Which Natural Stone to Use on a Kitchen Countertop
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Whether you’re updating your kitchen for aesthetic purposes or to make the room more functional (or both), choosing the countertop material is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Not only do countertops help tie the space together with color and texture, but you also need them to withstand years of use and still look beautiful. That’s why more homeowners are choosing natural stone countertops, which combine unparalleled durability with beauty to add value to your home.
Although many people associate natural stone with granite countertops, that’s just one of the many options. Depending on your kitchen style, how you use it, and your budget, you have a wide range of options to choose from. To help you narrow down your choices, take a look at our guide to some of the most popular types of stone countertops.
Although there are hundreds of types of stone you can use in your home, several choices top the list for countertops. Kitchen counters need to withstand moisture, heat, and wear and tear from knives and other utensils, and several options fit the bill.
Granite countertops are among the most popular in the natural stone industry, with many home listings highlighting them as a selling feature. Available in a virtually endless array of colors and patterns, granite is affordable, easy to install, and extremely durable.
The exceptional hardness and heat resistance of granite comes from how it forms deep within the Earth. Here, extreme pressure and high temperatures above 2300 degrees cause quartz and feldspar particles to fuse, creating granite’s speckled appearance. Not only does it make it easier for counter manufacturers to conceal the seams during installation, but the unique patterns allow homeowners to select a slab of granite that’s thoroughly unique to their kitchens.
Although durable and generally low-maintenance, granite countertops need sealing at least once a year. Otherwise, the surface becomes porous and vulnerable to staining and other damage.
Marble countertops are gracious and elegant, giving your kitchen a high-end appearance. Limestone or dolomite under extreme pressure forms marble; the unique color patterns and designs come from impurities in the source materials.
Although honed marble is attractive, it does have its drawbacks. It’s not nearly as hard as materials like granite or quartz, so it’s more vulnerable to scratches, stains, chips, and other damage. It also requires sealant and professional refinishing every few years to maintain a smooth and shiny surface.
Although some people refer to quartz and quartzite interchangeably, they aren’t the same. Quartzite countertops are natural stone; the high pressure and heat compress quartz sandstone into a hard, smooth, and glassy stone that sometimes resembles marble. It’s a porous stone, which means it needs sealing, and it’s more expensive than other materials.
Quartz, also known as engineered quartz, is factory-made using quartz particles held together with resin. The result is a nearly indestructible product that doesn’t need sealing and resists damage from scratches, heat, and stains better than natural quartzite. Although quartz costs more than some other materials, it’s a good way to achieve marble’s opulent look and function with less maintenance.
Although most often used as natural stone tiles for kitchen flooring, slate is an increasingly popular option for countertops. The darker colors create drama and are less susceptible to stains. Slate is also functional and durable, withstanding heat, scratches, and other hazards.
Dolomite may not be as well-known as marble or granite, but it’s gaining in popularity. A sedimentary rock that forms when magnesium-rich water flows over limestone, dolomite is stronger than marble but not quite as strong as granite. However, because it’s mostly white or gray with unique patterns that resemble the natural veining in marble, it’s a popular substitute for marble or quartzite.
Dolomite doesn’t have as many color variations as marble, and it requires annual sealing. However, it’s worth considering if you want the appearance of marble but don’t want to worry about extra maintenance or damage.
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LET US HELP YOU CHOOSE THE PERFECT COUNTERTOP MATERIAL FOR YOUR HOME
When you need help selecting the ideal natural stone countertops, trust our experts at NorthWest Stone Fabricators for help. Our team of knowledgeable designers, installers, and fabricators has a reputation for excellence and can give you a unique stone countertop that lasts decades. We can also help you with other elements of your kitchen renovation project, including selecting and installing decorative tiles and backsplashes, stone flooring, and more.
Call us today at (425) 881-5100 to get started.
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