Natural stone kitchen countertops can be made out of several different types of stone. Each type has its own unique characteristics. While all natural stone kitchen countertops will need specific maintenance and care, the type of stone depends on how much. The longevity and appearance of the stone countertop depends on long-term care.
A common type of igneous rock; granite is formed at depth, when molten material cools and hardens. No two pieces of granite are alike.
Granite is a hard, durable material that comes in a wide range of colors and patterns. It will not scratch, but it can chip or crack if struck hard enough. A downfall of granite is that it is a porous material. You’ll need to seal granite countertops. This keeps them waterproof and prevents staining.
While granite has become more affordable in recent years, the rare or less prevalent types will still be more expensive than the more common varieties. Having granite countertops can also increase your home’s resale value somewhere down the road.
Granite countertops can come in slabs, large tiles (also known as modular tiles), or small tiles. The large and small tiles are both thinner and easier to damage than slabs. They also need to be grouted together at the seams. Grout can be harder to clean, and it can stain/discolor over time.
Marble is a metamorphic rock. This means that the original sedimentary rock was subjected to high heat. This then caused it to go through a physical and chemical change.
Also, marble comes in a variety of natural coloration and veining patterns. While beautiful, marble is not very practical in a hardworking kitchen because it is super high maintenance. It is also is prone to staining, scratching, and chipping. It is also sensitive to acids and caustic chemicals.
Additionally, marble is less expensive than granite. Like granite, it is available in slabs, large tiles, and small tiles.
Like marble, slate is also a metamorphic rock that underwent a physical and chemical change after being exposed to high heat.
Slate is a softer stone, making it more susceptible to scratches. Some types of slate are more absorbent than others. You’ll need to seal more absorbent pieces of slate. Denser slate may not need sealed at all.
Two other disadvantages of slate are that it has a gritty texture and that it only comes in a limited range of color options.
Also a metamorphic rock; Soapstone is composed mostly of talc. It comes in varying shades of gray – from almost white to almost black. Over time, soapstone will darken. It can have a little or a lot of veining.
The material is softer than other natural stones, but it is also very dense and nonporous. Soapstone countertops will not need to be sealed. But, because it is a softer stone, soapstone can easily be scratched or dented. Although, any scratches can be sanded out. The material is very tolerant to heat and will not be affected by acids or caustic chemicals. Soapstone also resists stains.
If you’re looking to replace your kitchen countertops — or remodel your entire kitchen — contact us for a free estimate today. Shakespeare Home Improvement Co. is Lancaster County’s premier kitchen remodeling company. We offer Starmark Cabinetry and work along with local countertop companies.
For information on other types of kitchen countertop material, click here.