Everyone has an opinion on what is the best material for a countertop. Honestly there are pros and cons to every surface available. We at Toro Granite just want to provide you with enough knowledge so that you can make an informed decision
Types of Natural Stone
Granite is one of the most popular natural stones on the market. The color options are endless. It’s durable, easy to maintain, and has a greater resistance to acid than marble so it doesn’t etch as easily. It’s usually harder than the objects used on it or around it so it’s also less likely to scratch than its softer counterparts. It is a porous material so it does need to be regularly sealed to prevent staining.
Marble is usually chosen for its beautiful smooth vein-like texture and is the traditional favorite for making pastries and rolling out dough. Its beauty and elegance are unparalleled. Because it is softer and more porous than granite, it will stain and scratch. It’s sensitive to mild acids, including those found in common household foods and cleaning products, so etching and dull spots will occur over time. A homeowner choosing this material just needs to be well educated on its characteristics and accept the maintenance and wear that’s anticipated with this choice.
Soapstone is composed primarily of talc and generally has a gray, black, blue or green hue. It has a unique ‘soft’ feel. Unlike marble, soapstone won’t etch from acids. It’s a much softer stone than granite but less porous. So it can scratch and chip easily but it doesn’t have to be sealed to prevent staining. It naturally darkens over time and mineral oil can be applied to bring out a darker richer color.
Slate is formed from ancient clay beds and silt. Slate is generally gray or black in nature, but there are red, green, blue and purple varieties available. Its nature is very similar to soapstone.
Limestone comes in very neutral tones; typically light gray, tan or buff. Certain types of limestone are even available with visible fossils in its surface. Limestone is not often used for kitchen countertops. It’s very porous and requires very frequent sealing. Also due to its light color it’s next to impossible to prevent staining. No matter how well you maintain it, it will show wear and tear. Still, many homeowners want that weathered look.
Onyx is a translucent stone available in shades of yellow, brown, green, orange and white. Due to its translucent nature it’s often backlit enabling the stone to ‘glow’. Onyx is similar to limestone and can scratch and stain easily.
Sandstone is the product of sand and sediment having been squeezed together for millions of years and held together by silica. It’s available in a variety of colors and can also have visible fossils similar to limestone. Sandstone is more porous than granite so it needs to be sealed regularly.
Quartzite is commonly mislabeled and thus is one of the most confusing stones out there. Often many colors labeled as Quartzite are dolomitic marble or a natural fusion of multiple stone types. True Quartzite is formed from Sandstone. It’s a dense stone that can stain but it’s less susceptible to etching than marble. You can try to scratch a piece of glass with a sample of stone to test its hardness. Granite & Quartzite will scratch glass, but marble will not. If you are unsure of your material it is better to treat it like the more sensitive marble.
Travertine has many of the same characteristics as marble. It’s beautiful and unique but not as durable as granite. The stone comes in earth tones ranging from ivory to brown and is known for its textured, slightly pitted surface. Some slabs can be found with these pits filled in with resin.
Toro Granite only stocks certain natural stone colors, but we can fabricate and install any natural stone material. If you would like a material or color that we don’t stock you can make an appointment at one of our suppliers below, pick out material and we can give you a quote. To find out more about our stock colors please give us a call and talk to one of our sales reps.