When it comes to remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, here are three surface material options to consider:
Granite is a natural stone that comes in a wide variety of beautiful colors and an equally wide range of prices, making it one of the most popular countertop materials for kitchens and bathrooms. Granite is often considered one of the most durable natural countertop materials available and is known for resisting cracks and chips. Granite is a porous stone that needs to be sealed properly each year to maintain its stain-resistance. Prices can start as low as $30 a square foot.
While granite has been the leading favorite for many years, quartz is quickly becoming the new trendsetter. Quartz countertops are manufactured and contain crushed quartz mixed with resin in a ratio of 93% quartz to 7% resin. Quartz rates a bit higher on the hardness scale than granite and is slightly more resistant to damage. It is nonporous, does not need sealing and can repel coffee, oil, red wine and other foods that can stain granite. Popular brands of quartz sold by home improvement stores include Silestone and Caesarstone. It’s available in a variety of patterns and colors, with some even mimicking granite. Prices tend to be somewhat higher than granite, starting around $50 a square foot.
Soapstone is a natural stone popular for its durability and ease of care. It comes in grey, bluish gray, green, and black, depending on mineral content. Its soft look is popular in country-style kitchens. Soapstone is somewhat softer than granite, but won’t be harmed by hot pots, citrus, wine, acids or chemicals. Because it’s nonporous, it’s completely resistant to bacteria growth. The only maintenance recommended, but not required, is periodic mineral oil treatment to enhance the natural darkening process of the stone over time. The price for a fabricated countertop starts around $70 per square foot.