Is our love affair with granite cooling?

Design gurus have been predicting the decline of granite countertops for several years, but the surface remains popular. Will we still love it in 10 years?

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Mar 7, 2012 12:20PM

I resisted the lure for years. My first kitchen redesign, back around 2001, most definitely did NOT include granite countertops. We choose a tasteful tile.

 

But by the next redesign (different house), in 2004, granite's falling price and rising popularity had lured me in — despite my fear that the popularity of granite wouldn't last nearly as long as the stone.

 

People have been predicting granite's demise for years, despite the enduring love for the material expressed by clueless couples on HGTV's "House Hunters." A new poll by Julia at Hooked on Houses on whether granite has had its day or is here to stay inspired me to do a little research.

 

Has granite had its day?

 

Post continues below

 

Justin Fink, a senior editor at Fine Home Building, was predicting a fall in granite's popularity back in 2010, and he couldn't wait. He wrote:

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.  © Design Pics/LJM Photo/Getty Images

If you've never been to a granite warehouse, it's a fun excursion. The variety of stone is amazing, even if you can't afford most of it; I had a choice of about six colors in the cheapest range. Alex Nerland, an architect who works as a designer-builder in California, notes that you can get the same look for half the price with prefab granite.

If you don't want granite or laminate, which Fink said is still used in 75% of new kitchens, Paul Anater, a kitchen and bath designer writing at Houzz, offers 10 alternatives, with photos of each.

The readers at Hooked on Houses are split, with 52% hoping granite countertops have had their day while 47% hope they are here to stay. Julia's previous poll, in 2010, found 37% of readers declaring granite "so last decade" while another 37% deemed granite countertops "a classic design choice that will never look dated."

A reader named Sue wondered whether HGTV has too much influence:

"After a few shows, we think we simply MUST HAVE granite in our kitchens and simple panels on our windows so that our homes will be trendy, fashionable and ready to list at a moment’s notice. Anything that bespeaks of personality, such as a strong color or fanciful curtains, is whisked away to some other channel featuring pawn shops or hoarders, and we see home after tasteful home clothed in granite, stainless and bland, inoffensive colors."

A reader named Dina, who works with designers and architects in New York City, says she sees a decline in the popularity of granite. She writes:

"They claim the granite tops have become associated with the recent housing boom and bust and will mark the era like the avocado green of the '70s. Of course, now they say that avocado green is making a comeback. Stainless-steel appliances are also out. The latest trend in appliances seems more like bold colors – bright red or yellow ovens and fridges. I’m not sure what the new countertop trend is, but I see a lot of wood and bamboo being installed."

What do you think? Is granite on the way out? If money were no object, what surface would you choose for your kitchen countertops?

 
43Comments
Oct 29, 2013 4:54AM
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A Honed marble or limestone looks very nice and it has the soft earth tones look to it.the scare on putting marble on your counter tops has been a myth for many years ,if you meet someone that has it ask them if they were happy with it.a guarantee they will say i wouldn't replace it with anything else 99% of the time.what else are you going to put on your counters but stone we humans have been using stone for thousands of years and if your going to put that fake stuff like Cesar stone sile stone don't put anything hot on top of it or let sunlight hit it your brand new tops you spent thousands on will get ruined within months iv seen it multiple times..
.i am marty marble the stone man and granite will live on forever !
Oct 27, 2013 6:16PM
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We remodeled our kitchen last year and we opted for granite countertops.  Not only do we love the look of granite but It is durable and sanitary because there is no grout.   Personally, I think granite will be in style for many more years.  During our remodel we also opted for white appliances opposed to stainless steel which I think is too hard to keep clean.
Sep 14, 2013 9:38AM
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Everyone has their own opinion. In the 70's my wife and I have had the avocado green kitchen with yellow appliances' and tile counter tops(cleaning grout is horrible!). In the 80's we had the laminate gray counter tops, black appliances , and sponge painted walls. Now we just finished a kitchen remodel on a hew home and went with tropic  brown granite counter tops, beige walls, stone flooring, and white appliances. Which do we prefer after having lived with all three? The kitchen we have today by far! As far as cabinets we have had dark and now have light wood. The dark looked good but showed every finger print and film from cooking with gas, the same with stainless appliances. With children in the home stainless is a nightmare to keep clean and the same with black appliances. Everything has plus and minuses, and you must choose what makes you happy and not what the trend is. Remember after it is all done and finished your the one who has to have coffee with it every morning and keep it clean.
Sep 14, 2013 9:23AM
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Just bought a house with Granite tops and have no issues with them. I like butcher block and Stone as well so doesn't really matter to me as long as it 'fits the house'. 
 
