Why We Picked Leathered Granite Countertops

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Last week we had new countertops installed! Originally I was leaning toward quartz, but wasn’t thrilled with the options in our price range. We had a goal of staying around $2,000-$2,500 and after measuring our square footage I knew I needed to stay under $45/sq ft. 

We ended up selecting leathered granite in steel grey. Scroll down for details on cost, which sink and faucet we purchased, and photos of our island going from a 2-tier to one solid piece of granite.

We ended up ordering with Home Depot, mostly because I could walk in there without making an appointment and get samples and ask questions. The guys in the store were really knowledgable and patient.

On the day we picked our material I spotted a small sample of steel grey leathered granite (brushed and polished are also used to describe leathered granite). I really liked its quirky finish (it has texture, and isn’t glossy like typical granite). And I liked that it had a more consistent, modern texture than typical granite.

I knew we would go light/white or dark and was surprised how much I liked the steel grey color. 

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One thing worth mentioning is that I did get to pick my slab working with Home Depot. I thought I would have to base my selection off a tiny sample. So it was a huge relief that I got to select the slab before fabrication. 

Now for details on numbers, because when I researched granite countertops it was a challenge to find details!

On the day we ordered, the brushed/leathered granite in steel grey was on sale for $42/sq ft, and we needed about 47.7 sq ft. We were also able to get 10% off with a sale they were having that day on countertops. All in all the material cost with install was around $2,000 (we removed our old laminate ourselves to save $).

We don’t have a big kitchen and I’m pretty sure they used 1 slab to cut our granite–the size of our countertops kept the cost down.

In addition to the material/install cost, we purchased a new sink and faucet. The stainless steel undermount sink was $299. I LOVE how huge it feels and that it is 1 big single sink with clean lines. We jokingly say we can now fit a lot of dishes in it. 

And the Kohler Rubicon faucet was $199. What really won me over with the faucet was the weight & sturdiness of the faucet handle. As a product designer touch points are so important to me!

We also paid a contractor to cut off our 2nd tier to the island, rewire outlets & disposal, and for plumbing work (going from 2 hole to 1 hole sink), add brackets & add trim. That cost us $750.  So right now we’ve got about $3,200 invested in the kitchen refresh project.

Cleaning Leathered Granite

Several people have asked how easy leathered granite is to clean. I use a granite cleaner & polish on our granite countertops and wipe with a paper towel for daily cleaning. The texture on the countertops probably takes an extra wipe or 2 to clean, but it feels like a minimal amount of work.

We picked leathered granite because it has a great feel, has a modern look, and was in budget (so important for us!). It is a durable product and the texture is unique and interesting. I am thrilled we narrowed down our options and found a material we are happy with. And it is a HUGE upgrade from our 20 year old laminate.

Update: I’ve had several email requests to see a seam with our leathered granite. We really only have two seams behind the oven, because of the way the material was cut and the size of our kitchen. A picture of our granite seam below.

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Julia Fain

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  1. I’m curious where you live that you were able to find the leathered granite at a Home Depot. We were at a specialty company yesterday and I saw the steel leathered granite slab and was drawn to it, despite my contention all along that I was going with a soft dove grey quart that I had seen at Home Depot. We went to Home Depot today and I asked about the leathered granite but the salesperson said they don’t carry that product here in Pittsburgh.

    1. We live in North Carolina. Maybe what they carry depends on their vendor relationship in the region. Interesting you were able to find it at a specialty company! Did you end up selecting leathered granite or quartz?

  2. I really like the look of the leathered granite, although we went to the speciality store convinced we wanted quartz (and that is still what my husband wants). When I googled the steel grey leathered granite i swear some of the pictures look very much a lighter grey. We priced out a grey vitaro quartz yesterday at home depot but they want $82 a square foot and that does not include the undermount sink, so they end up being more expensive than the specialty store. now i don’t know what to do.

  3. Your article is very helpful. We are considering leathered granite for our kitchen update. My daughter recently installed that in her kitchen and loves it. Even your information about the sink and faucet was helpful. I may just copy your ideas. Thank you!

