Choosing to install a new countertop is something that most people do when they choose to renovate their kitchen. Though there are many options for countertop materials, there are specific luxury options that most people focus on including granite, marble and quartz. Each of these materials have their own characteristics and by learning more about them, you can better decide which option is right for you:
The Origins of Granite, Marble and Quartz
The origins of each of these materials are slightly different. Marble and granite are natural stone, and quartz countertops are made of ground quartz and other materials.
Granite is mined from a quarry, and is made of quartz, feldspar and mica. Granite quarries are found throughout the world, and each quarry produces a specific color of granite, as well as unique veining. The most popular granite for countertops is mined from Brazil, India, Africa and China, but there are also granite quarries in the United States. When taken from the quarry, the large pieces are cut into a manageable slab of about 10 feet in length, and then shipped to warehouses and showrooms for purchase.
Marble also comes from a quarry, and though there are marble deposits in the United States, specifically in Vermont, the most sought-after marble comes from Italy, but there are also deposits in Spain, Germany, India and China. Marble is formed from limestone, and the color and veining of this stone comes from deposits of calcite, clay, mica, quartz and graphite. As with granite, marble is cut from the quarry in large pieces, and then cut into a slab for countertops and tiles.
Quartz countertops are a bit different than granite and marble, though they are all often lumped together. Instead of being cut from a quarry and then formed into a slab, quartz is engineered in a factory by mixing ground-up quartz stone, resin and dyes.
The Appearance of Granite, Marble and Quartz
When it comes to appearance, granite may have veins or pebbles. The veins are often referred to as the movement of the granite, and will add a lot of excitement to the look of granite. Alternatively, pebbled granite has a tranquil appearance, and usually is more consistent than veins. The color of the veins and pebbles is due to the mineral makeup of the granite, and certain minerals, such as feldspar, cause different colors, such as yellow. Since granite is made by Mother Nature, there are thousands of colors available including white, black, green, red, blue, orange and purple.
Marble is almost always veined, which gives it movement, similar to granite. This veining is designed by nature and adds to the allure of the stone. Some marble has subtle veining, which gives it the appearance of a single color until looking closely, and other marbles have veining that is very bold. Though most people think marble only comes in shades of white, you can also find marble in other colors such as pink, blue, green, brown and black.
Since quartz countertops are made by man, you will find almost any appearance you can imagine. Quartz countertops can be made in solid colors, made to look like natural stone, or even have intricate designs that you would never find in nature. Each brand of engineered quartz has different color and design options, and most quartz suppliers have different brands available, so homeowners may want to consider looking at the different brand options before settling on one over another.
The Pros of These Countertop Materials
There are pros and cons of all of these countertop materials. The pros of granite are many, which is why many homeowners love theses countertops. For one, granite adds a lot of value to your home, and will not depreciate. Another pro of granite is that it is totally unique, and no one else on earth will have a countertop that looks exactly like yours. Granite is naturally sanitary, it can take the heat of a pan or pot directly on the surface, and it is very easy to clean with only warm water and mild soap.
The pros of marble countertops are also numerous. Marble brings a sense of luxury, for instance, that is not easy to match with any other countertop. Marble is also an ideal stone for people who like to bake, as it is naturally cool to the touch and will not conduct heat like other materials. Marble is heat resistant too, which is perfect for the kitchen. Marble is also quite durable though it is a softer stone than granite.
Quartz countertops also come with a number of pros. First, it is non-porous, so you won’t have to worry about germs, bacteria or staining. Quartz is also easy to care for, and it does not require ongoing maintenance of any kind. This material is consistent with its color patterns, there are no health concerns associated with quartz, and you can find almost any color and design imaginable.
When considering a high-end countertop, marble, granite and quartz are all popular options. To learn more about which might be right for you, talk to a stone countertop supplier for more information.