Quartz: Long lasting, quartz comes in many colors, already finished. Quartz has become the fastest growing countertop material in the United States and Europe. With the distinctive depth and glimmering radiance of natural stone, it offers easier maintenance than Granite, Marble or Limestone. Only three natural materials—diamonds, topaz and sapphires—are harder than quartz, giving quartz surfaces strength that is less susceptible to scratches, chips and cracks. Not only will engineered quartz hold up over the years, its natural looks will not go out of style. Additionally, quartz colors and patterns are more consistent then natural stone, which means homeowners can rely on showroom colors to be true to what is delivered.
Granite: Due to its inherent strength and scratch resistance, granite is ideal for kitchen countertops and flooring where significant surface abuse is expected. Like marble, granite is naturally made up almost entirely of crystals polished to achieve a high-gloss finish. This polished finish allows for the enjoyment of granite’s exceptionally vivid colors. Granite is not impervious to scratching or staining. Sealers should always be used on stone to slow down the absorption of water and oil-based stains. Scratching may occur if another piece of granite or a diamond scratches the surface. Stainless steel cutlery will dull when used on granite. Concentrated acids found in some household cleaners can also etch the surface, even though non-granite stones can more easily be etched by acids commonly found in food and drink. If allowed to stay on the surface long enough, rings left behind by such beverages as citrus and wine can be permanent.
Marble: Marble’s beauty and special attraction lie in its tremendous variety of colors and patterns, as well as the unparalleled ability of its crystals to be polished to a high gloss. The rich, random veining of most marbles is nature’s unique work of art: no two pieces will ever be exactly alike, making it essential that you choose the specific slab to be used in your home remodeling project. You cannot choose marble by looking at samples! The visual depth of marble, as you peer into it, is breathtaking, and its crystalline nature makes many marbles translucent. However, that same crystalline nature makes marble much more susceptible to staining than other stones, so in most instances it is better suited to bathrooms than kitchens. Marble should be sealed 2 to 3 times before use. This is time consuming but should be done.
Corian: On the market for more than 30 years, durable Corian has come a long way, with fabulous new colors really worth seeing. Still carrying a 10-year warranty, Corian is a terrific product excelling in ease of cleaning, maintenance and care. Check out the new Corian at Sparta Trades Kitchens and Baths.
Tile: Used on floors, walls, and countertops all over the world for literally thousands of years,tile is highly durable and is now available in a seemingly endless variety of colors, shapes, and materials, including ceramic, porcelain and glass. It’s especially important to use the right grout on tile kitchen and bathroom countertops , backsplashes, and floors.
Slate: Typically valued for its natural cleft surfaces and wide color variation, the grayish or earthy colors of slate are ideal to create a rustic, natural environment. Due to its natural slip resistance and water repellence, slate is ideal for wet areas such as around tubs, showers, or entryways. Attractive contrasts can be created when slate is combined with glass or sophisticated metal accents. Slate should be sealed 2 to 3 times before use. This is time consuming but should be done.
Travertine: Travertine’s allure lies in its earthy character and colors. The layers of this sedimentary stone often reveal themselves to the observer as a bird’s eye view of a desert plain or salt flat. This characteristic does a remarkable job of expressing nature across wide expanses of flooring or countertops, especially when chosen in the popular 16” x 16” or 18” x 18” tiles. Travertine is a relatively soft material, making it unsuitable in heavy wear areas.
Limestone: The beauty is in Limestone’s “soft” appearance and the “warmth” of its colors. Occasionally, limestone can contain visible fossils—ancient shells or skeletons of sea creatures—providing an added dimension of charm. In general, limestone is best suited for bathrooms and areas with less foot traffic, where its softer look and feel may best be appreciated. Though limestone may absorb liquids or staining substances more quickly than other stones, proper sealing and cleaning can minimize the problem, ensuring life-long splendor. Limestone should be sealed 2 to 3 times before use. This is time consuming but should be done.
Formica: More than 60 years old, and still going strong, formica provides a huge range of color choices, including many new granite and slate patterns. Formica can scratch, but has the advantage of being more reasonably priced than other materials.