One of the most costly mistakes I see in design is selecting the wrong material for a countertop. Even the most experienced designers can find themselves in trouble, especially when the client is set on something like white marble in a kid’s bathroom. Here are some countertop pros and cons for the most popular materials – they’ll help you and your clients make the right decisions:
There is nothing more timeless than marble! It has been used for centuries (hello Rome!) and the beautiful veining makes it a stand out. There are many types of marble with hues from grey and white to blue to pink, so you’ll be sure to find one that fits with your project design.
- Let’s face it, it’s gorgeous and timeless
- In the kitchen, marble is a traditional surface choice for baking because it’s always cool
- Stands up to heat well
- In bathrooms, it’s elegant
- Everything goes with white, gray, and black marbles!
- Even with the best sealing, marble is susceptible to stains
- Many types of marble chip and scratch
- High maintenance costs are a bummer in kitchens, but you can always use cutting boards to cover the marble when cooking
- Marble is also susceptible to etching from highly acidic foods, like lemons. Even when using it in bathrooms, perfumes and products can stain the surface
It sounds costly to maintain, but there are some marbles that are harder than others. I have never had to re-seal a marble in my bathroom counters, for example, but my kitchen countertop I have to seal every year. So be sure to ask the slab yard their opinion on how hard the stone is. You can always get them to knock off a corner of the slab and conduct some experiments.
One of the most popular surfaces used is granite. There are so many benefits with this natural beauty! And don’t be scared. I am not talking 90s brown granite. I love a lighter Stream white granite top, among others.
- Heat resistance (no burn marks if you put a pot directly on the surface)
- Abrasion resistance to cutlery and other common kitchen items
- Moisture resistance
- Overall durability
- It is not UV sensitive and will not fade or discolor over time
- Granite must be sealed every so often to avoid stains
- Colors and patterns can be very busy
- Certain selections can look dated
I love a good limestone slab. They’re often very neutral and when you want a soft and soothing palette, you can always find a complementary limestone to go with it. Limestone with shells embedded in the slab looks especially great in beach homes!
- Limestone countertops are a classics due to their beauty, richness and durability
- Slabs can have shells, fossils, or hints of underwater animals in the stone
- The white or sandy colors are very neutral and will go with many kitchen looks
- It’s durable, but not as durable as granite or quartzite
- Limestones have a variety of densities, so be sure to ask your stone yard about the density of the slab you select. The softer the stone, the more likely it will scratch or even discolor (I have made the mistake of buying some that were softer than I thought, so always ask!)
- You must clean and seal the stone to help make the stone last. I recommend doing this more than yearly
There are so many beautiful choices and these are only a few of the natural stones available to you and your clients. I always want to educate my clients, so providing them with the pros and cons helps them make the best decisions for their lifestyle and budget. Download the Selecting Countertops Guide HERE!