When you’re mulling over your kitchen renovation, one of the most important pieces to consider is the countertops. Selection criteria differ from person to person, but most evaluate their choices based on durability, looks, upkeep and cost. It’s important to think about your needs and lifestyle carefully, so you can choose versions that work well in your overall kitchen design.
Natural stone countertops remain a popular choice among many homeowners. The unparalleled beauty of the stone is one of the top reasons for selection, as its look blends well with modern, minimalist, contemporary, Mediterranean or Old World décor schemes. Additionally, these materials offer varying degrees of durability, depending on which one you decide to install. Knowing the pros and cons of each type of countertop material should help guide you as you’re shopping.
Soapstone, Marble and Limestone
As mentioned in a 2012 blog post on Houzz, soapstone is gaining fame as a kitchen countertop material. The distinctly soft look and visual depth are partially due to its high talc content, and some homeowners choose to have it oiled to let it develop a unique texture and a darker tint. It’s also sturdy, easily able to stand up to a hot pot placed on the counter or spilled substances such as wine or coffee that might stain other types of stone. However, its softness also makes it much more susceptible to cuts and scratches.
Other varieties of softer natural stone, such as marble and limestone, are sometimes selected by homeowners for their kitchen counters. Nevertheless, keep in mind that they will require a greater dedication to cleaning and upkeep than harder versions such as quartz or granite. Both materials are vulnerable to scratches, or even being etched by acidic foods such as vinegar and lemon juice. In its care guide for limestone, San Francisco news outlet SFGate mentioned that limestone counters cannot be cleaned with standard kitchen cleaning products. Moreover, both it and marble require regular sealing as part of their maintenance.
Granite and Quartz
When integrated into an overall kitchen design, granite and quartz offer a natural look along with greater durability to heat damage, nicks, cuts, scratches and stains. Granite’s main strength is its stunning, multi-faceted uniqueness and depth in its surface. However, prices can vary wildly depending on the supplier and the type of granite they source. Engineered quartz provides more flexibility in colors and designs along with a tough surface that will look great for years to come. It’s also eco-friendly, due to the reduced amount of material waste and lack of need for periodic sealants.
Not All Natural Stone Is Created Equal
Homeowners may prioritize looks and durability, which can be gained by incorporating most types of stone surfaces for their countertops. Nevertheless, softer kinds like soapstone, marble and limestone require extra maintenance and upkeep which may be impractical for some households. Granite and engineered quartz are still favored options, with granite showcasing a complex beauty while eco-smart engineered quartz provides a wide range of colors and designs. If you desire to have natural stone countertops installed in your kitchen, it’s vital to shop smart before settling on your final choice.