When it comes to kitchen countertops, there are many choices available. Our trusted local experts help you eliminate the guesswork, ensuring you make the right selection for your needs, lifestyle and tastes.
Story by Ann Butenas
Classic marble countertops consistently remain the top choice for many homeowners, primarily because they offer a lovely, natural pattern and figuring not typically seen in other types of natural stone. When considering marble, most people might think of the creamy, white stone. However, there are many varieties, including green, gold, red and black.
“There is a trend towards marble, not so much in kitchens but in bathrooms,” said Gary Sowell, owner of Central States Tile. “However, the Calcutta white marble with its gray veining is great for a kitchen. When choosing marble, though, you need to know what you are getting into, as it is soft and porous. Good sealers can help with staining issues. Marble is a little softer by nature and you need to treat it as such. Nevertheless, it is very popular, especially the classic Italian white marbles like Calcutta and Carrara.”
When you choose marble for your countertops, you will be ensured each slab is unique; naturally heat resistant, and can be sealed to add stain protection. A high quality sealer can go a long way in protecting your marble countertops from stains for many years.
If you prefer a highly durable surface that is non-porous and non-absorbent, then Cambria, a natural stone made in the USA, may be the choice for you. It can take the daily use and abuse yet still remain consistently beautiful.
As the Lexus partner for Cambria, CKF Co. is the preferred fabricator of Cambria in the region. Cambria decides who fabricates products in each market, and they are extremely selective in this regard.
“Cambria uses no filler materials,” emphasized Karen Badalucco, Sales Representative with CKF. “Pure natural quartz and pigment binders are the only ingredients. The very best quartz that comes out of the mine is selected and Cambria then manufactures the product in slabs. We then take those slabs and fabricate them to the specific design. Cambria is reasonably priced for a premium product but you get a lot for your money, as they use the highest quality quartz available.”
Once you install this product, you never need to worry about it, as it is a completely sealed product. With 165+ designs and colors available, there is plenty from which to choose.
No matter where we turn, it seems thin is in. Think: ultra-slim Smart phones, skinny jeans, and sleek television screens. Wilsonart, a world leader in the creation of beautifully engineered surfaces, is excited to introduce an exciting new engineered surface product for kitchen countertops: THINSCAPE™ Performance Tops.
Featuring a collection of twelve European inspired, highly-durable and ultra-thin decorative countertops unlike anything else in the marketplace, this line of products features a variety of surface material looks, including large-scale stone, quartz, planked wood and aged metal designs in a half-inch thick profile. This is where luxury meets exceptional performance in this outstanding collection of chic countertop slabs.
Available locally at Virginia Tile Company, the entire collection fabricates easily with dry tools – creating corners, cut-outs and install undermount sinks with ease. This material is manufactured in the USA and is easy to clean, extremely impact-, scratch- and moisture-resistant. THINSCAPE™ Performance Tops are also GREENGUARD Gold Certified for indoor air quality.
While more expensive than granites, marbles and quartz, quartzite countertops have been very desired by homeowners. It boasts a sophisticated look, natural strength and ease of maintenance.
“Quartzite has a lot of the same characteristics as marble, without being as soft and is not as prone to scratching and etching,” commented Melissa Hillard, Business Development for SCI-Surfaces.
Hillard indicated that grey sand white in this material are hot colors now.
“The colors are usually very natural with quartzite,” said Hillard. “The material has some veining in it due to the irons that come naturally from the earth, creating a lot of movement in the pieces. Each piece is unique and one-of-a-kind, as they are each created by Mother Nature. For someone who wants a piece of rock no one else has, this is the choice to make. It truly is an emotional product and extremely pretty.”
In a nutshell, quartzite is more durable than granite; can resemble marble without the fear of etching; is low maintenance; and makes a gorgeous complement to your kitchen.
Granite remains one of the top choices in countertops for its beauty, durability and limitless selection. Because it is a hard substance, granite is extremely difficult to scratch, and it tends to take the normal wear and tear of daily activity in the kitchen quite well. According to Scott Burchett, Builder Sales Manager with RockTops Granite and Stone Fabrication, “It’s a very hard stone and is 100% natural. It’s mined from quarries all around the world, cut down to a manageable size, and then polished to a fine finish. Granite comes in many different colors and patterns due to the way it’s formed (cooling and solidifying of molten materials). Whether you’re looking for a subtle complement to your kitchen or a standout slab with unique mineral inclusions, there is an almost limitless selection to choose from and no two granite countertops are the same. It’s a durable material that’s resistant to heat and many other kitchen elements.”
When properly installed, granite could potentially be the last countertop you will ever need. It resists chipping, cracking and scratching. Further, when properly sealed, they are easy to maintain.