I'm probably going to get into trouble here, but I have to say it: I hate granite countertops. I just don't care for how they look or feel and if I owned my own kitchen, I would never install them. But I don't own my kitchen. I'm a renter in the early stages of browsing Craigslist, looking for a new apartment. And I'm here to tell you: Granite countertops are taking over!
I don't care for granite countertops, especially in rentals where you're apt to find cheap, barfy-looking versions. I also don't care for the feel of granite. It's cold and hard and every time I set something down on it, especially a glass, I feel I have to be extra careful. Apparently, keeping them clean seems to take some effort, too.
It also appears that granite countertops aren't very eco-friendly. According to this article in Treehugger, granite used to be a local product but is now quarried in places like India and Brazil in conditions where workers' heath can be compromised. Obviously a very heavy material, it is then shipped in containers all over the world. Once installed, granite countertop owners have to be careful of cracks and fissures where harmful bacteria can breed. I know these countertops are very popular and people spend a lot of money installing them in their home kitchens, but they are just not my preference.
Landlords, it seems, think granite countertops are a plus and often tout their presence with an enthusiastic exclamation mark or two in their ads. It's a very popular thing, at least in the Bay Area, to see a 'renovated' rental kitchen complete with yards and yards of this hideous material. I have seen lovely apartments that are quite frankly ruined for me because of them. To be fair, I don't know what these kitchens looked like before the granite countertops. Worn or torn Formica in bright orange or stained white might mean that the granite is an improvement.
Sigh. I guess I have to resign myself to the possibility of a granite kitchen but if you or anyone you know who is looking for a great tenant in the Bay Area who will happily rent your place without having to 'improve' the kitchen with new countertops, please let me know!