What are the pros / Cons of a granite kitchen worktop

We are replacing our kitchen, and are considering a granite work top, what are the pros and cons of these work tops over the more traditional chipboard laminate type? Apart from being lots cheaper?
Regards
James
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chipboard
One disadvantage is people might think you are being a flash git.
mark b
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On Sun, 6 Jul 2003 21:36:34 +0100, "Mark B"

Now why would they think that?
.andy
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On Sun, 6 Jul 2003 20:21:42 +0000 (UTC), "James Mawson"

Like chalk and cheese.
I had granite worktops and upstands fitted as part of my kitchen replacement 2 years ago, and have certainly been happy with the choice.
The main practical advantages are the durability, ease of cleaning and flexibility.
The aesthetic appeal of natural stone materials can't be matched with laminates, no matter how good they are.
We went for a Black or Nero Angola granite, which is a rich black with crystalline structures of grey/silver and the occasional rich blue. Furniture is French Oak, a slate floor and tumbled marble wall tiles.
It is really important to take time over selecting granite because the cost suggests that you will be living with it for a while.
I was able to borrow a door and pieces of different granite from the kitchen designer and already had pieces of floor and wall tile. We put them in the room and looked at different combinations over several days before deciding.
The hues that you get from granite will appear different under different lights so I think seeing them at home is important. Having said that, with granite being a natural material, you won't get precisely the same as a sample anyway. For this reason, it's also important to buy all the worktops at once.
One of the advantages is that granite can be machined. We have one place where we wanted a small vegetable sink with a draining area. This was easily done by having sloping grooves machined into the worktop next to the sink, which is underhung. Vegetables can be prepared on the draining area and in the sink and the peelings swept into the sink. When the draining area is not in use for this, it can be normal worktop.
A similar technique was used in the utility room with a Belfast sink.
http://www.albatops.co.uk/granite_ht/gworktops_inst.htm
shows an example in the photo which is quite similar to our arrangement. We didn't use this supplier however.
People have said that the incidence of breakages of glass and china are higher on granite than laminate. We haven't experienced that at all. We aren't careless, but have had things fall onto the granite and not break, while on laminate they have.
Another thing that I feel is important is to have the granite supplier visit and template for the worktops, as well as coming and fitting them. That way one organisation takes responsibility for the whole process including scribing in the shapes etc.
After fitting, a sealant is applied, although granite is not very absorbent anyway. For daily cleaning, hot soapy water is fine, although we tend to use a steam cleaner, which is also a good way to clean the undermounted sinks.
You can also get special polishes which are worth using periodically.
If your budget runs to it, I don't think you would be disappointed, but do take your time when choosing.
.andy
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James Mawson wrote:

Granite is very durable but so are ordinary laminates if you take care of them (ours are still good after 20 years). Granite will be totally unforgiving if you drop any glass or china on it! If you are working on a budget then granite is not worth it IMO.
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Bob Minchin wrote:

To look right everything else in the kitchen has got to be of the highest quality. I've seen it done in a bachelor pad. Stainless steel on the walls instead of tiles etc, the works. Looked fabulous but he hardly did any cooking. Granite worktop on MFI kitchen units would look naff. Like the boys who spend 2k on car audio when car is only worth 500.
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wrote:
[...]

Not in this household it isn't. Glassware here often collides with other objects and the results are usually pretty much the same.

--
Tony Halmarack

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Talking with a stonemason whose firm supplies granite worktops, he commented on the large number of people who are disappointed several years later when they discover that scratches, chips, etc in the granite due to normal wear can't be properly repaired in situ, as the process that gives the high gloss finish requires heating as well as polishing.
regards sarah
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On Mon, 7 Jul 2003 09:39:28 +0100, snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net (sw) wrote:

Except that scratches and chips require a great deal of abuse beyond normal wear and tear to the surface to achieve provided that the original material is of good quality.
We use ours for a cutting surface when cooking and have not marked it.
Equally, we do take care of the surface per the recommendations.
.andy
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On Mon, 7 Jul 2003 20:20:11 +0100, "Lawrence Milbourn"

Kitchens aren't exactly unventilated, which is what's important...
.andy
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... And I very much doubt that the average kitchen work top has the thousands of cubic metres in it to release any appreciative quantity of Radon
--
geoff

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