    1. That is wonderful! Does your daughter like the leathered granite in her home? We just added a backsplash this weekend and will take/share more pictures of the kitchen soon!

  4. Thank you for all the great info! I’m getting ready to put in Black Pearl Leather granite. I can’t decide on an edge. Squared or rounded. I don’t want it to look to modern? Any suggestions? Your kitchen is beautiful! Also, if you have a chance, I am also extending my island out on one side to add bar stools. Did you extend your bar area more than 12 inches? Thanks!

    1. I would say that a eased edge will look a bit more modern than a rounded. Our bar area has an 11" overhang. Originally we wanted it deeper but didn’t want to put in a lot of extra support.

  5. Thank you for the good pictures. I am about three weeks out from having steel grey leathered countertops installed. I too was drawn to the color, and immediately decided as soon as I touched the leathered surface.

    The only area I am struggling with is the black splash color(s). I will have glazed white cabinets, and finding the right color for the backsplash has been a challenge. I am leaning towards dark stained tongue and groove, and real brick tiles (red).

    I also, am going with a single basin sink. That is a cool look. I went with a drop in style however.

    1. Do you need to install a backsplash right away? We waited a few months to think on it after the countertops were installed. A white tile with dark or medium grey grout would look nice (it would tie in the countertop color with cabinet color). Love the dark tongue and groove idea too!

  6. Do you know if brushed is the same as leathered? I have kids and it was between leathered black granite or white quartz on the parameter countertops in the kitchen. I wanted low maintenance. Both had pros and cons. We chose the black brushed, which at the time I assumed was the same as leathered. Then I read online where brushed is very hard to keep looking clean. Now I’m not so sure that we made the right decision. Thanks for your advice.

    We chose negresco brushed. Ever heard of it?

    1. From what I’ve read…brushed is the same as leathered, but confirm that with your installer. I find our leathered granite easy to maintain. It has a texture but it is smooth and easy to wipe (we use a spray granite cleaner to clean). Have you installed yet or can you look at the granite in person?

  7. I just had leathered granite in Black Pearl installed and love it. I had come from a house in Vermont that had soapstone counters. I was actually looking for lighter quartz but the estimate was north of $10K not including a replacement sink, faucet and garbage disposal and hookup. The Black Pearl leathered texture gives it a dark grey appearance and the leathered slate grey sample looked a little washed out. I also replaced the island with polished carrera grey to give the look a little variety and to lighten up the area in a different way other than going with a lighter uniform counter top. The black pearl is on the surround is the working surface around the range, sink and refrigerator and the island is where I sometimes choose to eat or write correspondence. All in all, it was around 45 square feet of counter space, so the install was approximately $3,100, the replacement sink (undermount single sink with drop in accessories, new faucet, soap dispenser and garbage disposal was around $1,300 for the products and install, so I think I did pretty well. Am waiting to do the backsplash which will be a smooth Datile stone-like porcelain laid in a subway pattern all the way to the cabinets.

    1. Black Pearl is a great choice! Great idea to mix it up with a different material on the island. Thank you for sharing numbers and details, I find it so helpful to compare and find ways to save and I know others do too (quartz is beautiful but pricey!)

    2. Hi Debi: I am thinking of doing just this. Using the leathered on the countertops and a lighter polished piece on the island. Are you able to send a pic? I’d love to see your remodel. Thank you!

  8. What is the name of the honed/leathered gray granite that you chose? Is it Mesabi Black? I LOVE the look of leathered granite and love the color of your’s in your photos but wondered what the actual name of your granite. Sorry if you had it listed and I missed it!!

  9. Hi, Looks beautiful…..just wondering if you have any seams in your granite and what that looks like up close. Many thanks.

  10. Looks great! We love the look of soapstone so we are considering leathered black pearl. Did your installer apply an enhancer/sealant like Ager or did you leave it natural?

