Factors including stone durability, colors, and affordability will influence your personal preference for countertops. Certain stone types are better suited for kitchen applications. Here are some things to consider…
Granite is a natural, igneous rock formed naturally deep in the Earth’s crust, where extreme pressure and temperatures in excess of 2300° F fuse small particles of quartz and feldspar together. This not only gives granite its signature speckled or mottled appearance which can help conceal seams, it has remarkable hardness and superior heat resistance.
Granite has long been a premier choice for kitchen countertops due to both its beauty and durability. It defines elegance and can easily elevate a kitchen’s design with its conspicuous presence on islands and other countertops.
Granite can absorb moisture so slabs should be treated with sealant. This will close up small crevices and pores making granite safe for food preparation and prevent staining. Some granite countertops may need periodic resealing. Cutting boards should be used as well as protection from hot pots and pans.
Quartz is an engineered stone made of loose quartz particles bound together with resin. It is often harder and more flexible than granite making it nearly indestructible. It resists scratching, cracking, and chipping better than natural stone.
Quartz countertops are growing in popularity due to its performance in kitchen applications. It’s available in a variety of colors, and some patterns are even made to look like natural stone.
The resin in quartz countertops may melt at high temperatures, so care needs to be taken with hot pots and pans. Crock pots or griddles may also cause some cracking due to centralized expansion caused by extreme heat. There are also some cases where a home was 70° inside and upon opening a window to freezing temperatures outside, the sudden change temperature change cracked the countertop.
Like granite, quartzite is a naturally occurring stone that offers both beauty and substantial durability to countertop surfaces. Quartzite is a metamorphic rock formed naturally when quartz sandstone is subjected to the same extreme pressure and temperatures as granite. The individual grains of quartz and cementing materials recrystallize into an interlocking mosaic with a smooth, glassy surface.
This natural stone has greater density than granite making it more resistant to chipping, staining, and scratches. Some colors may resemble marble yet provide many of the features suitable to kitchen use that marble can not afford.
Quartzite countertops require regular sealing but are very easy to care for.
Porcelain is the oldest of the engineered stone surfaces. It’s available in many colors and textures and is gaining in popularity among many designers.
Porcelain is extremely durable, and since it is manufactured with extreme heat, it is very heat resistant and well suited to kitchen use. It is scratch, and stain resistant and because it does not fade or yellow in sunlight, it can be used as exterior cladding.
This engineered stone is often difficult to fabricate and may, therefore, be more expensive. Some edge profiles may tend to chip. We recommend 2 cm thick slabs as they tend to be less problematic. Damaged porcelain countertops are nearly impossible to repair.
Marble is a beautiful, well-loved stone. The rich textures and colors marble provides is often unique among all stone options.
Homeowners with a strong preference for marble should remember that due to this natural stone's softness, it may not stand up to the rigors of heavy kitchen use.