Seven Popular Countertop Materials to Consider Before Renovating
Updated: Jul 27
As more than just a countertop company, we aim to be an educational source for our customers, ensuring that their practical and budgetary needs are met. When it comes to choosing the right material for your countertops, many options need consideration. Each material has its unique properties, such as durability, porosity, maintenance requirements, and aesthetic appeal. In this article, we will explore the composition and properties of eight popular countertop materials: granite, dolomite, marble, quartzite, onyx, quartz, and large format porcelain, and list their advantages and disadvantages.
Granite is a natural stone formed from molten magma deep within the earth's crust. It consists of quartz, feldspar, and other minerals, giving it a varied and unique appearance. Granite is extremely durable and heat resistant, making it an ideal choice for kitchen countertops. It is also resistant to scratches and stains, but it can be porous and requires regular sealing to prevent stains. As a natural stone, repairs and refinishing of the surface often have a positive outcome.
Pros: Durable, heat-resistant, scratch-resistant, unique appearance, repairs well.
Cons: Porous, requires regular sealing, typically no veining patterns.
Dolomite is a natural stone primarily composed of calcium magnesium carbonate. It is a sedimentary rock formed in marine environments. Dolomite is heat-resistant and can withstand high temperatures, making it a good choice for use in kitchens. Some colors can have a marble-like appearance, but dolomite is harder, increasing the stone's longevity. As a natural stone, repairs and refinishing of the surface often have a positive outcome.
Pros: Marble-like patterns, durable, resistant to scratches, heat-resistant, repairs well.
Cons: Needs sealing to minimize staining, and edge marks from acidic substances are common.
Marble is a natural stone composed of calcite or dolomite minerals. It has a timeless and elegant appearance, with unique veining and patterns. Marble is also heat-resistant. However, it is a softer stone that can easily scratch and etch from acidic substances like lemon juice and vinegar. Marble is also quite porous, which can lead to staining, making it a less-than-ideal choice for high-traffic kitchen areas.
Pros: Timeless and elegant appearance, and heat-resistant.
Cons: Soft and porous, requires regular sealing, can be easily scratched, etched, and stained.
Quartzite is a natural stone formed from sandstone and quartz under high heat and pressure. It has a similar appearance to marble, with unique veining and patterns, but it is more durable and less porous. Quartzite is also heat-resistant, scratch-resistant, and stain-resistant, making it a popular choice for kitchen countertops. However, it can be etched by acidic substances, such as lemon juice and vinegar.
Pros: Durable, heat-resistant, scratch-resistant, and has a unique appearance.
Cons: Porous, can get etch marks, requires regular sealing and maintenance.
Onyx is a natural stone composed primarily of calcium carbonate and other minerals. It is known for its translucency and unique veining patterns, giving it a stunning visual appeal. Onyx is highly heat-resistant and can be backlit to create a dramatic effect. However, onyx is quite porous, prone to scratching, and staining. Additionally, onyx is one of the most expensive countertop materials available.
Pros: Unique visual appeal, highly heat-resistant, can be backlit.
Cons: Porous and prone to scratching and staining.
Quartz countertops are engineered stone made from natural quartz crystals, resins, and pigments, resulting in a durable and non-porous surface that resists stains and is easy to clean. They offer a wide range of colors and patterns, making them a versatile option for any kitchen design.
Pros: Durable, scratch-resistant, stain-resistant, non-porous, low maintenance, available in a variety of colors and patterns.
Cons: Not heat-resistant, susceptible to cracking from thermal shock, and may discolor over time.
Large format porcelain is a type of sintered stone made from natural materials like clay, feldspar, and
kaolin. The materials are pressed and heated at high temperatures to form a dense, strong material. This process results in a non-porous and durable surface that is easy to maintain. Some brands can be made from quartz, glass, and porcelain. They tend to be even harder and more resistant to abrasion and UV light than regular large format porcelain. making them an excellent choice for high-traffic areas and
indoor/outdoor applications. Pigments are added to ensure consistent color, and patterns are printed onto the top of the countertops, they do not go all the way through the thickness of the slab, making seams and repairs more visible.
Pros: Resistant to heat, scratches, and stains, Some brands are also highly resistant to UV and the freeze/thaw cycle.
Cons: Seams on edge profiles and the surface itself are noticeable, repairs can be difficult, and it may chip from impact. Mitered edges may also be necessary.
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