Are you upgrading your space with granite countertops? That’s a great selection! Granite countertops are a beautiful, durable addition to any part of your home – from kitchen countertops to bathroom sinks. This stunning stone comes in a range of colors and styles, perfect for matching your unique taste with a surface that won’t chip or stain, even with years of love.
But how do you know if your granite slab is top-notch? This is where the different grades of granite countertops come into play. The tier of quality, or grade, of a granite slab, is how we classify the worth and its durability. And when it comes to selecting a granite that will last through the years, you surely want it to be the most high-quality, durable stone.
To ensure your remodel uses the best materials, our experts at Granite Selection dive deep into how granite is graded and the details behind each of the granite grades to help assist as you upgrade your space.
How is Granite Graded?
Let’s start with the basics. You may be wondering, “how is granite graded?” There are a few factors that come into play when it comes to granite grading. Here’s a bit on each to get you started:
We can source granite from across the world, and while granite from one place isn’t necessarily better than that of another, it can impact the cost. For instance, ordering granite from China can be one of the most affordable resale options. However, when it comes from Brazil and Italy, it becomes more expensive.
As one would expect, granite is a heavy material, making it even more expensive to ship. So, where your granite is coming from and how it’s being shipped can majorly impact your final cost. The most affordable option for a local remodel? Granite shipped within the U.S.
Granite is a natural material that is cut from the Earth. For this reason, it’s often cut in giant slabs that then goes to a manufacturer who cuts it into pieces that are slimmer and more manageable. However, in an effort to make the slabs more convenient, manufacturers will sometimes cut them into super thin pieces, which ultimately negatively impacts the durability of each slab, particularly in cases when it is cut down to less than one inch thick.
For this reason, a thicker slab of granite is more durable and considered higher quality (and simultaneously will cost more!). When it comes to selecting a durable granite slab, look for 1 to 1 ¼ inch in thickness.
Granite Visual Appearance
Let’s face it – we definitely judge a book by its cover, and it’s actually an important step when analyzing the grades of granite.
When looking at a granite slab, be sure to look for any scratches, dings, dents, or uneven areas. These imperfections may seem unique, but they can increase the chances that the slab will crack or break. A high-quality granite should have the strength to resist these marks and nicks, so if it already appears damaged, that’s a pretty good sign it’s not a high-grade slab.
Porosity is key when selecting a durable stone. Based on the stones and minerals that make up your granite slab, the porosity can vary. In the long term, this can impact the appearance of your stone.
Additionally, if your granite is porous, it is more likely to stain as it will absorb liquid quicker without a sealant. In this case, maintenance requirements will also increase – something many of us with a busy lifestyle would like to avoid.
Granite is undoubtedly one of the finest-looking stones for kitchen countertops. Need proof? See our Black Pearl granite project!
Now you know how the grades are determined, but we’ve yet to define what each grade means. What are the different grades of granite countertops? It’s broken down quite simply into three “levels” – Level 1, 2, and 3. Keep reading to see how we explain different grades of granite.
Level 1: Entry Level Granite
Level 1 granite – also referred to as entry-level granite, commercial-grade, and builders grade – is a low-grade granite. This grade of granite is typically sourced from China, pre-fabricated, and is frequently found in apartments and remodeled homes. Level 1 granite slabs are quite thin, around ⅜ inch, and will need a plywood backing to increase durability.
However, don’t let the low grade fool you – this doesn’t mean the slab won’t look good! While it normally features a simple design that lacks a color variation, it is excellent for a more understated look. Plus, it comes at a more budget-friendly price for those looking for a granite stone while shopping on a budget.
Level 2: Mid Grade Granite
Level 2 is a mid-grade granite that offers more color and variation in design than that of Level 1. Typically imported from India or Brazil, this granite selection will have more patterns in it for that unique granite look many love.
This grade of stone is a bit thicker, around ¾ inch, which makes it more durable. While it will be able to withstand more, it still comes at a lower cost than a high-grade stone. A win-win!
Level 3+: High-Grade Granite
Any granite grade that’s level 3 and up is considered high-grade granite and is one of the finest quality stones you can find. This grade of granite has an incredibly unique appearance and is typically imported from India or Brazil.
When it comes to a high-grade granite, the thickness is typically ¾ of an inch or more. It will also feature rare colors, patterns, and veins, for a true one-of-a-kind finish.
Keep in mind, the levels don’t stop with 3! Many offer granite grades as high as 7 for a really high-quality stone.
What is the Difference Between Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3+ Granite?
So, what is grade 1 granite versus grade 3 and up? As you may be realizing, there are a few factors that come into play to define the different levels. That being said, at the end of the day, they are all granite slabs, and while their appearance and durability may vary, their overall functionality remains true across the board.
No matter the level you choose, granite is sure to withstand scratches, high temperatures and requires minimal maintenance (although some levels require slightly more than others). Ultimately, the levels have a lot to do with appearance. From colors and patterns to unique designs, the higher the level, the more rare the stone.
These grades also provide a pricing ladder, as with each level up, the price increases. This is important to consider when finding a stone that works within your budget.
Granite Grade Price Classification
When shopping for granite, you’ll quickly notice that many stores will price their granite according to A, B, C, D, E, and F grades. With this classification, grade A granite countertops (equivalent to Level 1) are the cheapest, and the price goes up from there. Obviously, this leads us to believe that F is the highest quality and A is the lowest.
But slow down a second.
These grades are based on pricing, supply, and demand. So, if a slab features a unique color that they don’t have a lot of, it will be categorized as grade D granite and priced higher – but that says nothing about its durability. As we said before, granite is granite, and you’re going to get a quality slab with this material no matter what grade you choose. A higher grade doesn’t directly equate to higher quality, so select your budget and look accordingly for the slab of your choice.
Choosing the Right Grade of Granite
When sorting through the different grades of granite and selecting the one for your remodel, the choice comes down to you and your preferences. While the decision is ultimately up to you, here are a few final considerations:
Price: An obvious one, but your budget can help narrow down whether you go with grade A granite countertops or grade D granite. Both are great choices. They will just vary slightly in thickness and appearance.
Color: Different grades of countertops tend to often signal different color varieties, as well as increased patterns. If you’re looking for a simple design that goes with everything, a Level 1 granite can do the trick. However, if you want a stone with a super unique color and pattern, a higher level will have what you’re looking for.
Size: Consider the size and quantity of slabs you need to complete your project. A higher grade may offer more unique stones but could have a limited quantity available.
AMAZING-LOOKING KITCHEN IS WHAT YOU NEED!
We have over 14,000 quartz and granite slabs in stock! Take a look and we’ll be happy to help you make your choice.
Now that you know how granite is graded and the details of the different grades of granite countertops, the choice is yours – Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3?
No matter which you choose, your new granite countertops are sure to elevate your space, serving as the centerpiece to where memories are made. To explore your granite options and for help selecting the perfect stone for your home, Granite Selection has the expertise along with a wide range of stone selections to complete your remodel. To begin on your project, get started with a quick quote today, or call us at 888-906-3317.
Paul Batashev is the owner and CEO of Granite Selection. The company began in 2011 Pay Less for Granite and has been transforming homes since 2011 with its expertise as a kitchen countertop company and manufacturer of fine custom granite countertops.