Modern kitchen countertops come in a range of different materials, but natural and engineered stone continues to be popular. If you are remodeling your kitchen, you need to know about the stone countertop options that are available to you. You should also know what each stone option has to offer in the way of benefits which could help you choose the right stone for your kitchen.
For the last 2 decades, granite has been the stone of choice for kitchen developers because of the durable nature of the stone and the high-quality aesthetics. There are some common patterns that have been used over the years including black with white flecks. However, many people are looking to move away from these traditional patterns and you will now be able to get granite countertops in a range of different patterns and colors including vibrant blue and variegated patterns.
One of the traditional drawbacks of granite has been the cost. However, this has stabilized in recent years with the increased availability of the stone from South America and China. Of course, depending on the pattern and color of the granite, the availability might be limited.
The primary benefit of granite for your kitchen counters is the durability and non-porous nature of the stone. These benefits derive from the cutting and polishing of the stone and the use of a sealant to increase stain resistance. The stone will generally have to be resealed every 10 to 15 years depending on how heavily the counters are being used.
Over the years, marble has had its ups and down, but the classic look that marble presents will never get old. While there are some disadvantages to using marble in your kitchen, the elegance and other benefits might tip the scales. Marble has been around for centuries and is unlikely to ever fully leave the world of kitchen countertops.
The primary disadvantage of marble is that the stone is porous and will not be sealed in the same way as granite. This means that the stone absorbs liquids which will cause stains. The polish of the stone is also susceptible to acidic liquids and will be eaten away in time leaving the stone discolored. Marble is also not the hardest stone on the market and could be chipped and cracked.
Even with all of these potential issues, there are some people who will have nothing but marble in their kitchen. If you are an avid baker, this should be the stone of choice for you. The natural coolness of the stone will make it ideal for rolling dough.
While the softness of the stone can be seen as a disadvantage, it is also a benefit. The softness allows the stone to be fabricated into custom shapes. This will ensure that you can get the exact countertops that you want for your kitchen. The potential stains on your marble can also work in your favor as it shows that your kitchen is well used.
Quartzite is a natural stone that should not be confused with quartz countertops which is an industry term for crushed quartz which has been formed into sheets using resin. Quartzite is a naturally occurring stone and one that you should consider for your kitchen. There are a number of different colors of quartzite which are available, but the most popular is the super white which looks like heavily veined white and gray marble.
Quartzite is a good choice for people who are looking to move away from granite or marble. While the appearance of the stone strongly resembles marble, it does not have the porous nature of the other stone. Quartzite is actually more durable than marble and will be similar to granite in this respect.
Soapstone is a common countertop stone and the first place that people are generally introduced to this will be chemistry class. The non-porous nature of soapstone makes it a good option for natural stone lovers. The stone does not have to be sealed like other stones to prevent staining which makes it an easier stone countertop option in terms of long-term maintenance. It is important to note that soapstone counters will generally be treated with mineral oil to evenly darken the stone.
This stone is relatively soft which allows it to be machined to create carved drainboards for your kitchen or a matching sink. The softness of the stone does allow it to be scratched fairly easily, but these scratches can also be easily covered up. An application of mineral oil to small scratches will make them almost invisible and larger scratches can be sanded out with normal sandpaper.
It is important to note that you will be limited in the choice of colors with soapstone. Various shades of gray are available with green or blue hues. While this coloring is generally uniform, it is possible to get some slabs of this stone with quartz flecks or subtle veining. Soapstone is one of the best options if you need an easy to maintain kitchen countertop.
Engineered stone is generally used for flooring in high traffic areas, but is starting to appear in more kitchens. There is a debate about the suitability of the stone in kitchens because of the lack of earthy beauty that comes from natural stone. However, there are new designs and manufacturing processes that could offer more choices for people when they are using this type of stone.
Engineered stone is made of crushed stone and bound together with resin. The resin can include a colorant to change the tone of the stone. One of the most common engineered stone options for kitchen countertops is quartz.