Your expert guide to natural stone worktops
When it comes to pure good looks, you can’t go wrong with natural stone. No two slabs are exactly the same, so you can be sure of a unique work surface. Read on to find out more about three of our favourites, marble, granite and quartzite.
Why invest in marble worktops?
If you want wow factor, marble worktops are a must! Achingly elegant, marble comes in a huge range of patterns and colours and each piece is unique. Marble is cool to the touch, which is a real benefit in a hot kitchen. For example, a cold marble surface will help make perfect pastry and dough.
Pros and cons of marble worktops
Marble is beautiful but delicate, so it’s not surprising that there are pros and cons to using it for worktops. For starters, it packs a stylish punch but is easily scratched – so may not be the best choice for a busy family kitchen. And you must take care when cooking with liquids such as red wine and citrus juices because they will stain (even after the marble has been sealed). In addition, marble is heat resistant but I’d advise playing it safe and preserving its beauty by not placing hot pans on it without protection.
Polished or honed marble worktops?
Marble comes in two finishes: polished – which is self-explanatory – and honed, which is smooth and matt. Which you choose depends on personal preference.
How to look after marble worktops
Marble is porous so it needs to sealed every three to six months. Ask your supplier which products they recommend for this. On a day-to-day basis, marble worktops are easy to keep clean. Just spray them with warm water and a mild, non-abrasive soap and wipe them dry. For tougher stains, the experts at The Marble Group recommend mixing warm water and baking soda into a paste and leave this overnight on stains to lift them out.
Honed or polished granite worktops?
Granite worktops are available with a polished or honed finish. Polished granite is shiny and glossy while honed granite has more of a matt look. There aren’t huge differences between the two in terms of durability and maintenance, so your decision will come down to personal preference.
How durable are granite worktops?
Granite is a sturdy choice for worktops. It’s difficult to scratch or chip – but don’t cut straight onto it – continue to use a chopping board. It’s heat resistant too, so you can place a hot pan directly on it.
Looking after granite worktops
Granite is porous so it needs to be sealed before initial use and then ideally every six months after that. To keep your worktops looking good as new, wipe them down regularly with a soft cloth and warm water.
What is quartzite?
Not to be confused with the manmade material quartz, quartzite is a natural stone. Tougher than granite, it is a super-durable choice for a kitchen worktop.
The benefits of quartzite
Unlike marble, quartzite will not react to acids like lemon juice or vinegar. Placing either on the surface of the slab for about 15 minutes will reveal if the stone is the real deal or not. What’s more, quartzite is hard to scratch. Check this by scratching the stone surface with a sharp knife blade. If it is a real quartzite, it will scratch very lightly or not at all. A natural stone like marble, for example, is easily scratched by a knife blade.
In addition to being scratch resistant, quartzite is also heat resistant. This means you can place a hot pan directly on its surface. Design note: quartzite has a range of porosities, so talk to your supplier about sealing.
Featured image: Marble worktops as seen in a kitchen created by architects De Rosee Sa.
Want more? This post is the latest in a series covering all aspects of choosing kitchen worktops – and deciding which material is best for your kitchen. Check them out here.