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Ask the Editor: Choosing Granite

Vent hood hanging over granite countertop

Designed by Northbay Kitchen & Bath, Petaluma, Calif.

Get the Right Granite Color

 

Question: "I love one of the photographs on your website and I would really like to know what the countertop is. I have had this photo (see above) pasted as my desktop for months now; I like it that much. We are finally at the point where we are ready to replace our countertop, and this is the countertop I want." —Sandi U.


Answer: I can tell you for sure that this is a polished granite countertop with a bullnose edge. What I don't know is the color; but even if I did know that, it wouldn't necessarily be useful information

For one, granite colors don't have consistent names. Countries of origin, importers, fabricators, installers and retailers each have their own naming conventions for granite. It's sort of like finding the right paint color; my bedroom is painted "Under the Big Top," which is code for sky blue.

Secondly, photos — whether on the Internet or in a magazine — have their limitations. What looks great in a 4-inch x 5-inch photo of someone else's kitchen might not measure up in person or in your home. For that reason, you should always pick out colors — whether of paint, countertops, flooring, tiles or cabinets — where you can see the actual product for yourself.

Most importantly, every slab of granite is unique and contains variations in color, veining and particle size. This is true even if you are looking at two slabs of Absolute Black from the same quarry. That's why you can't just choose a color of granite-you have to go to the granite yards (typically a retailer/installer) and pick out a specific slab for your countertop.

Some relatively common granite colors include:

 

Blacks

 

 

Browns

 

 

Blues

 

 

Greens

 

 

Yellows

 

 

Absolute Black

 

 

Baltic Brown

 

 

Blue Pearl

 

 

Emerald Pearl

 

 

Giallo Ornamentale

 

 

Black Galaxy

 

 

Dakota Mahogany

 

 

Volga Blue

 

 

Peacock Green (or Verde Peacock)

 

 

New Venetian Gold

 

 

Black Impala (or Impala Black)

 

 

Santa Cecilia

 

 

 

 

 

Ubatuba (or Uba Tuba; it is a dark green)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tan Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tropical Brown

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing your colors in other languages can help in the search, as many granites come from Italy, Spain, India, China, Brazil and other foreign countries.

 

Here are a few pointers:

 

Italian

 

 

Spanish

 

 

English

 

 

Arancio

Bianco

Blu

Giallo

Grigio

Nero

Rosa

Rosso

Verde

 

 

Naranja

Blanco

Azul

Amarillo

Gris

Negro

Rosa

Rojo

Verde

 

 

Orange

White

Blue

Yellow

Gray

Black

Pink

Red

Green

 

 

Finally, a few thoughts on cost: granites are typically divided into anywhere from three to six pricing tiers, depending on the seller. The most exotic, rare or difficult to obtain stones cost can cost more than twice as much as the options in the lowest tier.

Other options that affect price include the thickness of the slab, the elaborateness of the edge treatment and the type of finish.

 

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