I do not like the Stainless Steel appliances, too hard to keep clean. But the new brushed steel which doesn't show smudges is fine. I had the stainless option and went with the brushed. 

Bottom line to me is this: If you plan to live in your home for a long time, put whatever you want in it, regardless of what's trendy. Less than that, you may want to keep it neutral because you'll be selling it to someone else.  Don't do anything to your house that you don't want to neutralize before you sell it because if you're too lazy to undo it, buyers certainly won't want to unless you seriously account for that in a lowered price.  Cant count the number of homes we toured before buying, that had only been lived in for 2-3 years and had every conceivable color and trend possible in them--things that couldn't be easily undone. Walked away from them all.
Nov 1, 2012 5:47AM
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I love granite--but not the beautiful dark blackish/grey (verde paveo) that I installed.  It shows EVERY SMUDGE, whether it is grease, fingerprints, dirt, etc.  It is an incredible pain to keep clean if you are married to a slob, have children, or entertain.  Also, the rim around the sink has multiple tiny chips from my significant other banging his large cast iron pot against the rim.

CHOOSE A LIGHTER COLOR WITH DIFFERENT COLORED DARK VEINS.
Oct 14, 2012 9:00AM
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Granite is too cold. I have never liked the look of it. I love wood, which is what I have, but hate the upkeep. My inclination, if money were no object, would be to have counters of recycled crushed glass. Colorful if you want...white or neutral if that is your preference. 

Plus it feels like a "green" choice. 
Oct 14, 2012 5:49AM
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I definitely am not a person who is dictated to by trends or HGTV, although I love that show. I chose granite for my countertops for one reason. The solid rock surface is cool and works wonderfully for rolling out pie pastry, scones and biscuits. You use less flour on the surface so your pastry/dough does not get tougher. The granite is also great for kneading bread but you do want your dough to be warm so the coolness of the rock does affect your bread dough. Overall though, with todays sealing processes, and granite "wipes", cleaning granite is not an issue at all and I LOVE MY GRANITE.  I simply love the crystal patterns in it. I am open to Silestone or quartz though, but I have to look more into those.
May 20, 2012 12:55AM
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I did not want granite. It seemed so cold and hard and busy.
Plus the fact it has to be sealed made me realize there was other options and there were and I am glad I didn't jump on the bandwagon.

