Unlock the Foolproof Guide to Buying Granite Countertops [2022]

Table of Contents

The granite countertop is one of the most widely used kitchen fixtures in the Philippines and around the world.

Delivering both form and function, this beautiful natural stone makes an excellent kitchen workspace for anyone who enjoys cooking or baking.

Thus, even though there are many other countertop materials in the market today, granite remains a popular choice for many homeowners, architects, and interior designers.

But the question is:

What Makes Granite an Ideal Countertop Material?

Well, to start, we must first understand what granite is.

If you’re not a fan of earth science, you might want to skip this part by clicking here.

But, if you’re curious to know, let’s jump right in.

1. Granite is Naturally Beautiful

In geology, granites are light-colored igneous rocks with varying grains visible to the naked eye.

Composed mainly of feldspar and quartz (no, not that quartz), most granites generally appear gray, white, pink, or black, depending on their mineral composition.

For example, the material “Salt and Pepper” (or G603), a popular granite from China, is a black and white speckled stone formed by the abundance of quartz and other minerals.

On the other hand, if the granite is rich in potassium feldspar, it becomes salmon pink in color.

Ultimately, the amalgamation of the various minerals that form granite also makes up its unique appearance.

A white granite countertop in a residential home in Cebu City
The granite, "Viscon White," is a beautiful weave of white, gray, and black tones. Its natural swirls and veins give it an appearance similar to marble.

Curious to know how much will your counter cost?

2. Granite is Highly Durable

Apart from their natural beauty, granite countertops are also highly durable.

In fact, granite sits between the 6th and 7th tier on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness.

Looking at our chart, it’s not surprising why many homeowners choose granite for their kitchens.

It’s tough; we use diamond tools to cut and polish the slabs.

In addition, if you try slicing directly on your granite countertop, it will only dull your knife blades.

After all, granite was formed by the extreme heat and pressure deep within the Earth millions of years ago.

It survived the dinosaurs and will, most likely, outlast your entire house, too.

With proper care and maintenance, your granite countertop will guarantee you a lifetime of service in the kitchen.

Mohs hardnesss Mineral Common object(s)
1 Talc Baby Powder
2 Gypsum Fingernail
3 Calcite Concrete, Limestone
4 Fluorite Marble
5 Apatite Glass Window
6 Orthoclase feldspar Steel Blade knife
7 Quartz Granite, Sand
8 Topaz Topaz
9 Corundum Ruby, Sapphire
10 Diamond Diamond

3. Granite is Cost-Effective

Another reason why granite is widely used in the construction industry is its abundance.

There are a lot of granite deposits in the continental crust. And the majority of the commercial supplies come from China, India, and Brazil.

If you’re curious about how they appear as naturally occurring rocks, just look for “Yosemite” or “Mount Rushmore” on Google. You’ll be amazed at how massive they are.

Like any other goods sold in the market, supply and demand are the most significant factors affecting the stones’ prices worldwide.

Fortunately, granite prices have remained stable for decades now, thanks to the abundant supply we have in our quarries.

Moreover, considering its timeless appeal and unyielding strength, a granite countertop will pay for itself in the long run. Here’s how:

  • First, its required minimal upkeep saves you significant time and resources. Granite countertops are easy to clean and care for;

  • Second, you won’t have to replace your granite countertop every ten years, unlike ceramic tiles or HPL. It’s a one-time investment that provides a lifelong service to your home;

  • Lastly, it increases your home’s value should you decide to sell your house in the future. A granite countertop in your home can boost its value by up to twenty-five percent (25%).
The "Black Galaxy" granite quarry in Ongole, India
"Black Galaxy" quarry in India

Customers pay a price, but they remember the value

What is "Granite?"

Across the stone industry, however, granite is defined differently.

For most stone traders, like us, granite is any rock with visible grains that is harder than marble. Hence, gabbro, basalt, gneiss, and other similar stones are sold as “granite” as well.

For example, the material “Black Galaxy” is actually gabbro, not a true granite.

For geologists, a rock must be at least twenty percent (20%) quartz in composition to be considered granite.

Nevertheless, for the sake of simplicity, we’ll be using the commercial description of granite as it is the more accepted definition by most consumers. Alright?

Great!