    1. Great question! I went back through my emails from the fabricator and a sealant wasn’t mentioned. I think it is natural. It has a smooth, but not glossy feel.

  11. Holly,
    I have been remodeling our house after a flood. We have opened up the kitchen and living room with a kitchen island is 160x60inches and considering a steel grey leather granite amongst others (lighter colors). What is your opinion on using this much of the dark granite? The room is very large, abundant natural light and wall color is SW Drift of Mist, cabinets SW Comfort Grey.

    1. With a kitchen island that large it will be a statement piece in your home. As a dark color it will show as more of a focal point than if you go with a light granite. With that said, with your natural light and paint colors I think it could be beautiful. The big question is do you want the island to stand out or blend in with your other room colors.

  12. I am wondering if you are still loving your leathered granite almost three years later. I am looking at purchasing a black leathered granite for my kitchen.

  13. Absolutely beautiful. And thank you so much. I am in a similar situation. Trying to upgrade my kitchen with the same oak cabinets and on a budget. Love this selection of grey granite!!!

  14. I can’t thank you enough for posting this! I have honey maple cabinets that are driving me crazy. I just took home a sample of leathered grey granite from Home Depot. I really like the feel of it. I love your photos, they are a huge help for me.

  15. Hi Julia, thank you so much for this very informative post. I was waffling between several different countertop options and you convinced me that steel gray granite leathered was the right one for me. A lot has changed since 2018 though. Home Depot still sells what I think is the exact same granite under the new name of “silver pearl caressed”. And it’s gone up in price like everything else in the world. But I love it and think it will look great in my bathrooms. My question is this : are the edges in the sink cut out outer edges also textured like the top? Home Depot did not have a sample of the edges but I saw a different leathered countertop at Lowe’s and the edges were polished unlike the top (looked odd to me). If yours are a more polished look, does it bother you? Thanks for a great post your kitchen looks wonderful! Valerie

  16. I don’t even remember how I stumbled onto your blog, but I had been considering white-ish quartz for our counters and did a complete 180 when I saw this post and ended up getting leathered black pearl granite and I absolutely love it! I have never even heard of leathered granite before reading this post. The texture is gorgeous.

    1. So glad it helped! I was the same, before I stumbled on leathered granite I thought we would do white countertops. Glad you love your countertops!

  17. so glad to find this post, we just looked at the leathered steel gray granite last night, we are going to upgrade our sink to one exactly like yours and we’re going to do white subway tile backsplash! think we may do slightly darker grout. anyway thanks for this post, your photos really highlight the texture of the granite which is exactly what we liked too!

  18. Hello! I fell in love with the steel grey leather from the moment I saw it! unfortunately when they installed it, I wasn’t home and they had installed it upside down. So I have the opposite side, although its not shiny, like the sample I saw, it still wasn’t the texture I so wanted. They told me it looks great, matches the floor…yada yada….but after having lived with it for a couple of weeks, I have to say I am still disappointed. I’ve waited 42 years to redo my bathroom, complete with blue toilet and sink! He said he would make it right, and after reading how much you love yours, I going to call him right now! Life is too short, and I’ve waited too long to settle for something I didn’t order in the first place! What do you think??

    1. Ah! I thought I responded to your question. I would definitely have them reinstall to the texture you want. What did you end up doing?

  19. Hello! Your kitchen redo looks amazing! I found this doing a search on this exact granite in leathered. Do you mind sharing what color grout you found to match the steel gray for your subway tile? I apologize if you already disclosed that and I overlooked it. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Traci, unfortunately I’m not sure! The installer used a product but I didn’t think to ask at the time. Great question though.

  20. Hello,
    I am looking after a house for someone and they had asked me if I knew how to get rid of 2 white circle stains on their leather/granite counter top?
    Wondering if you could help me with this issue?

  21. I love the look of leathered granite! How does a cutting board feel on the countertop? Does it sit flat or does it wobble?

    1. It has a lovely texture! This was my previous house, my current one has smooth granite. But when I lived there I had no problems using a cutting board. The texture was soft and not too deep.

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