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Countertop Comparisons: Natural Vs. Engineered Stone Surfaces

Fully remodeling a kitchen is a big decision to consider. To undertake a project of this size is not an easy feat, even if you are hiring a design professional to manage the project. It requires meticulous planning, effort, and proper budgeting. But with the right approach, a kitchen remodel can provide an increase in value for your property and is considered a smart investment. 

Thinking about the layout, color, and design style of your kitchen are just a few of the many things to consider in your remodel plans. You also need to factor in the cost, your budget, and the quality of the material finishes. This is what makes asking the help of a professional designer really a must – as professionals can not only deliver a better quality job but also save you money (or make you more money if you are selling) in the long run. 

In this blog, we will tackle countertop surfaces for your kitchen: natural versus engineered stone. You’ll learn the different characteristics of each material and hopefully find out which one is the best for your kitchen remodel. 

Engineered stone

Engineered stone is also popularly known as quartz. This beautiful material is made of quartz crystals that are compressed and bonded together with a resin binder to achieve the look of a natural stone. Although quartz has a somewhat similar appearance to natural stone, it has many advantages that natural countertops do not have. This is one of the reasons why designers would choose this material finish over others. 

Main Advantages

Durable

Engineered stones are almost unbreakable. They are, in fact, harder and tougher compared to natural stones. Their weakness, however, is extreme heat from cooking pans and other appliances, so heating pads are necessary to protect this type of surface.

Easy to Maintain

Quartz countertops have a non-absorbent surface, which makes them easier to clean and maintain. The material is also non-porous which means they won’t absorb liquids and air.

Stain Resistant

Given that the material is non-porous, it also makes them highly resistant to stain. If you do a lot of cooking and want to keep your kitchen immaculately clean even after many years, quartz is a fantastic option. 

Comes in different styles and colors

Quartz countertops come in a variety of colors and styles. Regardless of your kitchen design style and color scheme, you can rest assured that there is an appropriate quartz design that’s perfect for your desired look. 

Natural Aesthetics

Quartz is almost indistinguishable from natural stones such as granite and marble. It has natural aesthetics that can go well with any color scheme. Whether you’re aiming for a modern contemporary kitchen look or a traditional one, engineered stone give the look and feel of a natural surface without the vulnerabilities that come from authentic stone. 

Disadvantages

Costly

Although it is synthetic, engineered stone is costly because of its advantages and the detailed processes it undergoes in manufacturing. It is a better solution for a kitchen, bringing durability and expansive customizations, so the cost reflects that.

Lack resistance to heat damage

The resin and polymer fillers in quartz are not heat resistant. The polymers in quartz countertops can be melted and permanently damaged if they are exposed to hot cookware. 

Natural Stone

Various rocky materials taken from the ground and utilized as construction products and architectural embellishments are referred to as “Natural Stone” and can be used as kitchen counters. There are a variety of materials available in these categories: granite, marble, limestone, travertine, sandstone, among others. The most popular types of natural stones used for kitchen surfaces are granite and marble. 

Advantages

Has a uniquely natural aesthetic pattern

If you want to have a kitchen countertop with a unique pattern that doesn’t have a match, opt for natural stone like granite or marble. There will be no other countertop like it!

Heat resistance

Natural stones are more resistant to heat than engineered stones. Granite for example is essentially heat-resistant, and it can withstand temperatures of up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit when in direct contact with cookware.

Low maintenance

Natural stone countertops are easy to clean – just make sure that they are perfectly sealed. 

Durable with the right care

Marble and granite countertops can last for many years if they are properly cared for and maintained. Make sure that they are sealed periodically to keep moisture and any kind of bacteria from seeping into the surface. 

Disadvantages

Difficult to install

While installing natural stone countertops in your kitchen is something that you can learn how to do, it is advisable to seek professional help to avoid mistakes and damages during the process. Leaving the job to your interior designer and their contractor will make the work fast and efficient. 

Susceptible to stains, chipping, and scratches

Without taking the time to properly seal the countertops on a routine schedule, the natural stone surface becomes vulnerable to stains, cracking, and chipping from normal use. Many find themselves preferring the convenience of less maintenance in engineered stone to ensure longer lifespans.

Not easy to restore

Natural stone countertops are much more vulnerable to abuse. Not only do you have to worry about physical damage with breakage, but also the risk of bacteria growing from improper sealing practices. It is really difficult, if not impossible, to fix your countertops once they are damaged in these ways. 

Can be a bit pricey

Depending on market pricing and your choice of stone, natural stone countertops are typically just as expensive as engineered stone without the benefits. Both marble and granite cost more than engineered stone because of their uniqueness, elegance and luxurious appeal. It is important to weigh your options and study your budget in advance to make an informed decision. It can be a bit tricky so make sure to consult a professional designer. 

Wood Cabinetry Finishes to Pair With Stone Counter Tops

Some of the most beautiful and elegant kitchens are generally constructed of wood, but it is important to balance your kitchen with the right ratio of wood to other materials. Too much wood dcan make a room feel too warm and heavy. Not enough can make a room feel stale If you have wood cabinetry and curious of what options you have to spruce them in ways that will perfectly pair with your new stone countertops, read on.

#1 Painted

The natural wood grain pattern looks great in its own entity. However, for kitchen styles that require a different color on their cabinetry, painting wood is a great option. You can refinish your kitchen cabinetry and shelves by painting over stained wood. While it does not expose the natural color and grain of the wood, it certainly does tie the overall look of your kitchen style together. 

#2 Lacquered.

Modern wood finishes such as painted lacquer are often utilized on high-end furniture. It dries quickly, is water-resistant, and retains its clarity for a long period of time. Paint lacquers are similar to varnishes and urethanes; except they’re normally applied using a spray bottle rather than a brush or a cloth.

#3 Grain Wood

Walnut and oakwood can be finished with either clear lacquer or oil. Oil is budget friendly, has a gentle shine to it, and it’s simple to apply even as a DIY solution. Lacquer, on the other hand, is a far superior alternative for long-term protection and upkeep. 

There is a lot that we can talk about kitchen remodeling including picking the right color scheme, style, décor, and how you can refresh your interior without necessarily embarking on a full renovation. But we will save all of that in our future blogs. So be sure to keep updated. We understand that kitchen remodeling is quite challenging and that is why we are here for you. 

PROJECT AZ offers a variety of services to clients based on their residence and needs. We work directly with clients to bring their ideas to reality, from remodels and renovations to furnishing and consultation. If, you’re wanting to redecorate your house and want to find out more about our services, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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