When you think of natural stone countertops, marble, granite and quartzite are probably the top surfaces that come to your mind. However, there are many more options! For example, soapstone is another natural stone surfaces that make great choices for countertops in the kitchen or bath. Natural stone is a classic choice for countertops because of their one-of-a-kind beauty. Here is an overview of natural stone and some information on its benefits, finishes, applications and more.
Since natural stone comes from mother nature, each slab is unique with different shade variations, fissures, cracks, chips, pits and pores. Don’t let this scare you away! This is what makes natural stone so beautiful! Some other great qualities of natural stone is its durability. Some natural stone is resistant to scratches, bacteria, stains, heat, and can be used for outdoor spaces. Depending on what finish you choose, it can alter the overall look and resistance of your countertops.
Pros and Cons of Natural Stone Countertops:
No matter what countertop surface you choose it will have pros and cons. It is important to take these into consideration when choosing a material for your project so that you can make the best decision based on your lifestyle and design preferences.
- Pro: Durability – With regular sealing granite countertops are heat, scratch, chemical and stain resistant.
- Con: Granite is a porous material so it will need to be resealed. It is recommended to re-seal natural stone countertops (granite, marble and quartzite) every 1 to 2 years to help protect against accidental staining.
- Pro: Not only are marble countertops absolutely gorgeous but if they are well-maintained, marble can increase property value.
- Con: Marble countertops stain easily.
- Pro: Quartzite looks like marble. Its unique, swirling grey and white designs make the countertops look interesting and help create an impressive kitchen or bathroom.
- Con: Although quartzite is strong and durable, it can be damaged by sharp objects like knives. You will also need to seal your quartzite countertops at least annually to keep it shiny and free from stain.
- Pro: This is a very sanitary countertop because it is non-porous, it cleans up with mild soap and a sponge or dish rag.
- Con: Because the stone is fairly soft, avoid cutting directly on it. Be careful not to drop heavy glass objects or cast iron pans on it. The softer nature of soapstone makes it nice to the touch but also represents its one main weakness.
Finishes are the last step of the fabrication process before your slab gets delivered and installed in your home. Depending on your design tastes you can choose if you want your countertops to be smooth, textured, glossy, or have little to no shine and you achieve this is by the finish.
• Polished: To achieve semi-gloss to high-gloss on your surface, polished is the way to go. Stains are less likely to occur on polished countertops, but a potential downfall to having a high shine surface is that scratches are easier to see.
• Honed: Honed is a very popular finish for marble and creates a smooth, velvety, matte look. The benefit of having a honed surface is that scratches are difficult to see, but this makes the surface more susceptible to stains.
Caring for natural stone can vary depending on if it is granite, marble, quartzite or soapstone. You want to make sure you are taking the proper precautions and preventing any potential damage. We recommend you clean up spills with a soft cloth using mild soap and warm water. For more stubborn stains a nonabrasive bristled brush can be used. Always remember to use hot pads, trivets, cutting boards, placemats, and coasters to protect your surface from discoloration, scratches, and staining. For more countertop care and maintenance information check out our cleaning tips.
Natural stone can be incorporated in many areas of your home. The most common places are for natural stone to be placed in the kitchens and bathrooms as countertops, but natural stone can be used in outdoor kitchens, as fireplace surrounds, flooring, backsplash and so much more.