Countertop Types: What Will Work Best For You

kitchen.jpgPhoto: Prestige Marble & Granite

Marble? Granite? Quartz? Natural stone or engineered? What does it all mean? Anyone who has built a home or done a kitchen remodel knows the number of different material options can be overwhelming. And it’s an important decision. Experts estimate you should plan on spending 10 to 15 percent of your kitchen budget on your countertops. Here are some thoughts on different types of materials so you can choose what’s right for you and your home. All prices mentioned are general estimates.

Granite

Granite is the number one countertop material for a reason. It’s beauty and durability make it a wonderful choice for almost any kitchen. It’s very nature makes it resistant to water and heat. That being said it is slightly porous. Most granites don’t need to be sealed, though it never hurts and will help block stains and liquids from eventually seeping into the stone. Granite’s inherent strength will also help protect it from scratches and etching. Because granite is a natural material there will be variation from slab to slab. While many people love the uniqueness this ensures, it can make matching up slabs difficult.

Expect to spend between $40 and $200 per foot installed.

Granite comes in a variety of natural stone colors and can be finished multiple ways.15-gorgeous-granite-countertops-title-e1503856458744.jpgPhoto: Home Epiphany

Marble

The demand for marble has certainly increased in the past few years. While a lot of marbles have gray veining running throughout, if you’re looking for a bright, more pure white slab, marble is definitely for you. It gives a high end, classic feeling to any space. Marble is more porous than granite and does require sealing; this means it does stain more easily than granite and some other natural stones. It’s also a softer stone, meaning it more readily scratches and nicks. While some marbles like Calacatta and Carrara are decidedly more expensive, there are plenty of options with a price point comparable to granite.

Expect to spend between $50 and $200 per foot installed.

The gray veining warms up this marble slab , which lends a polished feeling to this rustic kitchen.Advantages Of Marble CountertopsPhoto: Improvenet

Quartz

Quartz countertops are growing in popularity thanks to their many good qualities, and due to the fact they don’t have many of the weaknesses of natural stone. Quartz is a manufactured product and is also referred to as engineered stone. The manufacturing process for Quartz allows for an almost unlimited range of colors and can be finished in a luxurious way other solid surface materials aren’t. Quartz is just as durable as stone but more forgiving, so it won’t chip or scratch easily. It’s also nonporous, so it resists staining and will not harbor bacteria or viruses. Quartz doesn’t have many downsides, though it isn’t as heat resistant as natural stone.  It may be considered on the more expensive side, though it’s pricing is competitive with many natural stones.

Expect to spend between $50 and $200 per foot installed.

If you’re wanting a nontraditional countertop color, quartz might be just what your looking for.
quartzPhoto: HouseTrends

Soapstone

Soapstone is a natural material that has been used as countertops for literally hundreds of years. Today people love soapstone for its warm, rustic charm. Soapstone ranges from light to dark gray; the darkest slabs are almost black. Soapstone actually contains a certain amount of talc, which accounts for its milky look and somewhat powdery feel. This also accounts for the softness of the stone, but doesn’t mean it can’t stand up to daily kitchen use. Soapstone is nonporous so it is stain and acid resistant, though it does darken over time. It is recommended you treat soapstone with mineral oil to help achieve a more even look and deepen the color. It’s softness does make it slightly vulnerable to scratching, the mineral oil will help disguise these. Soapstone is extremely heat and bacteria resistant, making it a wonderful choice for any kitchen.

Expect to spend between $75 and $150 per square foot installed.

Soapstone is perfect for warming up what would otherwise be an all white kitchen. It also creates a sense of depth and additional dimension in this large space.decorpad.jpgPhoto: DecorPad

Limestone

Limestone is a beautiful choice, but not always practical for a busy kitchen. Limestone is an extremely versatile stone, available in a variety of colors and textures. Only the harder, denser varieties should be installed in the kitchen. Your fabricator should be able to help you choose the appropriate slab for your needs, should you choose limestone. Limestone is a calcium-based rock and by its very nature reacts with acidic substances in a manner that can create etching. It’s extremely porous and should be sealed regularly to help minimize staining, as it will soak up liquids quickly. Due to its softness, limestone also scratches and chips more easily than other natural stones. You also need to protect your limestone countertops from heat as it does have the ability to burn.

Expect to spend $50 to $100 per square foot installed.

Limestone looks great in almost any setting, though it requires a lot of maintenance. Many homeowners who want limestone choose to use it in a bathroom as opposed to the kitchen.
f89819d6fbab1e723c2ae503f35ae8af.jpgPhoto: Traditional Home

Whatever countertop material you ultimately choose,  Prestige Marble & Granite is here to help you with a vast selection of unique, exotic and rare natural stones from around the world. Our knowledgeable staff will guide you through selection, layout, design and installation. We welcome homeowners, designers, and contractors to browse our showroom any time!

 

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All About Limestone

Heartwood Kitchens - #2
Detail of a limestone countertop. Photo by Quality Custom Cabinetry, Inc 

Limestone is first and foremost a sedimentary rock. Sedimentary rocks are formed by sediment that is deposited over time, usually as layers at the bottom of lakes and oceans. This sediment can include minerals, small pieces of plants and other organic matter. Sedimentary rocks are deposited in layers as strata, forming a structure called bedding.

Limestones are composed mainly of skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, forams (single-celled organisms with shells), and molluscs. The main minerals in limestone are calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate. There are different kinds of limestone that are used for different purposes, but only the hardest and densest should be used for countertops. (When subjected to extreme heat and pressure over time, limestone becomes marble!)

As a sedimentary stone, limestone  is relatively soft and porous – to a degree. But not all limestone countertops are equally porous; some are extremely dense, and as such, liquids have a tough time penetrating.  To minimize staining, apply a sealer periodically; even if the limestone gets stained, you can almost always remove the stain by using oxygen bleach (such as OxiClean). Oxygen bleach won’t harm the stone and  will break apart the organic compounds that make up the foods and liquids that you commonly cook with (including red wine, grape juice, etc.). Like marble, limestone can be etched by acid, so don’t let mild acids such as vinegar or lemon juice sit for long periods of time. Limestone’s beautiful, almost creamy, appearance combined with thousands of tiny embedded fossils in it lead many to believe it is well worth the little bit of extra effort.

Here’s a look at some beautiful limestone countertops for your inspiration!

Richards Drive 1
Hacienda Kitchen
Oceanfront
Historic Master Bath Remodel (West Chester, PA)
Lake Residence
Bathroom
Hacienda Kitchen

 

It requires great skill to install limestone countertops, and you only get one chance to do it correctly. Make sure you hire a skilled fabricator experienced in limestone.

 

To see even more beautiful limestone countertops, click over to our Pinterest board!

 

Prestige Marble and Granite offers quality limestone, in addition to many other beautiful stone varieties. Whatever stone you choose, rest assured our experienced fabricators can handle the job!