Are you looking for a new countertop and aren’t quite sure what material to choose? There really are a lot of options. You may want to consider a few things before deciding which material is right for you. How much maintenance are you willing to do on your countertop? Will it withstand heat? Resist stains? Avoid scratch and scuff marks? Here is a breakdown of all of the things you need to know about Granite, Marble, Soapstone and Quartz Countertops that may help you during the decision process.
All granite countertops are made from natural, igneous stone that has been quarried from mountains all over the world. As a natural product- imported from various regions- Granite is prone to differentiations in color, pattern, and density that actually adds to the beauty and charm of the material. Granite is able to withstand heat and resist stains, but we recommend the use of trivets- and immediate cleaning of spills- to ensure the protection of your countertops.
Preserving Granite with a sealer- and cleaning minor spills with a multi-surface, non-abrasive cleaner- will secure the extended life/luster of the product. Granite is ideal for all areas of the home; but with the porous nature of the material, bacteria can grow in areas heavily exposed to foods/chemicals.
While granite is a harder stone capable of withstanding most domestic environments, Marble is fairly soft and functions much better in less-used areas. Marble can be easily scratched and can also stain/ form bacteria if not cleaned up immediately. This material is extremely sensitive to heat, therefore the use of heating pads or trivets is essential in protecting the stone.
Marble is also highly variable depending on the origin/quarry-mined, so prior customer review of the material is recommended. Stone samples are a loosely representative portion of the material, which can vary from the full slab or specific lots available in our warehouse, so prior view is suggested in this case also.
Preserving Marble with a sealer- and cleaning minor spills with a multi-surface, non-abrasive cleaner- will ensure the extended life/luster of the product. We recommend Marble be used in display areas which have minimal interaction with foods/chemicals/harsh materials.
Soapstone is a natural stone made from soft talc, which is metamorphosed under extreme heat and pressure to bond the materials. Because of this, Soapstone is very soft on the top layer, i.e. the surface can be scratched by a fingernail, and it is easily carved/malleable. However, the pressure during formation of this product makes Soapstone very dense and resistant to heat, acids, and other corrosive substances; while also being non-porous and non-absorbent.
Soapstones are highly variable depending on origin/quarry-mined, and the material can remain lighter/unpolished or oiled to add a darker/unique-finish. Therefore, prior view/ discussion regarding preference of material is recommended. Scratches are easily buffed or filed on raw Soapstones; but mineral oiled surfaces require frequent re- oiling to reduce imperfections/ re-fresh the aesthetic.
Although durable, most Soapstones should be cleaned with multi-surface, non-abrasive cleaners to maintain the stone’s quality. Soapstone is ideal for all areas of the home, when necessary precautions of the material implicated.
Quartz/ Engineered Stones
Quartz or other Engineered Stones are primarily made from natural, hardened gems that are fused with a bonding agent for extra durability. Due to these properties, this material is highly stain/scratch resistant and is also non-porous for easy cleaning/maintenance. Quartz countertops are resilient against scorching, but trivets or heating pads are recommended to prevent heat-morphing of the material.
Sealing is not required for these stones, and they are easily cleaned with most non-abrasive products. Quartz is ideal for all areas of the home, preferably areas such as kitchens and bathrooms that are highly interactive with foods/chemicals.