Now that we are on the same page, you might as well ask:

Is Granite Radioactive?

Like any other natural stone, granite has traces of radioactive elements. But don’t worry, they’re way below the harmful levels.

As a matter of fact, “it is extremely unlikely that radiation from granite countertops would increase annual radiation doses above normal, natural background levels.

Radon originating from the soil beneath homes is a more common problem and a far larger public health risk than radon from granite building materials.”[1]

Hence, you need not worry about being a few inches away from the counter while doing the dishes.

Preparing food directly on your granite countertop won’t turn you into the Hulk either.

Numerous studies have shown no real cause for concern about the radiation levels in various granite samples. Rest assured that your granite countertop is safe to use inside your kitchen.

Alright. Now that we’ve covered all the science stuff, the more important question is:

How Much Does a Granite Slab Cost in the Philippines?

Here in the Philippines, granite ranges between Php 2,500 to Php 25,000 per slab. The cost, however, varies depending on the following factors:

A. Supply and Demand

All things being equal, the price of a stone increases when the supply decreases (making it rarer) or when the demand surges (making it more coveted).

Conversely, the price decreases when a granite color becomes widely available (making it common) or less popular (making it less desired).

For example, a diamond fetches a higher value than gravel because it’s rare and hard to find.

Similarly, if a granite color is sold exclusively by one source, then they can put a steep price tag on it if they want to.

In contrast, granites that are common and abundant, such as the “Salt and Pepper” (G603) and “Gray Honda” (G654), will obviously be cheaper.

Additionally, production issues also affect the cost of granites worldwide.

Over the years, some quarries in China have been closed down by the government for environmental reasons. As a result, the prices for these stones continue to soar exponentially as the remaining supply dwindles.

The "Black Galaxy" granite quarry in Ongole, India
We, at Stone Depot, hand-pick every slab we get from various sources all over the world.

B. Origin (Quarry Location) of the Granite

Not every stone color, however, can be quarried from a single country. Hence, some granite colors come from China or India, while others come from the other side of the globe.

If, for example, you live in Cebu and are eyeing a “Blue Pearl” granite from Norway, then expect to pay more than a “Salt and Pepper” slab from China. Here’s why:

First, the cost of transporting the slab from the quarry to your kitchen plays a significant role in pricing. Obviously, the shipping cost will be more expensive if you are farther away from its origin. As transit time increases, so does the price of goods, too.

Second, the cost of labor varies between countries.

For any business, higher wages mean greater expenses, which, in turn, are passed on to buyers in the form of higher prices. The stones processed in China will undoubtedly be more affordable than those from Norway, considering the wage difference.

Lastly, other factors, like tariffs and free trade agreements, also affect the prices of granite counters. Duties and taxes, or the lack thereof, can swing the cost of imported products.

The ASEAN-India Free Trade Area (AIFTA), for example, reduces the duties for granites from ten percent (10%) to six percent (6%), while the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA), on the other hand, cuts it to zero.

C. Granite Size

During production, granite blocks are cut into different sizes using various machines. The dimension of the granite block plus the machine type used determines the final size of the slabs produced.

Generally, larger slabs allow us to install granite countertops and other stone applications with minimal seams. They also ensure that the veins and patterns flow uniformly and continuously across the entire surface.

One large granite slab creates a countertop with more consistent color and appearance, unlike two smaller pieces connected together.

However, not all slabs may be readily available in the size you need.

There’s an excellent chance that you might have to buy another piece of the same material if the slab comes short of your requirements.

If you are interested in a particular granite color for your kitchen, it’s best to check out first if the sizes are available with your local stone supplier. Should you wish to see our selection of granites, feel free to visit the Stone Depot branch nearest to you.

Bigger granites, however, are more expensive than smaller cuts.

The “Emerald Pearl,” for example, costs Php 5,500 per sqm. for a 0.60 m. x 2.40 m. size; while a 1.40 m. x 2.50 m. slab fetches Php 9,000 per sqm.

Large format slabs are costlier as they are harder to produce and are riskier to haul and transport. If you are on a limited budget, then you might want to consider using other granite formats such as:

Floor tile logo

a. Typical size(s): 0.60 m. x 0.60 m., etc.

b. Cost: Inexpensive

c. Recommended applications: Floor tile, Pool coping, Wall cladding, etc.

