Dammit granite, I love you
We have a tendency to think that things have always been as they are now, but if you’ve been out touring older homes you will certainly see that granite countertops are relatively new. According to this article, granite was first introduced (to North American kitchens) in 1986. It was considered a “down to earth” choice as the other high end material was marble.
Blame it on Rio
Italy, USA, China, India and Brazil all have granite. Before the mid-90s much of the granite in our kitchens came from Italy. But that was expensive. In the early 2000s a lot of other countries – notably China, India and Brazil entered the market with lower priced stone. That lead to more demand which in turn created a cycle where supply and demand surged.
Shipping it finished
In the 1990s, the popularization of shipping containers made it more cost effective to have granite slabs intended for countertops to be pre-cut in its country of origin and then packed and shipped. World trade and more open borders brought the price of it down.
Cutting to the chase
Computer controlled cutting has made granite much easier to work with. The hole where the sink goes, and major cuts can all be done quickly and accurately with the aid of computer cutting technology.
Boom boom in the room
The housing boom exaggerated every trend. Since 2000, the granite boom has been closely tied to the housing boom. As builders put granite into their homes, it quickly became a standard. In turn, even older houses needing renovation latched onto that granite mania. One trend — a boom in home construction — took granite along for the ride and perpetuated the impression that granite was the prime material of a “new” building.
I like granite. It looks nice. But manmade materials like quartz and corian might be a better choice. More on those later.