inStone countertops are a very popular choice among homeowners. They are well known for their durability and beautiful designs. But finding the right stone countertop can be a little overwhelming and difficult to choose. From price, to color, to finishing options, there is a lot to think about!
This article will help you in finding the right stone countertop.
These countertops have risen in popularity over the last 20 years. Quartz is manufactured by grinding up quartz crystals and fusing this material with a resin binder under high pressure and heat. Manufacturing techniques for quartz countertops have advanced significantly over the last several years, making them just as popular as granite and marble.
Pros of quartz countertops
- Because quartz countertops are man-made, there are more color possibilities with quartz. You don’t have to stick with a color naturally found in nature.
- Quartz countertops are very durable. They won’t crack, chip, or scratch as easily as natural stones like granite or marble. They hold up well against knives and other sharp objects used in the kitchen.
- Cleans easily. You can simply use soapy water.
- Quartz countertops are non-porous. Having a non-porous countertop means they don’t stain as easily as granite or marble. They also are more sanitary because viruses or bacteria won’t be able to hide inside the small imperfections in your countertop.
- No sealing required! Unlike other natural stone, quartz countertops don’t need to be sealed.
- There are a variety of finishes: Honed – flat, matte appearance. Polished – shiny surface that reflects light. Sueded – textured finish.
Cons of quartz countertops
- Quartz is on the more expensive end of countertop prices, compared to other countertop options.
- The seams in quartz countertops can be noticeable. Read reviews and/or get referrals to make sure you work with a reputable, skilled installer.
- Quartz isn’t as heat resistant as other types of stones, so you will have to be more careful with hot items like pots or pans.
Countertops made from marble have been a traditional and popular option for many decades. Marble is a natural stone, which means it comes directly from the earth. Marble is formed when limestone is put under the right amount of heat and pressure. This makes the limestone harder and denser.
Pros of marble countertops
- Every countertop is unique. Because of how marble is formed, there are no two identical pieces in the world. This means your countertop will be one of a kind!
- You can choose different finishes, depending on what you like the look of. Polished – Polished marble has a beautiful glossy, smooth sheen. The polished finish also helps seal the pores in the marble, making it less susceptible to stains and bacteria. Honed – This finish gives marble a matte look with a very low sheen. This gives the marble a more natural look and the matte finish helps hide any scratches. Leathered – This textured finish gives a natural and antique look to the marble stone. This type of finish is more porous and needs to be sealed frequently to avoid staining.
Cons of marble countertops
- Marble can be a little high maintenance. You have to be careful about what kind of cleaners to use. Generally speaking, only use what you would use on your hands.
- Marble can etch or chip easily, so you have to be especially careful with it by using cutting boards and keeping acidic foods (like lemons or tomatoes) off of the countertop.
- Marble is one of the more expensive types of stone. You will definitely want to shop around.
Granite is another stone that is taken from the ground, which means each slab has its own unique design. It is known for its durability and natural beauty.
Pros of granite countertops
- Granite countertops are the most heat resistant type of stone countertop. You can place hot plans directly onto the counter without having to worry about damaging them.
- Granite is a harder stone which makes it a fairly scratch resistant.
- In addition to polished, honed, and leathered finishes, you also have the option of a few more finishes. Flamed – rough surface with a natural faded appearance. Caressed – this finish is achieved by applying some shine to a leather finish, leaving the raised areas of the stone polished. Bush hammered – naturally weathered, slightly textured finished.
- Granite tends to be cheaper than marble or quartz, although if you are choosing a rare style/color you are going to end up paying a lot more for it. Again, it’s always a good idea to shop around.
- It is resistant to chemicals. You don’t need to worry about acidic foods causing issues with your countertop.
Cons of granite countertops
- While granite is fairly scratch resistant, it doesn’t hold up as well against items that are dropped on it. If you plan to have an undermount sink, you have to be a little more careful about placing heavy objects into the sink so as to avoid chipping the sides of the granite sink edge.
- Granite comes from nature, so your color and pattern choices are more limited than a manufactured countertop.
- Because granite is a porous material, it will need to be sealed. You can buy products and do this yourself or hire a professional. Your granite must be thoroughly cleaned to avoid harboring bacteria.
Here are a few general tips about countertop shopping.
Before purchasing any stone countertop, it’s always a good idea to try to view the full slab instead of just basing your decision on a sample. Because the patterns can greatly vary within a full slab, a tiny sample will most likely not be able to capture the true picture of the pattern.
Shop around! Prices vary from one place to the next and selections vary as well.
Get referrals and read reviews. Installing a stone countertop is generally not a DIY project for the average homeowner. You will want a professional that knows what they are doing and will finish seams and seal the countertop (if needed) correctly.
All stone countertops have their own unique qualities and designs. Although it can be a little overwhelming, in the end you will be able to choose a countertop that fits your own unique tastes and needs. Here’s to finding the right stone countertop for you. Happy shopping!