How granite countertops took over American kitchens

  • Published on Oct 11, 2017
  • Granite countertops are an American obsession. But how did they become so ubiquitous? Our nation's countertop history has had a few surprising twists and turns.
    This is the final episode in the first season of Overrated - you can learn more about it here:
    Follow Phil Edwards on Facebook here:
    You can read the Vox article here:
    Granite countertops are beautiful, but aren't they a little overrated? In the past, Americans loved their formica and laminate countertops, so what changed the kitchen landscape?
    It turns out that stone imports from countries like Brazil and Italy, improved means of importing and cutting granite, and a general decrease in cost made the once-elite material accessible to the HGTV-loving masses. The history of granite countertops isn't just about shiny counters, but about international trade, technology, and how trends trickle down from elites to the masses.
    Is granite here to stay? Who knows - quartz may prove to be formidable competition. But now at least you won't take it for granted (yes, we knowingly passed up the opportunity to write "take it for granite" - classy, right?).
    Subscribe to our channel! is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out to get up to speed on everything from Kurdistan to the Kim Kardashian app.
    Check out our full video catalog:
    Follow Vox on Twitter:
    Or on Facebook:

Comments • 1 798

  • error
    error Day ago +1

    as a developed country u guys can spend time money on such topics. In my country such topics are way for the future. hope so

  • Kat K
    Kat K 3 days ago

    I destroyed a $5000 Carrara marble countertop. Or that's what I was told it was by a very angry landlord. To be fair he had no knowledge on how to care for marble and didn't even get it tested on if it needed sealing (some do some don't) and quite clearly it did need sealing since a little bit of split coffee left a stain which eventually did come out. Thank god I didn't have to pay for cleaning costs since he realised it was his responsibility to check if it needed sealing or not

  • Laura Reis
    Laura Reis 4 days ago

    granite emits radon.... which is very bad for your health

  • Frank Reynolds
    Frank Reynolds 5 days ago

    I wonder if people who do not have granite countertops have any respect for themselves or their household.

  • Rubenxd
    Rubenxd 5 days ago

    Watched this while eating on my granite countertop

  • mig san
    mig san 5 days ago

    Is this an advertisement for quartz countertops? Because it worked

  • stevenhs8821
    stevenhs8821 6 days ago

    If you go with granite, you get quartz also which is one of the three minerals in granite. Don't take it for granted it.

  • Luke Rochevot
    Luke Rochevot 6 days ago

    Our kitchen is so outdated, that the one at 2:04 is basically what it looks like; countertops, cupboards, and all. I wish we got literally any new countertops, much less granite.

  • Ninja Man
    Ninja Man 6 days ago

    i like quartz better

  • zKickz
    zKickz 6 days ago

    Quartz looks better

  • slime girl
    slime girl 7 days ago

    My momy hast a perty gratite comper toups

  • MegaKaitouKID1412
    MegaKaitouKID1412 8 days ago

    Except laminate countertops of any time are crap.

  • pikanoob
    pikanoob 8 days ago

    im pretty sure to your average person, "granite" just means anything that looks like a cool rock. any kind of rock will do

  • Jackie
    Jackie 10 days ago

    I’ve had an older countertop my whole life (but it looks modern, idk what it’s called tho!) and I remeber like completely out of nowhere granite countertops became popular but I always thought they were ugly

  • Greta Hoostal
    Greta Hoostal 10 days ago

    Wow, never had heard of Youngstown Kitchens before, but about 10 yrs ago, we lived near Youngstown, & our house must have had a ‘Youngstown Kitchen’ b/c it had steel cupboards! I hated them, b/c they were a bit dented, somewhat rusted, covered in several layers of paint, & you couldn’t install baby locks on them. This was before adhesive ones were invented, so all of them screwed into wood (except that kind that loops over 2 handles together, but most cupboards are not that type). So we blocked off the kitchen w/ a baby gate. I think the counters were wood-patterned Formica, what little there was of them: some on each side of the sink, & not even wide enough to be square. And 1 side was taken up with a dish-rack. Funny that a few sq ft was once enough counter space for everything else.
    Now we have Formica again but nicer, wood cupboards. I think I’d consider quartz if I wanted nice counters. Speaking of trends, I just thought of something. When I was growing up in the ’70s-’80s, everybody’s kitchen was dark. There was a lot of brown. Ours had med-/dark-brown stained cupboards, royal-blue Formica, dark-brick-red linoleum, & enameled appliances (but white refr.). Everyone’s kitchen was in these materials (farther from Youngstown). Then I went to a friend’s house, built about ’89 or ’90, & everything was white & light beige, w/ ceramic tile floor, composite wood cupboards, & I think Corian counters & stainless appliances. I thought it looked refreshing then, but almost every kitchen since then, incl. ours, is similarly bright. So bright when I go in 1st thing in the morning, my eyes are tired. Now I think it’s better to have a dark kitchen, just in classic colors & materials (esp. not ’70s style! 🤢), b/c you can always turn on bright lights if you want.

