07/28/08 11:41am

Granite Countertops

Weary of so many drab and formulaic new kitchens boasting granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances? Thanks to a miracle of modern science journalism, design help is on the way. The tyranny of the knee-jerk Kitchen redo formula may soon be over!

The “Your Granite Countertop May Be Radioactive or Emit Radon” meme got a major boost in the media last week, as an article in the New York Times and separate reports from a Rice University nuclear physicist spawned fears among consumers — and dismissive retorts from industry spokespersons.

No need to panic: Your countertop may not be emitting enough radiation to cook the food you put on it. But hey, maybe you should have your surface tested? The idea of bringing a Geiger counter along on your Home Depot shopping trips conjures up so many exciting possibilities!

Whether the latest concerns indicate a pointless consumer scare or an actual health hazard, the writing is on the wall for the granite-countertop trend, which jumped the shark long ago. In Houston — which has no stone naturally, but where builders love to follow design trends long abandoned elsewhere — they were always a strange import. Cliche-weary designers will likely promote radon-and-radiation fears just to get fashion-handicapped clients to try something else. And solid-surface competitors will only be too happy to take advantage of the situation. But if the 2-decades-long granite-surface craze finally ends, how long will their “Looks Just Like Granite” surfaces be attractive to buyers?

Photo: A2D Construction