Picking out a material for your countertops can be daunting! There’s quartz, granite, soapstone, marble, and more! Not to mention, you have to pick out your edging, finish (see Ali’s post about leathered finishes), backsplash, and color matching it to your cabinets and floors (sometimes even your sink). It can all be a bit overwhelming, so below is a guide to help you pick the right material for your home!
First thing’s first, when picking out the material for your countertop, it’s important to take your lifestyle into account. For example, if you had a get together in your home and something were to spill on your beautiful countertops, would you wait until the following morning to clean it up? Or would you rush to clean the area immediately? Are you a person who is up to the task of sealing your stone every few years, or would you prefer to not seal your stone?
Quartz is man made and never has to be sealed. It’s stain, scorch, and scratch resistant, so if you’re someone who typically likes to save dishes (and possibly stain cleaning) until later, quartz will be your best friend! Notice that it’s stain, scorch, and scratch resistant, not proof! So, it is possible to scratch and discolor and deform your quartz. You can spill a glass of red wine on it and it won’t immediately stain the stone, but you will want to clean it up fairly quick using mild soap and water, no harsh cleaners! You can also discolor light quartz by exposing it to sunlight over an extended period of time (leaving the curtains open all day every day). This isn’t to say you can never open your curtains during the day, but just to use caution. Try keeping the curtains open for a couple of hours and then drawing them around the sunniest parts of the day, or keeping them closed while you’re at work. Lastly, quartz does have a heat cap of 230 degrees Fahrenheit! If you’re a person who frequently forgets to put that freshly baked pie on a hot pad after you take it out of the oven, you may want to rethink getting quartz because setting that hot pie dish on your countertop will discolor and deform your stone which may cause a seam to pop!
Granite (unlike quartz) is a completely natural stone; meaning it comes straight out of the Earth. If you want your kitchen to have a natural, non-uniform look, granite is the way to go! Now, granite doesn’t have a heat cap, so if you forget to put a hot pad under that hot pie dish or cookie sheet once or twice, it’s no big deal. But, just because you you don’t have to use hot pads doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! Granite is also a porous stone, so it needs to be sealed every 3-5 years and most granite shops will sell sealant that will last you at least 3-4 seals. Because it’s porous, that means it’ll soak up that spilled red wine fairly quick, so you’ll need to be diligent when it comes to cleaning up any spills. Granite is also extremely hard to scratch or chip, so unless you’re going out of your way to damage it, it won’t show easily. Also, don’t confuse cracks with fissures; fissures are small marks in the stone that occur naturally and can be easily filled because they’re on the surface of the stone. Cracks go deeper in the stone and are most likely a result of mishandling and may be able to be filled dependent on the severity of the crack. To clean, use a mild soap and water, no harsh cleaners (bleach, scrubbing bubbles, etc.) and nothing with hydrofluoric acid!
Marble has traditionally been a status symbol throughout the ages due to its beauty and price point. But all that beauty comes with a price, so buyers beware! Although marble is gorgeous and is definitely a conversation starter, it’s super high maintenance. The first thing to know about marble is that there are NO SPILLS ALLOWED, and if you do spill, you’d better hope it’s not something sticky or colored. Marble is extremely soft and porous, so it will scratch, etch, and stain easily… even water will leave marks that could be permanent! So if you absolutely have to have marble, be ready to constantly be on stain/coaster patrol and maybe even put a protective layer of glass on your counter to prevent anything happening to your stone. Marble will definitely discolor if you put a hot pan on it without a pad underneath, so watch out! To clean, use a mild soap and water, no harsh cleaners (bleach, scrubbing bubbles, etc.) and especially nothing with hydrofluoric acid!
Above all, what you put in your home depends on your preference! Our helpful and knowledgeable staff are happy to clarify any questions you may have and whether quartz, granite or marble would work best for you and your home.