With its natural beauty, lifelong durability and low maintenance, stone is an ideal choice for kitchen and vanity countertops. As the work surface where you prepare food, eat casual family meals, perhaps even where you help the kids with their homework, a stone countertop complements any kitchen. Having withstood millions of years of underground pressure, it can easily tackle the abuse of daily wear and tear. Resistant to scratches, burning, chipping and discolouring,unaffected by hot pans or cold dishes, stone is the gold standard for both durability and character.
Every rock pulled from the earth has its own mineral coloring, veining, and speckles, brought vividly to life by a stoneworker’s saw and polishing wheels. Whether you select a solid white quartz, a midnight flecked black granite, or a beige marble embedded with fossilized seashells, with Granstone’s help it is sure to be as distinctive as an original work of art.With the proper care and maintenance, your granite countertop can keep its new look for years to come.
Reasons to Consider Quartz Countertops
Quartz is a manufactured product and can be very attractive. The manufacturing process allows a much wider range of colors than you’ll find in natural stones such as marble or granite. The appearance of the finished engineered stone is rich, even luxurious. The finish has a depth that can’t be produced with solid surface materials like Corian.
Quartz has the same durability as concrete and granite, but is quite a bit more forgiving, so it won’t chip or crack as easily. It doesn’t have the same hardness in the feel that some people find unpleasant.
Like other hard surface material, quartz is non-porous so it resists staining much better than granite, marble and concrete. It stands up to juice, oil, wine, tomato, coffee and other sources of stains in the kitchen. For cleanliness, a non-porous surface means that it will not harbor bacteria or viruses. You can always be confident that you are getting your quartz countertop absolutely clean, and that’s a great benefit in both the kitchen and the bathroom.
Reasons to be Cautious about Quartz Countertops
The look of quartz countertops is fairly contemporary. That isn’t necessarily a weakness since beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, some homeowners will prefer the more natural look of granite, marble, slate or wood for their home. The seams on engineered stone countertops are sometimes noticeable too, about like those with granite countertops, but this isn’t a deal breaker for most people. Finally, quartz is not as resistant to heat as granite,so caution will have to be used with hot pots and pans in the kitchen or hot hair tools in the bathroom.
Reasons to Consider Granite Countertops
Granite has a rich beauty that few other countertops material can match. It is a natural product with a timeless aura and appeal. Granite countertops take a high-quality kitchen to the next level visually and often become the centerpiece of the room. With more than 20 shades of granite to work with, you’ll find one that blends perfectly with your kitchen cabinets, flooring and walls.
Granite is a very hard substance and is not susceptible to scratches. While not ideal to work on because it will dull knife blades, it will take normal wear and tear very well. Granite resists heat too, so its use near a range or cooktop is ideal. When you have to set down a hot pan fast, granite can take the heat without being damaged or weakened. In the bathroom, placing a hair tool on it that is still warm won’t be a problem.
Granite can be very resistant to stains and won’t absorb liquids when it is properly sealed. A good professional installer will be able to seal it correctly so that it maintains its attractive good looks indefinitely, or you can do it yourself.
Reasons to be Cautious about Granite Countertops
For all their beauty and durability, granite counters do have a few weaknesses. The most concerning problems can occur when the countertops are not sealed correctly or the sealant wears off without the counters being resealed. Granite is porous. This means that unsealed or poorly sealed counters can absorb wine, juice or oil, producing a stain that might be impossible to remove. A poorly-sealed countertop can also harbor bacteria in its pores.
Some treated granite can go 10 years without being sealed, but many countertops will need to be resealed on a yearly basis. When this is overlooked, it won’t take long for granite countertops to begin to show signs of staining.
While these counters are very durable, a heavy object dropped on a corner might crack or chip the granite. This isn’t common, but it can happen under the right circumstances.
The Beauty of Soapstone
If you’re looking for a natural stone with an amazing amount of warmth, this is it. That’s one of the reasons that soapstone countertops are a favorite in country kitchens, though they can be included in styles from traditional to modern to eclectic. They offer outstanding design versatility.
The colors you’ll find in soapstone range from almost pure white with slight marbling to charcoal gray with nearly solid color. In between, you’ll enjoy a pleasant array of whites, off-whites, pearls and grays with rich marbling.
The Durability of Soapstone
While not as hard as granite, this material is more pliable. That means it is less brittle, so it won’t crack unexpectedly from stress or weight. In addition, soapstone is very non-porous, another important strength that sets it apart from granite, sandstone and slate. It doesn’t require the sealing that those materials do, and it is far less likely to stain when wine or oil are spilled onto it.
The primary care that soapstone requires is a periodic oiling that keeps it looking its best and produces a natural patina as the years go by. In other words, it is done for aesthetic rather than performance reasons.
Soapstone is Easy to Clean
Because it is non-porous, it cleans up with mild soap and a sponge or dish rag. This is a very sanitary countertop ,and a good choice for those who enjoy cooking with fresh fruits, vegetables and meats that are sometimes associated with e-coli bacteria.
Avoid Scratches and Chips
Because the stone is fairly soft, avoid cutting directly on it. Be careful not to drop heavy glass objects or cast iron pans on it. The softer nature of soapstone makes it nice to the touch but also represents its one main weakness.