Choosing the Right Stone: A Guide to Understanding the Differences in Natural Stone Materials

Explore the differences between marble, granite, quartzite, and quartz countertops. Understand their benefits and considerations to make the best choice.

What is Natural Stone?

Natural Stone

Natural stone countertops are the epitome of elegance and strength, making them the perfect choice for your kitchen. But what exactly is natural stone? Natural stone is a type of material that is formed in the Earth's crust over millions of years. It is a completely natural and authentic material that is available in a wide range of colors and patterns. Discover the mesmerizing world of natural stone, where fiery igneous, captivating sedimentary, and transformative metamorphic rock reign supreme. Igneous rocks like granite are formed from the cooling and solidification of molten lava or magma. Sedimentary rocks like limestone are made from the accumulation and compaction of sediments. Metamorphic rocks like marble are created from the transformation of existing rock types through intense heat and pressure. Each type of natural stone has its own unique characteristics and qualities, making it a versatile and timeless choice for countertops.

Common Types of Natural Stone Materials

There are several common types of natural stone materials that are widely used in building and design projects. These materials offer a wide range of colors, patterns, and textures, giving homeowners and designers plenty of options to choose from.

Natural Stone

Granite is a popular choice for countertops due to its durability and natural beauty. It is formed from volcanic activity and is known for its resistance to heat and scratches. Marble, on the other hand, is a metamorphic rock that offers an elegant and luxurious look. It is commonly used in bathroom vanities and fireplace surrounds.

Quartzite is another type of natural stone that is gaining popularity as a countertop material. It is known for its durability and resistance to stains. Sandstone, with its unique texture and range of colors, is often used in outdoor applications such as paving stones and wall cladding.

Slate countertops are known for their durability and minimal maintenance. They are a popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms due to their resistance to stains and scratches.

These natural stone materials each have their own unique characteristics and applications. Whether you are looking for a high-end look or a more natural and rustic feel, there is a type of natural stone that will suit your needs.

Pros and Cons of Natural Stone

Choosing the right stone for your countertops is an important decision when it comes to the overall look and functionality of your space. Natural stone materials offer unique beauty and durability, but it's essential to understand their pros and cons before making a final selection. In this guide, we'll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of natural stone countertops, including granite, marble, quartzite, sandstone, and slate. By understanding these factors, you can confidently choose the right stone that suits your style preferences and meets your practical needs. Let's dive in and explore the pros and cons of natural stone countertops.

Advantages of Natural Stone

Choosing the right stone for your countertops is an important decision when it comes to designing your kitchen. Natural stone offers a wide range of advantages that make it a popular choice among homeowners.

Natural Stone

One of the main advantages of natural stone is its ease of installation. Unlike other materials, natural stone does not require exposed aggregate, resulting in a seamless and polished appearance. Additionally, natural stone is known for its lifetime weather resistance, making it suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications.

Another benefit of natural stone is its low moisture absorbency. This means that it is resistant to staining and moisture damage, making it a durable and long-lasting choice for kitchen countertops. Natural stone also offers a natural color variation, allowing you to create a unique and personalized look in your space.

In addition to its functional benefits, natural stone is also environmentally friendly. It is a sustainable material that is sourced from the earth and requires minimal processing. Furthermore, natural stone is easy to clean and maintain, reducing the need for harsh chemicals and minimizing environmental impact.

Overall, natural stone countertops offer the perfect combination of beauty, durability, and sustainability. With its easy installation, weather resistance, low moisture absorbency, natural color variation, and timeless appeal, natural stone is an excellent choice for any kitchen design.

Disadvantages of Natural Stone

While natural stone countertops offer numerous advantages, they do come with a few disadvantages to consider. One of the main concerns is the susceptibility to staining. Natural stone, such as marble and granite, is porous and therefore can absorb liquids easily, which could lead to permanent stains if not cleaned promptly.

Natural Stone

In addition to staining, natural stone countertops are also prone to scratching. Although they are known for their durability, certain materials like marble and limestone can be more susceptible to scratches from sharp objects or abrasive cleaners. Moreover, natural stone is susceptible to etching, which occurs when acidic substances, like vinegar or citrus juices, come into contact with the surface and cause dull spots or marks.

