Natural stone makes up the most unique character-rich option for countertops and has been used as building materials for thousands of years. Natural stone is created over time as the Earth's crust heats and cools forming the beautiful masses of stone beneath the surface that are then extracted and made into the countertops that you see today. Due to this process, there are no two slabs that are exactly alike. The most common types that we typically deal with the most are Granite, Quartzite, Marble, and Soapstone. Each of these different types have an array of characteristics that will be discussed in detail below.
Granite is perhaps the most popular choice for countertops due to its unpredictability and wide variation of colors and patterns. It is an igneous rock consisting mainly of feldspar, quartz, and mica along with a wide variety of other minerals that make up its unique looks. Granite is of the finest selection for stone countertops with incomparable elegance and extreme longevity being extremely resistant to heat, stains, and scratches. Granite has exploded as a popular choice for countertops in the last decade; however, they have been used dating hundreds of years back reserved exclusively for royalty. Now, with innovative quarrying technology and transportation, this luxury is widely available.
It is important to note that because granite is natural, there are also imperfections that need to be understood. The first is fissures. Fissures (Picture on left) are tiny fault lines within the stone that may appear to be a crack; however, they are not. They are entirely natural and will be a part of any slab of granite and most other natural stone will have them as well.
Another imperfection to be aware of is pitting. Much like fissures, pits are entirely natural and to be expected when dealing with granite countertops depending on the hardness and makeup of the stone.
Quartzite is much like granite in that it is extremely durable, stain resistant and resistant to heat. However, the majority of its composition is natural quartz making it even more dense than granite but is still porous and thus still needs sealant. This large amount of quartz gives the stone smoother marble-like aesthetics and comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns. As with granite, there will be a possibility for fissures and pitting although quartzite tends to have less than it's counterpart. Pictured on the right is a popular quartzite called Sea Pearl.
Marble is another popular natural stone that we offer. Characterized by soft whites and greys with sweeping patterns and veins, marbles provide a unique style that many people love. However, it should be known that marble is very soft and much more porous than other natural stones such as quartzite or granite; therefore, it is much more susceptible to etching, chipping and staining. Despite these characteristics, you may choose to use marble in your kitchen or bathroom for the beauty alone. Just be aware that you will need to be more careful with any marble.
Soapstone is another popular stone with very interesting characteristics. Soapstone is much more pliable than granites, quartzites, and marbles making it much less brittle and resistant to cracking or chipping. In addition, it is extremely nonporous; however, it is also very soft and easily scratched so you will want to avoid cutting on it directly. It is recommended that you oil soapstone periodically to keep the surface looking it's best.
WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
Because granite is so durable, it’s easy to think you can use anything on it. However, this is not true if you really want to keep your counters in good condition. Avoid products with ingredients that include lemon, vinegar or other acids. In fact, it’s a good idea to use coasters to protect your counter under glasses containing acidic drinks like alcohol or citrus juices. Using harsher chemicals to clean your counter may dull or even etch the counter’s finish. Instead, stick with milder solutions like simple soap and water to retain the natural beauty you fell in love with. As far as heat, natural stones hold up much better than quartz or other manmade surfaces; however, we still highly recommend using protection under hot pots and pans.