the Best Stone – Marble or Granite?
What stone makes the best kitchen
countertop? Opinions are as diverse as the materials themselves. The major
contenders, which include granite and marble, all "bring something to the
table”. Ultimately, it's a question of taste and budget. Homeowners planning a
new kitchen should weigh their options carefully. The decision goes beyond
cost; the stone you choose is going to last a lifetime so it becomes an element
in your long-term vision for your home as well.
Offers Beauty and Versatility
Granite can come in slab or tile form. The
former is, of course, more impressive – one single, majestic piece making a
bold and beautiful statement in your kitchen. Granite tiles are a blend of
materials, but are hard to differentiate from the full slabs. Both slabs and
tiles come in an amazing range of colours and patterns, but tiles have the
benefit of uniformity.
Tiles are less costly than slabs, but
retain the quality of the pure stone. They are just as durable and able to
withstand scratches and burns. Granite tiles and slabs are both relatively low
maintenance – the usual
is necessary and, every few years, resealing.
The main advantage of tiles over the slab
is its versatility in installation. If you are not building a kitchen from
scratch but working around existing counters and islands, then tiles are much
easier to adapt to the space.
Countertops – Beauty and Some Drawbacks
Nothing says elegance better than marble.
It conveys affluence and taste and comes in an amazing range of colours.
Because it is highly polished, it is bacteria resistant, unlike granite. Some
cooking functions – such as making pastry – are well-suited to its cool
Marble is not as strong as granite and therefore
is more vulnerable to chipping and damage. A cutting board is always necessary
and marble must be sealed, or it will cloud. In flooring it can be slippery
when wet but, conversely, in countertops
polish allows it to be easily cleaned.
Marble and Granite – Some General Dos and Don'ts
After purchase and installation, you must
protect your investment by following its prescribed maintenance regiments.
- Clean natural stone surfaces with mild detergent or soapy water. A clean rag is all the equipment
- Always rinse and dry the
surface after washing and blot up spills (especially with granite) to prevent
permanent staining. Prevention is always the best policy!
- Use coasters under glassware –
especially when they contain citrus juices.
- Use place mats or trivets under
- Use mats under china, ceramics,
or silver – anything that could scratch the surface.
- Do NOT use vinegar, lemon juice,
or cleaners containing acids or ammonia.
- Do not use abrasive or harsh
commercial cleaners. The stone is tough – and responds best to gentle cleaning!
Your stone dealer will have special stone soap.
- Always use a cutting board with
on periodically re-sealing your countertop at a minimum of once every five
years. Resealing protects against damage and, in particular, staining. It also
maintains the original appearance of the stone.