Hello, readers! Welcome back to the Stonehouse Countertops blog! We’re pleased you’ve chosen Stonehouse Countertops for everything you need to know about custom countertop materials. We provide comprehensive deep dives into various aspects of the design and installation process, as well as helpful tips for choosing the best material for your home. Our goal is to equip you with the information you need to commission the perfect countertops! Stonehouse Countertops carries an array of granite, marble, quartz, quartzite, soapstone, silestone, limestone, travertine, onyx, glass, sodalite, slate, and porcelain materials in its inventory. In addition to countertops, we offer fireplace surrounds, patios, floors, and walls. Whatever your design goals, we’re happy to help you achieve your unique vision!

In our last post, we talked about choosing flooring for your bathroom. In most cases, we tend to choose flooring based on looks or aesthetics. However, when it comes to the bathroom, you want flooring that not only looks good, but also functions well and is durable. We discussed some of the most popular choices for flooring and why. If you are interested in learning more about how to choose the perfect flooring for your bathroom, check out our last post!

Today, we’ll be discussing things to know before buying countertops. Purchasing countertops is a big decision, but it’s not one that should be impulsive! It can be tempting to see a stone or design that you like and automatically have your mind set on it. However, there are a variety of things you should look at, think about, and research before committing to a countertop. Don’t worry, though– We’re here to help! If you are interested in learning more about what you should know before buying countertops, you’re in the right place! Let’s get started.

Design Ideas and Inspiration

First and foremost, you should have a pretty good idea of what you want your overall space to look like. Whether you are remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, take time to consider the style you want to go for as well as a color palette. Take into consideration the colors of your walls, cabinets, and flooring. This will help you get an idea of a color scheme for the room. Plus, the color of stone you choose for your countertops can easily be matched– or contrasted– to create a cohesive look. Additionally, don’t be afraid to look up photos for inspiration! There are so many designs out there, and that can be overwhelming. But if you have a general idea of what style or colors you’re looking for, it will help you narrow down your options. 

Consider Functionality

Before you get your mind set on a specific type of stone, keep in mind that every household is different. The type of stone you choose should largely depend on your lifestyle. When it comes to the kitchen, for example, do you have children that could be prone to spills? Do you cook at home and use your kitchen frequently? Overall, how busy are you? Would you have time for a lot of routine maintenance? Answering questions like this will help you narrow down your material choices. Consider the factors of durability, stain resistance, and ease of maintenance. Not every stone is one size fits all! Let’s take a look at three of the most popular stone options for kitchen countertops. 

  • Granite: Granite is one of the most popular choices for countertops because of its durability. In fact, it measures between a 6 and an 8 on the Mohs hardness scale. Additionally, it is heat resistant, so it will not melt or warp when exposed to heat. However, we still would not recommend setting hot pots or pans down on any stone countertop. Granite is minimally porous, meaning that it does not easily absorb liquid. As long as it is sealed annually, you should have no problem with spills. Additionally, granite is highly resistant to scratches. It also comes in a vast variety of colors!
  • Quartz: Quartz just may rival granite in terms of hardness. It is extremely durable and is perfect for kitchens because it will not scratch or stain. Quartz is an engineered stone, bound by polyester resin, which makes it non-porous. That means there is nowhere for spills to seep into! The lack of porosity also makes quartz countertops easy to clean. One downside to quartz is that it is not entirely heat resistant– Applying extreme heat can cause cracking.
  • Soapstone: Soapstone is one of the softest materials on Earth, as it is primarily composed of talc. Most soapstone used for countertops falls between a 2.5 and a 5 on the Mohs hardness scale. Despite this, it is able to withstand large amounts of heat, which makes it great for countertops in a kitchen where cooking happens quite often. Soapstone is non-porous, so accidental spills will not lead to permanent staining. It is susceptible to scratching, due to its softness, but cracks are unlikely. 
  • Marble: Marble is a timeless stone that adds an element of luxury and elegance to any room, which is why it remains one of the most popular stones for countertops, despite any cons it may have. For example, marble requires regular maintenance to keep it looking its best and to ward off stains and scratches. Marble is a porous material, and is significantly more susceptible to staining than most other stones. It is also susceptible to etching, so you’ll need to be careful when it comes to choosing cleaning products. Highly acidic liquids like vinegar and highly basic liquids like bleach can do pretty severe damage to marble surfaces.

Once you’ve settled on a stone, be sure to check out the actual slab before purchasing, so you can be sure that you actually like its look. One thing to keep in mind is that for many stones, no two slabs are the same.

Consider Your Budget

Perhaps not the most exciting part of choosing countertops is considering your budget. Materials can be costly, in addition to any fees for delivery or installation, and customizations. Typically, the larger the slab, the higher the cost. For example, granite can cost anywhere from $40 to $100 per square foot. Here at Stonehouse Countertops, our standard package includes everything you need– Design, template, removal, fabrication, installation, sink, plumbing reconnection, finish trim, touch ups, and clean up! 

When it comes to budgeting for countertops, you may also want to consider mixing materials. There is such a wide variety of material options available, which makes it difficult to choose. When factoring your budget into that, you may be able to choose multiple materials to mix, match, and save. Consider using more expensive materials for more prominent areas of the kitchen, such as on an island, and less expensive materials around the perimeter. 

These are just a few of the things you should keep in mind before buying kitchen countertops. If you are thinking about a kitchen remodel and are unsure of what material to use, feel free to reach out to us for suggestions. Our team is always here to help, even if you are unsure of what look you want to go for– That’s what our in-house designer is for! We are always transparent with our prices, too, so there are no surprises; Only the highest quality stone and the best customer service. Please feel free to check out our live inventory to see the wide variety of stones that we offer. If you’re thinking about the installation of stone for kitchen countertops or any other stone surface, remember: At Stonehouse Countertops, we are willing and able to work with you to your specifications. We offer a wide range of different materials and always have someone on hand to answer your questions! Don’t hesitate to reach out for a consultation or for help forming a plan. We want to ensure your vision becomes a reality! Be sure to come back for upcoming articles! Until next time—thanks for reading!