Selecting Stones for your custom countertop or surround project can be daunting. What are the pros and cons of various types of stone? Are they easy to maintain? Can they be used outdoors? Are they scratch resistant? The best way to go over all of this information is to consult one of our design professionals, but here’s a handy guide below to help get you started. From each section, you’ll be able to jump on over to our stone database. Have fun and let us know if we can be of help!
Granite is uniquely beautiful, is highly durable, and is a natural material. While some granites may contain elements of white, most are highly colorful and known for shades and patterns so exceptional that they could only occur in nature. Granite has been found in various shades of reds, golds, creams, silvers, blues and even blacks. While some types of granite need to be sealed when installed, most will not require further maintenance, making them a highly popular choice for heavily used spaces.
Quartz is the combination of a naturally occurring minerals with modern technologies. Quartz occurs in small pebbles and powdered form, naturally, but when bonded together with manmade polymers, will become a highly durable and attractive material. Quartz contains the radiant beauty of a sparkling natural stone, but is built to take a beating. Because it is manmade, the color options are vast and easily reproduced and even include solid white and solid black. It can even be produced to mimic other natural stone types while maintaining its durability. Being non-porous, Quarts does not require resealing, is heat resistant, chemical resistant and scratch resistant.
Marble is a natural material that is well known and easily recognizable for its beautiful veining. The soft whites and greys that comprise a marble surface make this stone a classic option that suits many styles, though it is also available in pink, black, orange and red hues. A porous stone, marble is not suggested for heavily used surfaces, as it will scratch, stain, and require more maintenance that other options. Sealants and cleansers make it easier to extend the life of a marble countertop.
Often confused with Quartz, Quartzite is actually a naturally occurring material that originated as sandstone. It includes mineralized quartz, which results in a sparkling surface. Quartzite could be considered a happy medium, as it contains the best elements of many stone types. It has the durability of granite, but the soft beauty of marble. Like Quartz, Quartzite is scratch resistant, but will require sealing, to preserve its beauty.
While strikingly beautiful, onyx is a real luxury and is presented as a rare option. Often used for vertical surfaces in high end spaces, when used in a kitchen Onyx makes bold statement. Lit from beneath or behind, you’ll experience the transparent quality of this stone which stands out more as a piece of art than as a utilitarian surface. Because it generally exists in striking colors and patterns, it is typically used as an accent stone in areas that do not see much daily traffic. Its surface responds to wear and tear much like marble and, as such, it will require care and maintenance.
Limestone is the sister stone to marble and, as such, is found in suitably similar hues. Mostly existing in soft beiges and tans, Limestone offers a subtle warmth and welcome to a room. Softer than other naturally occurring stones, Limestone should not be used in high traffic areas as it will be subject to shipping and cracking. For this reason also, proper sealing will be required, though when maintained and properly used it can be protected.
Soap Stone has long been known as a classic option, and is making a resurgence in modern design. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, as well as bathrooms and kitchens, Soap Stone is durable and non-absorbent. While it can easily be refinished and refurbished, over time Soap Stone will darken and gain a lovely patina that only improves with age.
Travertine is a durable and highly versatile surface, much like granite and quartz. Typically existing in neutral hues, beiges and browns, Travertine lends itself to an older, more traditional style. This stone has the ability to transform a space into something warm, comforting, and inviting and is available in both slabs and tiles. Travertine is highly versatile and easily lends itself to flooring, backsplashes, countertops, etc. for a soft, muted look.