It’s a very commonly accepted fact that 9 out of 10 real estate agents will tell you that the kitchen is the most important room in your home. If that’s the case, then any investment you make in remodeling or upgrading the kitchen pays you back that much more in the long run. We like to think that the ‘big three’ features when it comes to kitchen renovations are the flooring, cabinets, and countertops.
All of these features need to integrate together for a seamless style – which can also include contrast. Choosing whether to blend or contrast is one of the reasons homeowners often struggle with selecting countertops. The style advantages as well as the durability and a few other properties is why we believe that countertops made from stone are going to be a sure-fire investment each and every time.
How You Benefit From Stone Countertops
One of the most noticeable benefits of installing stone countertops in your home is that each piece is unique. Natural stone varies in colors, texture, and grains on each and every cut. When somebody notices a stone countertop in your kitchen it will literally be like nothing they’ve ever seen before.
Durability is also another key factor in why stone countertops are so appealing. The kitchen is a busy hub with lots of traffic and countertops are consistently exposed to hot pans, knives, and cleaning chemicals to name a few. Stone countertops are very resistant to damage from consistent everyday kitchen use which is why they retain their value literally for decades.
Your stone countertops also require very little maintenance and are exceptionally easy to clean. The old beckon call was that your stone countertops needed sealing annually. Thanks to advances in polymers and nanotechnologies that has been reduced to needing sealing every few years now. Cleaning stone countertops requires no special chemicals or materials like what might be needed on wood flooring for example.
How to Select the Optimal Stone Countertop for Your Liking
Of course selecting the right stone countertop for your home and lifestyle involves plenty of attention to detail. Ideally you’ll choose a stone countertop that you can enjoy now, but also one that retains its value for when it comes time to sell your home. Here are some things to take into consideration:
A Huge Key: Know What Type of Stones There Are
First and foremost you’re going to need to know all the available types of stone materials that are at your selection. They all vary in looks, durability, maintenance involved, and of course price. Some of the most popular are:
- Granite – traditionally known as the ‘King of Countertop Materials’, granite has stood the test of time in holding up its value. Each piece of granite is unique and there’s more variety than ever before in colors such as blacks, greens, white, beiges, corals, and more. A Joy of Granite recommends sealing these countertops so they do require maintenance, but once the sealant is applied the surface is resistant to staining and fading.
- Slate – many people are familiar with slate for use in flooring or even as a roofing tile but it’s very valuable as a countertop materials as well. Slate is naturally non-porous so it doesn’t require any maintenance such as sealing. The material is also very durable as slate roofs have been known to last 50+ years and that’s under constant beatings from wind and rain. Slate is a more subtle stone though and you won’t see a lot of graining and deep veins – more black, charcoal, and gray.
- Marble – it sounds like an ideal surface for a bathroom because marble is such an elegant and palatial material. Marble is porous however and is especially susceptible to stains from tomato juice, wine,vinegar, and other acidic liquids. Marble is also a relatively soft stone which means it’s a bit more vulnerable to chips and cracks but can also become damaged by hot pans. Marble is an iffy choice for the high use kitchen (still very doable though) but immaculate in a bathroom.
- Limestone – if you absolutely love the marble look but understand that your kitchen usage puts that type of stone at risk a very acceptable route is to opt for limestone. You’ll get a very similar appearance to marble, but with a bit more durability and at a significantly lower price. Limestone comes mainly in whites and grays which makes it mesh especially well with stainless steel appliances.
- Soapstone – a very rustic looking material, soapstone is most often described as having the dark and subtle beauty of granite but with the unique veining of marble. Soapstone doesn’t need to be sealed, but it does darken naturally with age – some homeowners actually think this adds value to the style however. You’ll see soapstone a lot in laboratory countertops because the material is so resistant to spills and damage from acidic liquids.
- Quartzite – seeing a huge rise in popularity recently, mainly in high-end and more modern kitchen designs. Quartz has an appearance very similar to marble, but also features a durability stronger than granite. Quartz is a manufactured material so it is commonly known as an engineered stone countertop. The engineered stone countertop has additives that make it very durable regarding chips and cracks, but also in terms of staining and heat damage.
Evaluating Your Needs and Budget
Once you understand the basic properties of some of the different types of stone countertops, you can begin putting more detail into what type of material is going to be perfect for your needs. Is your kitchen more functional or is it more of an entertainment hub? Do you have young kids in the house that are going to be putting even more stress on the countertops?
Another thing not to be too worrisome about is the stone countertop price. It might sound intimidating and costly to have natural stone installed in your home but that’s not always the case. If you like a certain look of a stone, work with your distributor to find a slab that is more abundant rather than exotic. The great thing about stone countertops is that they’re overall very versatile. If you put in the work, there’s no doubt you’ll find a stone that fits your durability, maintenance, style, and price needs – and then sometimes that perfect stone is the first slab you look at.