The Stone Age
Let’s talk about sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks. We can mention calcitic, dolomitic, and talc-schist minerals. And then we can focus on their relative positions on the Mohs hardness scale. Sound like an episode of Nova? Then let’s try marble, granite, quartz, and quartzite. Sound more familiar?
We have indeed entered a new stone age where conversations about
counter stone materials are common place. If you are a semi-nerd like I am, you will enjoy the science behind these materials and what distinguishes them. If not, you are most likely in the majority of people who just want kitchens and bathrooms to look amazing and fit their lifestyles.
So, let’s do the basics. Granite, marble and quartzite are all natural stones. They differ in color, hardness, variability, cost, and popularity. Granite is very durable, very popular, and has many different looks making it one of the most popular surfaces for kitchens and baths. Marble is a beautiful classic with a wide variety of looks, but is softer and more delicate. It can etch and stain. Acidity (lemons, tomatoes, wine) wreak havoc on marble, but its beauty is timeless. Kitchens are a risky location for marble, but bathrooms seem to be a friendly environment to showcase this natural beauty. Quartzite is a high-end natural stone that has the look of rich marble but is more durable than granite. This stone is becoming a prominent trend in kitchens due to its beauty, durability, and richness. One of the most popular quartzites is Super White, but it is actually a dolomitic marble, which just means it has more calcium that other quartzites and could stain easier. In general, stone that contains more calcium (calcitic) tends to stain easier. The other popular surface is quartz which is a completely man-made product that is highly durable and has less variability, yet looks more and more natural these days. Quartz is similar to granite in cost, but appeals to people who like its modern homogenous look and lack of maintenance. Any stone you are considering should be researched. Visit a stone distributor and walk around the warehouse; find someone who loves to talk about stone. These proprietors can provide a wealth of knowledge independent of the installer.
And we haven’t even gotten to surface texture like polished, honed, and leathered!
Ok, that is basically shiny, less shiny, and bumpy. Done with that.
So, with all these choices and variables, how do you choose? First, you have to love it. It needs to speak to you and for a very long time! Second, do some shopping, talk to fabricators and distributors, and do some research online. Check out showrooms and warehouses with a friend, maybe a geologist, and enjoy the beauty of science.