One of the hottest trends in home design today is stone kitchen countertops. These durable, heat-resistant, luxurious counters are a beautiful and practical addition to any home. But with all of the different types of natural and engineered stones out there, selecting the right one for your home can seem daunting. It may take a little time to research, but each of these counter materials do have benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to evaluate which one is right for your countertop needs.
Granite is a common type of igneous (volcanic) rock that forms beautiful crystalline textures. A hard type of rock, granite is well suited for use as a counter in benchtop kitchens and bathrooms because it is both heat and scratch resistant. Granite is formed by heat and pressure over hundreds of years, so no two pieces of this natural stone are ever exactly alike. This one-of-a-kind characteristic is particularly appealing to homeowners who want a truly unique space. Granite countertops are available in a wide range of naturally occurring colors and patterns, from neutrals to striking blues and greens. Natural stone countertops like granite do typically increase the value of your home more than engineered stones like quartz as buyers tend to gravitate toward natural materials.
However, despite its prestigious reputation, granite countertops do have several disadvantages. First of all, granite is a relatively porous stone, meaning it has to be chemically sealed to resist stains. The sealing process is simple, but it must occasionally be repeated; some people consider this need for routine maintenance a negative. Secondly, granite tends to be an expensive material. While granite tiles can be used in place of granite slabs to reduce the price of the countertop, not everyone can afford a granite countertop.
Many homeowners are drawn to the luxurious appearance of marble countertops. The distinctive appearance of marble can dramatically increase the value of your house, since it is typically considered a prestigious, sophisticated material. Furthermore marble countertops are the preferred surface for serious bakers as the cool stone is ideal for pie crusts, pastries, and other baked goods. Marble countertops are also available in a huge range of colors from delicate blushes to vibrant blacks, each uniquely formed by nature.
Marble does have some distinct drawbacks as a countertop material. For starters, marble is a much softer stone than granite, so it has a greater tendency to scratch and mar than granite countertops. Additionally, polished marble is vulnerable to etching when acidic liquids are invariably spilled on it. These spots and marks can destroy the finish of your countertop; you can avoid this issue by choosing a honed finish in place of a polished finish, but most homeowners prefer the appearance of polished marble. Finally, marble is a porous, absorbent stone, meaning it tends to stain. While some homeowners like the patina their marble countertops develop over the years, many do consider it a drawback.