The average adult spends three years of their life cooking in the kitchen, a valuable space in the home also used for the delicious first brew of the morning, homework sessions, endless family meals and much, much more. It’s the hub of the house, the heart of the home. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that of all the rooms in a property, the kitchen tends to get a lot spent on it when it comes to home improvements. It’s a space where people are more likely to splash out on features that are long-lasting, durable, beautiful and timeless, like natural stone worktops.
Natural stone worktops made from marble, quartz and granite are a premium option for kitchen and bathroom worktops, and they are designed to last a long time with the right maintenance and care. They are also an investment and will cost more than lower quality options like laminate, which is why it is so important to understand their pros and cons before going ahead and making that final design commitment. Granite, quartz and marble also have different pros and cons individually, so understanding the individual aspects of each can also help you to choose which material suits your needs best.
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of quartz, marble and granite:
Granite is an igneous rock usually made of quartz and feldspar. It is formed when thick magma cools down slowly, and crystallises before it gets above ground.
- Eco Kudos
Granite is very near to being a complete product when it is mined, reducing the need for chemicals and processing that could be harmful to the environment.
Granite is resistant to heat and scratches, even when hot pans are directly placed on the counter, although it is recommended you use a heatproof mat for very hot items, or items that will be on the counter for a while, like a slow cooker.
- Low Maintenance
The sealant applied to a granite worktop when it is installed can last a decade or more, so the maintenance of this natural stone is low.
Compared to other natural stone options, granite can be very affordable. There are very high cost options, of course, but the range of granite worktop costs is vast, and it is often a great choice if you want to integrate natural stone into your home but you don’t have a luxury budget.
Granite worktops come in a huge range of patterns, colours and textures, some which are incredibly unique and rare. You can definitely make a kitchen your own when you choose granite.
Granite is porous and can absorb moisture. This isn’t always an issue, though, because the moisture often simply evaporates, especially with the help of a poultice.
Granite is naturally cold to the touch, which some people don’t like, particularly if the family uses a kitchen island for homework or working from home.
Marble is a metamorphic rock that is created when limestone is exposed to lots of pressure and heat. It’s incredibly popular as a worktop because it is stunning, with individual specks and veining that are different depending on the quarry the stone came from. The veining is made when water deposits minerals into the stone, and when it evaporates, those minerals are left behind.
Most people agree that marble is absolutely stunning, which is why you always see it used to make sculptures, and in luxury buildings and in high-class spas. It exudes class and timelessness, instantly upgrading any space it is installed in.
There are all kinds of marble available to suit your style, ranging from very traditional types to more contemporary tones and patterns. There’s something to suit every home.
A natural stone worktop is going to remain timeless, but if you do keep trends in mind, marble is certainly ahead of granite at the moment, especially floor to ceiling marble bathrooms, giving an ‘at-home’ spa feel.
Marble pieces are always unique, because they are a natural stone. So if you want luxury and exclusivity in your worktops, marble is how you get that because no two marble worktops will ever be the same.
Marble isn’t a cheap worktop option, it is an investment. More-so, it is important to invest in high-quality marble so that the veining lines up, otherwise you could find a shoddy job and lower quality product leads to the overall investment being cheapened by the below par finish.
Marble does need maintenance in order to stay in great condition, which some people may consider a down side because some maintenance is more than no maintenance. It simply needs resealing around four times a year to help it stay more stain-resistant.
Marble does age, and not so gracefully. Compared to other natural stone, it will show signs of wear and tear more quickly, and may be more prone to cracking. To avoid this, getting any damage and stains dealt with quickly will help. Cracks can also often be repaired by stone worktop specialists, or if all else fails, it can be replaced.
Quartz worktops are made of a mixture of polymer resins and crushed natural quartz. At over 90% quartz it is still considered a natural stone worktop, but with the added benefits of the manufacturing process.
Quartz worktops are extremely durable. This is because they are so strong and not porous at all, so any chips, cracks and stains are much less likely.
As quartz worktops are not porous they are much easier to keep clean, and have no crevices and areas where germs and dirt can build up, or hide. This makes them very easy to clean, and ensures they are naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial.
Quartz worktops offer the most variety in design because of how they are manufactured. This means you can choose any speckling, veining, texture and tone you like – there are styles to suit all tastes. The finish of quartz worktops is also superior because it is incredibly glossy and sumptuous, offering a stunning high-grade aesthetic to the room it is placed in.
Because quartz worktops are so durable, beautiful and long-lasting they demand a higher price tag. They are very much a long-term investment that requires an upfront financial commitment.
- Not Heat Resistant
Unlike other natural stones that can be more heat resistant, quartz is not. The stone element of it is, but the resin and polymer within it will be damaged from heat exposure. If you accidentally place a hot pan on a quartz worktop it will melt the resin and cause permanent damage.
The appearance of quartz worktops is very modern, which may cause some homeowners to choose other natural stone types for a more classic look.
Natural worktops all have pros and cons, but what they all have in common is the ability to increase your home’s value, functionality and aesthetic appeal.
If you’d like to know more about quartz, granite and marble worktops, and the various designs available, speak to a natural stone worktop specialist like EGKW today to take the next step to a more beautiful home.