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The Pros & Cons of Natural Stone Countertops

Modern technology has given us more options than ever when it comes to choosing a new kitchen countertop. There are too many options to name, and that’s fine because we are only talking about one of those options today. Natural stone is probably the most deluxe and expensive option that you have, but it offers some unique advantages that even synthetic stone cannot fully match. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of natural stone countertops.

The Pros:

Let’s take a look at the upsides of natural stone.

Beauty

 

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Nothing can match the beauty of a natural stone surface. The huge variety of colors and patterns that we see in these natural materials is second to none, and that’s the main reason that people pay large amounts of money for countertops made of granite, marble, and others. When you buy a piece of natural stone, you know that you are buying something unique. While many other stones might be similar, no two will be alike.

Smoothness

Natural stones provide a completely smooth surface, which is very good for food preparation. Wooden surfaces work fairly well for food preparation, but there is just one problem: Wood has a grain, and the tiny gaps in the woodgrain will often catch liquids, dough, and other refuse material. Of course, you can sand and seal your wood, but there will still be gaps unless the whole thing is one solid piece.

Bakers particularly like stone countertops because of the nice uniform smoothness that they get from their surfaces. To be fair, though, you have to choose the right kind of stone if you want to enjoy this benefit. Some stones, like soapstone, are porous, and that means they have to be treated with a sealer. Even some forms of granite are semi-porous, so watch out for that.

Heat Resistance

Nothing can resist heat quite like natural stone. When you set a hot pot or skillet on a stone countertop, you can be pretty sure that it won’t burn. Try that with a wooden countertop, and you will quickly find yourself with black rings on all the surfaces of your kitchen. Many artificial materials claim to be fireproof but are only mostly so. Such countertops are more fire-safe than most, but they won’t absorb and dissipate heat in the way that stone can do.

Durability

We have listed durability as both a pro and a con, and there is a good reason for this. You see, natural stone is very durable in some ways but not so durable in other ways. By the time we are done, you will understand what we mean.

First of all, we have already mentioned the heat resistance of natural stone. We should also mention how well natural stone can resist scratching and scuffing. While no material is invincible, it takes some serious effort to scratch most stones. A person would almost have to be doing it deliberately.

When it comes to resisting chemicals, natural stone also tends to do quite well. In fact, it is common for laboratories to use stone countertops because of the fact that they don’t react with many things. Thus, there is less interference when these scientists are performing various chemical reactions. As long as you don’t pick a soft stone, your countertop should be able to resist any chemical short of concentrated acid.

The Cons:

Let’s take a look at the downside of natural stone.

 

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Cost

As you may already know, natural stone countertops are quite expensive. We have already covered price ranges in some of our previous articles, so there is no need to repeat the information. Suffice it to say that few materials are as expensive as natural stone. To be honest, some of this factor will depend on which kind of stone you choose.

If you cannot afford high-quality premium natural stone, then we recommend that you purchase a relatively low-grade stone and use a sealer product. Most sealer products are inexpensive and easy to use, so there’s no excuse not to use them. Those who are on a budget might find this a great way to get the stone they want at a more realistic price.

Weight

This little disadvantage shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Natural stone is very heavy, and the more durable types (like granite) tend to be the heaviest. As such, you had better make sure that your cabinets are strong enough to hold all that weight!

You should definitely consult with a home improvement professional before installing stone countertops, just to make sure that you won’t cause a catastrophic collapse. If your cabinets are not strong enough, it might be possible to reinforce them with extra pieces of wood or metal.

Often requires sealing

In the majority of cases, natural stone will require sealing. This isn’t a huge problem, as sealer products aren’t that expensive, but it makes for a little bit of confusion when buying stone. It is very hard to know which stones will need sealing and which ones will not. For instance, some granite requires sealing, while other granite types do not. Thus, there is a little guesswork involved here, and that’s never a good thing.

Durability

As we mentioned earlier, durability is both a pro and a con for natural stone. Though they do a great job of resisting heat, chemicals, and scratching, they don’t do so well with impact resistance. One sharp blow can be all it takes to crack a natural stone countertop right down the middle. These stones are tough, but they don’t resist impact very well.

Conclusion

Natural stone is an option that many people cannot afford, and yet, we would probably all be using this material if we could. Even when you consider the high price and the low impact resistance, you still have to consider all the upsides and realize that natural stone countertops are a great option for those who can afford them. If you have found this article to be helpful and educational, please fill out the contact form below.