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As a natural stone countertop supplier and installer, we often get asked what the different kinds of stone countertops are, and what makes each unique. Here is a short summary to help you choose between the three main types of stone slabs available for your kitchen or bathroom countertops.

Quartz Countertops

A quartz countertop is the most durable, and also the least expensive since it is not cut from one single stone. It comes in a variety of colors and has a unique pattern and shine that makes it a beautiful and practical addition to your home.

Their main ingredient is approximately 94 percent of ground quartz, which is then combined with polyester resins in order to bind it together, and then pigmented to add color to it. For some designs, trace amounts of metallic flecks or recycled glass are added to the mix. Additionally, these resins assist in making these counters scratch- and stain-resistant—and nonporous, so they never really need to be sealed. Compare that with granite, the reigning king of high-end countertops, which typically requires a new protective top coat at least once a year.

In the past, the biggest con against quartz was that it lacked the many color variations and patterns you can get with natural stone. However, that’s now a moot point, considering that stone slab manufacturers now offer multi-hued slabs with enough swirls, flecks, and random patterning to make them comparable to real natural stone countertops.

There was a time when they were only available with a polished finish— but now you can buy slabs with a sandblasted, honed, or embossed treatment. So whether you’re looking for the appearance of matte limestone, textured and rough slate, or shiny granite— there’s a quartz countertop design out there for you.

The Cost of Quartz Countertops

You can expect to pay about the same as you would for natural stone— so approximately sixty to ninety dollars per square foot (including installation).

How Quart Countertops are Manufactured

First, natural quartz crystals are mined from stone. They are then ground into dust or an aggregate, which is then fused with resin binders under intense pressure and heat in order to form a solid slab. Lastly, pigments are added during the process to give the countertop the desired color.

Benefits of Quartz Countertops

Anti-Microbial

The resin binders make quartz countertops nonporous, which is essential in preventing stain- and odor-causing bacteria, mildew, and mold from penetrating its surface.

Low-Maintenance

Unlike wood and purely natural stone, quartz will never need to be sealed. All you ever have to do is wipe with water and soap for daily maintenance. You can easily remove surface stains with a gentle cleansing scrub. However, make sure that you avoid scouring pads— which can dull and scratch the surface— and harsh chemicals that could ultimately do a lot of damage by breaking down the bonds between the quartz and resins.

Design-Friendly

Some countertop manufacturers offer large slabs for uninterrupted pieces of countertop. Even with standard-size slabs— which are typically 60 by 120 inches, the seams between each slab are virtually unnoticeable. This is because the added resins allow for sleeker cuts minus the chipping that other natural stone has.

Additionally, the resins allow quartz to be more flexible and malleable than its natural stone countertops— allowing fabricators to easily mold and bend it into sinks or the sides of a curved island.

And on top of all that, it’s a versatile enough material to be used on walls and floors—fabricators are able to cut the slabs into standard-size tiles.

Here at Empire Marble and Granite, we offer a multitude of different kinds of quartz countertops to renovate and remodel your kitchen, bathroom, or other room in need of a touchup.

Marble Countertops

People throughout history have been using marble slabs for a multitude of different applications for centuries upon centuries. These range from monuments to statues, but the most widely known use for it is for sculptures.

Artists use marble because it’s a soft and malleable material, which only looks better with age. They usually only use pure white marble— which is rather rare—and is characterized by the very little veining they have. Architects, on the other hand, tend to use colorful marble with rich veining for its aesthetic features.

In actuality, using marble for bathroom vanities and kitchen countertops is a rather recent development— or at least, it’s widespread use. Marble as a dimension stone has historically been very expensive, reserved only for the residences of the rich and privileged.

Marble comes in a few colors that are naturally occurring, but the most common variety is white with dark grey or black veining. The beautiful patterns in this stone, make marble countertops one of the most sought after and prized countertop materials.

The Cost of Marble Countertops

The average cost for marble slab countertops is approximately sixty dollars per square foot but can range from forty to one hundred per square foot. Material and installation costs depend on size, grade, type, transportation, and more.

Benefits of Marble Countertops

Beautiful Aesthetic

Marble is primarily known for its beauty. It has the rare quality of softness that isn’t normally found in natural stone, and the patina it develops over time ultimately creates an elevated and sophisticated appearance.

Marble stone actually has a wider range of colors than most people are aware of. However, whether it’s black or white marble, the veins are visibly there. The color of the veins ranges from gray to white, usually depending on the color of the base stone and the varying impurities in the stone.

Durable and Heat-Resistant

Despite the fact that marble is softer than granite, this doesn’t necessarily mean it will melt under heat or indent when loaded with heavy items.

Marble is a very durable material, with the ability to resist damage against high degrees of heat. This makes marble suitable for use with bathroom vanity tops, kitchen countertops, and fireplace surrounds.

Detail Work

Due to its characteristic of being relatively soft, it’s easy to carve details onto to marble’s surface. This workability lends itself to easily fabricating intricate edge profiles, making it a favorite material among fabricators and homeowners alike.

Here at Empire Marble and Granite, we offer a multitude of different kinds of marble countertops to renovate and remodel your kitchen, bathroom, or other room in need of a touchup.

Granite Countertops

Natural stone granite is a type of igneous rock that’s mainly composed of quartz and feldspar— two types of minerals. This mix of materials gives granite its unique speckled appearance, which also means that granite has quite a range of different finishes—from deep black to speckled gray to creamy white, and even bright blue and salmon pink.

Granite countertops are much like marble, but they come in a larger variety of colors and patterns and are harder and more commonly found in homes across New Jersey and the world.

Price of Granite Countertops

You can expect to pay about forty dollars per square foot—with sales possibly bringing the pricing down to as little as twenty-seven dollars per square foot. For more exotic varieties, it’s likely you’ll pay as much as two hundred dollars or more per square foot.

No matter the type of natural stone you choose for your kitchen or bathroom, your home will feel more unique and luxurious once you have installed your new countertop from Empire Granite. Contact us today for more information.