Countertop Guide – Which material is right for you?
In designing your kitchen, the countertop can be the most important element of your kitchen design. It is usually the largest surface and the focal point of the design. Choosing a surface that is right for you not only in coloration but how it works for your family is key. Not only is this selection integral to the design, but let’s face it, this is not something we want to change often, so it is important to get it right!
I will take you through some of the more popular countertop surfaces to help guide you in what would be best for your kitchen.
Granite is an excellent choice for kitchen countertops and heavily used surfaces. It has beauty and comes in a variety of colors. This natural stone is a very hard substance and is not easily scratched. It can handle daily wear and tear quite well. The downside is there are not many granites that are lighter in coloration, there are no true white granites. It is heat-resistant and stain resistant and can be used outdoors as it will hold up to weather conditions remarkably well. It does need to be sealed every so often to keep any stains from absorbing. Cleaning is a breeze simply use soap and water, and avoid any cleaners with a citrus base. Overall, this stone is one of the most durable surfaces you can use in your kitchen.
Marble has been used in many applications all over the world. No matter the application, it will wear and patina over time, which some say is the real beauty of this stone. Its beauty is unparalleled, but you need to maintain this stone as it reacts to citrus and wine as it is porous and can etch and stain. Etching is a dullness that will appear when a liquid has been left on the marble surface over time. By sealing the marble, you can prevent most etching. It is heat-resistant and can handle high heat, but it is recommended to use a trivet when placing hot items directly on the surface. Marble comes in a variety of colors, with the base color mainly white.
Quartzite has become a great option to use with its soft veins and beautiful colorations. Quartzite is not easily susceptible to scratches. The porosity of quartzite can vary; this is something to be sure of when choosing a quartzite if it is more porous it will stain more readily, so sealing this stone will help prevent any staining or etching. It can tolerate high heat, however, it is always recommended to use a trivet when placing hot items on the surface. One of my favorite quartzites is Taj Mahal for its warmth and richness.
Soapstone is one of the most dense stones that there is which makes it highly resistant to heat, and its non-porous nature makes it stain resistant. It will darken over time, and using an application of mineral oil will keep the surface even in color. This stone can be used outdoors as it will hold up to the elements. It can get scratched, but a surface scratch can be hidden with mineral oil application and a deeper scratch will need to be buffed with sandpaper.
Quartz countertops have been very popular due to the low maintenance that is required. Quartz is an engineered stone made up of stone particles ground down and held together by polymer resin. This allows the stone to have a white marble look without the care that is needed for marble. It does not require sealing at all. Simple soap and water are the best way to clean polished quartz. If the quartz is honed, it may require some mild abrasive like soft scrub to remove some stains. Because of the resin, this stone cannot handle high heat, and you must always use a trivet for anything hot to be placed on this surface.