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What Type of Countertops Should I Buy: Quartz, Marble, or Granite?

Friday, August 20, 2021

What Type of Countertops Should I Buy: Quartz, Marble, or Granite?

When it comes to countertop surfaces, there are a lot of options out there. Surely, being glued to HGTV has taught us that much. There are all the classic options  like granite, marble and quartz, but then you have more modern choices such as concrete, laminate, stainless steel and butcher block to choose from as well. It’s a bit overwhelming when you think about it. Even with all of these countertops to consider, the main thing is that you choose the material that is right for you and your family.

Let’s start with some basic questions to help you figure out where you’ll be installing countertops and what surface would fit best.

Questions to ask before deciding what countertops are best for my home

What room of the house will the countertops be installed in?

Are you looking for something for your kitchen or bathroom? Though many different types of materials could serve both your kitchen or bathroom well, there are still specific benefits to each available option. Granite, for example, is well-suited to  either a kitchen or bath due to its durability, but a soapstone could be a  bathroom standout given its non-porous properties. Especially given the occasional mineral oil application specifically for a soapstone surface.

How much traffic will these countertops see throughout the day?

If you’re installing countertops in the kitchen, they will probably see a lot of daily traffic. The kitchen is known as the heart of the home for a reason. Now, you know your family best, so you know how often people gather in the kitchen.

How often do you cook? Do you have younger kids or messy teens? What countertops are going to hold up best given these scenarios? Could you get away with a sophisticated material like marble that’s a bit more high maintenance? Traffic and usage are key factors when determining the ideal countertop material.

Looking for a countertop that’s easy to clean and maintain?

There are a lot of countertop possibilities out there for easy cleaning and maintenance, including engineered stone, or what you know as quartz. A countertop surface such as laminate is easy to clean as well but doesn’t quite have the clout of a natural stone surface. Materials like granite and marble are simply hard to beat. Keep in mind there are pros that far outweigh the cons when selecting a countertop surface, and it may be worth investing a little more to reap the benefits of a higher grade material.

What type of countertop will best fit into the design of the room?

Starting with a natural stone material is a smart choice when remodeling or rehabbing any area of your home. Countertops are typically the focal point of a room, especially kitchen countertops. It’s a good idea to  select the countertop colors and patterns before selecting other design elements like cabinets, wall colors or flooring. In the long run, choosing your countertop material first will save you time and money.

Now that we’ve got these foundational questions out of the way, it’s time to think about the trifecta of countertops. No, this does not include butcher block countertops or laminate countertops. We’re talking about granite, marble and quartz. All three are popular selections within the home – no matter where they are installed – due to their high quality and durable properties. We’re going to explore the properties of each of these materials a little further to help give you more information before you make up your mind.

Granite Countertops

Known widely as the king of kitchen countertops, granite is durable for any area of the home.  It is one of the most popular solid surface materials used in the home,  especially the kitchen. It has a durability that is unmatched in the world of countertops thanks to all of its properties. Mother Nature truly makes some incredible products, and it just so happens that  the resiliency of granite is a huge pro when comparing one countertop to another.

Laminate countertops have come a long way in the world of colors and patterns, but there just isn’t a substitute for natural solid surface countertops. Sure, you have other popular options like butcher block countertops, stainless steel countertops or concrete countertops, but none can live up to granite countertops.

Care and Maintenance

Granite is by far one of the most maintenance-free  materials on the market. Yes, sealing is required, but typically no more than once a year. Mild soap and water is recommended for  cleaning to help keep this natural stone material looking perfect everyday.

Most Popular Natural Stone Countertop Material

Aside from the fact that granite is virtually indestructible, the colors and variety of patterns in the granite family are endless. Heat resistant, stain resistant, scratch resistant make granite the go-to when it comes to low-maintenance countertop options, whether it’s the bathroom or the kitchen.

It’s hard to find any cons against granite, considering that it tops the lists in style. Whether you have a modern, contemporary or traditional style, granite works. If you’re really looking for a negative, you could consider the “inconvenience” of having to do sealing treatments. This is true of most natural stones that need to be sealed, so it’s a bit of a stretch. Nothing is one hundred percent perfect, but granite comes pretty darn close.

Marble Countertops

Ah, the good life. When one hears the words marble countertops, it offers up an instant status booster. The classic appeal of marble in your kitchen, or really anywhere in your home, makes people stand up and take notice. Italian white marble is especially noteworthy as a symbol of luxury. It is truly marble at its finest.

