About Natural Stone Surfaces
The lasting beauty and durability of natural stone make it one of the most popular choices for countertops. Stone’s texture, color, and composition create a striking, one-of-a-kind surface. It also bears noting that, unlike some manufactured surfaces, natural stone is heat-resistant. At Connecticut Soapstone, we fabricate countertops from granite, marble, and soapstone—the most popular and functional choices among categories of natural stone. Each category has its own characteristics and benefits:
Durability: Stone occurs naturally from the earth’s sedimentary deposits. The composition of these deposits determines their strength. Granite, for example, is combination of quartz and feldspar, making it very hard and resistant to scratches. Marble, which is crystallized carbonate, is a softer stone. It’s important to note that stone countertops are more susceptible to stains, scratches and breaking than solid surfaces. But they’re also very easy to clean with just hot water.
Finishes: A polished stone finish creates a high-gloss appearance. A honed finish is smooth and matte. A flamed finish is textured and a tumbled finish is a bit rougher to the touch than a honed surface.
Sealants: All natural stone surfaces are porous and require the application of a protective sealant to prevent the countertop from absorbing bacteria and stains. The frequency of sealing will depend on the stone you choose.
Repair: Natural stone is resistant to heat, but don’t take it for granted. Protect your investment in your countertop by using trivets when leaving a hot pot or pan on your counter. Stains and scratches on your stone surface can often be polished. Small chips and cracks can often be filled in with resin. But a countertop with a significant crack cannot be repaired and you’ll have to replace the entire surface. Natural acids from tomatoes, lemons and other acidic foods may damage some natural stone surfaces, marble in particular. You can prevent this by immediately wiping up after spills.
Granite is the most durable among the natural stones. It resists scratches and chips, and is the least absorbent of the porous natural stones, making it a great food preparation surface when properly sealed.
The beauty of marble reflects quality wherever it is used. The natural veining and broad color spectrum make it a popular choice for countertops. Marble is softer and less stain-resistant than granite, so it doesn’t wear quite as well, but it does age extremely gracefully.
Slate, with its natural, often rustic appearance, has long been an outstanding choice for countertops and other surfaces. Due to its thermal stability, hardness and other qualities, it is widely used for laboratory bench tops and billiard table tops. In addition to its popularity as a countertop, slate is often used for interior and exterior flooring and wall cladding.