Are you looking for a countertop that has the best stone and surface tension for your home? To choose the most appropriate one to fit your needs, you have to learn all the necessary information to make a valued decision.
The whole idea of a kitchen countertop is to make it firm, functional, and stylish, a place where you can congregate with your family.
The kitchen should be the central hub of the household, and the countertop is the star of the show. Members of the family can use the counter to prepare and eat meals, a tabletop for work and school, even a hang-out area where important family matters are discussed.
There are no limits to its possible uses. So it is crucial to make it as appealing and practicable as possible. And the best way to achieve that is to get the best all-natural stone fabrication for your kitchen countertop.
Because rock is a natural byproduct it has its unique color, patches, veining, and pattern. With the creativity and skill of a stoneworker, it is cut, polished, and shaped into something usable and beautiful.
There are many earth tone countertop designs and colors you can pick from greyish-brown travertine, reddish quartzite, or bluish granite. The variations are many and a lot you can choose from. Each slab is distinct and can be molded into something akin to works of art.
Since it originated from natural and oftentimes antediluvian elements, it is as strong and sturdy as the hardest carbon-based material on planet Earth: the diamond.
It is not affected by anything hot that can perhaps be damaging to other synthetic countertops. It only needs minimal care and cannot be damaged by harsh foods and liquids.
Even if the worst situation happened, which can get accidentally nicked or cracked, it can still be fixed.
So to reiterate, to get the best out of these magnificent slabs of stone that you can transform into a countertop, you need to know everything about it.
Stone and surface rules of thumb
A responsible homeowner should know the basics in choosing the best stone countertop and the best way to install it. A building contractor will eventually build it, but this knowledge is still crucial.
To create the best kitchen fixtures out of stone, the most ideal dimensions and features are as follows:
- Cabinets- The stone slab goes on top of the plywood or the base unit.
- Edges- Round and smooth edges are preferable instead of sharp ones because it can hardly break apart.
- Backslash- Use silicone to secure the joints./li>
- Thickness-The ideal dimensions are three-fourths to one and one and one-fourth inches thick.
- Overhang- It should be a little bit over the length of the drawer pull.
Why should you choose stone?
Since each of the slabs are types of natural stone, they are unique unto themselves. Each has varying colors and patterns that make them distinct.
Since it is natural, it is not affected by any heating element that can be found in the kitchen. It makes it distinctly separate from other types of countertops available in the market like wood, laminate, engineered stone, or solid surfacing.
Stone is also repellant to water. Any liquid-type will only stay on the surface and does not seep in and potentially damage it.
A professional stone restorer can repair any chipping, cracking, and scratch marks on the surface and restore it to its original luster. You can also get rid of difficult stains by applying a poultice material.
Stone, once machined-cut and leveled, does not have any rough-cuts or grout lines that other counter types have. It becomes smoothened out and shiny once done.
It also does not need much maintenance. Liquid spillage can easily be cleaned, and those that potentially stain it can be reapplied with a sealant.
Some unappealing stone features
One bad thing about stone is its tendency to fracture if not properly held up. To make it work as a cabinet, it must be on an exactly flat surface and blanketed with plywood. If not, cracks will soon appear
Stone slabs undergo many transmutations to become their present countertop form: mining, quarrying, shipping, then fabricating. The many processes each involve high costing. So when you all add them up, it would make it highly expensive.
Stones are not acid-resistant countertops. Different kinds of acids like vinegar, citrus, ammonia, or bleach can damage them. Stones like marble, travertine, and limestone can be etched even when applied with a sealant. However, a professional stone restorer can fix it and bring out the shine again.
Utilizing and installing stone for your countertop is a process only professionals can do. Since they have particular tools to fabricate, cut, and shape specific sizes.
It also a weighty material. It weighs eighteen pounds per square foot, so you cannot carry it and do the work on your own. You will need powerfully-built people to set it up.
Some kinds of stone tend to stain, like limestone, travertine, and marble. They need to be sealed at regular time intervals. However, there are other stone-types like soapstone and Vermont slate that are made to be more substantial and do not absorb liquid. These make for ideal countertops.
Important info if you decide on utilizing stone for your countertop
- Stone slabs are sold by the foot, costing twenty-five dollars to one-hundred dollars per square foot. If you want to add any particular cuts, edges, or holes as an extra feature for your countertop, the fabricator will charge you extra.
- Currently, fabricated stone slabs now come with pre-applied sealants. They now include lifetime warranties for anti-stainability.
- To clean it, use a stone cleaner or with ordinary detergent soap and water. Apply it once every three years with a top-quality sealant.
