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Natural Stone Countertops - What's the Difference?

February 2, 2018

Granite, Quartzite, Marble, Soapstone, Slate, Limestone


Quick intro, as listed above, there are 6 primary types of natural stone used for countertops. There are also several manufactured or engineered types of stone countertops: Quartz, Engineered Granite, Engineered Marble, and Concrete. Engineered stone is basically crushed rock mixed with resin.

 

So here we go, a quick synopsis of the main natural stones used for countertops:

 

1. Granite

By now, everyone is familiar with granite. It is still the most common and usually cheapest of the natural stones. It comes in many different colors and patterns making it applicable to almost any design scheme.

Characteristics:

- solid and durable

- widely available

- very diverse colors and patterns

- needs to be resealed periodically (consult vendor), or it will stain

 

 

 

 

2. Quartzite

Quartzite is the natural stone version of quartz (quartz being the engineered version). In its purest form it is mostly white, much like marble. But will typically include impurities which give it the beautiful patterns and colors we are familiar with.

Characteristics:

- very solid and durable

- will not etch or stain (like granite though, it must be sealed periodically)

- usually a bit more expensive than granite

 

 

3. Marble

Marble is usually regarded for its simplicity and beauty. It is a very elegant stone. It is however a lot less durable than some of the other options.

Characteristics:

- more susceptible to etching and staining

- more limited availability and diversity of colors

- usually more expensive than granite and quartzite

 

4. Soapstone

 

One of my personal favorites. It has a softer look and feel than granite, but is still very durable. It typically has more subtle and elegant visual characteristics.

- highly durable (lasts a very long time)

- very dense (can withstand high heat and resists staining well)

- not as available and diverse as granite

- more expensive than granite

 

 

 

 

5. Slate

Like soapstone, slate is highly durable and dense. It is also quite handsome and more simple and subtle in appearance. 

- highly durable (lasts a very long time)

- very dense (can withstand high heat and resists staining well)

- not as available and diverse as granite

- more expensive than granite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Limestone

And finally, limestone. Limestone is a sedimentary stone, so as you would expect it can be less solid and durable. It is also more subtle and usually comes in more solid natural colors.

- less durable (scratches more easily)

- more porous (stains more easily)

- very beautiful, high aesthetic value

- less available and thus more expensive

 

 

 

There you have it! Any questions (or corrections :) feel free to contact me.

 

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