Engineered stone versus Granite – What option works best for my kitchen?

When renovating a kitchen one of the most dreaded tasks is to find the perfect counter top that suits your lifestyle. It is a common mistake for clients to be lured into a beautiful white calacatta marble for its overall cleanliness, aesthetics, and luxury. Even though these qualities seem like the perfect match – a counter top that patina’s over time is typically not the goal ( queue in flash back to red wine spill). Let us give you a couple of options to consider while shopping for the perfect stone:

composite/ engineered stone counter top

Engineered stone
Composite materials or better known as engineered stones have come a long way even in the past few years. Tile and slab manufacturers have been able to use high resolution technology to mimic stones that would make even designers do a double take. One of the major benefits using engineered stone – easy care, resist stains, and overall looks fairly real to the untrained eye.If you are a client keeping budget in mind this is a great alternative for you. We have some tips to consider when shopping:

  1. Shop from established companies – Make sure you are shopping for counters that come with a warranty. Some composite stones in the market may look beautiful as a slab – but its make up could be poorly made and could absorb stains permanently. Some companies such as Ceaser stone, Neolith, and Cambria are a great start when looking.
  2. Make sure the selected stone has a customer service team for repairs – Keep in mind that anything and everything happens in the kitchen – if there is a scratch, it chips or stains… do you have a number to call ?
  3. Pick an engineered stone that suits your life style – Drawing back to the white calacatta stone…. even though its a composite material – it is still not as forgiving as other stone finishes out in the market. If you are someone that entertains frequently this may not be the best option for you. Beauty fades – counters could last forever?

Although Composite stone have a lot of pros – with its low maintenance and price point …. the technology still has a ways to go for it to truly be authentic. Granite is an amazing option if you would like to use a natural material with a bit less maintenance. Keep in mind some engineered stones are sometimes pricier than natural stone slabs – so you may be getting a better deal for a show stopper piece.
What is the difference between marble and granite ? Well the pores / air pockets in granite are much tighter – making it more difficult for stains to seep through (unlike marble). The general public perceives granite as glossy stone that has a bunch of speckles and is found in every suburban home – but you be surprised when you see a granite that has lovely movement like the image below-

Here are some notes to consider for granite materials:

  1. Create a good relationship with your installer – Natural stone needs to be sealed in a polished finished every 5 years. This isnt a very expensive process – but it is important to upkeep it you want it to last a life time. 
  2. Shop around – You are shopping for natural stone – The stone could be sold in various locations – but could look completly different. Do your research and check out a couple of places before committing to a slab – imagine you are shopping for a work of art.
  3. make sure you buy enough – As I said before – its a natural stone cut from the earth – you may not find the same finish ever again – make sure you installer counts twice before purchasing.

As you can see both options are great for your kitchen renovation…. just keep in mind your budget, maintenance, and the overall vibe you are going for!