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TBI 10-26-2009 09:48 PM

Kitchen Countertops
I am building a new home and am in the process of making a decision concerning countertops. I was told granite is the cheapest solid surface countertop on the market. Is this true? I have always believed quartz or corian is cheaper.

Also, what is the deal with granite countertops off gassing radon gas? Is this a true concern or is this simply the hype of the month?

Daniel Holzman 10-26-2009 09:58 PM

The only possible way to determine the relative cost of granite versus corian or other solid surfaces is to get some quotes from suppliers. I had granite put in, it ran about $150 per foot fabricated and installed, including a sink, backsplash, and an island top. By the way, I do a lot of work myself, but I didn't even think about doing the granite myself, the material is too heavy and hard to work with. Takes an expert in my opinion.

As for off gassing radon, it is absolutely true that most granites have small quantities of uranium, which ultimately decays to radium which in turn decays to radon. However, the amount of radon released by a countertop is very small, due to the relatively small amount of granite you put in your kitchen. Radon gas enters your house from soil and rock which containes uranium. The large amount of soil and rock sitting under your house provides a very large contributing area, and if the soil and rock underlying your house happens to be high in uranium, you get radon. But I would relax about radon from a granite countertop.

By the way, most limestone and marble contains trace amounts of uranium, as does phosphogypsum (formerly used to make wallboard). And the concrete in your basement almost certainly contains uranium. The only way to tell if you have a radon problem is to get your house tested. A granite countertop is not likely to be measurable against the ambient radon from all the other sources.

TBI 10-26-2009 10:19 PM

I appreciate the information. It will help put my better half's mind at ease about installing granite. I figured the off gassing issue was blown out of proportion.

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