As one would expect, we love stone. It’s beautiful, durable, long-lasting, and an ideal choice for many applications. Not all stone is created equal, and it can sometimes be difficult to decide which one is best for your project. In this article we’d like to explore the different options and their strengths and weaknesses so you can make an informed decision and get you on your way to bringing this exceptional material into your home.
Natural Vs. Manufactured
At Solid Stone Countertops we carry 5 different types of stone. Of them, three (Granite, Marble and Quartzite) are naturally-occurring, which means they are mined from quarries, cut into slabs, polished and then brought to us where we fabricate and install the finished product. Because it’s a natural product, no two pieces are the same. Variations in colour and veining (the meandering lines of colour that run through stone) are what make each piece unique and are one of the most desirable characteristics of natural stone. Flaws and fractures are also something to consider with natural stone. We inspect each piece carefully before planning our cuts to ensure you are receiving the best possible product.
Quartz is a manufactured stone made by mixing quartz chips or dust with a heavy duty resin to form an extremely durable surface. The size of the quartz pieces is what defines the look of each style. Larger chips create a speckled appearance, while finer dust-like particles make for a smooth, uniform look. Colour and style options for quartz products are vast, and artificial veining is often added for that natural, organic look.
Porcelain slabs are created using a similar process to porcelain tile, which are then cut to fit just like stone. Thinner than stone, they often require a mitred edge to give you the look of a thick counter.
Durability and Care
Stone is an extremely durable product, and will withstand heavy use for a long time, but it is not indestructible. While many stones are heat resistant, and likely be fine if you need to briefly put hot pans down, we don’t recommend habitually using it this way, as it can cause stress. Manufactured stone like Quartz and Porcelain require no regular care, but Granite is best when properly protected. At Solid Stone, we pre-seal our stone surfaces with a 10-year sealant, so sealing isn’t necessary for at least that long. After that point, a yearly application is recommended. Sealing granite is a simple process and is easily and quickly done yourself.
With all stone, care should be taken to wipe up spills quickly. Though it’s rare, some oils and heavily acidic or deeply-coloured substances can stain. Handle foods with excessive natural or artificial colours carefully, and if you do spill, clean it up right away with a damp soapy cloth. Avoid harsh or abrasive cleaners.
Using knives on stone surfaces is generally a bad idea, both for your countertops and for the knives themselves. While most stone is hard enough to deter scratches from an average kitchen knife, the last thing you want to see on your brand new countertop are marks or scratches. Stone however, is particularly harmful to your knives. Cutting directly on stone will dull your knives quickly and as any good chef will tell you, the most dangerous kitchen knife is a dull one. Making sure you have a good cutting board is the best way to protect both investments (and your fingers).
When properly cared for, stone countertops will last a lifetime and add value to your home, but mistakes happen to the best of us, so what then? At Solid Stone, we recommend calling us first. While there are lots of different repair instructions available online, we know stone. From repairing chips to polishing out stains or scratches, knowing what you’re doing can prevent making a small problem into a big problem.
Using Solid Stone in your Design.
Stone offers many design and style opportunities and because it it custom fabricated, can be made to fit any space and need, often without requiring seams. Whether you are looking to incorporate curves or unusual shapes, or the dimensions of your design just need something that is outside of the standard sizes, stone is the answer. With a variety of edge profiles, countertops can be fabricated to suit any style, and offer design details like matching back splashes and waterfalls (pictured below).
The use of Solid Stone in your home isn’t limited to kitchens and bathrooms. From tables to home bars, work spaces and custom fireplaces, stone is versatile and beautiful in many applications.
It’s important to note that stone is one of the more expensive options so take your time when selecting your stone. If you are using a natural stone, make sure you choose the slab carefully to ensure the colour variations and veining are going to suit your overall design. If you were hoping to save some money while still opting for the many benefits of Solid Stone, ask about what remnants are available. Remnants are pieces that are left over from other jobs and are portions of the full slab. While you wouldn’t have as much variety to choose from, and you’d be limited to the sizes available, remnants are often cheaper to purchase and have cut to size.
(Photo Credit: Empire Photography)
Whatever your Solid Stone needs, we at Solid Stone Countertops are ready to help. Our expertise and commitment to customer service ensure you are in good hands. Give us a call today, or stop by our showroom so we can show you the difference stone can make and answer any questions you may have.