Having granite as your kitchen countertop can be a bit expensive. This article discusses faux granite and its uses as an alternative to natural granite.
If you think granite is the only option for kitchen countertops out there, think again. This article shows you how faux granite is made and how it can be implemented in a kitchen.
Faux granite is made from manufactured materials that look and feel like natural granite. This factory-made composite is made from crushed stone, quartz crystals, polyester, dyes, acrylics, and pulverized marble bound with resin in a slab as an alternative to natural marble or granite.
Granite counters are trendy and expensive; finding an attractive and high-value alternative is possible with faux granite. Hygienic, beautiful, and low maintenance, faux granite makes an ideal eco-friendly countertop surface. Let’s find out how faux granite can be used in your home.
How is Faux Granite Made?
Synthetic or manufactured granite is made of artificial materials, primarily acrylic, but polyester resins, marble dust, quartz, and pigments are also used. When faux granite is made, it can also be made from small-sized pieces of quartz and granite mixed with resins.
When referring to faux granite, we mean composite granite, also known as engineered stone. Faux granite is intended to look and perform similarly to its natural counterpart, granite.
Different mixtures of composite materials are available, thanks to the process of creating faux granite. Portions of the mixture can be readily substituted with glass, quartz, or other materials to produce a wide range of looks.
Veining and different patterns can be easily achieved by choosing different mixtures for the composite material. The materials used in faux granite can be readily cut using a water jet cutter. This allows any qualified granite countertop contractor to use faux granite without any additional equipment.
Faux granite is not typically thought to have different grades of materials. Differences between synthetic faux granite materials can exist, but they are deliberate products of creating composite granite. These different materials and additional processing can result in higher pricing of faux granite.
What is Granite Composite?
Most people nowadays care about making eco-friendly choices. Faux granite is one of the most environmentally sensitive choices you can make for kitchen countertops.
Granite composite, not to be confused with solid granite, is a manufactured blend of stone dust, crushed quartz, acrylic, and resins. The result is a low-maintenance, highly durable granite-like material that is much lighter than solid granite. Composite granite is used to manufacture top-quality kitchen countertops.
For homeowners and DIY enthusiasts looking to get a good granite countertop at a lower price, faux granite offers an impressive range of options while providing significantly greater visual consistency than natural granite.
How To Clean and Care for Faux Granite
One of the benefits of granite composite is how easy it is to maintain and clean.
- After each use, wipe your countertop or sink to clean away food particles and standing liquids.
- Use a soft cloth and mild liquid detergent to wash the faux granite for a weekly clean.
- Don’t use heavy detergents, abrasive substances, or metal scrub pads, as these will damage the surface.
- Although staining doesn’t usually occur, it can happen in some cases. Most stains can be removed with a highly diluted organic cleaner. Rinse with warm water, and wipe dry with a soft cloth.
- For oil-based stains, like paint, wipe spills immediately with a cloth dampened with denatured alcohol.
- To remove lime build-up, clean with a solution comprised of vinegar and water and let it sit for several hours. Rub the lime build-up vigorously until the lime, stains, and dirt have been removed, then rinse thoroughly with clean water.
Faux Granite Has Many Benefits
Some of the most preferred uses of granite are for countertops and kitchen sinks. Most homeowners like natural granite, but there are trade-offs to using natural granite. Porous natural granite stains easily harbor germs and bacteria and require continuous maintenance, plus they weigh a ton.
Natural granite tops often require heavily built cabinets to support the extra weight of the granite. Natural granite must be carefully selected, matched, cut, and available only in a limited selection of colors.
The resiliency of faux granite is unmatched in countertops and kitchen sinks. Faux granite is resistant to almost all types of damage like scratches, stains, burns, and chips. Faux granite can withstand the impact of blunt force or accidental drops, which isn’t always the case with natural granite.
The benefits of faux granite are listed here:
Heat Resistant: Faux granite can withstand temperatures over 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot pots won’t leave any burn marks behind, and faux granite will never discolor or fade. Faux granite retains its integrity when exposed to high temperatures.
Extremely hard rock particles are formed under high pressure and turn into a product that is even more chip, scratch, and dent-resistant than engineered quartz. Natural granite surfaces cannot absorb heat, so they can chip if hot objects are placed on them. Do take care when placing hot items on the countertop.
Easy to maintain: Faux granite does not require sealants or unique cleaning products. Because granite is porous, it needs to be sealed yearly to prevent staining. Cleaning products and degreasers like glass cleaners also can strip the sealant from natural granite.
Non-porous: Faux granite is non-porous, which makes it much more sanitary. Natural granite can hide bits of food, germs, and bacteria in its crevices. Granite composites can also handle disinfectant products without getting damaged, unlike natural granite.
Stain Resistant: Faux granite composite does not stain and doesn’t need sealing and resealing, saving you maintenance dollars.
Scratch and Chip Resistant: Faux granite is tough and dense enough to withstand the most demanding tasks. Its hard, dense surface prevents chips, scratches, cracking, and scuffs that happen in most kitchens.
