. After only a few years, they typically showed bad signs of wear. Laminate countertops would crack and chip, essentially ruining the entire cover. Food particles, and essentially bacteria, would get trapped in tile countertop grout.
Enter the granite countertop. With no risk of cracking or chipping, granite countertops were the first commercial introduction of a stone countertop option. Aside from their resistance to wear and extreme longevity (they are after all made of stone), they are also incredibly stylish. But when first introduced, they were only available in the most expensive of homes.
So what changed to make granite so much more available as an upgrade- and sometimes even a standard- through every home contractor from here to Alaska? Why are so many American suburban homes built after 1997 filled with granite countertops, not only their kitchen, but their bathrooms and even backyards? One word: automation.
Granite cutting used to be a trade. A labor-intensive and lucrative specialty reserved for only the most resilient of craftsmen. Granite cutting was a time consuming and expensive means for granite countertop installation. Costing upwards of $200 per square foot, granite material and installation was much too expensive for the average homeowner.
Granite countertops, however, dropped to a much more affordable price with the advent of the stone-cutting rigs called “computer numerically controlled (CNC)” saws. CNC Saws automatically replaced expensive labor, plummeting costs for granite installation. This, combined with lower shipping costs, the granite countertop option became a much more practical option homebuilders to offer their clients.
Thanks to advances in technology and globalization, granite is now a much more affordable option for installation in the most practical of homes. In conjunction with the stone offering the most versatility and it being a cinch to clean, granite countertops are the best available option for your bathroom or kitchen remodel.