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How Do I Choose the Best Stone Countertop?

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  • Written By: Harriette Halepis
  • Edited By: Lindsay D.
  • Last Modified Date: 23 April 2014
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Stone countertops are durable and aesthetically pleasing. While the vast majority of homeowners choose to install a stone countertop purely based upon style preferences, there are some practical matters to consider as well. When choosing stone as a countertop material, it helps to think about the amount of use that your counter will get.

Onyx, marble, and travertine are all stunning stones to look at, and they are sure to add pizazz to any room in your home. The problem with these stones is that they tend to be rather soft. This poses an issue if you have small children, or if you happen to cook a lot. Since all of these materials are easily marked by hot pans and sharp knives, they are best placed within areas that don't see a lot of traffic.

Contrastingly, granite happens to be an ideal stone for kitchen countertops. Granite is resistant to heat, chemicals, and water, which makes it durable enough to withstand any kind of cooking or family-oriented kitchen task. In addition, granite is easy to clean making it virtually hassle-free.

Engineered, or man-made stone is a recent invention that is gaining a lot of attention. This type of stone is a lot more cost-effective than any natural stone, which makes it a popular option. The one drawback to engineered stone is that it isn't heat resistant in any manner. Thus, engineered stone must also be carefully attended to.

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Other natural stones to consider include slate, limestone, and soapstone. All of these are appealing in their own way, yet none of them can compare to the durability of granite. In particular, limestone and soapstone can be difficult to buff once they have been scratched or stained. In fact, stones that are lighter in color are usually best left out of a high traffic kitchen area.

The color of your stone countertop has a lot more to do with practicality than it does with style. Darker stones are an ideal way to conceal any wear and tear marks, while lighter stones will show almost every flaw. Select your stone countertop based upon functionality first, and then think about the color and pattern that appeals to you.

When choosing any kind of stone countertop, make sure to ask your supplier about a particular stone's properties. This way, you can be sure that you are selecting the best possible stone for your newly fashioned kitchen. Carefully selecting the perfect stone countertop can be a worthwhile investment that will last a lifetime.

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