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Countertop Choices: Marble vs Porcelain vs Quartz. What are the benefits of each?

We get so many questions from our clients as to which type of countertop they should choose. The most popular types we use in our interior design and build projects are marble, porcelain and quartz. Here is a quick and easy breakdown of each.

Let’s start with all things marble!

Carrara marble is one of the most used marbles on the market and in our home renovations. It suits most aesthetics with its veining throughout.

The biggest reason people choose marble for their countertops in the kitchen or bathrooms is that IS IT BEAUTIFUL! Plain and simple. Having a large island with this stone will certainly make a big statement. Marble is timeless and never goes out of style. It complements the majority of our interior designs and will match most colour palette. Another bonus is that it will last forever - if you take care of it.

Marble is heat resistant since is it a dense stone, which makes it a good conductor. It will draw heat out of a warm object like your hand or dough and dissipate it quickly. We still recommend using hot plates or coasters to help prevent any unnecessary scratching or cracking.

There are some options with the finish. You can have a honed or polished look. A honed finish has a matte appearance that is created by sanding the surface. This will help hide scratches or etching, but it will be more prone to stains. If your countertops will be heavily used, we recommend choosing this finish. Staining can easily be prevented by avoiding leaving spills on the counter for long periods of time and cleaning more regularly. The polished finish has a nice gloss and shine to it. This finish won’t stain as easily, but it will show scratches and etchings.

Although this stone is extremely hard, it etches easily, especially with anything acidic (limes, lemons, vinegar). Etch marks look like dull spots. Also, to keep in mind that marble is porous and permeable.

Marble should always be sealed professionally when it is installed. It should be sealed again roughly every 6 months to 1 year. This will depend on your usage. The marble should be cleaned regularly with a non-acidic cleaning solution and a soft cloth.

With this choice remember to not focus on the little imperfections, but to embrace the natural aging process and daily use of such a beautiful stone.

Now onto porcelain...

Porcelain is even stronger than the hardiest of granite. It surpasses the strength of granite by 30%. Porcelain’s tough structure also makes it scratch-resistant. You can slice and dice food right on the countertop without worrying about your knives damaging the surface. How cool is that?!

With advancements in technology there is a great new option to have full body veining through the porcelain rather than with the older porcelain where there would be a plain ‘bleed line’ only around the exterior of the slab.

This stone can also have a honed or glossy finish which can handle all drink and food spills with ease. Because this countertop is non-porous, the liquids do not get absorbed. A stain will remain on the surface which can be cleaned off no problem.

For quick clean-ups, a soap and water combo work well, although, consistent use of soap can potentially cause a soap scum buildup. We recommend simply using hot water to wipe up spills and messes.

Last but certainly not least is quartz!

Although quartz is a naturally occurring mineral, quartz kitchen countertops are manufactured. The surface is created using crushed quartz crystals combined with pigments and resin, replicating the look of natural stone with patterns of flecks and swirls. Unlike natural stone slabs, quartz countertops have a non-porous surface that will be scratch and stain resistant.

Because it's polished during fabrication, engineered quartz doesn't need to be sealed. Cleaning the countertops with soap or an all-purpose cleaner along with a non-abrasive cloth will keep them in tip-top shape!

Each stone will be able to accommodate certain edge styles. With marble, a beveled edge profile is one of the most popular on the market, because it is compatible with so many different design styles.

The best edge style for porcelain slabs is mitered and square edge. These edge styles will only remove a few layers of the porcelain's surface so there will still be enough pattern and design left for aesthetics.

Quartz countertop edge profiles are usually the most diverse, since quartz is durable and can handle even the most intricate edge designs.

Hopefully now you feel more confident making that countertop selection. If not, reach out to our design & build team. We are here to answer all of your questions!

AC Team

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