The look is rich, the feel is luxurious and the material
is durable. Such is the definition of natural stone
countertop. Whether it comes in the form of a slab or
produced as individual tiles each piece of the natural
stone is unique unto itself.
Always take time and care to choose the one that will work
best for your needs. Most are virtually maintenance free
and some require a bit of tender loving care to look their
best such as regular staining or oiling. Natural stone
countertops come in a variety of finishes with the most
common being polished, high gloss, honed or matte. Below
are some of the variables of living stone countertops.
Granite is the most durable of the natural stone
countertops. The only harder stone is the diamond. It will
not scratch, crack or chip and can withstand heat. It can
though break dishes or glasses if set down too hard.
Granite is available in rich colors and a polish that
won't wear off. Since granite is porous you need reseal it
about once a year.
Soapstone, which is primarily made up of the mineral talc
is popular in both modern or country style kitchens. The
nature of soapstone means acids won't etch the stone and
the stains can be easily sanded out. Homeowners tend to
like the not so perfect soapstone and view it as character
instead of flaws. Mineral oil brings out its rich, dark
color and makes it shine.
The sleek and elegant marble countertop is timeless.
Usually found in the baker's kitchen, it is the serious
bakers' choice for rolling dough. Marble is more porous
than granite so it requires sealant to be applied more
frequently to prevent stains. Since it is not nearly as
hard as some other stone countertops, it is best to be
used in small sections instead than the primary
Beautiful slate is available in tones of gray, green,
purple and black. It's certainly not just for roofs or
floors anymore. Slate is definitely becoming a popular
choice in the kitchen. Its beauty and strength make it a
durable and stylish option. As with soapstone, regular
treatment with mineral oil will bring out the beauty of
this material. Any scratches can usually be removed by
rubbing with a damp sponge. Deeper scratches can be buffed
out by using steel wool.
Limestone consists mainly of calcite, a neutral-toned
mineral. Limestone varies in hardness but is a more porous
stone that stains easily. It requires regular resealing to
Quartz is an interesting stone countertop. Though often
called engineered stone, this material is composed of
natural quartz mixed with epoxy resin binders. Quartz is
an incredibly hard and durable surface. It is nonabsorbent
that makes it more user friendly and stain resistant. It
is basically maintenance free with just a simple wipe off
with warm water. Different pigments are mixed in the
making of the quartz surfacing and because of this there
are beautiful colors to choose from.
Lava stone is a more unusual countertop material that is
often sold under the French brand name Pyrolave. Lava
stone is quarried in France then enameled and fired. It
has a very high gloss finish and colors can be customized.