5 Tips for Selecting Stone for Your Kitchen Countertops

Whether you’re building a new kitchen or remodeling, the countertop is an integral part of that space. It’s central to both the overall look and the everyday use of the room. When you decide to go with a stone kitchen countertop, you’re choosing a material that is both beautiful and durable. There are now more varieties available than ever, so there is bound to be a stone that’s perfect for your kitchen. However, it’s also understandable if you’re overwhelmed by all the different options and not sure how to begin selecting stone. Here are some helpful tips for choosing the right one for you.

1. Your Lifestyle

When selecting stone, consider which option will fit best with your lifestyle. How will the countertops be used from day to day? A stone that works for single people might be completely wrong for homes with big families. If you have young children, you’ll know to expect lots of spills and other challenges. And if you cook a lot, your countertop will need to be strong enough to handle wear and tear.

Granite is a popular choice for families and those that want something durable. It is widely available and resistant to heat, cuts, UV rays, and scratches. This stone used to be very expensive, but the cost has gone down now that it’s more popular. It’s a heavy material, so confer with your contractor or fabricator to make sure your cabinets can support it.

While marble is incredibly elegant, it’s more susceptible to stains than some other stones. It can be damaged by acids such as vinegar, lemon juice, wine, or coffee. And it’s less resistant to scratches. But if you are someone who loves to bake, marble is a great choice. Because it’s heat resistant, the surface always stays cool to the touch, which is ideal for rolling out dough, and nothing absorbs and reflects light as beautifully as marble.

2. Maintenance Required

Look into the kind of care and maintenance that the stone will require. Each type of stone will need at least some maintenance. Be honest and realistic about how much you can keep up with. If you’re usually pretty low-maintenance, you might want to avoid selecting stones that require extra care.

Some stones, such as marble and granite, are porous, meaning they absorb liquids. So in order to prevent stains, they need to be sealed when installed. And they may need to be periodically resealed afterward.

Marble can be damaged by acidic cleaners, so make sure to avoid those and just use stone cleaner and a soft cloth.

True soapstone is non-porous, so it doesn’t require sealing. But you should regularly apply mineral oil. Because soapstone darkens over time, this will make sure it maintains a uniform color. If you don’t apply the mineral oil, over time, oils from your hands may give it a blotchy look.

Meanwhile, some prefer engineered stone, such as CaesarStone, because it is lower maintenance. Engineered stone mimics the look of natural stone but can be even more durable. This material is nonporous, so it’s more stain resistant and doesn’t need sealing.

3. Appearance

Are you interested in a certain look for your kitchen? If so, think about selecting stone that will fit best into that style. You can use samples of the cabinets, flooring, backsplash, and wall color of your kitchen to see which stone compliments those the best. View them at different distances and angles to really get a sense of how it will all look together.

There’s also a wide array of colors available with certain stones. Granite especially comes in many different colors and patterns. Engineered stone can come in colors not found in natural stones. One suggestion is to choose a color that contrasts with other elements of the kitchen, such as a darker granite with white cabinets.

However, don’t sacrifice practicality just to achieve your preferred look. If you love the stunning look of marble but want something more durable and less high maintenance, consider alternate options. Quartzite resembles marble but is stronger and less porous. It’s resistant to heat, chips, scratches, and other damage. Soapstone can be a substitute for black marble and is more resistant to acid.

Edge profiles and finishes can be another way to customize your kitchen countertop. A polished finish will give a sleek, glossy look, while a honed finish can suit a more rustic feel. Some like that the polished finish reflects light, which can make the kitchen look more spacious. But overall, the best finish can depend on the stone.

Square edges are usually considered standard, but more decorative choices include bullnose, radius, ogee, and triple waterfall. You can see the edge profiles available on the EleMar Oregon website.

4. Visit the Showroom

It’s better if you can see the stone in person before making a decision. Looking at pictures of a stone online is really no substitute. While some larger stores allow you to look at stone samples, those can be too small for you to really get the best idea. And each slab of natural stone has its own unique look. If you just pick based off a sample, you won’t know exactly what to expect.

But when you visit a showroom, like at EleMar Oregon, you can pick the exact slabs you want. You’ll also work with an incredibly knowledgeable staff that can answer any questions. At EleMar Oregon, we have showrooms in all three of our Oregon locations. Our staff knows how important the right lighting is and can even provide more light for you to get a better look at the stone.

5. Your Budget

Have a general budget in mind, as that could have an impact on selecting stone. A stone countertop is an investment, so it’s likely you’ll end up paying a significant amount. But you don’t want to choose a stone you absolutely cannot afford. At EleMar, we have a color-coded relative price guide to help keep you on budget.

The countertop is something you will use every day for years to come, so you want to make this decision as carefully as possible. You should do plenty of research on each of the different stones to have a general idea of your best options. Also, have a list of questions ready before you go to a showroom. The process can be overwhelming, so you want to make sure you’re prepared. You can find more information about each stone available from EleMar Oregon on our website or by visiting our showrooms.