Top Considerations in Choosing Natural Stone Countertops
Many people still prefer natural stones countertops for their homes despite quartz countertops being the top contender for kitchens and bathrooms. They like the idea of natural materials, aside from the fact that granite and marble continue to retain their status as a symbol of wealth and elegance.
However, it is important to understand that granite and marble have different characteristics. Since kitchen countertops and bathroom vanity tops serve form and function in equal measure, it is not enough to choose a material simply for its looks.
You have to make a careful choice between marble and granite for your home. Here are the top considerations for choosing natural stone countertops.
1. Way of life
Your way of life is the most important consideration when choosing the material for your countertops. Many factors affect this, including the people that live in the home, the amount of time you spend in the kitchen and bathroom, and your daily activities.
Generally, larger households, especially those including small children, put a lot of stress on kitchens and bathrooms. Kitchen countertops, particularly, bear the brunt. Aside from daily cooking, eating, and washing up, countertops also tend to be the repository for everything from food to homework.
Aside from heavy, daily use, kitchen countertops are also subject to considerable abuse. Children spill on and hang from them, pets climb on them, and heedless teenagers make no bones about plunking down wet stuff on them. For such a hardworking surface, you need something that will stand up well to wear. While marble is a durable stone, it is probably not the best choice for kitchen countertops in an active household. You would do better to choose granite.
On the other hand, a small household of adults, such as a couple with no children, is likely to be gentler on kitchen countertops. They are less likely to use it for anything not related to cooking or eating, and more likely to use coasters. In such cases, marble countertops will fare quite well.
Marble is also a good choice for show kitchens, where children, teenagers, and the bulk of the real work happens in another area of the home, such as an outdoor kitchen. This is especially true if your color scheme is white, because the most beautiful marble tends to be white. That said, granite is equally beautiful in a different way, so you can also choose granite.
2. Surface finish
Most people prefer a high-polish to their kitchen countertops and bathroom vanity tops, but this is not the only option. You can also choose a matter or honed finish, which tends to be a bit on the dull side, but does have certain elegance to it.
Highly polished surfaces are generally much easier to keep clean, as dirt, grime, and oils slide right off them with light cleaning. Granite looks great in this finish, while marble looks great in any type of finish.
However, some people find a high polish to their countertops a bit tacky, or simply prefer a softer look, so they choose matte or honed finishes. The only problem with these finishes is they pick up smudges and fingerprints quite easily, and they tend to be a little harder to keep pristine.
If you would much rather not spend too much time keeping your countertops spic and span, choose a either granite or marble, as they both look great with a high polish finish. However, granite does not look as good with a matte or honed finish, so you might like to think about marble, instead.
3. Daily cleaning
Daily cleaning for natural stones as kitchen countertops or bathroom vanity tops is simple: regular wipe down with clean water and a soft cloth. If you want to make sure you get everything, you can use a mild dishwashing detergent. Just make sure you rinse and dry it off thoroughly afterwards. You should also refrain from using anything abrasive as these may dull the surface of your stone.
The problem with marble is it tends to react quite quickly to acids and oils, so you need to be vigilant about wiping up spills as soon as it happens. This can be a drag, as oils and acids are regular stars in cooking. If you have a large family and cook up a storm on a regular basis, forget about marble for your kitchen countertops and choose granite instead.
Granite is largely stain-resistant, especially when sealed properly, so you can practice your culinary arts with abandon. That said, if you bake, you might want to reserve a small area for a marble countertop to roll out pastry. It is an excellent surface for making light, fluffy products.
Generally, it does not take much to maintain natural stones. Your countertop specialist will usually apply an impregnating sealer on the surface after installing the countertops, and this should keep them stain-resistant for at least a year.
However, if you have marble countertops, you may have to check if the seal is intact every six months or so. Marble countertops without an intact seal might stain or etch easily, and that can be a big problem. Fortunately, you can easily apply a sealer yourself, and they are not particularly expensive.
If you are not willing to do this, opt for granite countertops instead. Some people claim even granite countertops need resealing on a yearly basis, but this is seldom the case. Granite is less porous than marble, so even if the sealer on granite is no longer intact, it will still not stain easily. Additionally, stains on darker granite are hardly visible. At most, you will have to reseal granite countertops after a few yearly, particularly if you have light-colored granite.
It is important to choose the right natural stones for your countertops, and these top considerations can help you do it. You can also consult with a reliable remodeling company while looking through actual marble and granite slabs. KNC Granite is just the one for you if you are in the cities of Baltimore, Annapolis, Bethesda, Rockville, Washington DC, Alexandria VA, and Arlington VA.
We have a large array of granite and marble slabs from which to choose. You can check actual slabs at our showroom in Lanham, Maryland. Aside from natural stones, we carry some of the top brands of engineered stone, including Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI, all of which come with manufacturer warranties.
We are also experts at fabricating and installing kitchen counters or bathroom vanities, and specialize in kitchen remodeling and bathroom upgrade projects. What’s more, we deliver on time and on budget.
Give us a call or email us for your free in-home consultation and quote!