When it comes to refreshing or redesigning the kitchen or bathrooms in your Ottawa home, selecting the right stone countertops is a key component of your renovation project. With a wide range of materials available in the market, it is easy to get lost in the world of colors, textures, patterns, finishes, thickness, and more.
However, the experts at Ottawa’s premier supplier of natural stone countertops, are here to help. At StoneSense, we want to ensure that you maximize your investment by finding the best fit for your home and lifestyle. Read on to know more about stone countertops, and the aspects to consider while looking for your preferred surface material.
Stone Countertops – The Classic Choice for Kitchens and Bathrooms
The countertop market features a range of materials that serve a variety of kitchens and bathrooms. From stone, concrete and laminate, to recycled glass, butcher-block and solid surface, you have several options to choose from.
In fact, the growing demand for Eco-friendly materials has led to countertops being made from unconventional materials, such as resin, reclaimed wood, stainless steel and porcelain.
Despite the wide selection, stone countertops continue to be the most popular and classic choice for kitchens and bathrooms. Whether it is natural stone, such as granite, marble and onyx, or engineered stone, such as quartz, each material has its own characteristics, in terms of design, price, maintenance and installation process.
Key Characteristics of Different Stone Countertops
The Gorgeous Granite: A natural, ultra-durable material with unique designs and sleek surfaces, granite is an excellent choice for any kitchen or bathroom. Its resistance to heat, spills, stains, and scratches makes granite an extremely versatile material.
- Variety: Available in a host of vibrant colors and patterns, granite serves as a lifetime investment. Choose from neutrals, such as beige, taupe, yellow or white, or bold shades of green, red and black. You can also opt for varying finishes, including glossy and reflective for a designer touch, matte and silky for a non-slippery texture, and leather finish that prevents the appearance of drying-water marks or fingerprints.
- Maintenance: Other than periodic resealing to address the stone’s porous quality, granite countertops do not need any specific maintenance. Just wipe down the countertops with a damp sponge or soft cloth. In the rare event of chipped edges or corners, hire a professional to fix the flaws.
- Installation: Due to the need for precise measurements and careful handling, it is best to leave granite countertop installation to the professionals.
The Mellifluous Marble: A true example of natural artistry, marble countertops merge beauty and softness, with durability and functionality. Due to their water and heat-resistant qualities, marble lends a cool, airy vibe to any hot and busy kitchen. Bring timeless elegance and sophistication to your modern homes with a smooth, silky marble countertop.
- Variety: No two pieces of marble are ever alike. No matter what shade, veining or grain you select, you will always have a one-of-a-kind piece. Choose from sparse or intricate veining in pink, gray, yellow, white or black hues to give your space a luxurious, regal feel.
- Maintenance: For routine maintenance, use a diluted cleaner that does not contain harsh chemicals, and wipe down the surface with a damp cloth or sponge. Marble is porous and requires resealing once a year. Once every few years, you may also want to buff or re-polish a faded countertop to restore its shine. To repair cracks and chips, just buy a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) kit off the shelf at your local hardware store.
- Installation: Marble is an expensive material that requires proper handling and expert care at the time of installation. In fact, a professional sealing job done at the time of installation will extend the life of your beautiful countertop.
The Glamorous Onyx: A natural mineral with distinctive bands of color running through the stone, onyx creates movement and dimension, and offers a smooth, reflective surface. Add an element of drama in your kitchen or bathroom with onyx.
- Variety: Choose from an extensive range of colors, including soft pastels, stunning ambers and gold, or rich reds and browns that beautifully accentuate your space.
- Maintenance: Onyx countertops require sealing to prevent etching and should be cleaned with a non-acidic surface cleaner. Since it is a soft stone, it scratches easily; use cutting boards, heat pads and place mats, while chopping and prepping your meals.
- Installation: Due to their highly translucent quality, these countertops are often backlit to create a beautiful glow that highlights the intricate patterns in the stone. During installation, a fiberglass mesh material is applied on the rear surface to provide sufficient support.
