Our Guide to Choosing Stone Countertops
Adding a stone countertop to your new kitchen or bathroom can add significant value to the price of your home. But with so many options available, it’s hard to know where to begin.
The stone you pick should be largely based on your own personal tastes, but there are other factors you need to take into account, for instance how frequently you will use the countertop. Since some countertops are more durable than others, the activities you’ll be using it for will help dictate your best option.
Consider these factors to help you determine which stone surface is right for you:
For the most part, homeowners choose stone countertops for their look, durability, and ease of care. While this is largely true, depending on the stone you choose, it might still require occasional maintenance.
Many stone countertops need regular sealing (about once or twice a year) for a variety of reasons. For one, stone that is porous might require a sealant to prevent it from harboring bacteria. Sealing can also help prevent staining and etching in softer materials.
It’s not uncommon for certain stones to chip or indent. To some, imperfections and patinas are desirable and add character, but others find it makes the surface uneven and unworkable, or visually unsightly. Some blemishes can be filled in or sanded down depending on the material, which will require professional care.
While some stones are harder, others are more heat resistant, or more stain resistant. Others still are quite soft, and require a little more preventative care.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s possible for stone to scrape, chip or blemish. While some of these issues are fixable, not all types of stone countertops can be repaired.
Although cosmetic blemishes are not uncommon, most quality slabs will last the lifetime of your house and in general, major damages (like the slab breaking in half) are rare.
To a lot of homeowners, this is the single most important factor when choosing a countertop. For every style, there is a stone countertop to compliment it.
While some people like consistent coloration, others enjoy specks of color and veining. There are also different finishes available depending on the material, allowing homeowners to chose between natural matte finishes, or more glossy ones.
Prices will vary by type of stone, where it originated, the quality of the slab, its rareness, its beauty and pattern, and by its size. Even within the different types of stone prices will vary.
The price of installation also needs to be accounted for, since some stones are harder and more costly to cut, and more difficult to install.
If you’re looking to make a statement, no run-of-the-mill countertop will do. Some homeowners will pick their countertops for the originality factor, and opt for stone they don’t normally see.
Now that you know a little more about what to consider, let’s take a closer look at the different types of stone countertops:
Granite is completely natural, meaning no chemicals or other materials are added before it reaches your counter. In recent years, granite has been the standard of luxury and is highly sought after, even among other stone countertops.
Granite comes in a variety of colors, usually in a blend of oranges, reds, browns, gold & black. Though lighter slabs are not uncommon, granite is usually prized for its darker and bolder colors. Patterns vary by slab, but usually showcase the stone’s characteristic graininess.
Installing granite countertops is a great way to increase the value of your house, and many buyers look for granite as a sign of quality when searching for a new home.
Granite is hard and resilient. Although it’s not quite as strong as quartz, it is more heat resistant.
Since its surface is porous, granite needs to be sealed every 6 months to a year. Vinegar, lemon juice and other acidic materials will discolor the stone and weaken your seal. Also, because it’s porous, regular sanitization is necessary. Otherwise standing water can seep into the stone and harbor bacteria.