Countertop help - please! Is granite safe? - Mothering Forums
The Mindful Home > Countertop help - please! Is granite safe?
emcap's Avatar emcap 01:42 PM 11-23-2010

I have been researching - way too much.  Such conflicting information.  We want granite but we are concerned about radon, quartz (the only colors we like anyway) is getting out of our budget, plus I think granite is prettier.  I don't really want laminate, but I also don't want radon.  Are there off gassing concerns with laminate?  Please help me, my head is starting to spin.  We have four children and I want a safe option.  I like butcher block counters, but we have wood cabinets, floors, and doors, it would just be too much!

Thanks for your help.



mich's Avatar mich 01:56 PM 11-23-2010

I feel for you! I went through this a few years ago and ended up with quartz. But I never heard of Radon in granite, yikes! Radon scares me. But if you seal it regularly would that stop it?

 

I really wanted the white carrara marble, but the staining and sealing seemed like too much for me. We ended up with a look-alike from CeasarStone.   I will say I love the CeasarStone, heat proof, cut proof, stain proof, no sealing treatments, love it.

 

I also considered a wood counter top but thought the same way you do. Wood cabinets, wood floor, wood hutch, too much wood.


emcap's Avatar emcap 02:06 PM 11-23-2010

The granite we are looking at is sealed with a 15 year guarantee, so no regular sealing.  I don't imagine sealing would help anyway though, as I'm imagining it radiating out.  Not really sure though.  Thanks for the reply!


mich's Avatar mich 02:25 PM 11-23-2010

Wow, things sure do change fast. Just a few years ago no one mentioned a pre-sealed granite that did not need yearly sealing.

 

Also you asked about laminate, I believe that off gasses the most. Just like a pressed wood cabinet off gasses more that solid wood.. I think it is like a plywood or pressed board under the laminate.


taubel's Avatar taubel 02:29 PM 11-23-2010

We had the same fears regarding the granite. We went with a manufactured quartz, which was comparable in price to granite. They counters look great, and they have a 15 year warranty. Unfortunately, we have already had a dime-size piece chip out. The company came and patched it at no charge. It looks OK, but not as perfect as before.

 

I've also noticed that when I wipe my finger along the underside of the counters, where it's not glossed to a shine, I get dust on my finger. Thirty years from now there will be some health concern about that, I'm sure. I keep trying to tell myself that nothing is perfect!

 

The countertops we got were Green Guard Certified for indoor air quality. The ONLY reason we did not go with laminate was because of the off-gassing issue. I have read recently though that there are formaldehyde-free MDF boards to mount the laminate on. Not sure if that's true or not - did not research it indepth.

 

Good luck with your decision!

 

Oh, and be careful with some of the manufactured quartz. We were set to go with Silestone until I learned they are treated with Microban! I did not want THAT mixed into my countertop where we prepare food!


mich's Avatar mich 02:43 PM 11-23-2010


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by taubel


 

Oh, and be careful with some of the manufactured quartz. We were set to go with Silestone until I learned they are treated with Microban! I did not want THAT mixed into my countertop where we prepare food!


I thought the same thing! Why does everyone think this is so great? That and Stainguard on furniture, I always hated that. My MIL is always having her furniture treated, yuck!


emcap's Avatar emcap 03:28 PM 11-23-2010

Ugh, I didn't think about the microban.....  too many things to consider!  I'm surprised about the chip out of the quartz, thats dissappointing, I thought it was stronger than that.  This has been very helpful.  Please keep the replies coming! 


Ola_'s Avatar Ola_ 03:37 PM 11-23-2010

From what I've read the radon issue varies between granite varieties.  Also, I decided I'd rather have granite than quartz with the Microban and all the resin that they mix into the bits of actual stone.  Depending on granite they can really be quite maintenance-free.  Ours has not been sealed since installation and it should never need it (this is true for most of the dark-coloured varieties, ours is dark green/black).  I am not the neatest housekeeper so it's not unusual for splatters or spills to sit on the counter for a day (ok, sometimes a few days) before being noticed and cleaned up, and they come off with a soapy sponge.  We got a little sample from the supplier and poured a bunch of stuff on it (lime juice, olive oil, soya sauce, ketchup, balsamic vinegar) and left it overnight.  The next day we rinsed it off and you couldn't see any marks or anything - I'd definitely do this kind of test on any surface you're considering, including quartz.