Regular maintenance is another drawback of natural stone countertops. Most types of natural stone require periodic resealing to maintain their protective barrier against staining and moisture absorption. This process can be time-consuming and may require professional assistance. It's also important to note that natural stone countertops tend to have a higher initial cost compared to other countertop materials.

In conclusion, while natural stone countertops offer undeniable beauty and durability, they do have their drawbacks. The susceptibility to staining, scratching, and etching, as well as the need for regular resealing, can require more care and attention compared to other countertop materials. Therefore, careful consideration and proactive maintenance are vital to ensuring the longevity and appearance of natural stone countertops.

Durability of Different Stones

Durability of Different Stones:

When choosing a natural stone for your countertops, it’s crucial to consider the durability of the materials. Different stones have varying levels of hardness and resilience, making some better suited for high-traffic areas and frequent use. In general, granite and quartzite are considered to be among the most durable natural stones available. They are highly resistant to scratches, heat, and stains, making them ideal for kitchen countertops. On the other hand, softer stones like marble and limestone are more vulnerable to scratches and etching, so they may require more care and maintenance. It’s important to weigh the aesthetic appeal and character of each stone against its durability to find the perfect balance for your needs. Consulting with a professional can provide valuable insights into the specific characteristics and durability of each stone, ensuring that you choose the right one for your countertops. By considering both the looks and the durability, you can make an informed decision and enjoy your natural stone countertops for years to come.

Granite Countertops

Granite countertops are a popular choice for kitchen countertops due to their numerous benefits and features. One of the key advantages of granite is its exceptional durability. This natural stone is capable of withstanding heavy use and is highly resistant to heat and scratches. This makes it an ideal choice for busy kitchens where durability is a top priority.

Granite Countertop

In addition to its durability, granite countertops offer a wide range of colors and patterns to choose from. Whether you're looking for a classic black or white granite or something more unique like a blue or green option, there is a granite countertop to suit every style and taste. The natural beauty of granite, with its intricate variations and veining, adds elegance and character to any kitchen.

Properly sealing granite countertops is essential to maintain their beauty and longevity. This protective coating helps to prevent staining and water damage, ensuring that your granite countertops stay in pristine condition for years to come. Regular sealing and maintenance will ensure that your granite countertops continue to look their best and perform well.

At Cabinets Plus, we offer a wide variety of granite countertop options. From classic choices like Absolute Black to more exotic selections like Azul Bahia and Blue Bahia, we have a diverse range of granite slabs to choose from. Our experts can help you select the perfect granite countertop to enhance the beauty and functionality of your kitchen.

Granite Countertop

In conclusion, granite countertops are a durable and beautiful choice for kitchen countertops. With their heat and scratch resistance, wide range of colors and patterns, and the ability to customize and seal the surface, granite countertops are an excellent investment for any home.

Marble Countertops

Marble countertops are known for their elegant appearance and can instantly elevate the aesthetic of any kitchen. The timeless beauty of marble adds a touch of luxury and sophistication that is highly sought after, making it a popular choice among homeowners and potential buyers. Additionally, marble countertops have a high resale value, which can make them a wise investment for those looking to add value to their homes.

Marble Countertop

One of the unique qualities of marble is its ability to stay cool, making it the ideal surface for rolling out pastry dough or working with other temperature-sensitive ingredients in the kitchen. This natural cooling property can provide a comfortable and practical workspace for avid bakers and chefs.

However, it's important to note that marble countertops have some downsides. They are a softer material compared to other natural stone options, which makes them more prone to scratches and dents. Marble is also porous, meaning it can absorb liquids and be more susceptible to staining. To minimize these risks, it's recommended to promptly wipe up spills and regularly apply a sealant to protect the surface.

Marble countertops come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, allowing homeowners to find the perfect match for their kitchen design. From the timeless elegance of Crema Marfil to the bold and unique Rainforest Green, there is a marble option to suit every style and taste.

Marble Countertop

In conclusion, marble countertops offer an elegant appearance, high resale value, and a cooling surface. However, they require regular maintenance to prevent staining and scratches. With a variety of colors available, marble countertops can be the perfect choice to enhance the beauty of any kitchen.

Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their numerous benefits. One of the key advantages of quartz countertops is that they are made from engineered stone, which makes them highly durable and resistant to stains, scratches, and heat. This makes them an ideal choice for high-traffic areas such as kitchens.

