Are Granite Countertops Safe?

The look of granite countertops is just amazing. Granite gets its natural beauty from the elements and minerals it contains that create a vast range of patterns and textures. Besides its appearance, durability is another feature that makes granite a widely sought-after material in buildings and homes as can be seen from these granite countertop cost estimates. However, granite-like any other natural stone may also contain decaying radioactive elements such as thoriumuranium, and radium. These components are normally in a solid state but when they decay, they can emit radon.

The safety of granite as one of the materials used to build countertops has always been a concern. It is actually the presence of radon gas that makes home builders and owners second guess the safety of granite countertops as a building material.

How dangerous is radon?

Radon is an odorless and colorless radioactive gas; neither can you taste it.

It is naturally present in the environment: in the soil, water, air, and even rock.

That is why when materials such as granite are mined from the earth they come with the radioactive components that can emit the gas.

People’s major fear is that the gradual exposure to radon gas may ultimately lead to cancer. Therefore according to homeowners, if the gas is this dangerous, why have its source in homes in the first place?

The truth is, however, that radon is already all around us. If anything, more of it is emitted from our surrounding environment than in our granite countertops.

radon

How harmful are granite countertops really?

As we have seen, radon gas is a possibility with granite. This has led to the rise of claims that hence granite countertops can emit dangerous levels of harmful gas. But this is not entirely true; granite countertops are safe. It has even been confirmed by various environmental experts such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Only very small amounts of radon gas can be emitted by your granite countertop. And in case that happens, the gas will most likely be insignificant and harmless as it will be diluted with the air in your home. This is another reason to keep your entire home well ventilated.

Moreover, you will be amazed to find out that it is not only the granite countertop that can emit radon.

Several other products in your household can also emit radon gas, but also at low and generally harmless levels.

These products include coal, non-plastic utensils, clay bricks, and other concrete products.

In summary, granite countertops are generally safe. If you are in doubt, just purchase a radon test kit and test the air in your home for the quantity of radon gas available.

The Pros and Cons of Glass Countertops

Homeowners are increasingly looking for elegant, easy-to-maintain surfaces, making glass an excellent choice for kitchen countertops.

What’s more, glass countertops come in various styles – back-painted glass, crushed glass, textured glass, or glass with LED – giving shoppers plenty of options.

But, glass isn’t perfect either. Therefore, when shopping, you need to understand the pros and cons of the material. That’s what we discuss below;

The Pros

Glass countertops are eco-friendly

Glass is a recyclable material, which is also one of the main reasons why it has remained so popular.

Modern homeowners all want to do their bit for the environment, so glass countertops are an excellent choice for a greener lifestyle.

When you dispose of your old glassware, recyclers pick up the items, grind them, and use them to make new glassware.

It means that you could even choose to buy a countertop made from recycled glass.

Glass countertops are very durable

For a long time, you will not need to worry about a tear or even discoloration. You can even place hot utensils on the surface because glass is highly resistant to heat.

The countertops are easy to clean and maintain

You can simply use water or a mixture of soap and water and the countertop will be back to its shiny and pleasant appearance. Also, since glass is a non-porous material, using water will not attract any bacteria or mold.

Glass is one of the most versatile materials

For this reason, you can have your countertop shaped and formed to any size, style, texture, and color. The options are only limited by your imagination. And, you can even stretch that imagination because glass pairs extremely well with most materials.

Glass countertops create a sense of style and instantly add to the appeal of your home. This is particularly important to keep in mind when doing a home remodel.

clean-glass-countertops

The Cons

Prone to damage and expensive to repair

Heavy or sharp objects can cause cracks, dents or chips to glass. You need to avoid these at all costs because unlike other materials, glass is extremely expensive to repair.

Certain substances can harm your glass countertop

Acid and acidic substances, for instance, are harmful to glass. Additionally, if you do not clean your glass countertop properly and regularly, water prints will eventually make the glass surface appear dull and unappealing.

High-end glass can be expensive

Compared to other options such as wood and granite, glass countertops are rather expensive. You need to have enough money to purchase the countertop, and extra money to have it customized to your taste.

Some glass countertops are not 100% environmental-friendly

Manufacturing new glass countertops, for instance, requires cement binders.

To make cement binders, a lot of fuel is required.

The fuel used is not always natural.

This renders cement-based countertops harmful to the environment.

Most modern homeowners are interested in green living, and this will include everything right down to the smallest details. If it ain’t environmentally friendly, it could be a deal-breaker.

Glass countertops are expensive to install

You cannot opt for DIY when installing the countertops. Due to their fragile nature, only a professional should handle the installation. The installation expenses will then add to the overall cost.

Summary

As you shop for a glass countertop, keep these factors in mind. Only make a purchase if you feel that the pros outweigh the cons.