There are so many choices for counter tops that it can be a little daunting. First, let’s look at the main classes of rock and then we’ll look a few of the more popular materials used today.
There are Three Main Classes of Rock
Formed from the solidification of magma or lava. There are over 700 types of igneous rock but most of them were formed far below the earth’s surface. This is a very hard rock with a melting point of over 1200 degrees.
Caused by the change of minerals in pre-existing rocks. A softer material with a melting point of 850 degrees. Used in early days as a sculpture or building material. It is porous and this means it scratches and stains more easily than its counterparts.
Formed by layers of earth’s deposits of minerals and organic particles. Melting point is more than 2000 degrees.
There seems to be a trend toward solid surfaces like granite but those with very large veins. The speckled variety seems to be taking a backseat to these lately. Granite is a very good material for both kitchen and bath. It needs to be sealed regularly to avoid staining but overall, maintains its beauty with lots of use.
Marble is a porous material and may not be the best choice for wet applications, especially kitchens and baths. It will need more sealing than other materials and it may still stain or scratch. If you are the type of homeowner who appreciates the beauty of natural wear over time, you will probably be happy with marble. On the other hand, if you want your counters to looking pristine for years to come, consider a harder and more durable surface.
Quartz (not a rock, it’s a mineral)
There are many products containing quartz on the market today. When used for countertops, the quartz is crushed and mixed with a polymer resin to form a sealed surface. And because it is crushed, you have many many color and pattern options. There is no need to seal this surface ever. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s warrantee before selecting a brand. Also, usually, this type of countertop can take up to 300 degrees before melting/harming it.
Sandstone and Limestone
Both are sedimentary rocks. Can be used for kitchen and bath but sealing it often is recommended.
A metamorphic rock comprised mostly of Talc but when chosen for building materials, mixed with a high percentage of quartz to make it more durable. A great surface for baking too!