- You can purchase stone slabs from a stone yard and choose any design that you want. There are different stone display samples in big-box stores. If you buy stone slabs from them, the cost might be cheaper.
Test your solid like a rock countertops
You might think your countertop is quite firm and not resistant to staining materials. How a stone can withstand it is dependent on its molecular composition that originated millions of years since.
You can test it by yourself with common household materials. This way, you would determine if your countertop can stand firm against harmful liquids:
- Acquire one small stone slab of your countertop. If you cannot find exactly the one that you have, get one from the original source. Apply a sealant on it.
- Take small samples of especially staining liquids like red wine, olive oil, ketchup, and lemon juice. Pour it on the slab and leave it alone for one day.
- Then next day, wipe everything off with a clean rag. You will know how resistant your slab is by what does or does not appear on it.
Which stones are the most and least stain and scratch resistant?
Scratch resistant (from highest to lowest
- Vermont slate
Stain resistant (from highest to lowest
- Vermont slate
These are synthetic materials made by man that can imitate the look of real stone. These are also excellent countertop options:
This material is manufactured in a factory. It is comprised of ninety-three percent quartz granules mixed with a resin binder.
These are made to be resistant to stains and acids. Extreme heat can cause damage on the surface only. Since these are factory-made, they have color types that surpass real stones. The price is fifty to ninety dollars per square foot.
This type allows you to make your own if you already know how to create one from concrete ingredients. Or you can purchase customized blocks specifically made for countertops. This way, you can select the color and shape that you prefer.
Acids can be damaging to concrete, so keep any of them away. It also needs the habitual application of sealants. The cost is seventy-five to one hundred dollars per square foot.
It is an amalgamation originating from some elements of stone. This material capability to look fantastic, depending on the creativity of the stonemason.
It is called “Pyrolave.” It is made from volcanic stone and incorporated with glass enamel for the coating.
There are thirty-four colors that you can choose from this special kind of material. It has the same look and texture as ceramic tile, but the difference is it does not have grout lines.
The disadvantage is the pricing, which is three-hundred seventy dollars per square feet.
Types of natural stone
It a type of metamorphous rock, which has been a popular material for building luxury homes for many years. It has also become popular as countertop surfaces because of its toughness and naturalistic appeal.
However, the most significant aspect of marble is its expensiveness. It will cost you when buying, fabricating, installing, and maintaining it. There are less expensive marble versions, whose vein-like patterns are not lined up.
Similar to other kinds of stone in this list, frequent resealing is necessary to make it last longer and not to lose its lustrous beauty.
No matter how much you take of your marble surface, a patina will gradually produce over some time. Marble is very porous and one thing that frequently discolors it is oil from human skin.
So if you oftentimes touch a particular side of a marble surface, that portion will be affected and degrade more than the other parts.
So if you want a counter that will still look appealing in the long run, this material is not right for you.
Its pricing is one-hundred dollars per square foot.
Granite was very popular in the past and was always utilized for surfaces in luxury homes, especially in kitchens. However, in time, it lost its appeal with homeowners because it became available to everyone, and its uniqueness was lost.
It looks were also limited and did not have many variations. It, in turn, lost its appeal to interior designers and homeowners who had wanted a singular appearance for their kitchen.
However, granite can be polished to a brilliant sheen. It is also resistant to many acidic liquids.
The cost is fifty-seven dollars per square foot.
It is a type of metamorphous rock that had become its present state because quartz had elements of sandstone, which went through a process called “metamorphism.” They are mass-produced by mining, cutting, and fabricating slabs into their present kitchen countertop form.
However, in its rawest form, it might be ineffective as a kitchen surfacing because it too easily absorbs water and soaks it up immediately. To overcome this difficulty, quartzite is covered in a coating of either acrylic, wax, or polyurethane. This procedure is essential for the usability of quartzite and should be done at least twice a year.
If you do not seal it often, stains are accumulated and would lose its aesthetic value. It is a regular occurrence among countertops made from natural stone, as you will know in this list.
Even though it is closely related to quartz, they work differently when it comes to countertops. While quartzite is natural, quartz concerning countertops comes from engineered rock. It is composed of pigments, resin, and ninety percent Quartz elements.
Meanwhile, quartzite is a very tough substance, highly resistant to acidic liquids and scratching. It is also known for its aesthetic appeal.
The price of quartzite is ninety dollars per square foot.
It is another kind of metamorphous rock, comprised mainly of talc. At the same time, talc is a mineral that is a finely grained material of hydrated magnesium silicate. It has a soapy feel (hence the name) and is also made into talcum powder.
