Stone Countertops

Natural stone is a beautiful option. Discover the pros and cons of granite, marble, and limestone.

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-For many homeowners and designers, stone is the countertop material of choice and for good reason. It is beautiful, it is durable, and no 2 slabs are exactly alike. I'm Lacy Howard, stone countertops can be a beautiful edition to your kitchen, but you should know your choices. Let's take a look. Granite is a surprisingly versatile stone. It can impart an old world feel or be sleek and contemporary depending on type you chose. All granite is pulled from stone cories and cut into slabs that are 3 quarters to 1-1/2 inches thick. Granite pieces vary based on the source of stone you select and it is rareness. For real granite, at about half the price of a slab substitute granite tiles. Although granite is impervious to heat, it can absorb oils and stains. Most granite needs to be sealed when it is installed. Glass items dropped on granite will break. Knives and sharp utensils can mar its surface, so remember to always use a cutting board. Marble is luxurious with a historic feel. Like granite, marble is available in slabs or tiles and is priced similarly. -Considering covering a small section of your kitchen with marble countertops just for a baking center. People choose marble for the veining. No 2 pieces are alike, so pay attention to all the ripples and the swirls in each piece you choose and remember to more intricate the veining, the more valuable the piece. Marble is softer and more porous than granite, so it can be scratched or stained more easily. Over time, marble gains a slightly warmer patina and takes on a little mix. It's a look that many homeowners loved, but it's not as pristine as granite or quartz. For a natural stone countertop with slightly more texture, consider limestone, slate, or soapstone. Soapstone is a deep gray or black. Slate is available in various shades of gray, black, and even purple. Limestone has an earthy, neutral tone. Limestone, slate, and soapstone are porous, can stain, and scratch, but you could easily protect your countertop. Just seal it every year or so. All stone countertops are available with a honed or a polished finish. In the past, granite and marble were polished while limestone, slate, and soapstone were honed, but that's not always the case. Here's what you need to consider. A polished finish will look brand new for years to come, accents the color and pattern of the stone, puts your countertops in a starring role. By contrast, a honed finish gives a slightly distressed or aged appearance, mute color and pattern, lets other kitchen element shine. Edges gives stonecutters an opportunity to show off their skills. Work with your stone dealer to select edging such as bullnose, which is a rounded edge that is less likely to chip; ogee, which is an elegant S-shaped profile; bevel, which is a slanted edge. Remember, a great piece of granite or marble can change the nature of your entire project. Whatever type of natural stone you chose, pick your slab first then work with your designer and choose complimentary materials.