Selecting the right countertop for use in your home is a big decision and there are many factors to consider before making a purchase. A countertop whether used in the kitchen as a work area, island, or in a bathroom space, is the surface that’s the most visible, most used, and can say a lot about your style. The right choice of countertop is decision that takes thoughtful consideration in order to be confident and satisfied with the end results. Natural stone countertops are considered to be amongst the best choices because of their visual appeal, durability, and other considerable qualities. Selecting the right countertop stone for you and your home starts with taking into account several aspects ranging from your budget, style, and level of desired maintenance.
The first place to start before making any sort of home renovation decision is to consider your budget. The cost of natural stone countertops is typically priced higher than other fabricated materials because of their many desirable qualities. The costs can vary depending on the type of natural stone and its nature. Make sure that you have room in your budget to accommodate the type of countertop you will install.
Countertop prices add up quickly when all of the aspects of selecting the right slab for your home are taken into consideration. The first being the type of natural stone you will choose, amongst other elements. Other aspects such as thickness, beveling, installation and maintenance should also be factored into your budget.
The thicker a natural stone slab is, the higher the cost. The difference in aesthetic is noticeable when choosing a thinner or thicker slab or natural stone. Thicker slabs are more expensive because more stone is being used and a thicker look adds a desirable touch of luxury to any space. Along with the thickness there are other beveling and chiseling techniques that can be used on natural stone in order to match your style and design such as rounded corners. This will all play into the cost of the stone that you select.
Natural stone countertops must be maintained and the cost of maintenance should be included in your tab. Most natural stone countertops must be sealed with a special sealant every one to two years. Alongside maintenance, installation will also up the price of your countertop. Whether you are installing as a DIY or having your countertop professionally installed (which is highly recommended), be sure to consider all of these factors when deciding on the price you’re willing to pay.
Design and Function
Before selecting your ideal natural stone countertop, have a vision in mind of how your countertop will fit into your space. Don’t launch into installation without planning out how you’d like your end-result to look. There are of course tiny pockets in your vision that may be subject to change, but overall it’s important to know the layout of your space, your desired style, and how you will be using your countertop. This of course all depends on which room of your home the countertop will be used in. Countertops are typically installed mainly in kitchens and bathrooms, and each serving their own distinct purpose.
The design of natural stone countertops varies greatly. Consider the physical aspects such as pattern, marbling, swirling, color, and texture. These factors will play a part in how well your natural stone countertop will sync with your space.
Granite and Marble
Granite and marble are popular choices for many homeowners because of their unique look and durability. Granite is an igneous rock formed under high heat and pressure which in turn makes it one of the hardest varieties of natural stone. Granite is not as porous as most other natural stones so it is less susceptible to damage and ranks high in durability. Granite countertops boast beautiful speckling and grainy designs, and there are varieties that mimic the marbling found in marble countertops.
Marble countertops are considered to be on the most luxurious and elevated choices for countertops, whether in your bathroom or kitchen. The cost of marble is also higher than granite for most varieties. The cost of marble can begin anywhere as low as $40 per square foot and hit around and over $100 perf square foot depending on the quality.
Marble is a metamorphic rock, formed under pressure, but it is more porous than granite and needs proper maintenance. Because of its porous nature it is prone to discoloration and staining from wear and tear and acidic foods if not properly cleaned and cared for. It’s an elegant choice for the kitchen but not all experts will agree that it’s the best as a workspace for food prep.
Soapstone and Limestone
Soapstone is another metamorphic natural stone. It is known for its “soapy” feeling due to the presence of talc within the slab. It is a hard stone that also boasts excellent durability, although it is not as hard as granite or marble. Soapstone is easily sized, cut, and installed. It is worth mentioning that soapstone slabs are not as large as other natural stones, so there are more visible seams between slabs when the countertop is installed. One of the benefits of soapstone is that is impervious to water spills and there is no need for sealing the surface. Overall maintaining soapstone is not an issue because it is not a porous surface so it’s less prone to staining or other damage from use.
Limestone countertops are another excellent natural stone choice. They look modern and eye-catching as with soapstone but they require much more maintenance. Limestone is made from shells, coral, calcium carbonate, and algae. It’s a porous surface so even though it’s a great stone to work with, it must be sealed properly and chemical cleaners should never be used on limestone. One of the advantages of limestone is that is a budget-friendly choice.
Quartzite countertops look similar to marble countertops and their maintenance level is also similar. There are harder and softer varieties of quartz and this causes a variation in the price which can range all the way up to and around the $200 mark per square foot. It is a highly desirable choice because it has a pleasing aesthetic and its durability. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a countertop to stand the test of time.
Selecting the Right Natural Stone Countertop
The countertop choices mentioned are not the only varieties, there are many more and they all vary in price, look, and levels of maintenance. That being said, it’s important that you do proper research and figure out what you’re comfortable with in terms of budget, style, and the level of care you’re willing to put in. Grab a sample size of different natural stone and see how it will fit in before installation. A natural stone countertop can boost your space and give it the beautiful and refined look that you’ve always wanted while being able to serve their function in your home.