With the constant stress and high traffic that your kitchen counter suffers from daily use, it is important to invest in a material that will last under pressure. Thankfully, several surveys carried out by the National Association of Home Builders revealed that while some materials only last for a decade or two, others can make your kitchen counter last your whole lifetime, even seeing up to a century of daily use.
To reach its full potential, the proper care and cleaning of your kitchen counter is just as important as its building materials. Even an exceptionally sturdy countertop can break if mistreated often enough.
Most natural stone counters have been found to have a life expectancy of 100 years, and granite is particularly sturdy. Its resistance to heat and scratches in addition to a relatively low price makes granite a popular choice in kitchens. However, granite is slightly porous, so it can be damaged by moisture if not properly sealed. As long as it is resealed regularly without the use of highly acidic cleaners, granite countertops should last throughout your lifetime.
Much like granite, soapstone is durable and resistant to heat. It differs in having a nonporous surface that protects it from moisture and gives it natural antimicrobial qualities, resulting in less need for sealing. Soapstone, unfortunately, is also less resistant to scratches, but they can easily be sanded out.
Quartzite, which is a naturally occurring stone, as opposed to engineered quartz counters, is one of the hardest natural stones according to the Mohs scale. As a result of being even more resistant to scratches and heat than granite, it is one of the most expensive solid stone materials. It still requires sealant and can be adversely affected by abrasive cleaners or ammonia, but is easily maintained by washing with soap and water and regularly applying new sealant. Even damaged stone countertops can become almost like new if they are professionally refinished.
While marble makes for a fairly durable countertop and is heat resistant, it is a softer stone, making it more susceptible to scratching. It also requires frequent resealing, making it a poor choice for kitchen counter material. It is more porous than granite, resulting in easier etching, staining, and eventually breaking if left exposed for long enough.
Engineered countertop materials such as quartz are made from recycled stone mixed with a resin that binds the stone together, making it nonporous so that it handles moisture well and resists mold. On the downside it is more susceptible to heat and sun damage, as well as etching from strong cleaners. In addition, chips and cracks are difficult to repair. Proper maintenance can still extend these counters’ lifespans by decades.
Call us at Marble Granite World if you want to include a stone countertop in your next remodeling project. Our expert team members will help you install and maintain a kitchen counter that can last for a century!