If I asked you to name the most popular countertop material day, you may be surprised at the answer!
Granite, which has long been considered the “King of Countertops” may be losing steam. For decades, granite has been considered the gold standard for kitchens and baths. Although it remains popular due to its beauty and durability, the “New Kids on the Block” in the countertop arena bear serious consideration if new countertops are in your future.
What Materials Are Now Competing Against Granite for Countertops?
Granite, marble and other natural stones aren’t expected to disappear anytime soon, but quartz is quickly emerging as a new favorite and granite’s biggest rival. There are several reasons for its growing popularity.
Because quartz is a manmade material with approximately 90% ground-up quartz mixed with other resin and polymers, it offers some benefits that stand out to many homeowners.
Color choices and consistency: Manufacturers have greater control over pigments used in an engineered product, which allows the creation of nearly unlimited colors and patterns. Natural stones like granite are mined in slabs from quarries, so the colors and patterns are pre-set by nature and can’t be “dialed up” like they can with quartz and consistency of pattern may be difficult to achieve.
Nonporous composition: Because granite is porous, it can absorb liquids from spills. Many manufacturers recommend sealing granite to keep out mold and other bacteria. Quartz, on the other hand, is a nonporous surface and requires no sealing. It’s user friendly!
Eco-friendliness: Because quartz is an engineered material that doesn’t tap into natural resources the same way as granite, it is considered more environmentally friendly.
Many people confuse the term quartzite with quartz. However, quartzite is actually a natural stone, similar to granite. Although it is harder and more durable than granite, it must be sealed regularly to prevent staining. Quartzite can be found in a range of attractive colors but can be more expensive to purchase and install than either granite or quartz.
Marble is another natural stone that is often used in upscale homes, but it’s tricky to use in a kitchen because it scratches more easily than granite and requires more diligent upkeep.
Another engineered stone countertop alternative is Dekton which is made from a blend of the same materials found in quartz, glass, and porcelain. It’s billed as being the hardest, most durable surface available, standing up to heat, scratches, and stains, but it’s also expensive, making it less attractive to many homeowners.
Butcher block countertops, which are simply wood slabs made up of many individual wooden strips layered together, add a warm look to the kitchen Although they are an affordable choice for countertops, upkeep includes sealing the wood monthly.
Concrete Concrete countertops offer the benefit of limitless customization, as the concrete can be poured in any shape, thickness, and color. Although they’re scratch- and heat resistant, they do require periodic sealing to prevent stains. Concrete countertops require considerable skill and artistry, so they can be quite expensive.
Homeowners should choose countertops that are most conducive to their lifestyle, personal preference and budget. There are many options available to today’s homeowner. Do your research and choose the product that works best for you.
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