 

With the laminate you definitely have a less expensive option and some of them look quite nice these days.  The only thing is that I feel like there are a lot of glues used in it so off-gassing would definitely be a concern.  Soapstone is pretty inert but it is pricey and different - you either love it or you don't.  It can also be tricky to find a good fabricator/installer for it.


Norabella's Avatar Norabella 07:21 PM 11-23-2010

I've been l looking into non-toxic, enviro-friendly and less expensive counter top options and one of the green renovation books I have suggests paper-resin counters, and counters made from recycled glass, I haven't been able to get price comparisons for these things yet, but just thought I'd throw them out there since I didn't see them mentioned yet.


taubel's Avatar taubel 07:28 PM 11-23-2010


Quote:
Originally Posted by Norabella View Post

I've been l looking into non-toxic, enviro-friendly and less expensive counter top options and one of the green renovation books I have suggests paper-resin counters, and counters made from recycled glass, I haven't been able to get price comparisons for these things yet, but just thought I'd throw them out there since I didn't see them mentioned yet.

 

I looked into those options and they are SUPER expensive. Such a shame they have to price them so high.

 

Our quartz is La Viaterra or some brand like that (can't remember!). It is NOT treated with Microban like the Silestone. Now we're looking into floors, and I found this great cork laminate floating floor. We were considering having it installed, then I see in the brochure that it's treated with Microban! You just can't win. Why take a "green" product and then treat it with something toxic?!!

 


 


newtomotherhood's Avatar newtomotherhood 10:01 AM 11-27-2010

Now I know very little about this but wouldn't stainless steel be a safe option but I am not sure on the price of that It might be more than the granite ! But I think it is worth checking into unless they is something I don't know about stainless  that would make it an unsafe option! It would look pretty good too!


lucyem's Avatar lucyem 03:09 PM 11-27-2010

Me to DH:  "Does someone have to worry about radon in their granite countertop"

DH:  "Not really.  Chances are that the amount of radon is so small that it is not an issue.  That is if the piece of granite even had radon in it and you would not know unless you tested it.  The radon could be an issue in a very small non ventilated kitchen with no air flow where the radon can build up and most houses are not that tight."

 

DH is a certified Radon inspector and analyst with the NRPP.  


sanguine_speed's Avatar sanguine_speed 07:16 PM 11-27-2010


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ola_ View Post

Also, I decided I'd rather have granite than quartz with the Microban and all the resin that they mix into the bits of actual stone.  

 



Just so others are clear, it is only Silestone brand that has microban.  The other brands of quartz don't do this.


columbusmomma's Avatar columbusmomma 12:39 PM 11-29-2010

I"m going to do this to my countertops: check it out!

www.gianigranite.com


ASusan's Avatar ASusan 01:41 PM 12-02-2010

Radon in granite made the news when we were building our new house -

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/24/garden/24granite.html

 

There are HUGE variations in the amounts that come out of the stone.

 

I had someone come out with a radon detector and check our granite before it was installed. Luckily, it was low.


bigteamug's Avatar bigteamug 06:01 PM 12-02-2010

On laminate, I don't know about the formadelhyde free backings, but one option I had heard of was to install it on all sides of the backing - it would seal in most of the nasty.  But you obviously couldn't use preformed counters for this.

 

Another option might be to buy some sealer and seal the bottom really well before it's installed - it would also reduce off-gassing.  AFM makes sealers for stuff like this.

 

Not sure, but I think that at least some soapstone has asbestos in it.  I sure wouldn't want that cut in my house for installation!

 

I haven't found an option I'm thrilled with for counters - many of the greener ones are $$$.  And I would not say that stone is green, if that is what you're aiming for.

 


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