  • Danny Boy
    Danny Boy 13 days ago +1

    Is cawl ya ca look like a boomerang

  • JB M
    JB M 13 days ago

    sell carbon fiber kitchens to those stupid housewives and charge six digits

  • ojjamajjasajja
    ojjamajjasajja 13 days ago

    I don't like kitchens that look like kitchens in general. Why can't there be normal stylish closets and cupboards without that specific kitchen look? Otherwise, it looks too much like a specialized room, like bathroom or office.

  • Rafa Llamas
    Rafa Llamas 14 days ago

    Let me tell you a secret:
    Granite is radioactive🙃

  • HyperSpify
    HyperSpify 14 days ago

    I want that flip down stove!

  • TwentySixCookies
    TwentySixCookies 15 days ago

    This doesn't even touch on how most of the granite countertops in homes worldwide aren't even granite. They're frequently schist, or gneiss (metamorphic! Not even igneous!!) which can be garnet-bearing and beautiful, or some other rock. Granite is a specific rock and those countertops usually aren't it.
    Your quartz one is similar, in that it's not quartz - quartz isn't even a rock, it's a mineral (silicon dioxide, SiO2) (jesus christ Marie), and the countertops aren't even all that - they're usually ground quartz pebbles (or something finer) in resin to make an easily-worked composite.
    The correct countertop is stainless steel, which is easy to sterilise and clean and which doesn't have a distracting pattern which makes it hard to see flecks of bacon or whatever you're making, and with a butcher's block somewhere in your kitchen you can slam down on the countertop for when you're cutting things.

  • Bee Dee
    Bee Dee 21 day ago

    Truth is, humans don't know what they want. They want what others want and base so much on opinions, not facts.
    Also, these are luxury items. People are free to want what they want, but are they wanting what they want or wanting what they perceive as what other people want?

  • Niahc
    Niahc 23 days ago

    Granite is freaking beautiful. Ive seen granite peices with amazing designs and there is a huge variety of colors and infinite patterns because each peice is unique. Plus Ive never seen chipped granite but Ive seen lots of nasty peeling laminate

  • HenryManson
    HenryManson 23 days ago

    her countertop really gets hot at 1:34

  • MK H
    MK H 24 days ago

    Personally I prefer polished cement as you can dye it, marble it etc.

  • Dr Abraxis
    Dr Abraxis 24 days ago

    Concrete countertops are best :)

  • Peter Grunwell
    Peter Grunwell 26 days ago

    Overated is probably my favourite series on this channel can't wait for the second season

  • iLupi
    iLupi 27 days ago

    I’ll take recycled glass countertops instead.

  • Carrie Tafoya
    Carrie Tafoya 27 days ago

    I never liked granite countertops 😝

  • Joyce Luna
    Joyce Luna 27 days ago

    I need more episodes of overrated

  • underwaterman
    underwaterman 28 days ago

    many of the so called granite bench tops are a cheaper stone.

  • Maximus Moretta
    Maximus Moretta Month ago

    I like poured concrete counter tops

  • DKruNEye
    DKruNEye Month ago

    Anyone wanna start a granite company?
    Seems it's a huge trend.
    I trained for 4 years to do the entire process front to back by hand by a privately owned company, and after I quit in 2017 haven't used the skills since.

  • Flamer Sparks
    Flamer Sparks Month ago

    *looks at wooden countertops*
    Boy we need to catch up

  • Sarah Rita Jean 16BBT0235

    Do more overrated series pleasse

  • Blind Bob
    Blind Bob Month ago

    Clearly toying with the idea of a lesbian relationship
    A time when nubile young women wore big fluffy skirts and high heels in the kitchen...
    Unlike the tattooed boiler suited blimps we see today.
    Personally I think its all down to a ventilation problem, as women started to overheat their lower body , they became angrier.

  • Ruth Cuadrado
    Ruth Cuadrado Month ago

    American houses are so boring... Just watching this video makes me sleepy.

  • Rodney Royal
    Rodney Royal Month ago

    Granite-high upkeep

  • anselmenator
    anselmenator Month ago

    It certainly isn't normal in areas where most homes are over 60 years old.

  • MissBBaller1231
    MissBBaller1231 Month ago

    intersring . going through a kitchen reno and we're doing quartz

  • Jon Dee Nais
    Jon Dee Nais Month ago

    Awww helll naa 02 : 03 got Annabelle sittin on the window

  • Mike Wilson
    Mike Wilson Month ago

    I don’t feel as bad now about that time when I accidentally helped break a granite counter when taking apart a kitchen in a house about to be demolished

  • Jim Richards
    Jim Richards Month ago

    And granite was used in French kitchens to roll pastry dough, usually on a separate rolling table to be used occasionally. Because of its density it stayed cold longer and the butter in the pastry dough wouldn't melt. So, of course, in your upscale kitchen, you gotta have what the french have, no?

