A Buyer’s Guide for Quality Worktops
If you’re looking for new worktops, this guide will breakdown the difference between the 3 most commonly used materials.
Granite, Marble and Quartz are appealing, functional materials for kitchen and bathroom worktops. They are durable and long-lasting and are cut, crafted and polished to add beauty to a home. Marble and granite worktops are made entirely of natural stone but quartz worktops have partial additives. Each material has its own grains, flecks, veins and colour variations, so style and colour are important considerations.
Granite is one of the most common worktop materials because it’s solid, durable and stain resistant. It can withstand heat associated with cooking or serving food, and doesn’t show water marks. It’s difficult to break, crack or scratch with normal wear and tear.
It is a 100% natural stone quarried in block form then sliced into slabs and finished with either a highly polished face, honed to a Matt finish or brushed to a textured finish. Each process gives the stone a very different look but all bring out the natural beauty that highlights the colours and natural patterns of the material. Granite offers a large selection of colours and patterns. Although the majority of Granite has a grain effect there are several materials that offer a wavy pattern more like marble.
Opt for granite if you want low-maintenance worktops that don’t fade or discolour over time. Be prepared to add occasional sealants to ensure its longevity.
For a more in-depth description of Granite, visit the following link.
Quartz worktops have all of the same benefits of granite, except they aren’t entirely natural. Each brand of Quartz has it’s own ratio of natural Quartz to resins, but generally the natural Quartz percentage is between 90 & 95%. The composition of quartz is relatively uniform so it doesn’t have as many natural grains, flecks or veins as granite or marble.
Like Granite the face is either polished or honed to a matt finish. Some brands offer a textured finish, but not many as this has proved to be problematic due to dust settling into the face during fabrication. There are many different brands all varying in price bands and offering their own colour selections.
Choose quartz if you want a non-porous option that requires no upkeep and never requires top coat applications.
For a more in-depth description of Quartz, visit the following link.
Marble worktops are well-made and structurally sound but are less forgiving than their Granite or Quartz counterparts. Marble is the most porous of the three and is especially sensitive to acidic liquids and strong chemical cleaners. For example, wine can stain marble worktops if not wiped away quickly. A high-grade sealant is necessary to protect the surface, but is often applied by manufacturers or installation specialists.
Like Granite, it is 100%. natural and quarried in the same way. Usually, Marble is available in a matt or polished finish. Marble tends to be less grainy than granite with more “wavy” patterns and softer colours.
Select marble worktops if you want a design with the most unique, unpredictable veining and natural modelling.
For a more in-depth description of Marble, visit the following link.
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Pros of Granite
- Granite worktops don’t depreciate in value.
- It’s a one of a kind, natural surface that has an almost luminous look.
- Granite adds value to your home.
- Bacterial contamination is not a problem with Granite.
- Formed by heat and pressure, it can take the heat of a pan.
- It’s easy to clean with warm water and a mild detergent.
Cons of Granite
- Granite worktops last a very long time. So if you get tired of the colour, you’ll either need to learn to live with it or rip out the entire counter because you can’t change the colour.
- Each slab of granite is different, so it may not be a good choice if you prefer a completely uniform look.
- Granite can be permanently stained if you seal it with a preexisting stain.
- It can crack when hit by a hard, sharp object like a meat cleaver.
- Because it’s so heavy, granite occasionally requires additional structural support.
- Once glued onto the cabinets, granite is quite difficult to remove, and may result in damage to the cabinets.
Pros of Quartz
- Quartz worktops are manufactured in a variety of different patterns and colours. This gives you a lot more options for both monotone textures or colours that have more variation.
- The resin used to bind the Quartz particles together makes it non-porous and more resistant to stains.
- Quartz already comes pre-sealed, so it doesn’t require any resealing at all.
- You can wash germs and bacteria off Quartz using only a mild cleanser.
- Quartz worktops are just as strong as granite, but have the added benefit of being more flexible. This makes them easier to work with during the installation process.
Cons of Quartz
- Quartz can discolour over time when exposed to direct sunlight. If you have a part of your counter that receives some of the UV rays from the sun while another part doesn’t, over time you may see a colour difference.
- You can expect to see seams with a quartz counter as there is a limit on longest length due to set sizes of slabs.
- Quartz is not indestructible, so you are still going to need to be careful, especially with anything sharp, such as knives – always use a protective pad when cutting anything.
- Quartz doesn’t react well to heat and hot pans shouldn’t be placed directly onto the surface.
- Like Granite, if a Quartz worktop is damaged, it isn’t a material that can easily be repaired.
Pros of Marble
- Marble is 100% Natural.
- While some rarer types of Marble are very expensive, there are some common varieties which are more affordable. Offcuts can be a really inexpensive way to upgrade bathrooms with vanity tops and sills.
- Marble is a timeless material that has been used for thousands of years, so it sits well in period and traditional homes.
- Marble is one of the most aesthetically pleasing materials you could use for a worktop. The colour range of Marble comes in a softer palette and has more varied patterns and veining than Granite.
Cons of Marble
- Marble is more porous than granite, and as a result, any liquid spills tend to penetrate further into the surface more easily, making them harder to remove.
- Marble requires more care than Granite or Quartz. Regular sealing is important, and because the stone is softer, heavy pots or mugs could chip the marble, or in rare cases even break off a corner.
- Due to its soft nature, sharp knives can scratch Marble and acidic food or liquids can cause etching. Having the surface sealed when it’s installed and re-sealing it regularly will help to protect it but cannot totally alleviate this issue.
Try Before You Buy!
If you are still uncertain as to the best worktop material to suit your home, Stoneworkz are always more than happy to provide advice and guidance and offer a ‘try before you buy’ scheme. We offer our customers the opportunity to borrow chopping boards in their preferred material type to take home and use in the kitchen for a week to see if it will stand the test of time in your home.
If you visit our showroom we will book out a maximum of 2 chopping boards in your chosen material type for 1 week’s trial free of charge.
Contact Us for more details or to register for this service.
Follow this link for Directions to our showroom.