May 19, 2012 1:53PM
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I am a contractor and the only reason granite will 'go out of style' is because of idiots on the designer shows and mags will say it is. It is a durable and attractive counter surface with few rivals.
May 19, 2012 10:52AM
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I am a builder and remodeling contractor, my customers want granite!
May 19, 2012 9:48AM
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For 3 yrs. I have been tired of granite; I regard it as trendy and without the staying power of earlier countertops.  In another 5 yrs., we will find granite broken up and lying at curbside, awaiting collection and final deposit in dumps. What a cost, and what a waste.
May 19, 2012 7:58AM
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Imagine an Italian household that cooks for family and/or friends individually or collectively. We have cooked for and served upwards of fifty people with no problem with serving multiple dishes or the flow in and out of the kitchen.  Now, granite prices retail for installation of course is a fortune.  First we have granite on every countertop in the house including a very large laundry room. We purchased 11 sheets of Neptune granite with matching cuts on a piece by piece arrangement on every surface. The grain follows all cuts. The kitchen Island is twelve feet by four and a half feet. Absolutely perfect for those huge buffet meals. Cleanup is a snap with a twelve inch deep sink and dishwasher under.  Trash and recycle bins are also under. The stove top is forty five inches, six burner with the same granite backsplash. Four bathrooms including master has the same granite. The price for the granite, all cutting and polishing, pre measuring, installation and delivery!!!!  $14,207.14 including eight point seven five percent sales tax on the granite. Not a day goes by that the kitchen isn't used for it's intended purpose.  COOKING.
Apr 17, 2012 1:17PM
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We had tile in our last home for 5 yrs and 31 yrs in current home.  Finally decided to upgrade and chose granite, not because of a television show but because WE liked the look of it in other homes.  We love our granite.  It's gorgeous with a trememdouly beautiful flow to it.  It blends perfectly with our dark walnut kitchen cabinets and the gold in it matches golden oak cabinets in the master bath.  I love making pastry on it and it's a snap to keep clean.  It came with a 15 year warranty.  We went with black appliances because stainless seemed too trendy, ugly, and a catch for fingerprints.  We are senior citizens and plan on not making any changes for the rest of our lives here, at least as far as countertops are concerned.
Mar 17, 2012 3:13AM
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Form follows function. The quality of the food I produce in my kitchen is the important thing; everything is chosen with that in mind. The kitchen I currently have is a u-shaped with island. The "u" countertops are of commercial-grade stainless. The island is a baking kiosk with marble top; it is for bake prep. I'm wary of porous stones and of grout for reasons of cross contamination.

 

Having said that, I know most people don't cook like I do, so designing a kitchen for the next owner down the road seems futile to me. Get what you like!

Mar 13, 2012 1:17PM
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How can ANY natural product NOT have a timeless beauty? The endless colors & patterns of

each piece of granite, marble, slate, wood, etc. cannot be replicated with faux versions.  I  replaced laminate with slab granite in my bathroom & kitchen & the result was stunningly gorgeous! No cleanup porblems.   

Mar 13, 2012 9:53AM
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After years with granite i'm still happy with the choice and would do it again. colors for appliances? I don't think so. Green, gold, brown and other colors are to trendy and come and go to fast while stainless is timeless.
Mar 13, 2012 7:55AM
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We remodeled our kitchen this summer and we chose granite from Home Depot that was a brand called Stonemark.  Guaranteed against staining and no need to seal for 15 years.  Considering that my husband doesn't know how to wipe up a spill, be it water or red wine, I thought that was a major selling point.

 

We also got stainless steel appliances.  I wasn't sure I'd like them, but I've decided I love them.  I walked through countless stores looking at different appliance brands and I smeared my hand on all of them so I could see how bad they showed fingerprints.  I'm sure the store personnel were ready to kill me, but I found appliances that show very few fingerprints, even from the grandkids, and are easy to keep looking nice.  The stainless gives a nice glow to the kitchen and blends really well with the spice finished maple cabinets.  Our granite is a brown/gold/grey/cream mixture, so it goes with any color scheme.  Right now, I have red and it looks great. 

 

We did our kitchen for ourselves.  I like to bake and granite is a perfect surface for rolling out dough.  I no longer have to dig out a marble rolling board.  It's possible that granite may go out of style, but we don't care.  We really enjoy the kitchen now and that's something we couldn't say before.

Mar 13, 2012 7:46AM
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This is in response to malsings07 post.  Your Corian can be repaired.  That's the beauty of Corian vs. granite.  Find someone in your area who works with Corian and they should be able to make it look like brand new.  If you are in So Cal, look us up.  We work with laminate and Corian.
Mar 13, 2012 7:40AM
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I'm with "Costumediva" on laminate.  We built a new house 7 years ago and we selected a higher quality laminate.  I have had no problem with it.  If it gets dinged up, which hasn't happened so far, I could replace it for a couple hundred bucks!   The house I lived in before had ceramic tile and I hated it because of the grout lines.  I like to bake, and there is no way I could roll cookie dough.  I bought two of the fairly large rectangles of marble  that I put in the fridge to chill before rolling dough. That works just great!   
Mar 13, 2012 7:39AM
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We've had granite for 8 years, and now we wouldn't have anything else!
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