Stone Countertops - What choices do I have?
Engineered vs natural stone slabs
The appeal of a stone countertop is easy to understand. It is a solid foundation for your kitchen or bathroom that speaks of ageless strength and durability. It radiates natural beauty and a connection to Mother Nature and earthy building materials that will never go out of style.
There are two types of stone countertops – totally natural stone slabs and engineered stone.
The most common types of natural stone countertops are made from granite, marble, limestone, soapstone, slate and quartz. These are quarried in one single slab if possible and then cut and polished before being installed in your home. Natural stone slabs come in various thicknesses and colors. Each of the different types of stone have different qualities and characteristics. For example, soapstone is smooth and warm to the touch, while marble is cool, yet boasts stunning depth of beauty in its crystalline veined appearance. Natural slabs of stone are almost always one of the more expensive countertop surfaces.
The other type of stone countertop is engineered stone. Engineered stone is made in a number of different ways by several different companies, including brands such as Cambria, Silestone, Zodiaq and Ceasarstone. Most engineered stone is made by adding 5-10% resin to crushed natural stone such as quartz or marble and then baking the mixture. Engineered stone countertops have the advantage of being non-porous, so they don’t require sealing as many types of natural stone slabs do. However, because they are a man-made stone, they don’t have the same quality of natural variations in color, texture and grain as found in quarried stone slabs.