The Tough Quartz: The perfect option for hectic kitchens and bathrooms, quartz countertops are extremely durable, practical and low maintenance. As a fabricated material, you will enjoy a fair degree of uniformity and get the most extensive choice in textures, tones, veining and finishes. Take advantage of its waterproof quality by pairing your quartz countertop with a stylish under-mount sink. Due to its resistance to spills, nicks or heat, a quartz countertop is tough, versatile and easy to clean.
In addition to these options, you could also look at other stone countertops, such as Slate, Soapstone, Limestone or Travertine, depending on your needs, themes and budget.
Get an Edge On
No matter which stone countertop you select, the edging you add, will lend a unique touch to your kitchen or bathroom. A clean, square edge goes well with a contemporary look, whereas a classic, bevelled edge is highly suitable in transitional kitchens. Opt for a sleek waterfall edge for an ultra-modern kitchen, or go with a rounded, full bullnose edge for added safety if you have young children at home.
These are just a few examples; there are many other types of countertop edging that can fuse the theme and functionality of your space.
Design and Functionality: The Mix and Match
While a butcherblock makes for a good chopping surface, it does not offer the durability, heat resistance, stain resistance, or low maintenance aspects that come with stone countertops. However, nowadays, professional countertop installers can integrate different materials within your countertop. You can get a butcher block inset within your marble countertop to create a dedicated, stylish cutting space, or incorporate a patch of stainless steel within your quartz countertop, to create a sleek, semi-industrial look.
With the right vision and creativity, there are numerous possibilities to integrate functionality and design into your stone countertops.
Aspects to Consider When Selecting Your Stone Countertops
Instead of being overwhelmed by the variety in color, design and patterns of stone countertops, consider these aspects to narrow down your choices.
- Purpose and Features: Where are you installing the new countertop? Is it for your bathroom, or your kitchen, or a special purpose, such as a designer coffee table, or a fireplace surround? Depending on the location and intended use, you may have to look at the material that offers the best fit. For example, for kitchens or bathrooms, you may be seeking features, such as stain-resistance or low-maintenance, whereas, for designer projects, the look and finish may matter the most.
- Building Equity Or Maximizing Resale Value: If this is your forever home, select a surface that is highly durable, cost-efficient and well-suited to your lifestyle. After all, replacing countertops is expensive and tedious, and you want to make sure you get it right the first time. However, if you are renovating just before listing your house on the market, opt for a material that positively impacts your ability to get top dollar for the investment.
- Fusing Features and Preferences: Every stone countertop has its own pros and cons. When it comes to kitchen countertops, your cooking style and current life stage play an important part in selecting the right material. For example:
- In a home with young children, the countertop may be used not just for meal preps, but also for feeding the kids, doing schoolwork or completing messy craft projects. That means, you want a surface that is easy-to-clean, and resistant to heat, scratches and stains. To meet the challenges of a growing family, consider a low-maintenance, high-durability engineered stone, such as quartz.
- If you are empty nesters who use the countertops primarily for entertaining, you may want to invest in chic, on-trend designs and finishes. Go for marble or onyx countertops that will lend a touch of sophistication and elegance to your home.
- If you are renovating only for the purpose of selling the house, look for an upscale granite that will wow potential buyers and fetch you maximum return on your investment.
4. Budget: How much you wish to spend is an important consideration while selecting the stone countertop that best meets your requirements. In addition to your overall budget, keep in mind that countertop materials come with varying warranties and care packages, depending on where you purchase them from. Luckily for you, at StoneSense, we believe in fixing all flaws, no matter why or how they occurred. Our comprehensive one-year warranty from the date of installation includes the repairs or replacement of your stone countertop, including our labour costs.
When you are in the market for stone countertops, shop at StoneSense. As Ottawa’s expert natural stone suppliers, our master craftsmen are skilled in the selection, cutting and installation of all types of stones. Our experienced staff will understand your design goals and help you select the ideal stone surfaces for your renovation project.
Find your perfect stone countertops at StoneSense. To know more about the various stones, designs and edging options, call us at 613-247-0444 or use our online form and we will get back to you soon.