Natural stone (eg Marble & Granite)
These two were the stone of choice for decades, (Centuries???), by everyone, but in many cases that was because there wasn’t anything else on the market. Today we have many different types of stone available.
There are many “species” of granite & marble out there. They range from the economical Rosa Beta granite at one end to say, Calacatta Marble at the other end. In between there are maybe 100 or more different Natural stones to choose from.
What are the things to look out for?
Well, first and foremost, let’s deal with Marble, (and other soft stones such as Travertine), it is generally held that Marble is not a suitable material for a kitchen benchtop. It is too soft, too easily stained & marked and too soluble in a wide range of food acids, (vinegar, lemon juice, grape juice, wine, beetroot juice, and so on. Beautiful though it is, it is often specified by architects and Interior Designers for its looks, but they don’t have to cope with the maintenance and repair requirements when it’s 2 or 3 years old and that’s if you’re lucky with it.
As mentioned above, Marble is very beautiful, there is nothing as classical as a new Calacatta Marble benchtop elegantly folding down to meet the floor as a “waterfall end” to a kitchen, but that’s when it’s brand new. Go back and have a look over it in a couple of years and you’ll find yourself saying, Oh what a pity, look at all the marks!”
So buy marble by all means, but remember the old adage, “Caveat Emptor”….. Let the Buyer beware!
As much as Marble is not very suitable, granite has proven to be an excellent stone for a kitchen.
It is extremely hard, won’t scratch or stain easily, can be machined to any shape, comes in a wide range of colours, and types, and there is one to suit almost every budget.
In recent years, as there has been a move to lighter & whiter benchtops, so there has been a move away from granite, as overall, most granites have a darker colour rather than a light one. Certainly there is no such thing as a white granite.
- Very hard to mark or stain
- Completely machineable to whatever shape you desire.
- Allows the use of undermount sinks
- Can be used as a splashback behind a gas hotplate
- There is pretty much a stone to suit most budgets.
- Usually great depth of colour & texture, unobtainable in manmade stone.
- Classic beauty of natural stone lasts forever
- When stained or scratched, expensive & very messy to rectify.
- To keep it stain resistant, it needs resealing at least yearly, by the stonemason.
- If cracked, can’t be repaired effectively.
- Very few light colors available.