Thursday, September 12, 2019

Understanding Leathered Granite

The uniqueness of each piece and the sustainability of granite make it the most popular countertop among homeowners. In most of my kitchen remodels, I specify granite countertops.  Although porous, it wears well in a kitchen and adds a natural movement that can not be matched by any man made product such as quartz.  I love granite in all its finishes.  I've had polished granite in my own kitchen for at least 15 years.  It's a great material for a countertop because it is stain resistant as well as heat resistant.  It's very durable but you can chip it if you bang something heavy against it. I randomly put a sealer on my granite.  It takes about 5 minutes to do so.

My current project has base cabinets along two walls in the kitchen and an island.  The base cabinets that create the island are cobalt blue while the cabinets along the perimeter walls are a medium gray.  The idea behind this design is to give the island a more dramatic position within the kitchen space.  This distinction can be achieved by the manipulation of three elements: color, finish(texture), material.  In this design, I used all three.  

Leathered granite has a matte or non-reflective finish, so if you like the high-reflective sheen of a polished granite, the leathered look is not for you. The diamond-dipped brushes that graze the granite takes the shine away and makes the stone muted and more stain resistance because the process will close the pores. The process also adds an amazing texture to the stone that allows it to be rough and elegant at the same time. This texture element also makes the stone more slip resistant when wet. Fingerprints and water spots are also lost on the hardy surface of the leathered granite.

As much as I love the unique look of leathered granite, there are two drawbacks that you should be aware of:
1) The uneven nature of the stone can make it susceptible to damage if met with a sharp object.
2) It can be difficult to clean if crumbs and liquids accumulate on the surface.  This is why it is important to ask the fabricator what type of seal they put on the granite.  Keep in mind that polished granite will always be easier to clean than leathered granite.

For the cabinets along the perimeter walls I've chosen a polished quartz.  This will contrast nicely with the muted leather look on the island.  It's a quartz product so it is more susceptible to damage by hot pots/dishes on the surface.  Pictured on the right are two samples of the Avenza quartz.  On the left is a honed quartz sample so the sheen is muted, the sample next to it is the polished one that will be installed.

Sorry, the countertops are not installed yet so there is no picture to attach of the countertops in place, but after there are installed I will post the pictures.

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