Countertops 101

Are you normally running late in the morning and don’t have time to meticulously clean up that massive smoothie spill as you frantically run out the door or are you a to your counters. Wherever you are on this spectrum you need to know these tips before buying that milk white marble with gorgeous blue-gray veining you just saw on Pinterest!

Marble: The Epitome of Luxury

All marble is composed of calcite. While it looks like a tough material, calcium is sensitive to acid. Anything acidic like lemons, wine and vinegar will react with the calcium and dissolve the area. 

  1. Get a sealant for your marble and reseal it every couple of years. An impregnating seal is recommended and you can get a $20 - $60 bottle at any hardware store. 

  2. You could chose to hone your marble to help hide blemishes or dullness. Honed marble will give a matte and smooth finish. 

  3. Every 1-2 years have a professional come to repair the surface for a couple hundred dollars. They’ll bring their sandpaper and polishing pads and make your marble look close to new again. 

Don’t be afraid that marbled is easily scratched and is not acid-friendly because YES, marble can be restored and the patina that it gets over time is a desired look by some. 

Granite: The Workhorse of Stone Counters

A silica-based rock that typically has a speckled look from crystallized minerals. It’s considered to be a hard material (read: scratch-resistant), it’s great for kitchens and areas that will take a beating. If it does get chipped, repairs are fairly easy. It’s not as porous as marble, so you don’t have to worry about staining and wiping spills right away. 

Tip: Ask the fabricator or installer for the type of sealer they used on yours so you can get the same one for future reapplication; sometimes different sealants react badly with one another. 

Granite is also one of the more heat-resistant stones so no need to worry about having to place that too-hoot baking sheet directly on the counter. 

Quartzite: The Budget Breaker

Not to be confused with quartz, quartzite is characterized by streaks and striations that are kind of similar to marble. But unlike the softer marble, quartzite is harder and durable. Just like every other natural stone, it should be sealed during installation and resealed over time. Because it is not very porous material, is scratch-resistant and is not sensitive to acid, it’s a great alternative for hard-working kitchens. It’s also UV-resistant so it’s a great option for outdoor use without the worry of fading from sun exposure. You might be surprised to find out that marble is in fact not the most expensive of stones - that distinction goes to quartzite. 

Quartz: Low Maintenace Luxury

A type of engineered stone made up of loose quartz mineral aggregates, mineral pigment and a binder, usually resin. Because they’re engineered and non-porous, they are stain-resistant, durable, acid-friendly and generally require no additional sealing. A very low-maintenance stone for a low-maintenance lifestyle. You can cut all the lemons you want, but because they contain resin they are very sensitive to high heat. So unless you want burn marks, use a trivet! If you’re thinking of using quartz for that outdoor kitchen, you should know it’s not very uv-friendly like quartzite. 

Porcelain: The look of natural stone without the maintenance

A newcomer in the countertop industry game, it is extremely hard and strong. It is very resistant to chipping, scratches and general wear and tear. Because it’s manufactured under high temperatures, it has no problem handling hot pots or heat tools in the bathroom. One of the best things about using porcelain counters is that you can use high definition inkjet printing technology to get photos of natural stone printed onto your porcelain slab, all without the upkeep of the real deal. A bonus perk: the glazing means no additional sealant is required to protect from moisture and staining. You can even install it over an existing countertop. It’s made out of clay, making it a very green material that can be recycled at the end of its life cycle. 

So really the most important tip we can leave you with is to think about your lifestyle and how much liquid, heat and traffic the countertop will be exposed to. You need to be aware of the limitations so you can properly care for it! 

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