What Are Natural Stone Countertops?

November 2, 2020

How to Decide Whether Natural Stone or Engineered Countertops Are Better for Your Family

When it’s to build or renovate your family kitchen, there’s no shortage of decisions to be made. From appliances, to flooring, to the overall layout of your space, the process of thoughtfully selecting every element of your space—right down to the types of materials used—can begin to feel daunting or even overwhelming.

But when it comes to selecting the right material for your countertop, the criteria is actually fairly simple. Here are a few of the questions we recommend asking to determine whether natural or artificial materials make the most sense for your family’s lifestyle and budget.

What Are Natural Stone Countertops?

Natural stone countertops are, quite simply, countertops crafted from all-natural materials. Commonly, these include stones like granite, marble, slate, or soapstone. However, natural stone can also include:

  • Travertine
  • Quartzite
  • Limestone
  • Gemstone
  • Onyx

…And a wide variety of other stone types.

Natural Stone Aesthetic

Contrary to engineered stone, natural stone countertops provide a distinctive, earthy, and higher-quality aesthetic. Natural stone countertops are known for being timeless and elegant, which makes them a great choice for homeowners looking for countertops that will stand the test of time.

Natural Stone Durability

Different types of natural stone exhibit different levels of hardness and durability. Some more fragile types may be more prone to chipping or cracking that engineered stone. However, others—like granite—are known for their toughness and durability.

In general, natural stone to be more heat resistant as compared to engineered materials, making them ideal for families who do a lot of cooking (or are just prone to setting hot pans on countertops).

However, one potential drawback of natural stone is its natural porosity. While different types of stones may be more or less porous, most natural stone requires semi-regular sealing to prevent staining over time. 

If you have little ones who are prone to spilling red Kool Aid (or a spouse who’s prone to spilling red wine), you may want to think twice before investing in light colored porous countertops, like marble.

Cost of Natural Stone Vs. Engineered Countertops

While there are some exceptions, natural stone countertops are typically expected to cost more than engineered stone. However, countertops and countertop installation really are one area where you truly get what you pay for. 

If you’re trying to decide where to splurge on your kitchen renovation, installing beautiful, long-lasting, durable natural stone countertops is sure to increase the aesthetic appeal of your home. More than that, natural stone countertops can dramatically increase a home’s value.

Need Help Deciding?

As the premier countertop experts in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and the DC area, we have decades of expertise pairing families with the best countertop solutions for their projects. Contact us here for help deciding whether natural stone is a good fit for your home!

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