Lightweight: Solid natural granite can weigh hundreds of pounds depending on the size. This requires custom woodwork for proper support. Faux granite is lighter and installs as easily as stainless steel would.
Malleable: Faux composite granite can be made into any style or shape, which is why some composite granite sinks have pre-drilled faucet holes and integrated drainboards. Since faux granite is such a versatile material, it can be made into any style or configuration you require.
Affordable: With faux granite composite, you get the look and feel of natural granite at a fraction of the price. While faux granite is not entirely cheap, it tends to be at the lower end of the price range for natural granite or marble materials.
Natural granite routinely costs ten times more than faux composite granite and requires a professional to install, which increases the cost. Installing faux granite composite countertops or kitchen sinks can be an easy DIY project.
Several appearance options: Faux granite as a composite can easily be formed into any shape and customized into any color. This makes faux granite composites a preferred choice for homeowners who want distinctive counters, shower surrounds, or bathtubs.
It is much easier to create a visually consistent appearance using faux granite instead of using natural granite or marble with faux composite granite. This allows replacement and repair projects to be more straightforward for contractors to deal with down the road.
Contractors can specify how they want the faux granite to look, reducing costs because designers don’t have to look through large volumes of material to identify something that suits their customer’s needs. This reduces the problem of a different contractor having trouble matching the material if a section needs to be replaced in the future.
Most contractors are familiar with using faux granite. Because of its ease of use and simple design, even contractors unfamiliar with faux granite can quickly catch on.
Working with faux granite doesn’t demand any new equipment that someone familiar with installing granite countertops wouldn’t already have available. Most contractors already capable of installing stone countertops should be able to install faux granite readily. Composite faux granite can easily be used for projects that were planned with other materials in mind.
Faux Granite Composite Colors
As a manufactured material, faux granite composite can be created and offered in various colors. An inherent advantage is that the product’s finish is more uniform than natural stone, making it easy to coordinate with the decor in your home.
How Much does Faux Granite Cost?
Faux composite granite can cost between $50 and $60 per square foot installed. Additional materials could be added to the composite to create different looks, and pricing could be adjusted accordingly.
How to Determine the Difference Between Natural and Faux Granite
1. Check the Pattern and Color
Check the overall pattern and color of the granite slab. If the color is the same throughout the granite, it is likely faux granite without natural variations.
With natural granite, each piece is unique. Granite is a natural stone, so the color, veins, and texture on the surface will never be the same as another section of the same slab. Faux granite has no imperfections, while natural granite should have easily visible variations.
2. The Water Test
Go ahead and pour water on the granite. The water will be absorbed with natural granite rather than running off the slab.
Faux granite is made of epoxy resins and is completely non-porous, and will not absorb liquids. Natural granite absorbs water. When the stone becomes darker, you can see the absorption because the pores fill with the water.
3. Tap the Granite
Give the back of the granite a tap and listen.
Natural granite will produce a ringing sound when it is tapped, while faux granite does not. This is because faux granite is made from resins and quartz crystals. Faux granite is non-porous, so any sound produced will be dull.
Natural granite starts at $60 per square foot and can go as high as $2500. When a salesperson shows you granite that costs less than $50 per square foot, he is probably trying to sell you a laminate countertop or faux granite.
5. Inspect the Seams of the Granite
Inspect the seams. Faux granite will have no change in the pattern along the seams. With natural granite, you should notice a change in pattern, which should have been visible from installation time.
Professionals can minimize the pattern change when they line up the seams. But you should still be able to see those variations upon closer inspection.
Laminate Faux Granite
Another option for homeowners who want an even more affordable look-alike granite counter is laminate faux granite. Laminate has come a long way since it was commonplace in homes decades ago but has evolved a lot since then. Laminate countertops are made from a mixture of wood and paper products held together with glue and resin.
Can laminate look like granite? Yes, the look of natural stones like granite and marble are some of the most popular laminate patterns. These days high-end laminates can resemble some of the most popular natural stone countertops like granite, quartz, and marble. Faux granite laminate typically has a matte finish.
Faux granite is a factory-made composite that is an alternative to natural marble or granite. It is made from crushed stone, quartz crystals, and marble bound in slab form with resin. It is strong, durable, attractive, and consistent in pattern and looks.
The non-porous surface of faux granite is easy to maintain and heat-resistant. Faux granite can be cut just like other natural materials, making it easy to use in any planned project. Faux granite lasts longer than other natural stone materials, which can yield long-term cost benefits.
The composite materials used in faux granite can be altered to suit customers’ requirements. This lets contractors mix and matches different materials, like quartz and glass, to create different colors and looks. This allows faux granite composite to be used more creatively than most other stone countertop materials.
Faux granite is a fine eco-friendly choice when using recycled materials or protecting natural resources like absolute granite. The faux granite cost is comparable to granite and significantly cheaper than marble.