Countertop selection always becomes a big question of debate during the design process phase of a project. What style do we go with? Which choice is maintenance free? Do we choose the same countertop for the island? The questions are fast and furious, but don't worry - we're going into detail today about what popular choices are out there, what differentiates them from each other, and what questions to ask yourself to determine which choice makes sense for you and your lifestyle.
If you have a home from 90s and 00s, you most likely have a granite countertop. This natural stone was the go-to choice because of its durability, resistance to scratching and stains, and unique slab features. This natural stone is prone to chipping and must be resealed periodically, and there is a lot of movement within each slab. Clients have moved away from this over the years, and quartz has taken over as the most popular choice amongst clients.
A lot of people assume quartz is a natural stone, but it's actually created using natural quartzite stone bonded by resin and molded into slabs. If you really think about it, fabricators are actually breaking down a super strong material and putting it back together by other means.
You also get slabs that look exactly the same, but don't require resealing like natural stones. If you're looking for a very uniform look for your counters, this is a great option. Being manmade, you also have a lot of color and pattern choices with quartz. Remember as well that resins are capable of yellowing over time, especially with extended exposure to high heat.
Quartzite is a quarried natural stone that is extremely hard and durable, and each slab is different based on exposure to various minerals throughout its formation. Depending on the quality of the slab and how complex the cuts are, this choice can be more expensive. You also need to reseal it once a year, but it's a hour and a half process at most, including one hour of drying time.
This is quickly becoming one of our favorite recommendations, both based on durability and the uniqueness you can find within each slab.
Marble is cool to the touch, beautiful, and it will age and change over time. Acidic foods will cause etching with polished marble, which means that the acids wear away at the polish in that spot, and the difference will be noticeable. It is a porous stone, so it can be easily stained by fruits, wines, and other colorful food.
However, it does stand the test of time (think of all the statues in Europe that we travel so far to see). If you appreciate patina and things that show their age, marble is a beautiful choice.
This stone is a really beautiful option that really celebrates the veining and texture of the stone itself. Soapstone's most common coloring is a charcoal gray with white veining, and it is an easy to clean non-porous surface. It resists acids, and scratches can be repaired with sandpaper and mineral oil.
It does scratch more easily than others we've discussed and can be chipped, but this would be a choice for someone who enjoys things that show patina and age.
To recap, remember to consider whether you like more uniform, solid surfaces, or unique surfaces that can patina. Think about how much you will be interacting with this countertop - are you a baker or a daily cook, or are you more of an order-out family? Is a light and airy kitchen important to you, or would you consider a darker countertop to hide staining and provide contrast?
The countertops of a kitchen will likely be one of the largest line items in the project budget, so it is very much worth taking the time to discuss all of your options with your designer, and maybe even visit a slab yard to see what is available to you.
Tell us in the comments below - do you have a favorite stone you would absolutely use in your kitchen? Stay tuned in the coming months for a few projects that are taking beautiful risks with their counter choices!