  • spock
    spock Month ago

    Thats an ugly kitchen

  • Them Ustar Dprin Ce

    Granite is gorgeous. It’s also radioactive.

  • vidform
    vidform Month ago

    Can you make a video about quartz and quartzite?

  • masterofthecontinuum

    I don't think it's so much granite countertops vs other rock type-countertops. it's more rock-countertops vs wooden/fake rock countertops(wood with a rock-like appearance on top). no one wants that laminate countertop. they want rock counters, be it granite or otherwise.

  • Ink Bold
    Ink Bold Month ago +1

    True overhype product is quartz over price but doesn't compare to granite.

  • dumb opinion
    dumb opinion Month ago

    when you were too poor to afford granite countertops

  • Katelynn Murphy
    Katelynn Murphy 2 months ago

    I worked as a waitress and they had metal counters and I love them. So thats what i'm gonna have in my kitchen some day.

  • OcT083r
    OcT083r 2 months ago

    I actually like quartz better

  • Benjamin Buchanan
    Benjamin Buchanan 2 months ago

    The granite boom is over bc we are trending back to classic features in kitchens such as marble and slate. Very durable and will never go out of style because they are classic features.

  • Amanda H
    Amanda H 2 months ago


  • Vladimir Putin
    Vladimir Putin 2 months ago

    Well granite is a worthy topic of meddling, no?

  • 薛陳月美
    薛陳月美 2 months ago

    2:46 this song is stuck in my head

  • sue she
    sue she 2 months ago

    I prefer quartz

  • library of dragons
    library of dragons 2 months ago

    I think these countertops are taken for granite

  • library of dragons
    library of dragons 2 months ago

    I like Marble, I would rather have marble.

  • Atomic Reverend Alexander

    Man that mid century kitchen was awesome!
    Steel cabinets were so much for durable then woodand you could paint them just like a car.

  • Rohan Bhatnagar
    Rohan Bhatnagar 2 months ago

    This guy makes it sound as if America made a grave mistake by moving over from ugly chemical/ petrochemical based counters to natural ones that look beautiful.

  • dan j
    dan j 2 months ago

    If you want to beat trends stick to natural materials in traditional neutral colors black white gray etc. With man made materials there is always something new and better but they almost never stand the test of time from an ascetic perspective. Also, straight lines seem to age better than curves.

  • Scott Franco
    Scott Franco 2 months ago

    A vox video where you don't sound like socialist a** clowns. Cool.

  • metaphysical meme
    metaphysical meme 2 months ago

    *Sees some perfect american kitchen from the 50s*
    Me today: Woah woah we don't have that kind of technology here

  • Monkey Do
    Monkey Do 2 months ago +1

    I don’t have anything granite in my house

  • Steven Siew
    Steven Siew 2 months ago

    I want my Kitchen Top to be covered with VIBRANIUM from Wakanda , cut to shape by Logan Kitchen Top services....

  • Someoneonline14
    Someoneonline14 2 months ago

    I got a Trump commercial

  • Nicholas Heimann
    Nicholas Heimann 2 months ago +1

    Trickle down consumerism.

  • Edward P
    Edward P 2 months ago

    If you have the money, forget granite, get engineered stone counter. They are an extremely durable materials and they are an extremely hard to stain. Problem with stone counter tops is they outlive kitchen cabinets. I personally like laminates like Formica. Formica is the best choice for cabinets and works ok for counter top. It's much easier and cheaper to replace Formica counter top also.

  • Jason Armstrong
    Jason Armstrong 2 months ago

    I’ve never understood the appeal of granite countertops, mind you I don’t own a home but still I’ve never understood the appeal of them, yeah they look nice but there are other materials that look just as nice if not better.

  • Pinnacle Pool and Spa Care

    It's almost like this guy has no idea that granite is what makes up the, uhh, is it the lithosphere? Whatever granite is most of the earth crust, or maybe it's the mantle, or both, but it isn't neither that's for sure.

    • Pinnacle Pool and Spa Care
      Pinnacle Pool and Spa Care 5 days ago

      stevenhs8821 had to check wikipedia, you are right about what it's made of for sure, but it is the most prevalent, mineral or something in the continental crust

    • stevenhs8821
      stevenhs8821 6 days ago

      Never read such bullshit. You are just making stuff up. Admit it. Granite is made up of quartz, feldspar, and mica.

    • Pinnacle Pool and Spa Care
      Pinnacle Pool and Spa Care 2 months ago

      You Bros! this pool dude is like some kind of actually cool, like, Einstein or something.

