Renovating your kitchen? Why not start with the most visible and frequently used part: your countertops? Stone countertops for your kitchen provide a degree of elegance and durability that cheaper materials simply can’t match. The next question is, what kind of stone is best for your kitchen countertops?
You may be researching the advantages of natural vs engineered quartz countertops, since both are widely advertised as ideal kitchen counter material. Either type will fit just fine in your kitchen. However, you do need to consider a variety of factors: your ability to perform maintenance, the likelihood of stains, and the amount of heat the counters will be exposed to, among other things. Here’s an in-depth comparison and contrast of natural vs engineered stone countertops to help you find the right kind for you.
Natural stone countertops are made from massive slabs of rock, often granite, mined from quarries. This fact comes with several advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, granite is a volcanic stone and thus remarkably heat-resistant. You can place a pan straight from the oven on a granite countertop and not worry about damaging the stone! Better yet, granite is a very hard stone and resists cracks very effectively.
Of course, granite isn’t perfect. Choosing a natural stone means that you have no control over the design or colors, so the pattern may not be exactly how you envisioned it. Additionally, the resin coating on granite countertops can’t completely prevent stains or scratches. If a spill makes its way through a crack into the porous rock below, it may be there forever. The finish will require frequent maintenance and annual resealing to protect the stone. Finally, while a granite countertop is incredibly unlikely to break, it can chip more readily than engineered stone. Granite countertops last a very long time with proper care, but they do require a decent amount of hands-on work from you.
Engineered stone countertops consist of thousands of tiny pieces of natural quartz crystals and other stone, all cemented together with the same durable resin used for the finish. This creates a vibrant and largely uniform pattern of colors. The high concentration of resin used in quartz countertops ensures that it’s very difficult for a stain to sink into the stone. Better yet, a manufactured quartz countertop is far less likely to chip or crack than granite and requires almost zero maintenance!
The resin can be a mixed blessing, however. Since the binding agent can melt, quartz countertops can’t stand up to heat very well. Occasionally placing hot pans or heated appliances (like a crockpot) on the countertop won’t cause damage, but in the long term, using a heat pad is a better choice. Finally, resin can still pick up scratches. Thankfully, a polish like Gel Gloss will fill in the scratches and prevent further damage from occurring.
Pro Tip: Engineered quartz countertops don’t require resealing or the same maintenance as granite, but they still need to be cleaned. Don’t let spills harden on the resin and potentially stain the finish.
Enjoy Your New Kitchen!
Regardless of which material you choose, stone countertops are an excellent finishing touch for your newly renovated kitchen. You’ll enjoy the increased durability and elegance they provide, not to mention the value they can add to your home if you place your house on the market. Decorating your home with colorful stone has plenty of perks!
Join the conversation to learn more about the ongoing debate of natural vs engineered quartz countertops.