You've heard the rumors, but are they for real? Over the past few months, there have been claims that granite is no longer the favored material for countertops -- and yes, it is seeing a bit of a backlash. The availability of materials like quartz has made granite less desirable. But what does this mean for you?

Granite Is Still Around

First, granite countertops are still available. They're relatively affordable compared to other stone materials, so if you want to get countertops installed quickly, don't want to break your budget, and don't want laminate or tile materials, granite is the go-to stone. If you're concerned that the contractor you choose to work with will suddenly stop using granite, talk to the contractor and let him or her know that you want granite. Even if the contractor has already stopped using the stone in general, it's still possible to order it. Talk to contractors like those represented at to learn more.

Color Expansion

However, the availability of other materials like quartz means that now you have a lot more choice regarding color and pattern. Granite countertops are typically available in mottled colors, particularly dark colors. There are some light ones available. But you can get quartz and other materials in solid white, if you'd like. This not only lets you coordinate your countertops to your house more easily, but it also helps with cleanup -- dark colors hide dirt, but the kitchen and bathroom are the last places you want to hide dirt. Light colors help you see areas that need attention.

Different Levels of Care and Cost

Granite is among the more affordable materials, but it requires more care than many other materials. You have to seal it after you install it so that it doesn't absorb stains, and you have to reseal it every couple of years. It can chip and crack, despite being made of hard stone. And the very bottom edge of the countertop overhang can catch on shirts. If you've noticed small holes in your shirts, all at waist level and nowhere else, compare them to the height of the bottom edge of the countertop overhang. Chances are they'll match up.

But other materials have their own trade-offs. Quartz is remarkably low-maintenance; it can scratch but doesn't need to be sealed. It also lasts a long, long time. However, it's also very expensive. So you get this trade-off where you have to decide if immediate cost trumps long-term replacement cost as well as the need for care.

When you want to remodel your kitchen, bathroom, or other room that needs a countertop, take a look at all the options available. It could be that granite is still best for you, but you may also find that another material would be even better.