Anything from diamonds to quartzite sparkle in their own way. There are a myriad of different types of natural stone used for counter tops but some of the most popular are onyx, granite, quartzite, soapstone, limestone, and marble.
Natural stone comes from the earth and there are quarries all over the world dedicated to safely removing it so that we can enjoy its beauty! The quarry uses dynamite and heavy machinery to cut out large blocks of stone; these blocks are then sold to stone companies for processing. I recently took a tour of a stone processing plant to see exactly how these blocks are turned into the giant slabs that you purchase at a slab yard.
As I mentioned, there are inherent properties to each one that you should consider when selecting the perfect stone. However, you should first ask yourself how you use your space. Do you anticipate doing a lot of work on the surface which could cause small scratches? Will you be entertaining a good amount and run the risk of stains from food and drink? Do you seek to have a pristine surface that shines just like the space? Each of these answers could steer you toward a specific stone, so I'd start there. Of the most popular types of stone, here are a few considerations for each one:
1. Onyx - The biggest consideration with tis one is typically cost. It's considered a precious stone and typically lies on the higher end price wise. However, it's most popular installation type is to be backlit so that the beauty of the stone shines from within making it perfect for display.
2. Granite - The most popular of counter top surfaces, it's extremely durable due to it's density. The more gathered particles make if fairly resistant to stains and etching (tiny micro-scratches). It comes anywhere from dark black to a grey-white but doesn't come in a pure white.
3. Quartzite - This option is growing in popularity due to its various color options, while often times remaining more dense than marble. It also looks more like a precious stone without the same price tag.
4. Soapstone - Feels quite a bit softer than the other stones due to it's talc composition. This option would be good for the client who wants a pristine space that's not in heavy use.
5. Limestone - This surface is made up of marine organisms and calcite which can make it very hard but may erode over time. It's a great option for a client who seeks longevity out of their surface.
6. Marble - Another popular option for counter tops and most products come in a high polish or honed finish. If you think you'll be prone to stains, this option can still work for you so long as you are aware that they may retain their discoloration and etching caused by acidic liquids.
Choosing the right stone shouldn't be overwhelming or scary. We know that if you take the above into consideration you'll be able to select the perfect surface. Although if you feel more comfortable with assistance please reach out to us and we will help guide you through the selection process.