Granite And Marble Countertops
Granite and marble stone are continuing to be the leading choices for kitchen countertops. Natural stone has been the most popular choice for more than two decades because it’s easy to clean, highly durable, and adds an all-natural luxury to the space. Even though solid granite and marble slabs have been leading the market for a long time, the color and finish options change with the trends.
Trends In Natural Stone
Polished granite, a glossy sheen, tends to be a classic and timeless choice that defies the style fluctuations. During the 2000’s, a push began for more earth friendly products that included natural fibers, organic foods, and vintage styles. This recent trend does not exclude the world of stone. Although natural stone has always been natural, consumers began to see it differently and wanted a piece of the Earth’s beauty. The honed finish, a smooth, low sheen, quickly became popular because it feels more authentic to the way it’s found in nature. Soapstone, slate, and travertine countertops were the top picks. Today, even with ever-changing trends, the all-natural style continues to gain popularity, but has evolved into using textured natural fibers and surfaces. Once again, the natural stone industry is on-trend with its unique leathered, brushed, and flamed finishes. In many cases, these terms are interchangeable since the texturing process is similar. However, the result of the textures is very different on each stone.
Textured finishes emphasize the natural movement of the stone and will greatly vary based the type of granite or marble. One of the most popular textures is the leathered finish because the result is a softly textured surface with a low sheen that is smooth to the touch. Leathered finishes are achieved by wire-brushing a honed stone removing the softer minerals and leaving a denser surface. The subtle texture enhances the veins giving the stone a cracked leather effect. A brushed finish uses a similar process as leathered finishes, but it tends to be slightly rougher and more abrasive. A flamed finish is a wavy surface where extreme heat is applied and then the stone is brushed with a coarse wire brush. The outcome of each texture is dependent on the type of stone and hardness. For example, Absolute Black Granite with a Leathered finish feels similar to an orange peel, whereas the exotic stone Sequoia Brown Granite with a Leathered finish feels like canyon walls since it has long horizontal veins that stretch the width of the slab.
Textured finishes can be used on countertops with the proper care and maintenance. Since the softer minerals have been removed through the texturing process, textured finishes are considered to be more durable than a flat honed finish. It is still recommended to use a sealer or oil to keep the textured granite and marble countertops from staining. These textures give granite countertops a natural and rustic appearance much like slate or soapstone, but have the advantage of harder and denser composition that are more resistant to scratches, staining, and daily wear. Another advantage of textured granite and marble slabs is the increased slip resistance that make them ideal for wet areas such as tub surrounds, stair ways, and floors.