Cutter Slabs

Kitchen logo

a. Typical size(s): 0.60 m. x 2.40 m. +/-

b. Cost: Moderate

c. Recommended applications: Kitchen countertop, Vanity top, Table top, etc.

Gangsaw Slabs

Logo of a Bar Counter

a. Typical size(s): 1.20 m. +/- x 2.50 m. +/-

b. Cost: Expensive

c. Recommended applications: Kitchen countertop, Island, Table top, etc.

D. Thickness

Granites don’t come from the earth in slab forms.

They are first extracted as large blocks at quarry sites and cut into many slices—like a loaf of white bread.

In some cases, to maximize profit, some factories produce thinner cuts (12 mm. to 15 mm.) to make more out of a single block.

Here in the Philippines, the average thickness of most granites is 18 mm to 20 mm. Nevertheless, they are also available in 12 mm. to 30 mm., depending on your supplier.

At Stone Depot, for example, our slabs are available only in standard thickness (18 mm. to 20 mm.) for all our granite, marble, and quartz selections.

Unlike other suppliers, we do not offer 12 mm. to 15 mm. thick slabs that may compromise the durability of your stone application, especially your kitchen countertop.

A black granite countertop in Bantayan Island, Cebu
All our slabs are 18 mm. to 20 mm. thick. We do not have thinner slabs in our product lineup, as they can compromise the sturdiness of your granite countertop.

Thicker slabs provide greater structural strength. As such, it’s best to use an 18 mm. to 30 mm. thick granite for your kitchen counter.

On the other hand, thinner slabs are cheaper but are more fragile. They require additional support, especially for your overhang. Ultimately, you may end up costing more in the long run because of these issues.

Remember: you always get what you pay for.

If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly.

E. Rarity

Not all granites are created equal; some colors are rarer and pricier than others, similar to precious stones.

Blue, for example, is so rare in nature that many of the world’s most prized granites are in this shade.

The “Blue Bahia,” for instance, starts at around Php 70,000 per sqm.; while the much rarer “Van Gogh” costs twice, or even thrice, higher. These two blue stones are incredibly rare and found only in Brazil.

In contrast, a typical “Salt and Pepper” from China only costs Php 1,800 per sqm.—now that’s a whopping 189.97% difference versus the “Blue Bahia.”

F. Grade

Honestly, there is no international standard for grading granites. The benchmark we use is solely based on suppliers’ standards.

Generally, these grades are determined by the stones’ natural characteristics, such as veining, pitting, and markings.

As such, granites with a more consistent shade, pattern, and appearance can fetch a higher asking price than those that don’t.

Furthermore, the quality by which the slabs are cut and polished is equally important.

Thinner slabs (15 mm. or less) are inferior to standard ones (18 mm. to 30 mm.), as they are more susceptible to breakage.

As for luster, granite slabs processed using line polishing machines are deemed better than those done manually. These machines provide a uniform and better shine that no human hand can easily achieve.

A close-up photo of a black granite countertop in a condominium unit in Cebu City
Granites are commonly sold in a polished finish, giving it a high-gloss appearance.

Conclusion

Now that we’ve covered the most important points before buying a granite countertop, the last question is: where is the best place to buy granite in the Philippines?

If you live in Luzon, particularly in Metro Manila, we highly recommend going to Balintawak in Quezon City, specifically to Saint Mark Construction Supply. They have a wide range of not only granites but as well as marble and engineered quartz at very affordable prices.

However, if you’re in the Visayas or Mindanao region, Stone Depot is the place to go. With branches in CebuDavaoCagayan de Oro, and Iloilo City, you don’t have to worry about shipping these heavy and oversized slabs from Manila.

All our slab yards are well-supplied with various natural and engineered stones that you need for your project. What’s more, we offer the most competitively priced countertop materials in the region, so you don’t have to look around anywhere else.

So what are you waiting for? Visit your nearest Stone Depot branch today!

Interested in Franchising a Stone Depot Branch?

References

Citations:

1. Environmental Protection Agency. (2021, December 8). Granite Countertops and Radiation. EPA. Retrieved March 16, 2022, from https://www.epa.gov/radiation/granite-countertops-and-radiation

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