Your Guide to Natural Stone Countertops
If you’re considering natural stone for your kitchen countertop, you may be overwhelmed with all the different styles out there. In this guide, we’ll break down different types of natural and synthetic stone, their unique benefits, and other useful tips to keep in mind when choosing a natural stone countertop!
One of the most popular options available today, granite is long-lasting and low-maintenance. You’ll be surprised at how many different colors and styles there are! It’s often a more affordable option while still giving you a similar style to many of the other options listed below.
Quartz & Quartzite
Did you know quartz is not technically a natural stone countertop? Sometimes called “engineered stone,” it does contain up to 93% loose quartz, along with natural silicon dioxide and synthetic materials. Because it’s created synthetically, it’s available in a wide range of colors.
Quartzite, on the other hand, is naturally occurring. It’s created when sandstone is subjected to heat and pressure. This stone is typically harder than quartz but requires regular sealing.
Like quartzite, marble is also a form of metamorphosed limestone. With unique vein patterns, marble is an elegant and classic style. You may have heard of “Italian Marble,” which is mined in certain regions of Italy, but there are plenty of other options available!
Also a popular option, especially if you’re looking for the darkness of granite with the light veining of marble. Soapstone will naturally darken over time.
One of the most exotic stones available, onyx offers a uniquely varied appearance. Because of its fragility, it’s rarely used as a countertop material. However, it can be a good option for backsplash, or areas that see less regular use.
Benefits of Natural Stone Countertops
Natural stone is versatile in style, from high polish to softer, grainy textures. It can make your kitchen feel elegant and modern, sleek and cool, or warm. It looks great with stainless steel appliances and wood flooring. Any style you can imagine, stone can deliver!
Some stone surfaces will offer unique, natural patterns, such as the veining in marble. Other styles, such as quartz, offer a more uniform appearance.
Stone is also a very practical material. Incredibly durable and low-maintenance, it’s also resistant to water damage and sometimes heat as well! Marble, in particular, is a favorite surface for baking and kneading dough.
Things to Keep in Mind
With these benefits, it’s important to consider how each material will be different. When it comes to durability, cleaning, and other maintenance, here are the basics that you should know:
Durability and Damage
While granite and quartzite are considered highly durable, softer stone, such as marble can easily dent and chip. Soapstone is less likely to chip, but it can still dent. However, you may find that a slightly dented look adds unique character to your soapstone countertop. Some stone damage may be repairable by a professional. Or, if you’d like to avoid it if possible, choose rounded edges instead of square edges—they’ll be less prone to chipping!
While most stone surfaces are resistant to heat, quartz is a notable exception. Taking a pan straight out of the oven and placing it on a quartz countertop can lead to cracks and fissures.
Stone is easy to clean. However, you should be careful before using vinegar or a household cleaner with bleach or ammonia—these acids can etch marble and other stone surfaces.
How Often Should You Seal?
Like some wood surfaces, stone requires regular sealing to keep it looking great and maintain its durability. At Bloomday, we apply a 15-year commercial sealer to granite and marble. Soapstone requires regular treatment with mineral oil to help it oxidize evenly—every other week for the first year, and then every other month after that.