Choosing the Right Stone for Countertops

There comes a time in every kitchen’s lifetime when renewal is necessary. Maybe the floor is a bit dull, or maybe the cabinets seem dated. Some kitchens seem so dreary that it appears a complete renovation is the only course to liven them up, whereas others just need a nip and tuck. The decision to choose stone is easy; however, selecting the best stone may be a challenge. Knowledgeable sales staff can always help, but learning more about the various types of stone available can also give designers and homeowners an opportunity to make informed choices. Granite: the standard for countertops Granite is the stone that has it all: beauty, strength, durability and versatility. Because of its reputation, granite is the most popular stone for kitchen remodeling projects. It is heat-resistant and requires very minimal upkeep to maintain its natural allure. The range of hues is almost as diverse as the patterns in each slab. Homeowners can select various finishes—polished, honed, and leather—depending on the look they want to achieve. Marble: elegance in its most natural form There’s something about marble. It doesn’t have the color variety of granite, or even granite’s strength, but it does exhibit an unparalleled stylishness that makes it a sought after stone for countertops. Marble is a demanding stone, and choosing it for the kitchen will require attention to detail and care. For example, sealing marble is a must for kitchen living spaces. Although marble is pricier than other stones, some homeowners may feel that the cost is worth its luxurious visual sophistication. Quartz: the up-and-comer Quartz is one of the hardest materials on Earth—only a few substances like diamonds and sapphires are harder—and it is also one of the most abundant. Even granite lists a percentage of quartz among its qualities. Though quartz is plentiful, quartz countertops are engineered as opposed to quarried, but this doesn’t distract from its beauty. The stone has an upscale, contemporary appearance that will enhance modern kitchen living spaces. For this reason, designers choose quartz for new builds and remodeling projects. Slate: cost-effective quality Slate has one particular feature other stones lack: it is non-porous. It is this quality that makes the stone ideal for roofing, patios, and walkways. Indoors, slate won’t absorb liquids such as juices and oils, which can cause stains. Since it is hard, durable and resists heat, it can withstand daily use from cooking, eating and food preparation without damaging the surface. Among choices for countertops, slate is the most economical; generally, it cost less per square foot than granite, marble or quartz. Soapstone: a softer approach Despite its name, soapstone is not made of soap. In fact, it is mainly composed of talc, a mineral that is known for its “soapy feel.” Soapstone is softer than other stones, but it is also easy to clean and maintain. It is not prone to cracking and is highly resistant to heat. Soapstone’s rustic appeal makes it the stone of choice for country kitchens. Of all the different areas of the kitchen, there is one surface that can single-handedly breathe life into an older living space—a new countertop. In fact, countertops can serve as a foundation transforming the entire kitchen.