Countertop Stone Options

Which Countertop Material Is Best?

Countertop Stone OptionsWe get this question every day. It’s not a matter of which one is best. It’s which one is best for you. We’ll consider your budget, the way you’ll use your countertops and your personal style. Here are the most popular options along with their features and benefits.

Granite has been one of the top selections for new construction and remodeling for years. There are endless color options and as natural stone surfaces go there are some real bargains to be found.

Pros –
Versatility:  Every slab of granite is unique. The color variations, patterns and textures are endless.
Durability:  Granite is very durable. It’s scratch resistant. It’s an excellent choice for a busy kitchen or vanity.
Heat-resistant: Granite is heat-resistant and will stand up to very high temperatures. That said, we ALWAYS recommend using a protective layer between your beautiful countertop and a hot pan.

Cons –
Staining: If not sealed properly, on a regular schedule, granite CAN absorb liquids such as wine, coffee, or juice and possibly leave a permanent stain. Unsealed granite can also promote bacterial growth.
Chipping: Your granite countertops are tough, but they’re no match if you drop something heavy on them. They can chip, crack or even break if hit in just the right way.

Quartz is actually an engineered, man-made material.  Natural-quartz crystals are ground into a dust that’s bonded with resin under intense heat and pressure to form a solid slab. Pigments added during the process add color to the countertop. Quartz countertops exhibit clean lines and subtle variations in design.

Pros –
Beautiful: Quartz is a beautiful product. It comes in a wide range of colors and patterns. It can even resemble Carrara marble. It is well suited to contemporary designs but fits well in to a traditional setting.
Excellent Resale Value: Buyers look at quartz as a premium countertop material.

Cons –
Heat Damage: A hot pan set directly on a quartz countertop can cause irreparable damage. That’s because the resin used in the manufacturing process can melt at relatively low temperatures.
Prone To Fading: Outdoor kitchens are trending right now. But quartz shouldn’t be outside. The resins used in manufacturing can fade in direct sunlight. If you have a very sunny kitchen, you’re running the risk of fading/yellowing.
Price: Quartz is considered a luxury option for your home. It has a price tag to match. However, there are other natural stones that are even more expensive. The bottom line? Your new countertop selection should be based upon how you will use it in your home.

Marble is formed from limestone. Heat and pressure in the earth produces some of the most beautiful and desirable nature stone surfaces available.

Pros –
Elegant: Marble has a texture and look unmatched by any other stone surface. It’s traditional and timeless adding an elegant, classic look to your home.
Availability: Marble is mined all over the world. It’s widely available.
Increases In Value: Well cared for marble countertops could last for generations. Marble is an investment in your home and adds immediate value.

Cons –
Expensive: Historically, marble has been one of the more expensive countertop options. But, don’t let this change your mind. Prices are always changing depending on the demand.
Stains: There’s no way around it. Marble will stain. Anything spilled on marble needs to be wiped up right away.
Easily Damaged: Marble is a soft, porous stone. This makes it prone to cracking, scratches and nicks. Heavy objects and sharp knives will damage marble.

Quartzite is a very hard, natural stone that looks a lot like marble. It’s very resistant to scratching, staining, and cracking. Quartzite countertops are easy-to-clean and are unlike any other countertop surface for their beauty, functionality and wow factor! Fun Fact: Quartzite is between 1.6 and 1.7 billion years old, making it some of the oldest rock in the world.

Pros –
Stain Resistant: Quartzite resists heat and staining better than marble. However, you need to make sure it’s properly sealed at least once a year.
Easy To Clean: Soap and water is all you need to keep quartzite looking like new.
Durable: It’s a hard and durable material that is well suited for use as a countertop. Quartzite is resistant to heat, scratches, and etching.

Cons –
Sealing Is Required: To help avoid stains, quartzite needs to be sealed once a year with a high-quality sealer.
Cost: Quartzite can be a little more expensive than granite because of how rare it is.
Color Options: Quartzite has a limited range of color options. However, the colors and patterns that are available are stunning, one-of-a kind works of nature.

Soapstone is a rarely used countertop surface material option. They require little maintenance and can provide a rustic look to your kitchen. Think back to your high school chemistry lab. Soapstone was used on the countertops.

Pros –
No Stains: Soapstone is nonporous. It also doesn’t react to acids in food. No sealing is necessary.
It’s Eco-friendly: It’s a green building material and it’s completely chemical-free and 100 percent recyclable.
Heat Resistant: A hot pan won’t phase it!

Cons –
It’s Soft: A can of vegetables dropped on soapstone will likely leave a mark. Never use soapstone as a cutting board.
Scratches Easily: Since it’s one of the softest stones used on countertops it can be susceptible to scratching.
It Wears Unevenly: The areas that are used the most fade faster. This results in an uneven look. On the positive side, this uneven look adds rustic charm if that’s your design preference.

Porcelain countertops have grown in popularity over the last few years. Porcelain is a strong, man-made product made from a dense and durable clay. Pigmented glazes bring unique colors and patterns to a porcelain slab.

Pros –
Non-porous: Porcelain is not only non-porous but its surface is hygienic and resists bacteria.
Easy To Maintain: Soap and water will keep your porcelain countertops looking like new.
Durable: Porcelain countertops are very hard. They’re more durable than granite.

Cons –
Ceramic Knife Scratches: Always use a cutting board. Ceramic knives will scratch a porcelain countertop.
Limited Edge Styles: Since porcelain slabs are thinner than other slabs the edge options are limited.
Easy to Crack: Porcelain is strong, but you need to be careful to not drop anything heavy on it. It can crack. Expert installation will assure years of worry-free use.

How Hard Could This Be?
Check The Mohs Scale

What is The Mohs Scale? It’s a scale developed by Friedrich Mohs in 1822 to determine the hardness and scratch resistance of natural minerals. The rating on the scale runs from 1 (softest) to 10 (hardest). We use this scale to rank the hardness of countertop material.

Mohs Scale

Keep in mind, hardness may not be the most important consideration in choosing a countertop material for your home. Your All American Design Consultant can walk you through all of the features and benefits of each material to help you choose the one that’s best for your family, your home and your budget.

FUN FACT: Talc, used to make talcum powder, is a 1. Diamonds are a 10!

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