A newly remodeled or refurbished kitchen probably needs new countertops to match the all-new decor. Why not try stone countertops for your kitchen? The right kind of stone will help you strike a balance between price, durability, and appearance.
A stone countertop for your kitchen does more than just look pretty. Quality countertop options are designed to stand up to the heat and abuse that kitchen countertops generally endure. For a stylish yet functional kitchen design, stone countertops are the way to go.
Solid Surface Countertops
Solid surface countertops are designed to perfectly mimic the look of natural stone, but with a more uniform design. These countertops generally cost less than genuine stone and are perfectly moldable to the exact dimensions required for your kitchen.
Pros: For homeowners who want the look of natural stone without the high price tag, solid surfaces are an excellent choice. Solid surfaces are also completely non-porous and, consequently, highly stain-resistant. Their uniform makeup also stands up well to impact, so you’ll rarely see chips or cracks in your seamless countertop.
Cons: Because a solid surface countertop only mimics a stone slab, it can’t withstand high heat. Homeowners should be careful to place hot pots or pans on a pad rather than directly on the countertop. Additionally, using a knife directly on a solid surface countertop will leave scratches. Though the scratches are easily buffed out with manufacturer-provided tools, a solid surface countertop may not be the best choice for a homeowner who spends a lot of time in the kitchen.
Cast Polymer Countertops
A countertop made of cast polymer consists of crushed granite or marble mixed with a durable gel coat to create “artificial” stone slabs. The resulting product looks similar to a solid surface countertop.
Pros: Much like a solid surface, cast polymer countertops are seamless and can be molded into any shape or dimension. The countertops are also completely non-porous and waterproof, making them popular choices for bathroom fixtures.
Cons: Cast polymer countertops cannot withstand heat very well. While the hot water of a shower or bath is fine, a pan straight from the oven might cause problems. You’ll definitely want a hot pad or protector for these countertops. Additionally, cast polymer products are vulnerable to scratching from a sharp knife.
Natural Stone Countertops
A natural stone countertop is a custom-cut slab of marble or granite that has been polished and sealed to perfection. In this case, there was no mixture or imitation–just a solid piece of rock.
Pros: It goes without saying that natural stone is exquisitely beautiful. A quality set of countertops can add significant value to a home. These stones are also very heat-resistant, though a hot pad is still a good idea. Both granite and marble are very hard and can withstand high pressure or impacts. Finally, a well-sealed countertop resists water and even acid rain very effectively.
Cons: Natural stone is porous without a good seal. Consequently, a marble or granite countertop requires a yearly re-sealing with specialized products, and a daily wash with gentle soap. Additionally, while water is not a significant concern, staining materials (such as furniture polish) can easily penetrate the sealant and leave a noticeable mark on the countertop.
Pro Tip: Never wash your natural stone countertops with cleaning products that contain ammonia! This can eat away at the sealant and damage your countertops over time.
A quartz countertop consists of crushed quartz crystals mixed with hard resin to create a beautiful, durable surface.
Pros: The durable seal on a quartz countertop prevents virtually any stain from leaving a lasting mark. The countertop’s seal also resists water buildup, bacterial growth, and mold growth, all without the need for an annual re-sealing. Finally, this stone is incredibly heat- and impact-resistant, making it one of the most durable countertop products on the market today.
Cons: As beautiful as engineered stone quartz is, it doesn’t perfectly mimic the look of natural stones like granite. Its uniform design means no surprises in the patterns. Additionally, while the sealant is very effective at keeping out water, sharp knives can still leave a scratch that must be buffed out.
The Right Countertop Material
Which stone is the best for your kitchen? There’s no clear answer. Each stone countertop product has its own pros and cons, and each could be the right choice for your kitchen depending on what kind of work you expect to do there. For a more casual cook, cast polymer counters or solid surfaces will do the job. On the other hand, someone who loves spending time in the kitchen will find a good use for a stone or engineered quartz countertop design.
Curious about how other homeowners use their new countertops? Connect with us to speak with other customers about their newly remodeled kitchens.