Granite is characterized as a stone known for it’s strength and durability. It is one of the hardest, and strongest stones that you can choose for your countertop.
Natural granite makes it possible for you to have a truly unique countertop. No two slabs of granite are alike. Granite can be found in most any color imaginable and depending on the color and texture you choose, it can have a look that is “at home” in a farm house kitchen or a high-rise apartment.
Granite gets it’s varied looks because it is made up of small and large grains of crystals. It started out as a molten mass of magma and then formed into granite as the magma cooled deep under the surface of the earth. The main mineral in granite is quartz. Compared to marble, it is more resistant to the acids found in lemons, vinegars, and cleaning products and usually will not etch. Granite is also virtually scratch proof. It will not scratch even when directly cut on. Things such as keys, coins, utensils, and appliances won’t scratch it either.
The characteristics of granite also make it extremely heat resistant. It can handle heat up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit without doing harm to the surface of the countertop. Granite is porous so it will absorb water and any dyes or colors that are in that water. Compared to marble and Limestone however, granite has a lower water absorption rate. Something to keep in mind when choosing your colors for your granite countertop is that the crystals in darker stones are smaller than that in lighter granites. This makes it harder for liquids to penetrate.
It is most commonly used for countertops, flooring, window sills, shower surrounds, islands, fireplaces, bar tops, benches and monuments because of its outstanding durability. As you are looking at various granite slabs, you will find that the texture or pattern of the stone is what will most likely influence which granite you choose. One good place to start when choosing your granite is to figure out what your preferred color is and then look at textures or patterns in that color range.
If you love the way granite looks but are concerned about its drawbacks, quartz (engineered stone) may be the answer. Engineered stone is uniform in color, pattern, and texture which unlike granite makes it much easier to provide for nearly invisible seam matching. It provides nearly all of the benefits of natural stone without the maintenance.
Quartz is the most abundant mineral in the world. It has a hard, glossy appearance. Its crystalline form makes quartz a light-reflective, semiprecious gemstone. Next to the diamond, quartz is considered one of the hardest minerals, registering a solid 7 on the Mohs scale. (Granite is ranked 6 on the scale).
To make a quartz slab, raw quartz crystals ranging from coarse grains to rock salt in size are ground and combined with resin and color, then heated and vibrated to form an impenetrable surface. The result is 93% quartz and 7% resin and pigmentation.
Unless a quartz countertops is made with 93 percent quartz it cannot claim the hardness, durability, or impermeability of a true quartz surface. Engineered stone products are non-porous and because of this require no maintenance. It provides stain and bacterial resistance which makes it a perfect countertop choice for commercial settings such as daycare centers, hospitals and foodservice providers.
Because the crushed stone can be mixed with pigment, you’ll find quartz countertops in colors that may not be found in nature. Take advantage of this fact and choose a color that matches perfectly with what you had in mind, all while still looking like a stone slab. One thing that you may like about a quartz countertop as well is that you can have your sink integrated into the countertop just like you can with with solid surface countertops.
Quartz countertops come in various styles and are know by their brand or manufacturer. Some of the more popular and quality brands are Ceasarstone, Cambria, Silestone and Zodiaq.
Marble is one of the most elegant natural stones. Many people describe it as having a “rich look.” Marble has been used for centuries in palaces, temples, and sculptures and is now used for countertops, fireplace surrounds, flooring, sinks and household decor. Marble has a beauty that will never be outdated.
Marble is a type of limestone which is formed by heat and pressure in the Earth’s crust that changes the texture and the composition of limestone to form large grains of calcite. Many natural stones, including limestone and travertine, are often categorized as a marble. One characteristic of marble and marble type stones is that the surface of the stone can be polished to a high gloss finish.
Because the base structure of marble is limestone, it is highly reactive to the acids found in vinegar, orange juice, and lemons. These acids will etch the stone and leave dull marks or rings. Marble is softer and more porous than granite and it should never be used as a cutting board because it will scratch easily.
Marble will give you a wide and varied choice in colors and veining, however, the purest form of marble is white. Some marbles are so delicate that they even transmit light when back lit. The surface of marble can be finished in a variety of ways, from highly polished which is reflective and shiny to a honed finish which is a matte like finish. Your choice of finish can achieve a casual or formal look.
Because of the softer and porous nature of marble, you should consiter your lifestyle and where you want to use it before deciding on marble. If you love the look of marble and are comfortable with the maintenance, you will absolutely love your marble countertop.
Solid Surface is a 100% solid, non-porous blend of natural minerals and high performance acrylics. Colors and patterns run all the way through and will not wear away. Solid Surface is the most sanitary of all countertop materials. Solid surface can be installed with no visible seams regardless of the size of the countertop. Having no seams anywhere on the countertop is more sanitary because there are no places for bacteria to hide and grow. Sinks can be made a part of the actual countertop. With the sink fused seamlessly into the countertop it leaves no caulk to maintain, no crevices for bacteria to breed, and no chance for the sink to sag over time.
Laminate is one of the most affordable materials available It has been around since 1958, and it’s the most popular material on the cheaper end of the scale.
But you can get laminate in just about any color or pattern you can imagine,laminate can even be made to look like other materials. Now you can get laminate in color ranges and patterns that look just like granite.
So if you can get the popular look of a granite countertop from a much cheaper material, why doesn’t everyone opt for laminate instead of granite? It could be for the simple fact that with laminate, durability is sacrificed for affordability.Laminate countertops are easily damaged, and they aren’t repairable, They are not very resistant to heat and scratching.
Laminate countertops are like four sheets of craft paper pressed together, and then coated with a permanent seal. Once that seal is scratched or damaged in some other way, you get down to the material underneath. Laminate cannot be repaired or resealed, so you’ll end up having to replace the countertop eventually.
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