Countertop choices are endless – you can practically have anything you want made into a countertop!
When choosing a countertop you should ask yourself 3 questions:
- What look are you going for?
- How do you want to use it?
- How much do you want to spend?
When answering these questions about the kind of countertop you want for your home, think about what’s most important to you.
Is your biggest issue maintenance, or color? What about where it will be used? In a kitchen, bathroom, living area or outside?
Natural stone is a popular choice for countertops because it is so durable, easy to clean and beautiful!
The stones have similarities and differences that make each unique.
Let’s break down each stone and look at the option that would work best for you.
A Precious Gem
Marble is the most luxurious of all the natural stones almost a pure white streaked with veins.
Some people get hung up about marble countertops because they think they will stain and etch too easily.
But, I’ve found that as long as you keep it sealed it shouldn’t stain too easily.
There will probably be some etching which is a reaction in the stone to acids. Things like juice, coffee and wine are acidic and will cause the stone to break down which creates a dull, lighter area. I think it adds character!
With a honed finish any flaws are less noticeable.
I put Carrara marble in my office bathrooms and kitchen. Carrara and Calacatta are Italian marbles and Danby marble is mined in Vermont. Carrara marble has soft blue-grey veins running through it, Calcutta is whiter marble with dark or gold dramatic veins. Danby has more variation in color including a unique dark green marble.
Granite took off in the 1980’s for kitchen countertops.
It was popular because of it’s strength, durability, heat tolerance, resistance to scratches and the ability to clean it easily.
Like any natural stone, it’s got to be sealed to maintain these qualities. It comes in shades of black, white and brown with dramatic flecking throughout the stone.
Trends change and granite is not used much anymore. People prefer their countertops to blend rather than distract from their cabinets.
I used granite for this countertop in my outdoor kitchen. It’s been a very functional, versatile stone, but its not the focal point.
Don’t Be Fooled
A lot of people are unaware that quartz and quartzite are not the same things. Quartz is engineered with chips of stone, resins, and pigment to make a product that looks and feels like natural stone.
Quartz has become the ultimate in countertops and it’s easy to understand why. You don’t have to seal it, cleaning is easy, and there are endless choices of colors. The only downside is that it’s not as heat tolerant as natural stone. The matte finish looks clean and seamless and it costs less than quartzite.
This stunning solid surface is quartzite which is a metamorphic rock. It has a translucent appearance and is known for the streaks that run through it. Just seal it regularly and it will look great and last forever!
Dull but not Boring
This travertine countertop has a honed finish that compliments its natural look.
Travertine is more porous and less expensive than other natural stones. You can create a lot of different looks with travertine because it comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Read more about travertine in my article Travertine Floors Stand the Test of Time.
Mix it Up
This kitchen is a chef’s delight!
The built-in butcher block makes food prep a breeze and marble is the perfect surface to roll out dough.
Kitchen islands are the workhorse of the kitchen where we prepare meals, school lunches, eat, do homework, and share conversation.
Making it stand out even more with a different countertop adds to the charm and look of your entire kitchen. Simply contrasting colors in the same stone is enough to create an eye-catching centerpiece.
If you like it you can have it!
Concrete, recycled glass, stainless steel and more are topping cabinets for that one of a kind look. Concrete would look great in an outdoor kitchen, terrazzo for a pool or child’s bathroom.
Have an Edge
This quartz countertop in my kitchen has a double ogee edge because I wanted a formal look in my kitchen.
Edges range from simply straight to the triple lundy!
The more intricate they are the more formal they become. You don’t have to use just one – add a different edge to your island countertop to set it apart.
Finally, once you have chosen your countertop its time to look at the finish.
Polished, honed and leather are the main finishes for countertops.
Polished is shiny and reflective and was popular for granite.
Honed or a matte finish used frequently on marble and travertine.
Leathered has a crinkled appearance that adds texture and depth. I’d use a leathered finish for countertops in an office or library.
What do you think? Which countertop look do you prefer?
If you’re considering a installing new countertops I think you’ll find this article “7 Things to Consider Before Calling Your Contractor: Kitchen Renovation” very helpful.
Photo credits: Fabstone, granite liquidators, fromyosunewithlove.com, trendstonenz.co.ny, cldverdun.org, Peakson stone, YKStonecenter.com, Payne’s Custard, Laguna Kitchen & Bath, Thinkglass, sky-marble.com