Granite and Other Types of Surfaces
When deciding on a new kitchen or bathroom countertop, floor or wall it is important to match your needs and personality to the right surface. On this page you can learn more about the various types of surfaces along with there uses, advantages and disadvantages.
Stone and Surface Choices
An excellent choice for kitchen countertops, floors, and other heavily used surfaces Granite, quarried from the mountains of Italy, the U.S., India, and dozens of other countries around the world, is one of the most popular natural stones on the market.
Available in a striking array of colors, granite's durability and longevity make it ideal for kitchen countertops and other heavily used surfaces, including table tops and floors.
While some synthetic surfaces scratch easily and melt under hot cookware, granite resists heat. Granite is also one of the most bacteria-resistant kitchen surfaces, and it is not affected by citric acid, coffee, tea, alcohol, or wine. It is also nearly impossible to scratch, and with proper cleaning, will not stain under normal use (click here) to learn more about sealants available to further improve resistance to staining).
A leading consumer magazine recently compared granite with engineered stone, ceramic tile, laminate, butcher block, and other manufactured surfaces. Granite received the highest overall performance rating as a kitchen countertop material.
Granite is natural product with a wide selection of colors that is scratch resistant, durable and heat resistant.
Because of its exceptional strength, granite is well suited for exterior applications such as cladding, paving, and curbing. Click here to see some of the granite types we offer.
Some Granite requires proper sealing to help prevent staining.
Ideal for foyers, bathrooms, floors, and hearths Marble is found in the mountainous regions of Canada, Italy, Germany, Spain, the U.S., and other countries worldwide. Because of its beauty and elegance, marble is a popular choice for countertops, floors, foyers, fireplace facings and hearths, walls, and windowsills.
Marble adds a sophisticated element to your home, and its wonderful appearance, superior engineering characteristics, and ease of maintenance makes it a natural choice for floors, wall coverings, table tops, and bathroom walls, floors, vanity tops, tub decks, and showers.
Another option for marble-loving homeowners is using another natural stone - serpentine - for kitchen counters. Sometimes called the "green" marble, serpentine is not a true marble but offers a marble-like look. And, because it is magnesium-silicate based, it is not sensitive to citric acid and other kitchen spills. Click here to see some of the marble types we offer.
Marble is an unique and expressive natural surface.
Stains easily ~ Softer ~ Requires more maintenance
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Travertine, Limestone, Sandstone & Slate
Beautiful enhancements for your home, inside and out Travertine, limestone, sandstone, and slate are other examples of natural stone frequently used in residential applications.
Travertine is a type of limestone and one of the most popular natural stones for interior and exterior wall cladding, interior and exterior paving, statuary, and curbing.
Limestone is widely used as a building stone because it is readily available and easy to handle. Popular applications include countertops, flooring, interior and exterior wall cladding, and exterior paving.
Slate is a popular flooring material and sandstone and slate are often used for exterior paving stones, or pavers. Other sandstone applications include fireplace facings, chimneys, garden walls, patio benches, and poolside. Additional slate applications include kitchen countertops, fireplace facings, tabletops, and roofing.
Many of these surfaces come in a nice variety of colors that can go with different indoor color schemes. They are also relatively sturdy materials that stand up to the test of time.
Scratches easily ~ Stains ~ Chips
Tile countertops are typically made with ceramic tile ranging in size from one square inch to as large as six square inches. There are also other shapes, such as octagonal, rectangular, etc. Tile countertops are popular in country-style kitchens and are durable materials. However, all tile has grout lines, which can cause problems. Grout soils very easily and will require frequent cleaning. I would suggest that epoxy grout be used when installing any tile countertop. Epoxy grouts are a bit more expensive, but the expense will far outweigh the aggravation of clean up.
Tile is a non-staining, heat resistant surface with endless colors, shapes and designs that will not scratch.
Chips easily ~ Grout can be a problem ~ Slightly more expensive than laminates.
Wood (Butcher Block)
Wood countertops have often been used to give a natural warm appearance. Most wood countertops are made with hardwoods glued together into strips. Butcher block is constructed this way with rock maple or beech. If you do a lot of cutting, wood may be a perfect choice.
Wood is durable if cared for, cleans easily and scratches can be removed by sanding.
Can Warp ~ Turns black if exposed to large quantities of water ~ Requires sealing ~ Expensive
Acrylic and/or Polyester Plastics (Corian, etc.)
Unlike laminates, acrylic and/or polyester plastics are homogenous throughout the material. Available in thickness of 1/2" and 3/4", these materials come in numerous colors. They can be polished but are often seen with a matte finish. They can be expensive and in many cases, more expensive than granite (hint!)
These surface are non-porous and stain resistant that are easy to clean and refinish. Abrasive cleaners can be used on unpolished finishes. There are many colors to choose from with a seamless surface. Most scratches can be repaired since these surfaces are man made.
Scratches easily ~ Hot pots will melt finish ~ Plastic unnatural appearance ~ Expensive
The typical laminate countertop material is known as Formica. It is made of a thin layer of plastic (1/32" or 1/16") that is glued to particleboard or wood and can simulate many different materials, including granite. The edge of the countertop can be square or rolled. Wood, brass and other inserts can also be added.
Laminate is availabe in endless patterns and colors that is ussually inexpensive and fairly durable. It is also easy to clean and resistant to staining.
Abrasive cleaners can scratch and dull the finish ~ Sharp knives will produce scratches and hot pots will melt the finish ~ Warping of the surface can occur with prolonged wetting or flooding ~ Laminates usually cannot be repaired once damaged ~ Seams are easy to see ~ Some materials will fade with time
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