How to Choose the Best Stone Countertops for Your Home (Based on Your Lifestyle)

Blog submitted by Allstone Inc. in Edmonton

Do you love to cook, or would you rather order in and have your party catered?  If you’re like most homeowners, you want your kitchen countertops to be both durable and stylish, and to withstand the everyday wear and tear.  Here are some questions you should ask yourself when choosing your next set of countertops.

1. How do you use your countertops?

This is probably the most important question that you can ask yourself when you are considering what type of stone you are going to use for your new countertops.  If you’re an avid cook, you’ll want to choose a countertop that can stand up to daily wear and tear. High-quality quartz and sintered stone are both great choices for overall durability. Natural quartzites and granites are also great options but will require a little more knowledge and research about the materials available and their “personalities” than the other two options.

If you are the kind of person that orders in often and craves that one-of-a-kind classic elegance that you see in magazines, marble can be a great option for you. It is a softer material requiring more maintenance but offers a world of design possibilities. With so many colors and veins available that are almost impossible to recreate in manufactured products, you can create a look that is truly unique to your home. Just be sure to seal it regularly and avoid acidic and oily foods to help keep it looking its best.  Over time as they patina and age, refinishing your countertops is certainly an option with a high-quality natural marble.

2. How much heat resistance do you need?

All stone countertop materials are heat resistant to an extent, but sintered stone and soapstone have the highest heat resistance overall. If you plan on setting hot pans directly on your countertops or mounting integrated natural gas burners into your countertops these materials are likely the best choice for you.  Natural quartzite is also a solid choice, but you will need to be more careful with the potential of microfissures and thermal cracking from excessive and extended periods of heat.

High-quality quartz is a great material for countertops because it is heat resistant. However, it is important to be aware that high heat items can scorch the surface of the stone.  This is because quartz has resin in the material, which can be affected by high heat.  If you do scorch the surface of your quartz countertops, and it can be a very difficult and costly process to try and refinish the quartz surface.  The simple solution of course is just to use trivets and hot pot stands when setting anything hot down on your countertops.

3. Which do you value most, color consistency, a near flawless surface, or a one-of-a-kind natural piece of art?

If you prefer a more uniform look in your kitchen, sintered stone or quartz may be the best options for you as they offer a wider range of colors and patterns that can be more easily controlled during manufacturing.  Often, sintered stone and porcelain surfaces can be near perfect surfaces free of any fissures and surface textures in some cases.  If you don’t want the faint natural fissures in a natural stone, or what can be sometimes seen as an orange peel finish on some quartz products, this may be the best option for you.

Quartzites, granites, soapstone’s and marbles are natural products with inherent natural imperfections.  These materials are available in countless beautiful colors with varying vein and crystalline patterns, and it is most important to keep in mind that each slab will be unique.  If you’re looking for something truly one of a kind, these materials are likely the best option as no two slabs are exactly alike.

4. How much maintenance are you willing to do to keep your countertops looking their best?

Sintered stone, quartz, and soapstone are all very low maintenance materials. With soapstone, there are specific oils and wax pastes that can be used to bring out the natural luster of the stone, but this is purely for aesthetics and not necessary for the overall performance of the stone.   Sintered stones, porcelains and high-quality quartz materials should never require a sealer.  These materials are near impervious, and the sealer will not penetrate the stones surface, rather eventually create a film on the stones surface that makes your stone look dull and streaky and is notoriously difficult to remove without the proper products and knowledge to do so.

Quartzites and granites may require regular sealing to help maintain their natural beauty and avoid staining. This is especially true for lighter stones as stains and oil marks can be quite noticeable on the materials surface.  Marble should also be sealed and requires more frequent attention as it is a softer stone that is more prone to etching. There are a number of new sealing products on the market tailored specifically to marbles and might be worth investing some time in researching them to help protect your investment.

5. Are UV light and frost resistance important to you?

It seems a little weird but hear us out!   Outdoor kitchens and outdoor living spaces have become immensely more important to us over the last few years.  Several new stone materials have been introduced to the market that offer UV resistance and frost resistance for extended outdoor use. Sintered stones and porcelains are among the top products for these applications as they are as waterproof as we can hope for.  While natural stone can be a great option for outdoor living spaces, but if there is excessive moisture in the stone when the temperature drops below zero in our Edmonton winters you can run the risk of the stone cracking as the water inside it freezes and expands.

Another option that is not well known, is some quartz that is specifically formulated for use in outdoor applications.   (Normal standard quartz will not hold up to the UV light and will start to fade, discolor and sometimes breakdown) While there are specific design considerations when using an outdoor quartz, it offers additional design options for your outdoor living spaces.

Countertops in Edmonton

So, there you have it! This is just a short list of some things you should consider when you are choosing new stone countertop.  Whether you’re a budding gourmet chef or an outdoor grill master there is a perfect stone countertop for you. We’re here to help guide you to culinary nirvana with kitchen countertops that you not only will love but will last you a lifetime.

Visit Allstone Inc’s website or give them a call today to learn more about sintered stone, quartz, and natural stone countertops.

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