There has long been a debate amongst designers about the perfect countertops to install in their building and renovation projects. We’ve gathered our top designers here at Cedarglen Living and have come up with a little “Countertop 101” lesson to make it easier for you to choose as you go through the selection process during your home buying experience.
With all stone countertop material, the main details to be aware of are porousness and grain design. And your decision to go with a certain type of countertop will be based on your lifestyle and personal preference – and a little help from our design team!
Granite: This traditional and most popular option is also a natural stone that is very durable. Because it’s a natural stone, it is porous, and needs to be treated with a sealant. Great for kitchens, bathrooms, and anywhere else really that you have a countertop – as long as you’re committed to the maintenance of it. As with all natural stones, it can absorb heat quickly, however it is not recommended to place a hot pan on it because of the epoxy-resin on the surface. The design tends to be busier in nature so pairing it with a simpler backsplash will make your granite the star of the space.
Quartz: A man-made stone product made with polymers and stone ground together. It gives a more modern, contemporary look and resembles marble but without having to seal it because it is not porous. Quartz tends to be less expensive because it’s more easily accessible, but pricing also depends on the complexity of the design. This is a great option for people who don’t want to manage the maintenance of granite but want the look of natural stone. It’s also anti-bacterial because it doesn’t soak in anything that might come into contact with the surface. However, it is not heat-resistant, nor is it sharp-knife friendly, so be careful when cooking so you don’t scorch or scratch your countertops!
Caring for your natural stone countertops: Upon installation, your granite is prepped, cleaned, and sealed to prevent oils, liquids and staining agents to penetrate the surface. With regular cleaning and maintenance this should seal your counters for years without having to do anything extra to them. Every few years, it’s a good idea to have them professionally re-sealed to re-establish the quality of the sealant and extend the longevity of the surface quality. In the meantime, daily cleaners that include sealants are available in most home supply stores or even mild soap with warm water and a soft cloth should do the trick. Avoid products containing ammonia as they can cause damage to the surface over time.
If you do happen to get a stain on your stone countertops, you can use baking soda with water and let it soak up the stain before you wipe it (and then seal it again!). Most stone suppliers will have special cleaners as well.
Similarly, maintaining the shine on your quartz countertops is easy with a warm water, mild soap solution or non-abrasive cleaner, and a non-scratch cloth or pad. It is recommended to avoid strong chemicals and solvents on them or oils, powders or abrasives. If this does occur, rinse them off immediately to neutralize them against the surface.
Chips and dents can happen as well but don’t try to DIY this one! You don’t want to cause more damage so call in a pro and have them polish out chips and dents to make them less visible.
One last thing to think about if you choose granite countertops – the finish.
Typically, people choose between polished or honed finishes. This decision is solely based on personal style and preference. Polished finishes are just as they sound and tend to be shinier and have more slide to them. Honed finishes are more matte or textured (looking like leather or suede). This finish requires more sealant as it tends to expose pores in the stone more.
There are of course other options for your countertops like butcher blocks, marble or tile, however these are the top two in the debate as they are the most popular. What are your thoughts and which would you choose for your home? Let us know and come in to our showrooms to take a look at the options up close!
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