Grade Your Granite: Understand the Rating System for Granite Countertops

If you’re looking into installing granite countertops into your kitchen or bathroom, there are a few things you should know about the stone before getting started.

Granite is a natural stone that’s known for its unique patterns and shades, and also for how durable and long-lasting it is. No matter your style or taste, there’s sure to be a granite slab that works for you.

Although it might be easy to pick out the look of granite that you love, you might not be familiar with judging the quality of granite. That’s where grading comes in.

Grading is how to classify granite’s worth, uniqueness, and level of durability. Sanford Granite can help differentiate between grades of granite so you can pick the type that works best for your home and lifestyle.

Granite Grading

When it comes to granite grading, there are a few factors to take into consideration.

The first factor is the origin of the granite. Granite can be sourced from across the world—and the price of the slab will depend on where it originates. For example, a granite slab from China will cost less than one from Brazil or Italy.

The nearness of the granite will also impact the price that you pay. Granite is a heavy material, meaning that it costs a lot to ship. The nearer to you it originates, the less expensive it will be.

The second factor is granite thickness. Since granite is such a heavy material and more weight means more hassle, many manufacturers cut slabs into incredibly thin slices. You’re going to want to avoid anything that’s cut less than an inch thick—because this sort of thinness will affect your granite’s durability.  The optimal thickness is 1–1.25 inches.

The visual appearance of granite also plays into its grading. If there are any imperfections, like scratches, dents, or chips, it compromises the quality of the granite. A high-grade slab won’t have damages like this.

Granite’s porosity is another factor that grading must take into account. Porosity is how much liquid a stone will absorb, and you want your slab to be as nonporous as possible. If it’s porous, stains and damage are more likely to occur. Low porosity equals higher grading.

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Grade Classification

There are three levels when it comes to granite grading—Levels 1, 2, and 3.

Level 1

This is also known as “entry-level,” “commercial-grade,” or “builders grade granite.” Being that it’s the smallest number, it’s a low-grade granite. This granite is typically sourced in China and found in apartments and homes that are remodeled. Slabs of Level 1 granite are thin and need backing for support.

Just because it’s the lowest grade doesn’t mean the slab won’t look good, though. Level 1 usually means simple designs and colors, but it’s a good choice if you’re not looking for anything flashy. It’s also very affordable.

Level 2

Level 2 or “mid-grade” granite offers more choices in the way of color and style. It typically comes from India and Brazil, and it’s thicker than Level 1, which makes it more durable and longer lasting. It usually lasts longer than Level 1 granite and is still very affordable.

Level 3

Level 3 qualifies as high-level granite. If you’re looking for a high-quality stone, then this is the way to go. Level 3 stones have a wide variety of styles and colors and are known for their unique appearances coming from India and Brazil. They’re also incredibly durable.

What’s the Difference?

You can see what factors set the levels of granite apart from one another. Style variations, thickness, and origin all come into play when differentiating the grades. But even though there are differences between Levels 1, 2, and 3, they’re all the same stone. Granite, no matter the grade, is an incredibly durable and classic natural stone that looks great in any kitchen or bathroom.

Any slab of granite with the proper sealant is resistant to heat, stains, and liquid. What factors most into the grades is the rarity of the colors and patterns. The higher the grade, the more unique your stone will be.

How to Choose?

There are plenty of factors to consider when choosing the grade of granite that’s right for your remodel. Here’s the rundown of what to keep in mind:

  • Price—What grade can you afford?
  • Color—Higher grade granites will offer more unique colors and styles. Is this a big factor in your decision?
  • Size—What size of granite slab does your project need? If you need a bigger slab, higher-grade granite’s quantities may be limited.

Your Granite Countertop

No matter what grade of granite that you choose for your countertop, it’s sure to be a long-lasting, timeless choice for your kitchen or bathroom remodel. To look into your options and learn more about the stones we have at Sanford Granite, contact us today!

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