With so many countertop materials to choose from, it can easily get overwhelming. To help break down the pros and cons of each material we’ve created this guide to countertop styles. If you still can’t decide which countertop surface is best for you, we’re not surprised! Great Lakes Granite & Marble takes pride in helping you find a stylish surface that resists stains, scratches and spills and fits your budget! Call and talk with one of our highly skilled and trained experts today.
Consumer Reports has long been a reliable source for comparing products and giving the pros and cons of all options. Their Countertop Buying Guide is another great resource to compare everything from natural stone, engineered stone, bamboo, and so much more!
Choosing a countertop for your kitchen or bath can be difficult with so many options to choose from. Check out our Go To Guide to Choosing the Right Countertop as a guide to help you pick what’s right for your situation, design style, and budget. Our specialists and project managers are here to help as well. Please contact us with any questions or visit our Countertop FAQ’s for more helpful information.
Whether starting a remodel or building a new home, countertops will definitely come into play. Not sure what countertop options suit your needs? Not sure how to match your budget to the surface that best fits your needs? Use our professional countertop estimation guide to help you obtain an accurate estimate for your remodel project. Looking for some help selecting the best island layout for your kitchen? Explore our comprehensive collection of planning resources, or call our experienced Project Managers today.
When investigating the type of countertop material that is best for your project, there are many things to consider as you can see from the chart above. With this large array of options available it’s important to consider the specific needs of your household and your personal design style, as well as factors like durability, maintenance, cost, and ease of clean up. Breaking down some of the most popular types of countertops and exploring their attributes may help to determine what will work best in your home. Countertops can be fabricated from natural stone, engineered stone, or a variety of other materials such as stainless steel, glass, wood, or even cement. Natural and Engineered Stone such as Granite or Quartz tend to dominate the market, with the other materials making up a smaller percentage of overall projects.
All materials, Marble, Granite, and Quartz have a range of price points. Traditionally marble tends to be the most expensive. Granite and Quartz are similarly priced, again with a wide range from entry-level price points to more exotic stones which carry a higher price point. Understanding our client’s style and budget can help to tailor the right stone for each project.
Both granite and quartz surfaces are durable and capable of lasting a long time. They are both heat, scratch, chemical and stain resistant. Quartz surfaces are engineered from natural quartz while granite, in and of itself, is a natural stone. Quartz is a manufactured stone and it is hard to duplicate the veining and pattern look you get from genuine marble or granite. While granite is limited to all the colors nature has produced, quartz is artificially colored. Both surfaces are low maintenance. Granite and Quartz are similarly priced, both slightly dependent on the stone or manufacturer/color selection. While granite and quartz are in the upper tiers of cost, they will give you the longevity and durability associated with their price.
Many homeowners choose granite for the rich, unmistakable elegance it offers as a natural building product. There are many options for color and texture to take your home renovation project to the next level. Because it’s an extremely hard material, granite is suitable in many different applications: It resists scratches and stains, and can withstand normal wear and tear with proper sealing and maintenance. Granite is also heat tolerant, suitable for installation near a range or cooktop, or in a bathroom where high-heat hair tools may be present.
You might consider a quartz countertop if you want a streamlined look with clean lines, as the slabs are extremely uniform due to its composition of natural stone mixed with resins. As a manufactured product, there is a wide range of colors available for quartz, including neutrals and bold shades of blue, orange, or red. Because it’s non-porous, quartz does not require sealing or special treatment, and its surface prevents the buildup of bacteria. It’s resistant to staining, acids, and scratches, so all you need is water and a mild detergent for cleanup.
Both Granite and Marble are made of genuine natural stone which means each slab is unique and beautiful. Marble is famous for its veining, which has led to the term “marbling.” Marble also ages beautifully. Granite and marble comes in a large variety of colors and the options and patterns are endless.
We touched on the pros and cons of granite above, let’s explore Marble here.
If you’re looking for spectacular, sophisticated appeal, a marble countertop may be the right choice for you. It’s an igneous stone, meaning that it derives from solidified lava, so marble offers a stunning display of color – from classic neutrals to shades of rose, gold, gray, sage, and yellow. For applications where high heat will be present, marble is resistant and stands up to pots and pans. Many homeowners choose it for fireplace surrounds because it won’t discolor over time.