Quartz Countertop

Another major benefit of quartz countertops is their low maintenance requirements. Unlike natural stone countertops, quartz does not need to be sealed, making it a hassle-free option for homeowners. Additionally, quartz countertops are non-porous, meaning they are resistant to bacteria and mold growth, providing a hygienic surface for food preparation.

When it comes to appearance, quartz countertops offer a wide range of possibilities. They can be manufactured to mimic the look of natural stones like granite or marble, allowing homeowners to achieve the luxurious aesthetic without the high maintenance associated with these materials. Quartz countertops also come in a vast array of colors and patterns, making it easy to find the perfect match for any kitchen design.

Quartz Countertop

However, it's important to note that quartz countertops are not entirely free from drawbacks. While they are highly resistant to scratches, they can still be damaged by excessive force or high impact. Additionally, quartz countertops are not suitable for outdoor installations as prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause the color to fade over time.

In summary, quartz countertops offer a winning combination of durability, low maintenance, and customizable appearance. With their wide range of colors and patterns, they are a versatile choice for any kitchen design.

Laminate Countertops

Laminate countertops have become a popular choice for homeowners seeking an affordable and versatile option for their kitchen or bathroom. These countertops offer a wide range of patterns that closely resemble natural stone, wood, or even quartz, allowing homeowners to achieve a high-end look without breaking the bank.

Laminate Countertop

One of the main advantages of laminate countertops is their waterproof nature, making them resistant to stains and easy to clean. With just a simple wipe down, spills and messes can easily be removed. This makes laminate countertops a practical choice for households with busy lifestyles.

However, it's important to note that laminate countertops are not as durable as other options. They can be easily scratched or damaged by sharp objects or heavy impacts. Additionally, prolonged exposure to heat can cause the laminate surface to warp or bubble.

For those on a tight budget, tile countertops can be a great alternative. These countertops are also waterproof and easy to clean. With a wide variety of options in terms of colors, shapes, and patterns, tile countertops offer endless design possibilities.

Laminate Countertop

In conclusion, laminate countertops provide an affordable and attractive choice for homeowners looking for a budget-friendly countertop option. While they may not be as durable as other materials, laminate countertops are waterproof, easy to clean, and come in a variety of patterns resembling natural stone, wood, or quartz.

Concrete Countertops

Concrete countertops are a popular choice for modern kitchens, offering a unique and customizable look. With concrete, homeowners have the flexibility to create countertops with their desired shape, size, and style. They can mix and match different materials, such as glass or metal, into the concrete to add texture and visual interest.

Concrete Countertop

One key advantage of concrete countertops is their energy efficiency. Concrete has the ability to capture and store heat, making it ideal for maintaining a warm temperature in the kitchen. When the heat source is removed, the concrete gradually releases the stored heat, effectively reducing energy consumption.

In addition to its customizable features and energy efficiency, concrete countertops are also highly durable and require minimal maintenance. They are resistant to scratches, stains, and heat, making them perfect for busy households. Regular sealing can further enhance their durability and protect them from water damage.

Concrete Countertop

With its versatility and durability, concrete countertops have become a popular option for homeowners looking for a high-end look and a solid surface that will stand the test of time. Whether you prefer a modern or rustic aesthetic, concrete countertops offer a wide range of design possibilities to suit your style and needs.

Solid Surface Countertops

Solid surface countertops offer several advantages that make them a popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms. One of the key benefits is their durability. Solid surface materials are composed of a mixture of acrylic, polyester resin, and natural minerals, making them highly resistant to impact and scratches. This durability ensures that the countertops can withstand the demands of daily use without showing signs of wear and tear.

Solid Surface Countertop

Another advantage of solid surface countertops is their non-porous nature. This means that they do not absorb liquids, making them stain-resistant and easy to clean. Spills can be quickly wiped away without leaving any permanent marks or discoloration. Additionally, the non-porous surface prevents the growth of bacteria and mold, promoting a hygienic environment in the kitchen.

One of the standout features of solid surface countertops is the wide range of colors and patterns available. Whether you prefer a timeless white countertop or a bold, vibrant hue, solid surface materials offer a plethora of options to suit any design aesthetic. Additionally, they can be seamlessly integrated with sinks and backsplashes to create a cohesive and visually appealing space.

