Natural stone is durable and beautiful, with color and texture variations that make each countertop unique. However, not all natural stone countertops are equal and it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each before making the financial investment for this home improvement. While the most popular natural stone choices for countertops are granite and marble, limestone and soapstone are also commonly used. Here are a few comparisons to help you decide which natural stone countertop is the right fit for your kitchen and lifestyle.
Granite is an igneous rock containing mica and feldspar, and at least 20% quartz by volume.
Pros: This durable stone is scratch, heat, and water-resistant. Relatively easy to clean, granite countertops are low-maintenance and provide a high resale value.
Cons. Edges and corners can chip and must be professionally repaired. Sturdy cabinets are required to support the weight of this natural stone and regular resealing is needed to fend off stains.
Beautiful and classic, marble takes on an elegant patina over the years.
Pros: Marble’s heat-resistant, smooth surface won’t chip or dent. Naturally cool, it is wonderful for working with pastry.
Cons: More expensive then granite, porous marble can be scratched or etched by acids, even if you seal it. Regular sealing and special care are necessary to keep the creamy surface looking its best.
Constructed over time from shells and aquatic fossils, limestone bears a remarkable resemblance to (more expensive) marble.
Pros: Limestone provides significant amounts of added value to a home. The white or sandy color matches well with the stainless steel fixtures common in modern kitchens.
Cons: More pliable than granite, limestone has the tendency to scratch or discolor easily.
Ranging in tones from light to dark gray and composed mostly of mineral talc, soapstone is usually quite soft. However, soapstone used for countertops typically contains a higher percentage of quartz, making it harder and more suitable as a kitchen surface.
Pros: As a non-porous natural stone, soapstone is highly stain and bacteria resistant. It doesn’t require yearly sealing like other natural stones, but regular applications of mineral oil will help disguise scratches, add sheen, and deepen the color over time. Soapstone is resistant to etching from acids, withstands heat very well, and scratches can be easily repaired with sanding and oiling. The smooth, matte surface is great for making pastries.
Cons: Periodic rubbing with mineral oil and buffing are necessary. Cracking, chipping and, darkening in color are common. Soapstone is not as heat resistant as granite and its natural roughness can scuff glassware and china.
Now that you know a few strengths and weaknesses of each natural stone, come into one of our showrooms and let us show you a few samples. We can share our extensive experience with kitchen, bathroom, and bar countertops and help you decide which natural stone countertop is the best choice for your home renovation.