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What Are Granite Countertop Corbels?

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  • Written By: B. Turner
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2016
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Corbels are a type of decorative support bracket used at building overhangs, balconies and countertops. Granite countertop corbels may be the corbels made from granite and used to support any type of countertop, as well as corbels made from other materials that are used with granite countertops. These architectural support structures are inspired by Gothic or Medieval design, though some units may feature a more sleek, modern look. Granite countertop corbels may be used to enhance countertop stability and strength, or simply as a decorative feature that offers little structural support.

Granite countertops and those made from marble or other types of stone tend to be very heavy. To support these structures, builders may need to add some form of corbel at the location where the underside of the countertop meets the base cabinets below. This allows the granite to extend horizontally over the floor forming an overhang, while still maintaining maximum safety and structural support. While traditional granite countertop corbels are common with stone countertops, a granite countertop can also be supported by corbels made from carved wood, lightweight composite materials, or metals ranging from steel to copper. Corbels made from marble or other stones can also be used with granite countertops.

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When the countertop is made from materials other than granite, corbels made from granite can be used for both aesthetic appeal and structural support. For example, granite countertop corbels may serve as a decorative accent for wooden butcher block counters or those made from composites and solid surface materials. When the look of granite countertop corbels is desired, but no structural support is required, homeowners may choose composite corbels designed to look like granite. These composites give the countertop decorative appeal, yet cost much less than real granite corbels.

Classic granite countertop corbels feature an ornate design, and are often quite grand or elaborate. Many are carved with fruit, animals, plants, and vines. While countertop corbels in this classic design are popular, homeowners can also look for more modern corbels, including those consisting of smooth, sleek lines and curves. The mission style of design is also popular, and takes its cues from the architecture of the missions or monasteries built by the Spanish in California.

When choosing granite countertop corbels, buyers should consider not only the visual appeal and structural support they offer, but also how they impact the function of the kitchen. When corbels are used in an area with seating, it's important to choose units that don't take up too much space. Smaller corbels are less likely to serve as knee-bangers in this situation, and will allow chairs or stools to fit under the countertop when they are not occupied. Larger corbels work best on very large countertops where they won't get in the way of knees or seating.

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