Kitchen Countertops Part II – Stones | Second in a series of introductions to a variety of kitchen c
After last week’s introduction to solid surface, a synthetic material, this week we will look at natural and engineered stones. Due to limitations to the size of slabs, joint lines are inevitable for long kitchen countertops.
Granite is one of the most popular choices for countertops in Singapore due to its durability. It is extremely hard, heat resistant and highly scratch resistant. Being a natural stone, every piece is naturally unique in colour and pattern.
Its only flaw is its natural porosity which makes it more prone to stains than other countertop options. This, however, can be negated by professional sealing prior to installation to limit staining.
Marble is one of the most beautiful natural stones but it has gained the reputation of being high maintenance due to its porous nature, thus it is less frequently used in Singapore. It is not as hard as granite and therefore is more susceptible to staining. Being formed out of calcium carbonate, it has a chemical structure that reacts easily with acids which leads to etching on the surface. It would require due diligence to keep it pristine (there are several cleaning directions online) but some prefer their marble to age gracefully with etches and stains blending into the grey veins over time to give them more unique character.
Marble comes in two main finishes: polished and honed. The first is polished to a shiny finish and will not stain as easily but it can be scratched and etched. The shine is bright and elegant but it will be worn down over time.
The honed finish is created by sanding the surface to give it a soft, matte finish. Scratches won’t show as much but it is more susceptible to staining as the pores are open. Professional sealing is also required.
Polished marble via Remodelista
Honed marble via J. Ingerstedt
Honed Marble via plastolux
Beautiful as natural stones are, their porous nature makes them susceptible to stains and this may tarnish their look. It would be costly and a hassle to replace the countertop whenever this happens. Engineered quartz is made up of ground quartz and a small percentage of resins and pigments that fill up the pores, making the end product a non-porous, stain resistant and highly durable one.
There are several companies now producing these engineered quartz in a wide range of patterns and colours, with some resembling marble and other more elaborate designs.
Comparison Table via Lian Hin