A stone countertop is a desirable feature in any home. As well as increasing the value of your home, installing a stone countertops can make cooking and living in your kitchen that bit more pleasurable.
But which kind of stone countertop is right for you? There are several types, including natural options like granite and marble, and engineered alternatives like quartz.
Each stone has a different look and feel. Different types also have different features and installation considerations that you should think about before buying.
Traditionally, granite is the most popular natural stone used for kitchen worktops. Formed by slow-cooling volcanic rock, the countertops are extremely strong and damage resistant.
The colour of granite is determined by the minerals in the volcanic rock, so granite from different regions produces different colours. Some of the most popular granites have muted contrast colours, like grey, white and black.
Granite is slightly porous, so requires sealing and maintenance to prevent staining. Like other natural stones, granite has a unique texture pleasant to touch.
Advantages of granite countertops
- Extremely strong
- Good scratch and heat resistance
- Appealing texture and feel
- Wide variety of colours
Considerations with granite countertops
- Granite is slightly porous so needs sealing
- Countertop edges and corners can be shaped
- The price of granite countertops can vary widely and usually depends on where the countertop is sourced
Marble surfaces have been used for food preparation for thousands of years. White marble in particular is visually striking, with a finish that you don’t get with granite or engineered stone.
Marble can have a different look depending on where it comes from, but the stone often has distinctive vein patterns. If you think carefully about how different slabs will connect, these patterns can really tie a kitchen project together.
There are some drawbacks to using marble. You need to take good care of the surface to keep it looking at its best. Acidic products like lemon juice can leave a white mark on marble, which is why it’s usually best to use white marble in a kitchen environment.
You’ll also need to be careful with hot pans and make sure you clean up spills right away.
Advantages of marble countertops
- Added wow factor
- Unique veining patterns can create a design feature
- Cool to the touch and great for making pastries
Considerations with marble countertops
- Marble is more porous than granite and requires sealing
- Marble is also softer and more prone to chipping and heat damage
- Acidic products can ‘etch’ some types of marble, leaving a white mark. We generally recommend using white marble in kitchens
Increasingly popular in modern kitchens, quartz is an engineered stone, which means you can’t mine sheets of quartz in the same way you can with granite or marble. Quartz is naturally occurring, but the quartz minerals are combined with other crushed stones and resin to create a hard wearing slab.
Because it’s made with resin, engineered stone is completely sealed and non-porous. This means it’s much easier to clean and more hygienic compared to natural stone. It’s also much easier to care for.
Quartz is available in all sorts of colours and is often manufactured to look like granite or marble.
Advantages of quartz countertops
- Non-porous design means stain resistant and easier to clean
- Tough against chips and cracks
- Huge range of colours and designs available
Considerations with quartz countertops
- Quartz can be damaged by hot pans
- It is easier to care for quartz, but it doesn’t have the same look and feel of natural stone
- There is a wide range of quartz suppliers Internationally. Some suppliers are high quality, but there is also a lot of low quality products available
For more information about any of these stones, or for advice on a kitchen worktop project, speak to a member of our installation team today. Call: 01606 841074.