Marble is more porous than granite and should have a quality sealer to reduce staining. Because the minerals that compose marble are sensitive to certain chemical agents, it is important to wipe spills away quickly. Anything acidic will leave an etch mark if left on the stone for too long. The stains can be difficult, if not impossible, to remove. There are sealants that can prevent liquids from absorbing, but it’s necessary to apply upon installation and every year or so. Marble needs to be cared for in the same manner a fine piece of wood is cared for. While marble is quite durable, it may not work well in busy kitchens where it can be scratched by knives or chipped by heavy pots.
Marble is a luxurious surface formed from limestone, lending warmth and elegance to any project. Marble is known for striking beauty, subtle color variations, and a uniquely classic look. The most common drawback of Marble is the care and maintenance, it is more porous than other natural stones, meaning spills need to be addressed quickly, and a sealer should be used. Marble can also be more sensitive to chemical agents and acidic materials. Quartz is a manufactured stone, made of natural quartz, blended with advanced polymer resins and colorfast pigments to create an elegant, durable work surface. The quartz industry takes inspiration from Mother Nature when designing colors, patterns and veining. Quartz has become extremely popular as a way to emulate the look of marble without the same care and maintenance concerns.
We explored the Pros and Cons of both Marble and Quartz above, so let’s dive into a few more comparisons.
Quartzite is a natural stone, composed almost entirely of natural quartz. Quartzite is similar in composition to Granite and is extremely strong and durable. Typically, quartzite is usually white to gray in color with some variations from differing mineral content in the rock. Quartz is a manufactured stone and it is hard to duplicate the veining and pattern look you get from genuine marble, granite, or quartzite. While quartzite is limited to all the colors nature has produced, quartz is artificially colored. Both surfaces are low maintenance. Quartzite and Quartz are similarly priced, both slightly dependent on the stone or manufacturer/color selection.
Quartzite is gaining popularity, especially with the current trend in light grey and white kitchens and baths. Quartzite has a similar look to many marble stones, with the natural beauty, veining and pattern in the stone. Pair this with the durability factor similar to granite and you have a stone that will stand up to heat, resist stains and scratches, and withstand normal wear and tear.
Quartzite, similar to Granite and Marble, will have pattern and veining, and no two slabs will be the same. If you are looking for a uniform look, this may not be the right fit. Quartzite is strong, but like granite also porous. It is important to be careful with spills, wiping them up quickly. Specifically acidic materials such as lemons, soda, salad dressings, and some cleaning materials. If you have etching (surface damage in the form of a dull mark on natural stone), you can work with your stone provider to restore the quartzite.
Corian is a solid surface countertop made by Dupont Corporation. The name Corian is recognizable, although there are other solid surface countertops on the market. Swanstone, Wilsonart, Formica and several other companies also make solid surface countertops. Corian is created by combining minerals and acrylics. It can even be engineered with a granite or marble effect finish that stays true even when viewed at close range. Plus, Corian can be produced in large sheets to avoid the seams that some homeowners find unattractive. It’s easy to clean with a mild detergent and water, and very resistant to stains. Corian’s cost is also a pro for anyone on a tight renovation budget, as it’s affordably priced and will last for years.
Corian offers accessories such as integrated sinks and coved backsplashes that quartz or natural stones can’t offer. Because it is man-made, Corian is easier to get in specific colors than granite. Corian and granite are comparable in the cost of the original installation.
Granite is heat, stain, scratch and chemical resistant. Corian is stain resistant, but is not not heat or scratch resistant. Cracks and scratches are inevitable in Corian and though they can be repaired Corian can also become damaged if exposed to heat. It cannot be used as a cutting surface, due to its construction out of plastic resins. Corian is also not the best choice for bathrooms where it may come into contact with hot hair appliances. Cracks and scratches are inevitable in Corian and though they can be repaired, it’s often expensive
Corian slabs are 30″ wide, so if you have a wide island or peninsula, or an usual shape (id. boomerang), it will require more seams than granite or quartz surfacing. The seams are inconspicuous but not invisible.
At Great Lakes Granite & Marble, our design team is here to help you compare Corian and Granite, and can provide more information on all our building materials. Stop by and check out our showroom to view our huge collection of products for your home renovation projects. You can also visit our online portfolio for design ideas and other products, or give us a call to request a quote.