These days there are so many options for your new countertops and the type of stone you choose reflects your style as well as your lifestyle. Here are some things to consider when selecting the type of stone for your project:
Are you willing to seal your countertops from time to time?
Sealing countertops is an easy process. Simply make sure they are clean prior to applying an impregnating sealer. Be sure to purchase your sealer from a stone vendor, as the sealers sold at hardware stores are not of the same quality. If you are willing to seal your countertops, granite & marble are good options. Engineered stone/quartz does not need to be sealed. Sealer is recommended yearly, perhaps every 6 months on marble if you don’t care for it as prescribed.
Will you use a cleaner that is made for natural stone?
Use a diluted mild dish soap for everyday cleaning or purchase a stone cleaner from a stone supplier that has sealer in it to help keep stains at bay. Products like 409, Fabuloso and Mean Green will break down the sealer over time leaving your stone more susceptible to stains. It’s important to provide your housekeeper with the correct tools to clean your stone. If you are willing to use a quality stone cleaner, granite & marble are good options as well as maintenance-free engineered stone/quartz.
Are you basically a clean person in the kitchen & bath?
If you are not in the habit of cleaning up as you go, your best option is a maintenance free quartz/engineered stone. These materials are made of 93% stone and 7% resin. They are certified to 365 degrees but you should always use a hot pad for hot items. Chemicals and natural ingredients in bath products can affect marble. There are other new types of man-made stones and porcelain products to as well.
Will you use a cutting board?
It is always advised to use a cutting board, as any stone will dull your knives. Natural stones are porous and will absorb to some degree depending on the integrity of the sealer as well as the porosity of the stone. Quartz would be your best bet if you are likely to use your countertops as a cutting board but it is possible to scratch quartz due to resin content.
Will you use a potholder for hot dishes?
Quartz has 7% resin in it and is certified to 365 degrees so you should not place very hot items directly on quartz. Natural stones are cold so placing hot items on granite or marble can warp your pans and crack Pyrex glass with heat transfer, and although unlikely, it is possible to crack natural stone with heat transfer too. Solution: Use potholders with all stone types.
Do you have children?
Marble countertops might not be the best option if you have children as they do require a level of care and will change over time, much like wood furniture. Granite and quartz would be your best options.
Do you expect the countertops to look brand new in 5 years time?
Granite and quartz will last as long as you own your home and will look new if you take average care of it. Occasionally settling of your home may cause separation of the adhesive in your seam but that’s an easy fix with a simple service call to repair. Marble will change over time with improper care much like a piece of wood furniture will change over time. A service call to refurbish your marble from time to time might be in order to clean, reseal, attend to all seams, polish (or hone) and make them look brand new again. Honed marble tends to hold up better to normal kitchen wear.
Do you love the look of natural stone?
Engineered stone (aka quartz) may not be the best choice for you. Natural stone will always be in style and adds value to your investment.
Please contact our stone designers if you have any questions about selecting your new countertops!