All About Stone Countertops

Facts about the top 4 most popular Stone Countertops

Quartz 

Quartz Countertop’s main ingredient is ground quartz. This mineral is mined, ground and later combined with resin that is bound under extreme pressure and heat to form a slab. Pigments, glass and metallic flecks can also be included in this mixture to provide color & texture. The resin is what helps make Quartz stain & scratch resistant. Quartz is also non porous so stain- and odor-causing bacteria, mold, and mildew can’t penetrate the surface.

Unlike natural stone or wood, quartz does not need to be sealed. Cleaning is simple, a wet rag with soapy water is great for everyday cleansing. If you experience any surface stains, steer clear of scrubbing pads and harsh chemicals.These can dull the surface or even break down bonds between the quartz & resin. Instead use a gentle scrub to remove stains. 

There are some things to be aware of before purchasing Quartz. Unlike granite, quartz is not completely heat resistant. Most manufacturers say their products can only handle up to 400 degrees fahrenheit.You should abstain from placing hot items on your quartz countertop. Quartz can also be a bit expensive. Granite is a more economic option if you are trying to stay on a budget. You can expect to spend anywhere between $40-$140+ a square foot on quartz.

Granite

Granite is a natural mined stone. It is generally considered to be very durable as it is very dense and acid resistant. It’s density helps with its scratch resistance.Granite unlike quartz requires sealant. This may need to be done every few months up to year or longer depending on how light or dark your granite is, what sealant you use & what you use to clean your countertops. Granite is also very heat resistant, meaning you can put your hot pans, flat irons etc on it without worry of damaging its surface.

Another great bonus of Granite is the ability to have a seamless countertop. As it is a natural stone, granite can be mined in large slabs so fabricators can install your countertops with little to no seams.

 Unlike synthetic man made materials, granite countertops have fewer options for color and design variety.If you are looking for specific veining or colors you may be better off hand picking a man made material. Synthetic stone will come out the same every time. 

Marble

Marble like granite is a natural stone that has been used for centuries. Marble is a beautiful stone that comes in many colors and veins which is why it is so desirable. Marble is also relatively heat resistant. Professionals still recommend using caution as it is not quite as heat resistant as granite. 

Marble is vulnerable to stains such as wine, juice, oils etc. These stains seep into the stone as it is a very porous material. The only way to help prevent this is to seal it regularly. Professionals recommend every 6-months if you cook often. Reversing stains is very difficult and will most likely require the hand of a professional. Marble is also a very soft stone unlike granite.Etching can occur when heavy or sharp objects come in contact with the stone directly. Cutting on the surface, banging a pot into the edge, even a belt buckle pressed too hard into the stone may cause it to chip or crack. 

It’s soft stone can be beneficial however. Marble is much easier to cut and more flexible than other stones. If you need kitchen countertops with a curve, for example, it is much easier to accomplish with marble.

Solid Surface 

Solid surface like quartz consists of natural stone and resin. The ratio of the two substances however is the difference. While quartz consists of around 90% mineral, 10% resin. Solid surface contains around 30% minerals & 70% resin. Because the solid surface is mainly resin it is nonporous unlike natural stone.This means that it is great at keeping bacteria at bay. 

Solid surface is vulnerable to surface scratches from items like knives and other sharp utensils. The good news about these scratches however is they are much easier to repair than other countertops. An orbital sander and fine grain sandpaper will remove most scratches. Homeowners can even do this process on their own. 

Heat is not a friend to a solid surface. Owners should be wary of leaving hot items on the counter. Solid surfaces can hold up against boiling water’s temperature of 212 F. But some solid surfaces will begin to deform at temperatures not much higher than that (250 F).

One of the best things about a solid surface is the ability to have your countertop blend into your sink! It can all be one piece. With other stones this is much harder if not impossible to achieve. 

Here are three things experts say to consider when shopping for your countertops! 

Function: 

What are your needs in your countertop? What material fits your lifestyle? 

Style: 

What do you want your countertop to bring to space?  Is it a focal piece or do you want it to flow into the background? 

Budget:

What are you wanting to spend on your countertops? What option(s) fits into your budget? 

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