(by Stephanie Vierra, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C Vierra Design & Education Services, LLC | Jul 31, 2019)
Kitchens are often called the heart of the home. So much action takes place in and around the kitchen, from meal preparation and cooking to dining and entertaining. So, when homeowners plan to renovate their kitchen, they want to create a special and unique design that reflects their lifestyle and is also a good investment. Today, there are more countertop materials than ever to choose from and it can be a bit overwhelming deciding where to start. Natural stone is quite often the top contender, with granite and marble being the most popular and preferred choices. Quartz is also often among the narrowed down material choices for consumers. Natural stone and engineered quartz can be somewhat similar in terms of aesthetics and function. These issues are good starting points for the design. However, thought should also be given to the material’s durability, maintenance, sustainability, and cost over the life of the material and kitchen. Let’s take a comparative look at some of these issues before making a decision.
Natural stone has been used for many years as a countertop material and has often lasted long beyond the lifespan of the home. Granite is one of the hardest and strongest types of stone available, which makes it a great choice for a countertop. Marble is another preferred choice for countertops because of its beautiful veining and coloration. Marble has been used since ancient times and is still held in the highest regard and is the preference for many of the world’s greatest works of art and architecture. Granite and marble are natural stones that are quarried, cut into slabs, polished, and fabricated into countertops.