Are you renovating a kitchen, bathroom, or entertaining area like a home mini bar? Are you set on using stone but not sure what type to use, or how to use it? This brief guide will help you figure out how to choose stone in your renovation.
Considerations When Selecting Stone
First, stone can be used for applications like countertops and surfaces but it can also be used for aesthetic purposes, like a backsplash, or cabinet facing. So, ask yourself, if you want to use it as a feature like an art piece or for something more functional like countertops.
Stone for Functional Uses in Your Revonovation
Most people use stone as countertops. There are two types of stone countertops, manufactured, and natural stone. Each type has their own unique properties, benefits, and costs. Before you decide which type of stone you want to go shopping for, ask yourself a few questions:
- Will this be for a kitchen, bathroom, outdoor barbeque area or mini bar counter?
- How much will you use the counter surface?
- What types of things will be placed on the surface such as cutting boards, or appliances?
- Do you prefer lighter colours or darker colours?
Stone for Design and Feature Purposes
There are many different ways to use stone for aesthetic purposes in your home. It can be used as a backsplash in your kitchen, on a feature wall, waterfall edge, or even as a backing for a counter or cabinet that faces an open room. You also can accent light it with under cabinet lights, or you can even backlight certain types of natural stone for a real posh look! Again, ask yourself a few questions:
- How large is the room that the stone will be featured in?
- What else will be surrounding it?
- How would you like to light it?
Manufactured stone doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper, but they do hold some great qualities for both functional and aesthetic uses. More often, manufactured stones are used for practical purposes.
This material is made up of approximately 93% crushed natural stone that is then bound together by an adhesive. This stone product can come in a variety of solid colours as well as patterns, and textures that look a lot like granite and marble. Engineered quartz is also typically very hard, less porous, and is quite durable against staining, heat, and scratches. It also has become an industry standard for countertops because of its high strength and durability. Engineered Quartz also features low maintenance requirements and should not need to be sealed over time.
There are however varying levels of quality when it comes to engineered quartz. Not all manufactures create equal products. So, stick to some of the larger brand name manufacturing companies and be sure to research their warranty policy. Some brands that come recommended by Elle Cherie are Cambria, Caesarstone, Hanstone, Silestone and Vicostone to name a few, but there are many other great companies to choose from.
Large Format Porcelain Tile
This man made ceramic product is made from natural mineral composites. It is typically quite resistant to everyday wear and tear, scratches, and can hold up to heat and acids. These tiles are very easy to care for, clean, and are food safe.
Although not really a stone material, Corian is a solid surface product made from acrylic polymers manufactured by Dupont. This product is very durable, non porous, and is quite durable against impact type damage that can occur with daily wear and tear. It’s smooth surface finish does not allow liquids to penetrate easily. So, the material is fairly resistant to mold and bacteria buildup. Surface marks and stains are fairly easy to clean with a scotchbrite pad, and a household cleaner.
Natural stone products can range in hardness using the Mohs scale of hardness (with diamond being level 10). These surfaces can get more expensive and some are considered semi-precious stones. Don’t let that discourage you as they can be quite a great investment as no two are ever alike!
Naturally, marble is quite porous and soft. Although one of the most beautiful looking stone surfaces, maintenance requirements are quite high to ensure that it stays looking beautiful over its lifetime. Marble can also be stained by water or anything coloured if not wiped up right away. This stone is quite susceptible to surface scratching because it is typically soft with a hardness rating of 3 to 4. Regular maintenance recommendations state that Marble surfaces should be re-sealed twice a year.
This stone is quite a bit harder than marble with a rating of 6 to 7. Granite is still quite a porous material and is a little more resistant to staining. It is recommended to re-seal granite at least once per year.
Quartzite is one of the more durable stone surface materials. It is less porous than granite and can resist stains and scratches better. Although this natural stone can be very beautiful, if not installed and reinforced properly it can crack along it’s veins. Quartzite sits at the higher end of the hardness scale with a rating of 7 to 8.
Stones like Onyx, Patagonia Granite, Agate Brazilia, and Wild Dark Blue Agate tend to be more translucent because they contain more crystals embedded into the stone. These surfaces are great options to use when backlighting or other lighting options as the light really accents the stone’s natural beauty.
Leave no Stone Unturned
In the search for the right stone surface for your renovation design and application there are undoubtedly many options. As well, there are a variety of uses for stone that we didn’t cover such as a floating vanity or a backlit feature wall in your shower!
There are even many other stone surfaces to choose from including stone from many different parts of the world.
Once you figure out what you want to use the stone for in your home it's time to do some shopping to find the right stone for your renovation project.