The type of stone you use for your countertops is no small decision. Your countertops take a lot of heat, literally and figuratively. From heavy cookware to sharp knives, from hot dishes to acidic foods, kitchen countertops need to be tough. For many, marble is the perfect choice, but for others, the pull of marble look-alikes is too strong to resist.
How can you know which countertop material, marble or a marble look-alike, is best for your space? Marble is a common choice for its beautiful textured appearance, but it’s not for everyone. It is wise to keep an open mind, for though you may be set on one kind of stone, there might be another even better for your home.
Why Are Marble Countertops so Common?
Marble is one of the most widely used materials for countertops. The reasons are many and clear. Marble is a beautiful natural stone, with sleek and sophisticated textured designs that add visual interest. It comes in many colors, to say nothing of patterns. Every slab of marble is individual and unique. It is also highly sought after for its fine quality and rich history. Marble is a high-end stone that often comes out on top when compared to its look-alikes.
That being said, marble isn’t perfect. It is generally among the more expensive countertop options, so it is not always a good fit for those on a tight budget. Because it is porous, marble does have a propensity to stain relatively easily if not sealed properly and resealed regularly. In view of these qualities, some prefer to use marble look-alikes for their countertops instead of marble itself.
What Marble Look-Alikes Are Available?
If you love the look of marble but it is a bit out of the budget or seems like too much maintenance, one of the following marble look-alikes might be a better choice for your home. The material you choose should be based on your home’s design, your budget, and the style you want to create in your home.
Most granite has its own signature look, but believe it or not, some granite is engineered to look like marble. Granite has some great qualities, the chiefest of which is its durability. Granite is generally stronger than marble, so it is a good fit for chefs who don’t want to leave anything to chance. Unfortunately, like marble, granite is also very porous and requires regular sealing to prevent the stone from staining.
Quartz countertops are a composite of crushed quartz (roughly 90%) and polyresin (about 10%), with the exact ratio depending on the manufacturer. Quartz is also called engineered stone since it is synthesized, but it feels like natural stone and can be designed in patterns that imitate marble. Because quartz countertops are manufactured, they are not porous like the previous two materials, meaning it doesn’t stain as readily.
Though the name is confusing, unlike quartz, quartzite is a natural stone, formed in conditions of high heat and pressure. It is both durable and heat-resistant, even more so than granite. Quartzite mirrors the veining patterns of marble and is a less expensive choice.
Marble look-alikes don’t necessarily have to be used for countertops as they are. They can also be cut into tile. If you are looking for decorative tiles, and not a more structural sound countertop, porcelain can also work as a marble look-alike. The pressed clay can mirror the superficial appearance of marble. It isn’t as porous as marble, so it isn’t as likely to stain. This makes it great as a backsplash material. Porcelain can also be laid for flooring, and it is dense and less likely to break during unstable installation.
Design Schemes, Marble or Otherwise
Whether you choose marble or a material that looks similar, you have many great styling options. White marble and marble look-alikes look great against both white and dark cabinets. White cabinets bring out colored veining in the stone, while dark cabinets make the stone itself stand out. Darker stones really pop when paired with white or other pale cabinets. If you are feeling bold, you can even combine multiple colors of stone.
Whatever design choices you make, Out of the Woods Cabinetry is here to help. Whether you need a consultation for which kind of stone to choose or if you want to find the best cabinets to pair with the perfect stone, give us a call today to get started.