It is different from the other natural stones in many ways. One is that it does not absorb water, so stains would not occur. You also do not need to apply sealant on it, but wiping it with mineral oil will darken the color and do the job. This capability makes it ideal for countertops.
However, it is very delicate and is easily capable of chipping, scratching, and denting. You can polish out the scratches by using an abrasive pad.
It also would not work for you if you want options in choosing because it has limited selections. You can only choose from a few shades of black and white.
The cost is twenty-five dollars per square foot.
Onyx has a strikingly peculiar look but extravagant nonetheless. It is known for its striped appearance showing many textures and colors that came from different mineral components.
It would make your countertop look one of its kind, fashionable, and visually appealing.
However, the beauty of onyx comes at a hefty price. It is unmanageable in a way because it is very sort and needs other materials to reinforce it to become manageable as a countertop.
So you will end up paying a lot for it due to its rare nature and its difficulty in management and maintenance.
Limestone is a type of sedimentary rock comprised primarily of calcium that came from animal remains.
It has a tolerance for acidic liquids and cannot attain extreme polishing. You need to apply sealant all the time so that it would not lose its natural luster.
It only comes in few varieties of color, so you have limited options.
The price is thirty dollars per square foot.
Travertine makes a unique looking countertop because of its one-of-a-kind look. It comes from a whitish concretion of calcium carbonate. It is formed when spring water comes in contact with deposited lime, thus creating this substance.
It also has a low tolerance for acidic liquids, so you need to apply sealant all the time. It does not have a smooth texture, so fill up the gaps with grout or resin material to stop any foodstuff from ensnared within.
Quartz is the best for countertops
When you are already aware of the different kinds of stone that can utilize for your countertop, you will find out that quartz may be the best option.
If you select a natural stone to be your permanent kitchen countertop, it will not be expensive upfront, but it will still cost you as time goes by because of maintenance.
However, with engineered stones, you do not need to maintain them. Quartz is the best of this type of engineered stone. Its surface does not absorb liquid, so the application of sealants is not necessary. Thus, it makes it stain-proof.
These many capabilities make quartz last long and ideal for kitchen surfacing. These are the things you need to consider when picking a material to serve as your countertop. Quartz can imitate the look of real stone and but is more long-wearing and more inexpensive.
Different stone countertop profiles
When you pick a particular stone to be your countertop, it comes in the form of slabs. So you also need to choose the slab edge profile:
It is the simplest one, with a rectangular shape with ninety-degree edges. It is ideal for a simple and modernist decoration.
It still looks like an eased edge, but the other side forms a smooth outward curve. This way, no accidents or chipping can happen, and it is smoothened out.
It has a smoothened wavy edge that makes the countertop look more elegant. It is also ideal to avoid accidental chipping.
It has a slick and undulated look, like flowing waves. It is similar to the old-fashioned style of Art Deco.
FAQ (frequently asked questions) about stone countertops
What is the best natural stone to utilize for kitchen countertops?
For maintenance, soapstone is the best one to select. It does require frequent sealant application, and you only have to wipe it with oil to create luster.
However, if you enumerate the advantages each material in this list has, quartz is still the most favorable and ideal.
How are you supposed to clean your kitchen countertop?
When cleaning natural stone countertops, you need to be aware that they are sensitive surfaces. Do not spill any liquids on them, especially the ones that could stain. You also need to frequently seal them so that their natural sheen would still be apparent.
When cleaning engineered stone counters, it still requires cleaning but not as much like natural stone. You simply need to wipe it off with soap and water to keep it clean.
What is the best type of stone for countertops?
Engineered stones serve as the most advantageous, and quartz as the best one. Durability is the primary factor that you should consider when selecting a countertop, and style is only secondary. Quartz is the answer for this, based on its features.
What to do when preparing for a new countertop
Choose the right contractor
Shop around first before hiring one. You would need a contractor that has a good reputation and offers you a reasonable price quote.
Once hired, you would need to decide on the best countertop material and design flourishes. A great contractor will help you resolve this.
Then schedule the installation because it will be for a few days, so that means your kitchen will be off-limits.
Prepare the space in your kitchen
Get all the things out of the way for the contractor and his crew to begin the installation.
Find another temporary area for cooking and preparing food. Leave your window open and unplug all electrical devices.
Move out of the way
Give the crew free reign to continue with their work. Do not attempt to use the area for your personal needs and wait when it is over.
Once finished and the installation crew has left, the whole kitchen area, including the counter, would be covered with dust.
Get a top-quality cleaning agent (preferably non-abrasive) specifically made for stone surfaces. It will add another layer of protection from any harmful liquids, heat for cooking wares, or any source of harm. Ideally, you should clean it every day.