Solid Surface Countertop

When considering solid surface countertops, it is important to factor in the maintenance requirements and associated costs. While solid surface countertops are generally low-maintenance, they may require occasional polishing to retain their luster. Additionally, certain colors and patterns may require more frequent cleaning to hide any potential stains. In terms of cost, solid surface countertops fall in the mid-range, making them a more affordable option compared to high-end materials such as natural stone or quartz.

Overall, solid surface countertops offer durability, a non-porous surface, and a wide range of color options, making them a versatile and practical choice for any kitchen or bathroom.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Material

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Material for Your Countertops:

Choosing the right material for your kitchen countertops is a crucial decision that can greatly impact the overall look and functionality of your space. With a wide array of options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which material is best suited for your needs. Factors such as durability, maintenance requirements, cost, and aesthetic appeal should all be taken into consideration. By understanding these key factors, you can make an informed decision and choose a material that not only enhances the beauty of your kitchen but also stands the test of time.

Maintenance Requirements

When it comes to choosing the right natural stone material for your countertops, understanding the maintenance requirements is essential. Different types of natural stone materials, such as soapstone, marble, and quartz, have varying levels of care and maintenance needs.

Soapstone countertops are known for their durability and resistance to stains, but regular maintenance is still required. To keep them in tip-top shape, simply clean them with a mild soap and water solution. Keep your surface sparkling and pristine by steering clear of any harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that could cause serious damage.

Marble countertops, on the other hand, require more careful maintenance due to their porous nature. They are prone to staining and etching from acidic substances like vinegar or citrus. To clean marble, use a pH-neutral cleaner specifically designed for natural stone. It's essential to wipe up spills immediately and regularly seal the surface to protect it from stains.

Quartz countertops are the easiest to maintain. They are non-porous and highly resistant to stains. Routine cleaning can be done with just mild soap and water. Avoid abrasive cleaners or scrub brushes that can damage the surface. Quartz countertops do not require sealing like natural stone, making them a low-maintenance option.

In conclusion, soapstone, marble, and quartz countertops each have different maintenance requirements. It is important to understand the specific cleaning products and methods recommended for each. Additionally, sealing and resealing considerations are necessary for certain stone materials. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your natural stone countertops stay beautiful and functional for years to come.

Cost Considerations

When considering natural stone materials for countertops, cost is an important factor to take into account. The price of each type of natural stone, such as granite, quartzite, and marble, can vary based on several factors.

Granite is a popular choice for its durability and natural beauty. Its cost depends on factors like rarity, color, and origin. Exotic or unique granite slabs may be more expensive than common varieties. The price range for granite countertops typically falls between $50 and $200 per square foot, excluding installation. Additional costs to consider include sink cut-outs and edging detail, which can increase the total cost.

Quartzite, a metamorphic rock, is another natural stone option. Its cost is influenced by factors like location, availability, and color. Quartzite countertops generally range from $60 to $200 per square foot, excluding installation. Sink cut-outs and edging detail can also add extra costs.

Marble is known for its timeless elegance but is typically the most expensive natural stone option. Its cost varies based on factors such as quality, rarity, and thickness. Marble countertops can range from $70 to $250 per square foot, excluding installation. Sink cut-outs and edging detail will increase the overall cost.

It is important to note that installation costs can also vary based on local labor costs and the complexity of the job. It is advisable to get quotes from reputable professionals to better understand the installation costs involved.

Considering the cost of natural stone materials, along with additional expenses, will help in making an informed decision when choosing the right stone for your countertops.


Natural stone countertops bring timeless beauty and durability to your living spaces. Whether you're drawn to the strength of granite, the elegance of marble, or the versatility of quartz, these natural stones offer a wide range of options to suit your style and needs.

At Cabinets Plus, we understand the importance of choosing the right countertop material for your home. But we don't stop at countertops. We specialize in designing stunning kitchens and bathrooms, and we offer a comprehensive selection of top-quality cabinets, flooring, and countertops to bring your vision to life.

Our commitment to providing competitive prices and exceptional value ensures that you get the best products without breaking the bank. We proudly serve Spokane County and Kootenai County, and we invite you to visit our showroom in Spokane. There, you can explore our extensive range of products and experience firsthand the craftsmanship and beauty that Cabinets Plus can bring to your home.

Don't settle for ordinary. Elevate your living spaces with Cabinets Plus. Visit our showroom today and let us help you transform your kitchen and bathroom dreams into reality.

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