Material Considerations

With any countertop surface there are pros and cons. The following is meant to set your expectations, and educate you on the differences between stones so you can make the best decision for you and your home. Almost all materials can be and are used for kitchens, bathrooms, on floors, on walls, etc, but there may be specific care considerations to keep in mind. Most damage done to natural stones can be fixed and repaired, which is one of the advantages to using natural stone. All natural stones can have different inclusions, fissures, chips, cracks, etc – which can be repaired & filled before or after installation.

Also see: Care & Maintenance: GraniteCare & Maintenance: MarbleCare & Maintenance: Quartz

Granite

Is undoubtedly the most popular stone type for countertop applications in the US due to its hardness and durability. Granite, in the countertop industry, includes materials that are not true granites, but sold as such due to the similar working & performance properties. The main minerals in granite are resistant to almost all chemicals common in a residential setting, however there may be trace minerals in some granites that are vulnerable to acids. Various finishes are available in granite.

You can expect

  • Very scratch resistant
  • Very heat resistant
  • Very acid resistant
  • Minor chipping over time (easy to fix with a service call)
  • Noticeable water spots on darker stones (easy to remove at home)
  • Sealing recommended

Quartzite

Quartzite has become a very popular choice in the past 5 years as new methods are being used to cut & quarry it. Quartzite is extremely hard and difficult to cut, which is why it is priced higher than most other stones. This hardness, does make it very scratch resistant and resistant to most damage. However, quartzite does range in absorbance so it does often require multiple coats of sealer, and/or spills to be wiped up quickly.

You can expect

  • Very heat resistant
  • Good acid resistance
  • Very scratch resistant
  • Requires sealing
  • Limitations on edging (Ogee)

Quartz

Quartz – a manmade product – has risen in popularity over the past few years. Quartz is made from natural stone, and different manufactures will have different care instructions. Many marble and limestone “looks” can be found in quartz and provide the look in a more durable option. Click here for warranty info on our LOMStone Quartz.

Overall, you can expect

  • Somewhat heat resistant (not recommended for fireplaces, will void any warranty)
  • Good acid resistance
  • Good scratch resistance
  • Good stain resistance

Soapstone

Soapstone is a very popular choice for countertops, especially in restaurants and science labs due to its high resistance to chemicals. Soapstone is a softer stone and will scratch. It is considered a “living” stone – as its appearance will patina and change over time.  With soapstone, a regular application of mineral oil is used to keep a dark, lustrous appearance.

You can expect

  • Very heat resistant
  • Very acid resistant
  • Not scratch resistant
  • Regular care with mineral oil necessary

Marble

This is a choice that is very prized for its aesthetic appeal as it is elegant and timeless. These stones are calcium carbonate based (think eggshells) – and can be scratched and etched with many household chemicals. Cleaning up while cooking, using cutting boards are recommended to maintain the finish of marble. For many this is fine, others may choose to have a yearly maintenance service to resurface/remove stains & blemishes, and for some this simply does not work with their lifestyle. The veins on the stone can often be felt as there is a difference in minerals, and there are also many natural fissures that can be filled before or after installation. This is simply part of getting marble.

You can expect

  • Very heat resistant
  • Not acid resistance (tomatoes, red wine, strong chemicals) – will etch the surface
  • Some to no scratch resistance
  • Cautious care and/or regular maintenance required
  • Natural veins, fissures, cracks that can be filled before or after installation.
  • Some chipping/wear over time
  • Requires sealing, often multiple coats to have stain resistance

Limestone & Travertine

Limestone presents a beautiful range of subdued colors while travertine is known for its characteristic veining and patterns. These stones, like marble, are also calcium carbonate based, and can be scratched and etched with many household chemicals. Cleaning up while cooking, using cutting boards are recommended to maintain the finish.

You can expect

  • Very heat resistant
  • Not acid resistance – tomatoes, red wine, strong chemicals will etch the surface
  • Some scratch resistance
  • High absorbency – must be sealed multiple times to have a high level of stain resistance
  • Cautious care and/or regular maintenance required
  • Natural veins, fissures, cracks that can be filled before or after installation – depends on stone
  • Dark gray limestones – can have efflorescence when used in wet areas. A strong penetrating sealer is recommended to minimize this effect.

Onyx

This is usually a bold statement piece –  often used for walls, fireplaces, backlit bars. These stones vary in performance, some are a bit harder than others, and will perform similarly to marble. This stone always has many fissures and cracks, which is what gives it its unique look.

You can expect

  • Very heat resistant
  • Little acid resistance (tomatoes, red wine, strong chemicals) – will etch the surface
  • Some to no scratch resistance
  • Cautious care and/or regular maintenance required
  • Natural veins, fissures, cracks that can be filled before or after installation.
  • Chipping/wear over time
  • Requires sealing
  • Limitations on edging options (miter, ogee, etc.)
  • Additional supports may be required

Cristal Collection/Calcites

These stones do fall in the marble grouping, but they are unique in characteristics. Chipping, cracking is a concern, but it a bit more resistant to scratching than most other marbles.. We don’t recommend these be used for large areas, and we do call out that the seams in this stone stand out a bit more than in others. This is due to the crystalline structure of the stone.

You can expect

  • Good heat resistance
  • Little acid resistance (tomatoes, red wine, strong chemicals) – can etch the surface
  • Some scratch resistance
  • Cautious care and/or regular maintenance required
  • Natural veins, fissures, cracks that can be filled before or after installation.
  • Chipping/wear over time
  • Requires sealing
  • Limitations on edging options – std edge is recommended.
  • Additional supports may be required