The Inside Scoop on Choosing the Right Counter Material
It’s no secret that kitchen and bath renovations provide the best return on investment of all contemplated improvements. And when it comes to a dazzling impression, it’s often the counter top that steals the show.
Walk into any kitchen and bath décor centre and you’ll be overwhelmed by the array of options. Even if you go in thinking you know exactly what you want, I’d wager you’ll be swayed by expertly arranged natural stone temptations paired with bejeweled backsplashes you swear you just saw on HGTV. It’s at this point, you need to take a breather, collect your thoughts and get a good grip on your wallet.
Marble vs Granite vs Quartz
To help you make the right choice for your home and understand the differences in stone, we went straight to an expert: Nick Gosselin, Director of Sales and Marketing at Advance Marble and Granite (pictured above). These guys install thousands of countertops for happy clients every year. According to Nick, it’s important to understand the base differences in the materials, take into account where the product is going, and consider how it’s being used. Some of Nick’s key points are paraphrased here…
Pros: Comes in hundreds of exotic colours and patterns. High on style. Well suited for bathrooms.
Cons: High maintenance and just about everything in your kitchen can stain it (you’ll need to seal it at least once a year). Smaller slabs mean more seams.
Pros: More durable than marble and less prone to staining. Larger slabs mean fewer seams. Lots of colour and pattern choices. Suited to kitchens.
Cons: You still have to maintain it.
Quartz (Engineered Stone)
Pros: Comes with a manufacturer guarantee. Virtually maintenance free. Heat and mould resistant. Wide assortment of colours.
Cons: It’s only about 93% real stone. Just sayin’.
No matter what you are leaning toward, it’s good practice to consult your stone supplier representative on maintenance, intended use, durability, and cost. Thickness of the product, custom cutting, size, and grade all contribute to the price of your selection. Another good reason to sit down with an expert and get a really good grip on the facts.
And, the number one most important tip…
In an effort to avoid the design defibrillator, make sure you view your natural stone in person. Gosselin points out that slabs come with “…large variations in colour and pattern and a small sample can be very misleading.” Get a good look under lighting similar to your environment. The last thing your heart needs is to walk into your dream kitchen and experience a shockingly different look than what you expected.