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Natural stone countertops are still the usual choices of homeowners for their kitchens despite the availability of other materials. This is not surprising, really, as natural stones have certain panache.
Back in the day, natural stones such as marble and granite were only for the rich and privileged. They were extremely expensive and highly prized. Homes that had them were a subject of admiration and envy. Despite being much more affordable today, people still consider them a desirable addition to the home.
Aside from perceived exclusivity, natural stones are also very durable and can last for a very long time even under constant use. They are also available in a wide range of styles and colors that make it compatible with any style and design in the home. They are particularly suitable for use as kitchen countertops for all these reasons.
The only problem with natural stones is it can be hard to choose the perfect one for the home. It is important when you head out to the local showroom that you have a pretty good idea of the style and color of stone you need. Consider these four factors when choosing natural stone countertops.
The general tone and level of activity is specific to any home. Your choice of stone will depend mostly on your lifestyle. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen preparing meals for a large family, or you all spend a lot of time in the kitchen doing work and entertaining, you will probably want a durable and versatile stone like granite.
Kitchen countertops bear the brunt of all the activities in the kitchen, so it must be up to the challenge. Dark granite might be a good choice as it is usually denser and more resistant to stains than lighter colors.
If your kitchen is more of a showpiece, and you prefer something in the white spectrum, you might want to consider marble. It is not as durable as granite, but it is the perfect foil for elegant entertaining. If you need something that looks elegant but much more durable, consider quartz stone that mimics marble. Quartz stone is an engineered product, and the top brands produce some very good mimicry of marble and granite.
The most popular finish for natural countertops is polished, but there are a wide variety of finishes are available, including matte, honed, brushed, and leathered. The finish you choose will depend on your priorities. If you want something that requires less maintenance, go for a polished finish. This is available for all types of natural and engineered stones.
Other finishes such as brushed and honed require a bit more upkeep as every little problem with the surface becomes obvious. Many people also find a non-polished surface dull. On the other hand, a less common finish does give your stone countertops a bit more depth and interest.
Consult your personal preference and commitment to maintenance when choosing the finish for your stone countertops.
Natural stones are generally low maintenance, so it is really a matter of degrees of difficulty. The main problem with natural stones is all of them have a degree of porosity. Marble and granite need sealers to make them stain-resistant. As long as the seal is intact and you wipe up any spills immediately, they should be fine. All you need to do is to wipe them down with a mild dish soap and water and avoid abrasive materials to keep them clean and in good condition.
However, marble typically requires a bit more TLC because of its composition. Marble is primarily calcium carbonate, which reacts quickly to anything with acid. If you are not careful with your wine and ketchup, you can etch your marble countertops. That said, this is usually just surface damage, and easily repaired.
Granite, on the other hand, is much more durable and stain-resistant than marble is. You can do pretty much anything within reason to granite and not leave a scratch. This makes it the ideal stone for busy homeowners with pets, teenagers, and small children.
Overall, maintaining natural stone countertops is a cinch. A reputable countertop specialist will seal the stone after installation, and that should remain intact for at least a year with reasonable use. Some people recommend resealing every year, while others maintain you should only reseal if you have reason to believe the seal is no longer intact. You can perform a water bead test to see if this is the case.
Either way, you can reapply a sealer to marble or granite yourself. Choose a product specially designed for your natural stone and follow the instructions. In most cases, you simply must make sure the countertop is clean and dry, apply two or three coats of the sealer with a clean rag, and allow to dry completely.
Once you have considered these four factors, take the time to pick out the actual slab or slabs you want, because each slab is unique. Do not presume the sample is representative of the entire slab, as the characteristics of a single slab can vary greatly along its length.
You should also only work with a reliable countertop specialist to make sure of good quality stones and expert installation. You can do no better than Granite ASAP in the state of Virginia, including the cities of Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax, Chantilly, Herndon, Centreville, Tysons, and Washington DC.
We carry a wide range of natural stone slabs as well as the best engineered stone brands in the country. Over 100 colors of granite and marble slabs are available for inspection at our Chantilly, Virginia showroom. If you prefer engineered stone, we can offer you products from the Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI brands, each one carrying the manufacturer’s warranty. You can choose what you want and we will deliver it ASAP!
Feel free to ask any questions over the phone, or get in touch using our contact form. We offer free estimates and quotes for any of your kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling needs.