Kitchen counters have to live up to some very high standards: They’re expected to stand up to the wear-and-tear of daily food preparation while still maintaining their beauty as the centerpiece of one of the most-used rooms in a home. Choosing the right material for your kitchen counters is an important step in assuring your kitchen stands up to your standards for form, function and style.
Here in Arlington, Virginia, natural stone countertops such as granite and marble are popular choices. These are beautiful materials with wide appeal, but both come with their own unique quirks that should be considered before making a final selection.
Choosing between granite and marble based on appearance comes down to a matter of personal taste. Granite is sourced from all over the world and comes in a wide range of patterns containing flecks that are varied in color. A granite slab might contain a variety of hues – blue, green, orange, pink, red, etc., typically in medium to dark shades.
Marble is most commonly available in shades of black, white and gray, often with veins of color that create unique patterns. For instance, a gray-blue slab of marble might have darker blue veins; a gray-pink slab might contain veins that are rosy-red in color.
Granite and marble both require sealing to make them stain resistant. Depending on the amount of daily use, seal will fade and needs to be reapplied on a regular basis – often once per year. If seal is not maintained, both granite and marble can be discolored by oil, wine, juice and anything acidic. Marble is much more porous than granite, so special care should be taken to ensure regular sealing is applied.
Granite is often cited as the most durable natural countertop material available. It is very durable, won’t scratch, can handle heavy use and resists heat. You can cut on the surface without damage, and spills wipe away easily.
Marble is also very strong and resistant to damage. As we said above, though, it is more porous and can stain easier if it’s not treated with sealants regularly. Always be sure to wipe up spills on marble quickly, especially with wine or anything acidic.
Alternate Countertop Options
Don’t forget that there are many other alternate countertop options when it comes to creating your perfect kitchen. Quartz, laminate, wood or butcher-block, stainless steel, glass, soapstone, travertine, and even concrete offer a wide variety that will meet the personal style, design, quality and budget conditions for every home owner.
At the end of the day, the biggest factor you’ll need to consider is what you really like. If the material you choose looks great, will stand up to daily use, and fits your image of the perfect kitchen, then you can’t go wrong.