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Stone countertops in your kitchen are truly the cornerstone of the home. The kitchen is the room where most of your time is spent aside from the bedroom, your bathroom, and your living room. In many homes, most entertaining and ‘hanging out’ takes place in the kitchen, especially in homes with extended countertop or islands that people can congregate around. Homework is done, and even bills are paid at the kitchen counter in homes all across the country.
A countertop is a compelling part of your kitchen and is almost as important as the appliances. Choosing the right material for your countertop is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. Because the kitchen is such a social setting, and because the nature of cooking and baking requires a sturdy surface that can withstand the test of time, a natural stone countertop can truly transform your kitchen. Today’s homeowners and their renovation counterparts are turning to natural stone because of its endurance and classic look.
A well-chosen countertop will result in a kitchen that is more enjoyable to use, easier to use, and easier to maintain. Resistance, beauty, longevity, and durability of natural stones, including granite, marble, or quartzite are factors driving homeowners to look no further than natural stone for the kitchens.
Transforming your kitchen with natural stone countertops
Just a few short decades ago, it wasn’t uncommon to find kitchens with bright or busy wallpaper, unmatched linoleum, and wood paneling as far as the eye could see. At the time, this kitchen design was popular, and kitchens like this can still be found today in homes across the United States. Homes from decades past have strong bones, and with some love and attention, they can easily be renovated to both preserve the history of the home but also to embrace more modern design.
Though the bones of these old kitchens were often quite strong as they were made with hearty woods, the countertops often suffered. Countertops made of Formica and even linoleum couldn’t stand up to the typical activity that transpires within a kitchen. Over time, the finishes faded away from cleaning or sunlight, and scratches, dents, and stains appeared from dropped kitchen knives and other tools, and from contact with hot surfaces.
Today’s stone countertops not only offer a much cleaner look, but they are also highly durable and easy to clean. And of all the countertop designs and styles on the market, stone is truly the gold standard in both durability and design. As every stone removed from the earth has its own vibrancy and mineral color, it is beautiful even before the vibrancy is added by the stoneworker. But, with the right cut and some polishing, the stone will become vivid and will demonstrate an elegance from the get-go that will last, likely longer than you will live in the home.
Most stone countertops are not affected by hot pans or water. In most cases, only some easy and routine maintenance will be needed to wipe away watermarks and keep liquids from turning into stains.
The most popular natural stones for your kitchen countertop
If you have joined the ranks of thousands of other Americans that are adding natural stone to your kitchen, don’t worry that you are going to create something that is ‘just like what everybody else has.’ Every stone is unique in and of itself, and stone countertops are available in just about any color or finish that you can imagine. This means that even though you are choosing a popular stone, your countertop and kitchen will be 100% unique to you.
Hands down, granite is the most popular choice. It is nearly impervious to heat, is strong and durable, and adds serious value to your home. Not only that, but granite is available in literally thousands of colors and styles, which means that it is easy to match with whatever style you are going for in your kitchen. On the downside, granite can be a bit on the expensive side, and in most cases, needs to be professionally installed.
Soapstone is another beautiful natural stone countertop option and one that you don’t hear about quite as often. Usually, soapstone is dark gray in color and has a silky-smooth feel when you run your hand over it. Many homeowners are turning to soapstone as an alternative to granite and when they are renovating an older home as soapstone is often found in historic dwellings. Over time, soapstone tends to take on an antique patina-type look that is lovely in individual kitchen styles. And though the ‘soap’ in soapstone may imply that it is a weaker material, this is not the case. Soapstone is quite hard and is suitably resistant to stains.
Marble continues to be a choice for homeowners looking to convey a sense of elegance and sophistication to their homes. Marble is also a great option for those that want to ensure that their kitchen countertop will look like no other, as with marble, it is a guarantee that no two sheets will be the same. Ever. Unfortunately, marble does come at a higher price tag, but this doesn’t seem to keep homeowners away from it. You can use this helpful guide in order to determine if a marble countertop fits in your budget. Instead, rather than using marble for all countertops in the kitchen, it is more common to see it on a center island. Marble is naturally heat-resistant and waterproof and due to its luxurious nature, adding marble to your home will instantaneously add value. On the flip side, like with granite, marble needs to be professionally installed as it can be subject to serious and expensive damage when installed by someone not familiar with the proper installation techniques. Marble is also a bit more susceptible to scratching, and the stone itself is quite porous. This can easily be overcome through regular sealing and by ensuring that separate countertop areas or cutting boards are used for cutting.
Whichever natural stone you use, you will be sure to transform your kitchen into a place in the home that you will never want to leave. With its clean lines and overall beauty, natural stone is a sure win for anyone looking to make a change in their kitchen.