When remodeling or purchasing a home, quality materials make a difference in resale value, aesthetics, and upkeep. Kitchen countertops may seem like a minute detail, but with the increase in trend of “islands” and breakfast bars, kitchens have become one of the most social family areas of today’s homes. With so many different countertop applications, making a decision on which is best for you can be confusing, which is why we’ve outlined a few natural stone products considered premium or high-end offering a unique yet sophisticated appearance. From granite to onyx, here are a few descriptions to help you determine your preference.
One of the most common high-end countertop applications is granite, particularly because it is highly scratch-resistant, and it's resistant to etching caused by acidic substances, as well as heat from hot pots and pans. Consisting of granular rock such as quartz, feldspar, and mica, granite is naturally porous, so lighter colors have a tendency to stain. At the top of this article is an example of gorgeous granite countertops at 166 Sonata Drive in Jupiter Country Club, brought to you by Andrew Daversa.
Known for its classic beauty and high price, there is no denying that marble has an exquisite finish. A “metamorphic” rock, polished marble is not scratch resistant and requires extensive care. Without regular care and sealant applications, marble can quickly become permanently stained. If you're comfortable with the upkeep or don't plan on using your kitchen heavily, marble is a visually striking stone that is sure to convey luxury.
Quartz is a man-made stone engineered with ground quartz and hard resins, making it extremely hard and durable with a glossy sheen and a high resistance to stains and cracks. Quartz comes in a wide range of colors and is easy to clean, however it is not heat tolerant to hot pots and pans. Quartz offers a subtle sparkle to the kitchen depending on which slab you choose.
Quartzite is an extremely strong and durable natural stone that is created through a process of high heat and pressurization. It is known for its beautiful sparkling striations due to crystallization of quartz pieces, which can create a dazzling twinkle in the kitchen. Usually found in whites and grays, quartzite presents a unique streaking pattern due to various degrees of pressure formation. Quartzite is harder than granite, so it is quite durable and resistant to heat, but can be scratched by sharp objects, so a cutting board should be used when cooking.
If you’re looking to make a statement, onyx leaves a remarkable impression in any home. Formed by dissolving and redepositing limestone, it is translucent and can be backlit for a stunning appearance. While quite beautiful and exotic, onyx is a soft, brittle stone which should be carefully evaluated for its intended use.
If you’re into baking, soapstone is a beautiful matte natural stone to consider. It’s quite soft due to its composition mainly of mineral talc, but countertops with a higher percentage of quartz make it harder and more resistant to acid etching. Soapstone requires regular maintenance and is not as heat resistant or impervious to dents and scratches as granite, yet scratches can be buffed and oiled away. Soapstone’s color also darkens with age.
Travertine has been used in construction since Roman times, and it exudes a sophisticated chic look with a striking resemblance to marble. Travertine countertops are relatively durable, however they do not react to acids well, are easily scratched, and direct heat cannot be applied to travertine in any way.