Most people think of marble, granite and quartzite when they think of natural stone countertops. Natural stone is a classic choice for countertops because of their one-of-a-kind beauty. Below is an overview of natural stone choices along with information on their benefits, finishes, applications and more.
Since mother nature is responsible for natural stone, each slab is unique in their shade variations, cracks, chips, fissures, pits and pores. Whatever you do, do not let this scare you away? These variations are what make natural stone so beautiful! Natural stone is also very durable, and some natural stone is resistant to bacteria, heat, scratches, and stains, and can even be used in outdoor spaces. Depending on what finish you choose, it can change the overall look and resistance of your countertops.
Pros and Cons of Natural Stone Countertops:
No matter what countertop surface you choose there will always be pros and cons. You should take these into consideration when choosing a material so you can make the best decision for your project based on your design preference and lifestyle.
- Pro: Durability. With regular sealing, granite countertops are heat, chemical, scratch and stain resistant.
- Con: Granite is a porous material, so it does need to be resealed. Resealing natural stone countertops (granite, marble and quartzite) is recommended every 1 to 2 years to protect against staining.
- Pro: Marble countertops absolutely beautiful, and if they are well-maintained, they can increase your property value.
- Con: Easily Stain.
- Pro: Quartzite looks like marble. With their unique and their swirling designs make countertops look more interesting helping to create an impressive bathroom or kitchen.
- Con: Although it is durable and strong, quartzite can be damaged by sharp objects, such as a knife. You must also seal quartzite countertops annually to keep them shiny and stain free.
- Pro: Very sanitary countertop because it is non-porous. It can be cleaned with a mild soap and a sponge.
- Con: Since the stone is fairly soft, avoid cutting on it. Be careful not to drop heavy objects on it. The soft nature of soapstone makes it nice to the touch, but it is also its one main weakness.
Before the slab gets delivered and installed into your home, the last step of the fabrication process is the finish. Depending on your style, you can choose smooth, textured, glossy countertops or even have little to no shine. This is all achieved by the finish.
- Polished: To achieve semi-gloss to high gloss on your countertop, polished should be your choice. Stains are less likely on polished countertops, but one negative is that a high-gloss surface shows scratches easier.
- Honed: Honed is a popular finish for marble – it creates a smooth, matte look. The benefit is that scratches are difficult to see, but this makes the surface more prone to stains.
Care for your natural stone countertops depends on whether it is granite, marble, quartzite or soapstone. You will want to be sure you are taking the proper precautions to prevent damage. We highly recommend cleaning up spills with a soft cloth using mild soap and warm water. If the stain is more stubborn, a nonabrasive bristled brush could be used. Always use hot pads, cutting boards, placemats, trivets and coasters to protect your surface from staining, scratches and discoloration.
The most common places are for natural stone to be incorporated in your home are in kitchens and bathrooms as countertops, but natural stone can be used in so many other areas of your home. Consider an outdoor kitchen, a fireplace surround, flooring, or backsplash.
Our designer can help you incorporate natural stone into your home, call us to schedule a meeting today, 252-902-5535.