  • Christian Knickerbocker

    If they could figure out how to make a stainless steal countertop that women liked men would buy them like crazy.

  • oltedders
    oltedders 2 months ago

    How about that GD mosaic tile stripe in every new bathroom and remodel? When did that become as common as toilet handles?

  • Musa Alami
    Musa Alami 2 months ago

    Granite is luxury in the US. It's standard in other parts of the world. The new luxury where I come from is stainless steal.

  • Santino Crosson
    Santino Crosson 2 months ago

    I never liked granite countertops

  • Laurence von Winkenburger

    Granite is impractical. Unless you really enjoy continually replacing stem ware.

  • Dora Wang
    Dora Wang 2 months ago

    Well, I still love it, easy clean up. Can cut fruit without cutting board.

  • NutsinBrazil
    NutsinBrazil 2 months ago

    Hahaha! I'm watching this and thinking, all the countertops around me are granite. Marble stains and chips, and steel scratches and bends. Granite is cheaper than marble and lasts longer. Of course, I live in Brazil.

  • Janet Slater
    Janet Slater 2 months ago

    Is it sad to me think that I don't really care what the countertops are made out of, just give me the counterspace? My kitchen is about the size of a kitchenette.

  • jessykapop
    jessykapop 2 months ago

    People are lazy. Granite takes almost no to time reseal. You don't like it when people buy the cheap ugly ones. When you see the high end colors of granite it no longer a looks like crap.

  • X'O NY
    X'O NY 2 months ago

    first world problems.

  • SDC343
    SDC343 2 months ago

    Tbh, I prefer marble counter tops

  • insainllama
    insainllama 2 months ago

    When you realize that your apartment still has metal cabinets from the 50s

  • kaystarlo
    kaystarlo 2 months ago

    I would love to see more overrated

  • Blake Lee
    Blake Lee 2 months ago

    I hear about Granite all the time because i live in the "Granite capital of the world" mostly all the jobs in this town are granite... Ugh

  • kelly minid2
    kelly minid2 2 months ago

    Granite countertops are radioactive! Some are more radioactive than others. And some people hermetically seal their houses for energy savings, then spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
    Not the best idea.

  • Mario
    Mario 2 months ago

    Stainless steel should be the default

  • spacenoke
    spacenoke 2 months ago

    Id like marble

  • jayhrod26
    jayhrod26 2 months ago

    we just take it for granite

  • Alex Uemura
    Alex Uemura 2 months ago

    That top left house at the 2006 area at 4:46 was a house in our neighborhood!

  • tannerin
    tannerin 2 months ago


  • Miles Khan
    Miles Khan 2 months ago

    I absolutely love the built in kitchens of the 1950s. And yes, there are a lot cooler patterns in Formica than granite.

  • Rodrigo Colimodio
    Rodrigo Colimodio 2 months ago

    Love your architectural/design videos! Keeping doing these!! Thank you!

  • Difeas
    Difeas 2 months ago

    You know, I really like Vox videos when they are not about politics.

  • FairyGust
    FairyGust 2 months ago

    I've never understood this about american kitchens, thanks for the explanation.
    If you have a peek in a professional kitchen (like in a good restaurant), you will notice that they have stainless steel countertops. There is a reason for that. They can withstand high heat, but are also good for keeping pastry dough colder while working it, when you need to, AND can be cleaned thoroughly, including with stronger desinfectants. I have been dreaming of those...

  • DominicMV
    DominicMV 3 months ago

    I love granet countertops, I don't care what you say about it, I've had the same countertops since we moved into our house (1999) and the granet is still in great condition and has never been resealed or resurfaced

  • WR3ND
    WR3ND 3 months ago +1

    I like sriracha; I liked it before it became popular and trendy. Now I'm stuck with people telling me that the sauce I often like to use is overrated. I sympathies with this.

    • WR3ND
      WR3ND 2 months ago

      It's also a common American sauce these days. Too common for some, apparently. Strange business.

    • Just a Knight
      Just a Knight 2 months ago

      WR3ND Srirarcha is a common Asian sauce. Many asisan takeaways and some restaurant have it on the side.

  • Dana Cruikshank
    Dana Cruikshank 3 months ago

    I love the old '50s sales musical. That used to be a big thing. My grandfather was a salesman for a large paper products company at that time. Every two years, the company would commission an original musical from broadway artists, and then bring the entire sales force to NYC for a few days. The sales production would be on the first and final nights. It wasn't just kitch or pride - music helps us remember concepts and facts easier, and captures the excitement they were supposed to convey. Many companies did the same thing back then.

  • ian long
    ian long 3 months ago

    I want solid gold countertops, with 100 karate diamonds for handle knobs on plywood cabinets.
    I have weird tastes, I know

  • Wizardly 9
    Wizardly 9 3 months ago +1

    I think my house has a quartz countertop