Three-fourths of homeowners who plan to remodeltheir kitchens want granite (NAPSA)—Despite the economic downturn—or perhaps because of it—a new survey of American homeowners shows they overwhelmingly recognize the value, beauty, durability and safety of granite countertops. The survey of 1,588 homeowners, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of The Marble Institute, found that 76 percent of homeowners agree with the statement “Nothing beats the beauty and value of granite countertops” and 75 percent of homeowners who intend to remodel their kitchens in the next two years indicated they want granite countertops. “The survey shows what ourcustomers are telling us: No matter what the economylookslike, homeowners recognize that granite coun- tertops enhancethevalue of their homes,” said G.K. Naquin of Stone Interiors in Loxley, Alabama, whose companysells granite and other countertops. “Consumers who are remodeling their kitchens see granite countertops as a safe invest- ment in their homes. They prefer this natural stone to other materials because they understand it pays for itself in terms of higher resale value.” Whenasked to rate which countertop material most enhances the value of their homes, homeowners favored granite by more than a three-to-one margin over the second choice: solid surface materials, such as Corian. Synthetic or manufactured stone products, such as Silestone, were rated a more dis- tant third by the homeowners. By overwhelming margins, homeowners agreed with thefollowing statements about the natural stone: 93 percent said granite countertops are beautiful 91 percent said granite countertops are durable 89 percent said granite countertops are safe. And 93 percent of homeowners who intend to remodel their kitchens in the next two years agreed that granite countertops are safe, reflecting the findings of several comprehensive scientific studies conducted during the past several years. “Natural stone like granite has been used in homes for thousands of years, and now that new technology has reduced thecost of producing and shipping it around the Photo by Michael Levy Countertop: 3cm Golden Beach granite. Backsplash and mosaic: 4” x 4” mosaic travertine. Floor: 12” x 12” travertine. world, more homeowners are embracing the beauty, durability andsafety of granite countertops,” said Gary Distelhorst, CEO of the Marble Institute of America, which commissioned the survey. “Independent consumer surveys have consistently shown that Americanslove the natural look of granite and value it above other countertop products.” The study showed consistent support for granite across regions of the country. Homeowners with college degrees and higher incomes voiced a slightly higher preference for granite countertops. Seventy-four percent of college graduates and 75 percent of those with annual household incomes of $75,000 or greater indicated they want granite countertops for the next time they remodeltheir kitchens. Homeownerswith households of five people or more were especially supportive of granite. Eighty-seven percent of these respondents agreed with the statement “The next time I remodel my kitchen, I want granite countertops.” This is the second national consumer survey to show consumers prefer granite. A 2008 study showed 55 percent of consumers wanted granite countertops in their dream kitchens. The survey was also conducted by Harris from Oct. Granite Solid Surface etic Stone Laminate Other None Don’t Know 46% 14% 7% 5% 1% 6% 21% Whenasked to rate which countertop material most enhances the value of their homes, respondents favored granite by more than a three-to-one margin over the second choice: solid surface materials. 7-9, 2008 of 2,021 U.S. adults ages 18 years andolder. The 2012 study focused on homeowners. It was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Marble Institute of America from January 5-9, 2012 among 2,541 adults ages 18 and older, 1,588 of whom were homeowners. For further facts and advice about natural stone or to find a qualified residential fabricator in your area, visit www.marbleinstitute.com.