They have such sounding names as “Giallo Veneziano”, “Star Galaxy,” or “Botticino”: Natural stone countertops are available in white, brown, gray, black, yellow, pink, and red. Visually, they make quite an impression – but are they just pretty, or are they also suitable for turbulent everyday family life? If you want to discover whether a piece of earth history would fit in your kitchen, read on.
The kitchen countertop is an important part of the kitchen. Not only is it the basis for a lot of work and experiments in the kitchen, but also because the countertop gives the finishing touch to the kitchen interior. The countertop can enhance the entire space through its color, style, and how it is staged. Instead of extensively renovating the kitchen, in some cases, simply a new countertop will do the trick to give the room a fresh look. So the kitchen countertop wants to be chosen wisely. Natural stone countertops are one option.
What Natural Stones Can Be Considered for Countertops?
Not only marble, granite, and slate are considered materials for kitchen countertops. Also used are gabbro, an igneous rock that is somewhat incorrectly also called black granite; migmatites, a rock formed under high pressure and therefore at least two-colored, which is partially melted; and gneisses, a type of rock also formed under high pressure, which contains up to 20 percent feldspar and has almost parallel, two-colored stripes.
They are all rocks that were formed on the earth. So 100 percent natural products that reflect the history of the earth. The natural stones are quarried, and the suitable pieces are further processed into countertops – i.e., cut to the required size, sanded down on the sides, and possibly patinated, polished, satin-finished, or flamed.
Properties of the Rocks
Inclusions, tectonic cracks, color differences, pores – all are intentionally visible on a natural stone countertop, making it unique and a large part of its properties. Find out exactly what these are for which natural stone below:
- Marble: Marble is the diva among the rocks – very noble and high-maintenance. As a natural stone countertop, marble is very suitable. Still, you must be more careful when working in the kitchen because soft stones take damage more efficiently than natural stones. Small dents or scratches can happen comparatively quickly. Care should also be taken when moisture is present. If, for example, oil runs down the bottle and collects between the bottom and the natural stone countertop over a long period, unsightly rings can form that will not go away. Migmatites and gneisses are similar to marble in their properties, as all three are metamorphic rocks.
- Granite. Granite consisting of coarse crystalline hard rock and excellent with a high quartz content is extremely resistant. Up to 600 degrees Celsius of heat are no problem for this natural stone, which takes 80 to 100 million years to form. So it can easily withstand any minor or major kitchen accident. In addition, granite has a smooth surface and is very easy to clean. Granite countertops are among the most durable kitchen countertops. Gabbro also has these properties because both are deep rocks.
- Slate: Among all-natural stone countertops, slate has the most unusual look because the kitchen countertop retains its rugged surface. Edges and indentations are not polished or sanded, which can cause dirt to get stuck in the grooves of the countertop or cutting boards to not sit flat during daily kitchen tasks. If you don’t mind the extra cleaning, a natural stone slate countertop will give you a kitchen countertop that will fit almost any decor style.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Natural Stone Countertops?
To help you decide whether you would prefer to install a natural stone countertop in your kitchen or one made of wood, ceramic, quartz, plastic, Silestone, or perhaps even concrete, we have listed the advantages and disadvantages of natural stone countertops:
- Each natural stone countertop is unique with historical background. Pattern and color mixture exist only once in the world.
- Countertops made of natural stone are resistant and robust, impact, scratch, and cut resistant – this increases functionality.
- Natural stone countertops are easy to clean and hygienic.
- Natural stone countertops are among the most expensive kitchen countertops available.
- Highly staining foods, moisture, and acids can leave stains depending on the natural stone.
- Natural stone countertops are very heavy – this can be a problem for some kitchen cabinets and flooring.
How Much Do Natural Stone Countertops Cost?
Influence on the price of natural stone countertops, the material itself, the origin, any stone certifications, surface treatment, edge design, and the manufacturer. On average, you will pay between $250 and $350 for a square meter of natural stone countertop.
Granite and simpler natural stones have the lowest prices and cost even less than a solid wood countertop, depending on the quality and color. Means: You are there from $80 to $100 per running meter. The price range goes up to about $500 per running meter. Value-added tax already included.
A running meter of marble for your natural stone countertop costs a bit more: Between $120 and $150, you pay at least $400, and more are not uncommon—prices for natural stone countertops made of slate start at around $200 per running meter.
Cleaning Tips for Natural Stone Countertops
With a natural stone countertop, as with all other kitchen countertops, you should keep an eye on cleaning and maintenance. Daily cleaning of a natural stone countertop is a must. After all, the better you care for the stone, the longer it will stay beautiful. Under no circumstances should you clean natural stone countertops with acidic cleaners. An acid-free all-purpose cleaner and a little water are recommended. Stubborn stains on the natural stone countertop can be removed with a special natural stone cleaner.
Once or twice a year, you should give your natural stone countertop a care treatment – a kind of impregnation. Every manufacturer and dealer of such countertops also recommends their specially developed care products for the care of their product. Many of these products are water-based and help the natural stone to protect itself well, to keep it looking beautiful for a long time.