Stone Kitchen Countertops
Stone Counters are Hard to Damage but Easy on the Eyes
When it comes to balancing kitchen form and function, stone countertops are in a class of their own. Durable enough to absorb daily abuse yet beautiful enough to be a major design feature, stone counters, whether made from quarried slab or a highly realistic synthetic, are one of the most popular and impressive kitchen additions.
Types of Stone Countertops
Each type of stone has its own unique veining and coloration and moreover, no two batches of stone are alike. Synthetic stone may not have the "wow" factor that real stone does, but most varieties are pretty faithful replications that require less maintenance.
Granite: The ability to resist scratches and high temperatures makes granite a great choice for kitchen counters. Available in many different colors - including green, black, blue, red, white, and brown - you should have no problem finding granite that complements your kitchen style.
Marble: Marble is similar in appearance to granite, although it doesn't offer as many color choices and is more porous (resulting in higher maintenance requirements). Despite the extra work needed to keep marble in top form, the material is coveted by homeowners who want a less-commonly found stone countertop.
Soapstone: Soapstone counters are often grey, although other color choices are available. Great for kitchens because it's nonporous, soapstone is also easy to work with (the material can normally be cut with woodworking tools), making it a sensible choice for an irregular kitchen layout.
Solid Surface: While not a natural stone, this synthetic looks like the real thing and costs significantly less. Nearly indestructible, solid surface counters don't require the regular applications of sealant that real stone does, either. If you're having trouble finding stone counters in a color that you like, consider solid surface, which is sold in just about every color imaginable.
Engineered Stone: Also known as manufactured quartz, this countertop material is made from over 90% natural quartz along with several resins and binders that give it exceptional durability and chemical protection.
Concrete: Concrete is an affordable, highly-customizable stone countertop option. Because it's poured, concrete can be made in nearly any shape and is also seamless. Regular sealing is required to prevent acid etching.
Stone Counter Considerations
- Most stone counters require occasional sealing. Seal your countertop immediately after installation and once every other year after that.
- Compared to wood and laminate countertops, stone counters are much more resistant to damage from heat, water, and physical abrasions (chipping, scratching, etc.).
- If any damage does occur to your stone counter a professional stone worker can easily repair or resurface the trouble spot(s) for a minimal fee.
- Don't let the typically high prices of stone countertops turn you away from installing them. Several options - including prefab pieces, reclaimed materials, and countertop remnants - are available at lower costs. Be prepared to change your cabinet layout to accommodate reclaimed or prefab countertops, however, or to have seams in your countertops in the case of stone countertop remnants.
Stone Kitchen Countertop Costs
Please note that actual countertop prices depend on the area of the country you live in, the current availability of particular stones, and the size of the installation (installing only a small amount of countertop will cost more per square foot than large installations).
The following costs reflect 40 square feet of countertop:
- Granite countertops cost $75 to $150 per square foot installed ($3,000-$6,000).
- Natural marble countertops cost $120 to $200 per square foot installed ($4,800-$8,000).
- Soapstone countertops cost $60 to $80 per square foot installed ($2,400-$3,200).
- Solid surface countertops cost $50 to $100 per square foot installed ($2,000-$4,000).
- Engineered stone countertops generally cost $75 to $100 per square foot installed, although prices for high-end materials can reach as high as $200 per square foot ($3,000-$8,000).
- Concrete countertops cost $60 to $100 per square foot installed ($2,400-$4,000).