Granite Counter Tops
Granite didn't used to be all the rage. It used to be dress code for banks and public buildings that represented a strength and immortality we could all--well--bank on. Since when did we start bringing rock indoors and setting it in the kitchen?
Since it got cheap. That started about fifteen years.
From Local To Global
Granite used to be a locally produced resource that was expensive to mine, cut and ship. In the 90's the granite counter top was as rare in the kitchen as it is commonplace today. What made it possible was globalization. Today natural stone is quarried in all corners of the globe, shipped in cargo containers to ports around the world and shipped again to U.S. warehouses. It doesn't sound cheap, does it? All those shipping costs, all that fossil fuel energy required to transport the stone from one country to another--that's got to cost something. Not to mention the hidden cost of a super- sized carbon footprint. But it scales. Mass produced, it works.
And so, fifteen years later thanks to mass production we have (and expect to have) a huge hunk of ancient polished rock to set our equal exchange cup of coffee on.
More granite for sure. But it's probably safe to say we are at or beyond peak granite here. Looking forward, the array of creative products now available for kitchen counter tops is truly impressive. In addition to different varieties of natural stone (soapstone, marble, limestone) and wood (such as bamboo) counter tops are fabricated from thermo-plastics (Corian), quartz (Silestone), concrete, stainless steel, recycled glass and recycled paper.