A stone kitchen benchtop is a major investment that will enhance your home for many years. But you need to be careful to install the best option for your needs. Here are several factors to keep in mind.
Typically, a kitchen benchtop will consist of several slabs that are pieced together, though this depends on the overall counter dimensions. The place where the slabs join is called the seam. If the countertop is L-shaped, the seam will be in the corner. A long, straight bench may have more than one seam. Ideally, they are as discreet and unnoticeable as possible.
Some stone pieces are harder to join seamlessly, however. For example, white marble with striking black veins can be tricky as the pattern is bold. On the other hand, granite with even mottling of brown, cream and yellow can be easier to join discreetly as the design is more uniform. However, a quality installation will minimise the appearance of seams as much as possible.
Rather than simply considering the beauty of a stone slab, think about its resilience. While most stone benchtops need sealing, some are more sensitive than others. For example, marble is reactive to acidic substances such as lemon and wine, which can etch the surface. Etching leaves a dull or discoloured spot on the counter.
Other rock species, like granite, are less reactive to acid, and they can be more forgiving and give you more time to wipe up other spills before they cause damage. Granite also creates hard, dense counters that are less likely to scratch. But this quality varies between particular slabs. Dark-coloured granite can be denser than pale-coloured granite. Another benefit of this particular stone is that it's relatively heat resistant. When picking your counter, enquire about which options are the most resilient, as these will be easier to look after.
Most stones are porous to some degree. This means their surfaces are covered in tiny holes that can absorb liquids, causing etching and staining. The way to get around this problem is to regularly seal your benchtop, as recommended. The sealant will form a smooth cover that protects the surface. However, it may not be 100 per cent foolproof, so clean up spills as quickly as possible. Make sure not to use harsh cleansers, like bleach or vinegar, as they can damage the sealant and make the countertop more vulnerable.
For more information on stone benchtops, contact a company near you.