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Congratulations. Your decision to go with granite countertops is one that you will continue to benefit from for decades to come. Granite is long lasting, durable, and granite countertops colors can match any décor.

Granite offers striking beauty, and is highly resistant to chips and scratches. In fact, granite is the second hardest stone available, after diamonds. But did you know that there are different grades of granite, and it’s important to understand them before you finalize your purchase.

Level 1 Granite – Entry Level

Level 1 granite, often called entry level granite, is a lower, less expensive granite option. The granite slabs are a thinner cut (about 3/8 inch), and frequently requires a plywood backing to give it more strength.

IMG_3632 Get to Know: Granite Countertops Grades

The colors are standard, and the designs in the stone are pretty simple. Most Level 1 Granite is imported from China, and sold through granite liquidators or big box stores.

Level 2 Granite – Mid-Grade

Level 2 granite is more expensive than the entry level variety and is higher quality. The granite is twice as thick, at 3/4-inch, making it sturdier, and rendering the plywood backing unnecessary.

bathrm Get to Know: Granite Countertops Grades

These granite kitchen countertops come in a wider range of colors and designs, so it is easier to match to a personal style or your kitchen. Most Level 2 Granite comes from either Brazil or India, and can be purchased in specialty kitchen retailers.

Level 3 Granite – High-Grade

High grade granite begins at level 3, and can go up to level 6 or 7, depending on the retailer. This is high quality granite that is thicker than 3/4-inch. The designs, colors and patterns are far more interesting, and you can expect to see hard or soft minerals in the countertop.

No two granite countertops colors are alike, and you can find the one that matches your kitchen and personality. High Grade granite typically comes from India or Brazil, and if properly sealed, will last for decades.

As you continue to plan your kitchen, it’s vital that you understand the different levels of  granite. Entry Level granite from a deep discount retailer can cost as little as $16 a square foot, while high end granite can cost you well over $80 a square foot.

One other thing to look out for is the location of the seams. In high quality granite, those seams will be harder to see, while imperfections and seams may be visible in lower-grade granite.