The Official Guide to Natural Stone Countertops

Find yourself looking for new countertops but not sure about all the options out there today? Well, you're in luck. Here's our official 2017 guide to natural stone countertops. 

Engineered quartz countertops featured on the island above in a white marble pattern and on the surrounding countertops in black.

Engineered quartz countertops featured on the island above in a white marble pattern and on the surrounding countertops in black.

So you’re countertops are looking a little rough, eh? Does that one time you chose not to find the cutting board and said, “What the heck? I'm sure they'll withstand my German forged steel butchers knife...” still haunt you every time you try to wipe off the scratches? Or maybe you're lucky enough to have inherited from the last owners those pea green colored countertops that were for some reason so popular in the 70s. Lucky you.

There's so many options out there today, we thought we'd simplify it for you so you don't spend your whole weekend searching the web to find out if soapstone is a quality countertop or new product from Johnson & Johnson.

Granite

Widely popular today not only because of its beauty but also durability. Basically, it’s made up of a bunch of different crystals that were forged together while it was still brewing in the ground. This is also why there are so many varieties of granite, because the vast amount of crystals from different regions that make up the stone. Many stone countertops require regular maintenance, but granite is not one of them. Pros: Lots of natural beauty, usually sourced in the U.S. and very durable. Like ‘ruin your knife before it shows scratches’ durable. Cons: Very popular today, so it's not as original of a look as it was 10 years ago.

Marble

If you’re seeking a classy kitchen or going for an Italian feel, this is your stone. Brings a ton of interest and beauty to a room with shine, sparkle and awe as your guests' jaws hit the floor. Usually white with greyish vein patterns and sourced around Italy. One of my personal favorites. Pros: Very unique, a timeless look that makes you want to learn Italian and cook like like Giada. Pairs wonderfully with bright white or dark natural stained cabinetry. Cons: A softer stone, can be stained by red wine or dark liquids. Requires regular maintenance to prevent staining.

Quartz

Relatively new to the scene of natural stone countertops, but it’s a great option. There are two types of quartz countertops on the market right now, Natural Quartzite and Engineered Quartz. Often times they will be advertised as just ‘Quartz’, so make sure you know what you’re buying.

Natural Quartzite is mined out of the ground and cut into dimensioned slabs for an exact fit in your kitchen, like granite and marble. It's a beautiful stone really, made up of crystals and has a lot of veining patterns. Pros: Actually stronger than granite, lots of interest, and can appear to look similar to marble at times. Cons: Requires yearly maintenance.

Engineered Quartz is made from the pieces of broken quartzite and held together with a resin. A lot of products out there today have similar qualities of natural stone. It’s not as strong as natural quartz but still very tough, it holds up better against stains and requires no additional maintenance. Pros: Has a natural stone shimmer, can be made to look similar to marble or granite, and is generally cheaper than natural quartzite. Cons: Not a natural stone slab. Depending on the manufacturer, the quality can differ. Cannot withstand high temperatures, so be careful because a hot pan could leave a mark. 

Soapstone

A very beautiful material for those seeking dark countertops. The name comes from the soapy feel it has when you run your fingers across it. Colors range from a patina green to a slate grey. It has veining characteristics most similar to marble. This stone is unique in that it changes color (slightly) with time. And you have a choice in how it changes. If you’d like to keep it darker, then provide regular maintenance by applying a mineral oil. On the other hand, if you like a lighter colored look, just let them go without maintenance and watch as it gains a slight patina color. Pros: Denser than any of the other natural stones (actually used in chemical labs because it doesn’t absorb liquids), ages with time and a great conversation piece because of its beauty. Cons: Limited options for colors and requires regular maintenance.

Be sure to check out our INSIGHTS page to find past articles that might be helpful too. Click here to go to INSIGHTS now.