Looking for a beautiful way to update your kitchen? Natural granite as well as engineered quartz stone countertops make elegant, hearty surfaces. However, these substances are not interchangeable and have different qualities to consider for your kitchen renovation.
Natural granite countertops
Natural stone, such as granite, is quarry-mined around the world. The raw granite that may grace your kitchen started out as huge blocks of stone from the quarry that were then cut into slabs and finished. When you come to Affordable Granite & Cabinetry, you’ll see these polished slabs in an array of colorations and patterns that natural granite provides; in fact, no two granite slabs are ever alike!
People select natural stone/granite countertops because they are stain-resistant, highly durable, and increase a home’s value over engineered stone surfaces. They can also take the heat and withstand hot pots and pans of up to 780 degrees (although we recommend you always use a trivet). Quartz countertops are much more sensitive to heat and can only tolerate up to 380 degrees.
Granite is easy to maintain—it just takes an application of sealer to protect it (we apply a 15-year sealer when we install your countertop). You may purchase a natural stone cleaner that incorporates a sealer, which will maintain the surface every time you clean it. (The sealer is crucial to avoiding damage from liquids but always be sure to wipe up spills quickly.)
Beware of exposing granite countertops to harsh chemicals like bleach, acidic foods and juices, and some beauty products (if installed in the bathroom). These products can etch the surface and penetrate the sealer to cause stains in the stone. However, with simple maintenance, the natural beauty of granite and other natural stones always shines through.
A note about the variations within granite slabs: at Affordable Granite & Cabinetry, your salesperson and our skilled stone techs will work with you to maximize the use of the parts you love (and minimize the other parts). We lay out your physical countertop template atop your selected stone right in our slab yard, and together, we select from multiple options to achieve the ideal look for your space and your preference.
Other stone countertop materials
In addition to granite, other naturally occurring materials are dolomite, quartzite, marble, and soapstone. They have no resins, colorants, and other unnatural materials that are used in the production of engineered quartz (a popular alternative to natural stone). The patterns that are made by Mother Nature are beautiful, delicate, and individual works of art.
Engineered quartz is a manmade product through a process of compressing crushed quartz, and adding colorants and resins. The result is a less porous, harder, and overall, more durable surface in comparison to the average natural stone—and because of the way they are manufactured, quartz countertops come in a broader range of colors than natural stone.
Quartz countertops are easy to keep clean, are relatively bacteria-free, and they do not have to be sealed. However, as noted above, be careful with hot pans and pots right out of the oven, as quartz can be damaged by excessive heat.
Engineered quartz typically lacks that one-of-a-kind look favored by many homeowners who choose granite and other natural stone countertops. For people who want “what you see is definitely what you get,” this may be a better option. However, engineered stone is not recyclable; natural stone is.
Whether you’re renovating a kitchen or building from scratch, stone countertops of all kinds add luster and a luxe feel to the space. Visit our showroom in Fishkill, NY for a large selection of natural stone for your home, and a very helpful sales team who will work with you to make the best choice for your needs.