Countertops 101: What To Know When Choosing Countertops for your kitchen or bath remodel

We’ve all watched those HGTV or Design Network shows and heard the approving mention of granite or quartz countertops but what is the difference? There is actually a significant difference between these materials, as well as other stone slab options that are great for a variety of aesthetic, functional and budgetary goals. In our latest blog Countertops 101: What to know when choosing countertops for your kitchen or bath remodel, we breakdown of the more popular options available today in list of expense (high to low).

Marble Kitchen Countertops - Kitchen Remodel Colorado

Marble is a beautiful natural stone and comes at a premium price point but there is variation in cost. For example Calacatta marble is much more luxurious and expensive than say a Carrara marble.

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One would think that for the price it would be incredibly durable but it is actually a porous, high maintenance material to use for countertops. Marble is quite vulnerable to staining – think juice, acids, wine and oil. These stains seep deep into the stone and can be very difficult to reverse. Professionally sealing the surface helps to prevent staining, but can only help. The surface will need to be sealed frequently and is still vulnerable. Marble is heat resistant but can still burn, so you will want to use a trivet or pot holder. Despite its practical drawbacks, marble is a gorgeous aesthetic option if you are willing to maintain it.

TIP: If you love the look of marble, but don’t wan tot deal with the upkeep, opt to use it on the backsplash or in a bathroom and use the more durable stones for the heavy duty use areas!

White Quartzite Countertops in modern kitchen

Natural Quartzite also has a high price point, but with good reason. It combines the look of marble with the durability of granite – talk about the best of both worlds! It is less high maintenance than marble and has a unique look not found in other natural stones, with distinct veining. It is stain, heat, fire, scratch and etch resistant and best of all is virtually maintenance free. It is such a hard stone, that stone warehouses can’t break off samples to give out because it is too hard to break.

Interior Design kitchen with soapstone countertops

Soapstone gives a timeless, traditional look but is less known for countertops than granite and marble. Soapstone is extremely durable and it is unaffected by heat. In fact, in the northeast United States, it’s not unusual to find soapstone sinks and wood burning stoves from the 1800’s that are still in use today. It is so dense that its impenetrable, meaning you won’t have to worry about stains. It can scratch or chip, but these imperfections can be sanded out, and overtime this can add character to the material. It also develops a softer patina over time but if you want to maintain the original look, rub mineral oil into the countertop annual to keep it looking fresh. Soapstone is in the same price range as granite and limestone.

Modern Kitchen Design with Granite Countertops

Granite is a natural stone that comes at a slightly lower price point than Marble or Quartzite. Each slab of granite is completely unique and comes in a variety of gorgeous colors and patterns. Granite is a relatively porous stone that requires sealing upon installation, then periodic sealing on an ongoing basis. Granite is extremely hard to scratch and is heat resistant. It naturally has a low risk for staining, and if sealed annually is very stain resistant. It is also weatherproof, meaning it will not fade or discolor under direct sunlight.

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Quartz Composite is what you’re thinking about whenever you hear someone say Quartz countertops. It is a popular countertop choice due to its wide variety of color options and its more modest price point. Quartz countertops are engineered stone surfaces using a large percentage of ground up quartz stone with a mix of resin and pigments. There are several countertop companies that have very inexpensive options of quartz tops, but these companies tend to use subpar techniques and materials. One of our favorite vendors to use for quartz is Ceasarstone. They are made in North America and are known for quality and excellence (no, we’re not getting paid to say that, we’ve just used them for 20+ years). Check out their countertops 101 guide on quartz here.


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