A Baker’s Delight

Although not quite as durable as granite or other countertop options, marble plays by its own set of rules. One of a kind, marble as a countertop material, offers up a high heat resistant surface that is the envy of many individuals, especially those who enjoy baking.

It has properties that make it perfect for kneading dough and cooling a variety of baked items on its stone surface. But even if you aren’t the next Top Chef, it’s clear marble offers a variety of unmatched benefits in the world of high-end countertop materials.

Moderate Countertop Maintenance

Countertops are a focal point, so having a marble countertop as the centerpiece when people walk into the room has a major upside. If nothing else, think about the resale value.

Marble does require a bit more maintenance being more porous than other solid surface countertops, but for many, that doesn’t make a huge difference. Most natural stones need to be sealed anyway. The fact that it scratches easily is a negative for some but others consider the natural patina and weathering part of its charm and appeal.

Up Your Status

The great thing about marble is that it will never go out of style. It’s timeless, elegant, and offers a wider variety of colors, veining and patterns than many would think.  Being able to select a countertop that fits within the design and vision you see for your kitchen or bath is important. Countertop materials like stainless steel or butcher block work well for a certain stylistic look, but don’t offer much variation.  Marble, on the other hand, is more versatile and immediately brings pure beauty to your space.

In the end, it pays off to do your research and choose which type of countertop is best for you, your family and your home.

Quartz Countertops

Not to be confused with quartzite (which is a natural stone), this engineered stone is a great choice for a solid surface countertop. Why? Because it is a highly durable and nearly maintenance-free solid surface created to mimic the beauty of natural surfaces.

True stone enthusiasts might not feel the same way, and it’s true, there’s no substitute for the real thing. But quartz countertops are the next best thing.

Solid Surface: Nearly Maintenance Free

The big draw is quartz is very low maintenance and not as susceptible to heat, scratches or stains. Harsh cleaners or acidic foods won’t damage the surface of quartz, and mild soap and water works perfectly to help keep your countertops looking nice. Easy to clean? A mom’s dream!

Since quartz is a man-made material, what exactly is it made of? Quartz is made up of approximately 90% ground quartz with the remaining 10% being a polyresin filler. Quartz is in fact very attractive to the eye, which makes it a good choice for kitchen and bathroom countertops.

Thinking about the kitchen and how much you cook, it’s unfortunate that quartz is not heat and scratch-resistant. Hey, not every material can be perfect. While it won’t scratch from preparing that fruit tray, it cannot withstand hot pots directly to its surface.

Holds Up Against Traffic

Pros and cons of quartz are pretty straightforward. One of the main cons is that it’s not 100% natural stone. For many, the pros outweigh the cons, especially given that it’s a highly durable countertop that’s easy to clean when put in high-traffic areas like your kitchen countertop. Also, solid surface countertops such as quartz and laminate countertops don’t require sealing like other materials. Laminate, however, pales in comparison to quartz when it comes to long-term use.

Perfect For A Kitchen Countertop

Quartz countertops have sometimes been compared to glass countertops, but neither glass countertops nor concrete countertops have the attractive look of quartz. Also offering durability and low maintenance, quartz is truly a perfect choice for a modern kitchen countertop.

As it pertains to cost, it is definitely more than laminate countertops but it won’t necessarily break the bank. Plus, the pros of investing in quality countertops for your kitchen is always a wise decision.

Other Kitchen Countertop Choices

We’ve referenced a variety of kitchen and bath countertop possibilities for your home remodel or project. The right fit is out there, we promise. And while we may be partial to natural stone surfaces and highly recommend granite countertops, we also understand it may not be the best choice for you.

Unique Stone Concepts is here to help offer guidance and education on surfaces for your kitchen countertops so you may make informed decisions.

We highly recommend doing research on the different types of surfaces for either your kitchen or bath to figure out what is going to work best. Butcher block countertops, laminate, concrete, stainless steel or even glass could be a good fit. Use our simple guide to countertops to help you get started.

Making the final choice for countertops

Selecting your countertop is always a tough decision to make because it’s a big purchase and one that you want to last. Do your initial research on what you like and take note of what material is best suited for your remodel and your lifestyle. Having those things clearly defined can help make it easier for you to select the best option.

If you have any additional questions about what type of surface would be best for your project, please contact us and our design consultants will be happy to  help you with your decision. Unique Stone Concepts, located in Omaha, Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbus, Cincinnati or Indianapolis, is open and available for consultations and showings. We would love to help you bring your vision to life.

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