Choosing Kitchen Counters

Food ingredients in glass jars on a kitchen counter top.

Food ingredients in glass jars on a kitchen counter top.

The many options for kitchen counters can make it difficult for you to decide what you want. Is go-to granite your best choice? Would you prefer the low maintenance of quartz? Or maybe marble is the starring jewel of your future kitchen?

Every natural stone comes with different qualities, different price points and different upsides. A lot of people think they know granite, and it remains the most highly sought after countertop material in the United States. It’s a fantastic, luxe option, but it’s just one of many — a smorgasbord of additional stone choices is available.

First, be realistic about how you’ll use your kitchen and how well you’ll keep up with maintenance. If you cook gourmet meals daily, are rough on countertops or cook with a lot of materials that can stain (such as turmeric or red wine), choose a countertop material that can stand up to these kinds of demands. You might need a material that can handle a sizzling pan being placed on it, one that doesn’t need to be pampered and re-sealed every two years.

Protecting the Heart of the Home

Even if you’re not a regular cook, kitchens often moonlight as other types of high-traffic areas. Maybe it’s where you host a weekly cocktail hour, undertake craft projects or prep plants for outdoor gardening.

All stone, except quartz, needs to be regularly re-sealed because stone is naturally porous, although stones come with varying degrees of porousness. If food, grime or other materials seep into the stone, it can be tough to remove (sometimes impossible).

Soapstone and marble are the softest countertop materials and need a little more babying. Technically, any stone product can chip, crack or break, but it often requires quite a bit of force or heat for that to happen. Still, each natural stone has different vulnerabilities. You can find ways around some of these challenges, such as keeping in mind that nearly all stones have color variants.

For example, many people equate marble with white, but that’s just one option. Choosing patterns, darker colors or a slab with a lot of variance can hide any potential stains or chips much better than a white material.

Upkeep Is Critical

Most stones require maintenance, including re-sealing, about every two years. If you put off these tasks, you can put your gorgeous countertop at risk. This is especially important for investment properties, since you never really know how a renter is treating your kitchen. Make sure to stick with your countertop maintenance schedule once you’ve selected your ideal material.

Finally, keep in mind that professional installation is a must. Not only is natural stone heavy and difficult to work with, you might void any warranties if you DIY. This is one kitchen project best left to the pros. Call Intermountain Stone & Marble to discuss your kitchen counter needs, get free estimates and start exploring the options.