If you’re considering natural stone for your bathroom countertops, or a vanity top, you have several great options. There are a few things to consider before selecting which stone is best for you project:
A typical bathroom doesn’t get the same type of abuse that a kitchen does. There are fewer heavy objects that could impact the countertop, there aren’t extremely hot pots and pans moving around, and the bathroom isn’t a gathering point the way a kitchen is. This means it’s safer to use softer and less heat resistant stones. However, bathrooms often have chemicals like hairspray, nail polish remover, and shower cleaners that can cause damage to some stones. Here are some stone countertops to consider for your bathroom project, and the pros and cons for each.
Marble Bathroom Countertops
An elegant stone often used in high-end homes, marble is known for its clean look and exceptional beauty. Usually a shade of white, the stone often has gray, black, light blue, pink, reddish, tan or green veining that compliments many design styles. The stone can be polished, for a bright shiny finish, or honed for a more matte look.
Many home builders and designers avoid using marble in kitchens because it not as strong as granite or quartz, and it is more prone to damage from chemicals. This however, is not the case for bathrooms. Compared to most non-stone countertops, marble is incredibly durable and stain resistant. Only a few natural stones could be considered “better”, and marble would be much more durable than many other non-stone surfaces. For bathrooms, marble is a leading choice.
Most people choose marble for it’s aesthetics. The stone has been used for centuries in building, homes, and art. There is an instant feeling of class and elegance when you see it. It has a subtle, but powerful look that can really enhance the beauty of a bathroom. Many people also like marble because it is somewhat rare. It’s not used nearly as often as granite and other surfaces, so it can make your home feel unique and more luxurious.
Marble is one of the more porous stone countertop materials, so it does require sealing every year or so. When properly sealed and polished there is little risk of damage. It is important to clean marble regularly and immediately deal with any spills however, especially if the spill is any substance that’s acidic. Acids and harsh chemicals can cause etching and stains.
On the high-end, marble can be very expensive, but standard marble slabs are often only slightly more expensive than granite or quartz. If you love the look of marble, there’s often no substitute.
Marble is also a material that can add value to a home. Because it’s a durable and long-lasting stone, it is desirable to many homeowners. It’s a luxurious material that offers a timeless style, so its presence can be attractive to real estate agencies and home buyers.
Granite Bathroom Countertops
Granite is perhaps the strongest, most durable stone countertop on the market. It’s available in many colors and patterns, and it is a very popular choice for bathroom countertops and vanities. The stone is virtually impossible to scratch, and the heat tolerance is very good, perfect for a busy bathroom.
Granite has a natural earthy appearance, and you’ll find a style that will match almost any decor. This stone has been a popular choice for many years, and it tends to add value to homes when compared to non-stone countertops. A granite vanity or bathroom countertop can last a lifetime. And its timeless look and design versatility means homeowners and home buyers alike, will enjoy this surface for many years to come.
Granite is a very low maintenance stone. It should be cleaned regularly, and you should avoid getting harsh cleaners, chemicals and acidic substances on the surface. But typically, just wiping the countertop down periodically and cleaning up messes is all that is required. Granite is often sealed at the factory or during installation to protect it from chemicals and other damage. This is much less of a problem in a bathroom than a kitchen, but the stone may require resealing every year or so.
Quartz Bathroom Countertops
Quartz is a natural stone that is engineered using ground up stone material and resin. So while it is mostly natural, the slabs aren’t cut directly from the earth the way marble and granite are. Often quartz is indistinguishable from a traditional natural stone.
Quartz is an excellent choice for a bathroom because of its durability (on par with granite) and extremely low maintenance requirements. Another benefit is that if you are using multiple slabs, quartz will have a much more uniform look as the slabs are manufactured, there is no need to attempt to match patterns and veining from slab to slab. For a large bathroom may be important.
This stone is more modern looking than granite and marble. The patterns in the stone are not as organic, and overall there’s a more subtle, minimalist feel. Because it is engineered, there are a wide range of color options that you won’t find with other materials. It is safe to say that quartz can match just about any bathroom design style, and decor.
Unlike marble and granite, quartz is non-porous, so it is the least susceptible to stains. This also makes it very easy to clean and maintain, as no sealers are required. This is one of the main reasons many homeowners opt for Quartz in both kitchens and bathrooms.
The only real downside to quartz is the heat resistance. While it is good, it’s not as good as granite or marble. In a bathroom, you’ll have to be careful not to leave a hot iron, or other extremely hot tool on the countertop for vanity surface for a long period of time.
Quartz bathroom countertops will be less expensive than most marble, and typically about the same price as granite. Like other natural stones, quartz bathroom surfaces are very desirable and can improve the value of your home.
down the materials that work best for your situation.
While these are our top choices for bathroom countertops and vanities, we also carry some other options that may be more suitable for your design aesthetic or budget. These include onyx, soapstone, limestone and slate. If you have any questions about our natural stones, or would like to ask specific questions about your project, contact us any time.
It's normal for granite countertops to eventually become dull or appear faded. Don’t worry, your countertop's surface can be restored to its original shine.
How does granite become dull?
A lot of granite goes through a polishing process during manufacturing. This adds a natural shine to the stone. Over time substances can build up on the stone’s surface. For example, hard water deposits, food debris, calcium deposits, grease and soap residue can build up on the surface over the course of years, and you probably won’t notice. This build up causes the stone to deflect light rather than reflect it, which makes the countertop appear less shiny. In many cases the granite looks dull or cloudy. So, granite countertops don’t exactly fade or change in tone, they are often coated with substances that make the surface appear dull. Technically, the shine is still in there.
Another important note: if your granite countertops are sealed, you should expect for this sealer to wear down over time. While a dull countertop looks bad, the breaking down of the sealer can allow damage to the stone. When the seal is no longer effective, the stone can be penetrated by substances that can cause stains or etching. How long your sealant will last depends on how often your countertops are used, how much abuse they take, and the quality of the sealer. Generally you should expect to reseal your granite every couple of years. If you see stains and what look like water rings or discolorations on your stone, the seal may be bad.
Solutions for Dull Granite
Dull granite can easily be restored through several methods. First, you should consider the age of the countertop and how well you’ve kept it clean. For minor dulling, you can probably do the repair yourself. For stones that haven’t been well maintained or cleaned regularly, or for granite that has severe stains and damage such as etching, you may want to hire an expert.
If you only have minor dullness, you might be able to restore your granite’s shine yourself with some off-the-shelf products. Make sure to check your warranty and your stone manufacturer’s guidelines before attempting this process on your own.
Remove Residue and Soap Film
There are a number of granite-safe soap film removers you can purchase that can restore some of your stone's shine. Make sure to use a pH neutral product that is safe for granite. These products do a good job covering small and large areas, but only for minor dullness related to hard water and soap deposits.
For small areas that are more difficult, many people use a razor blade to lightly scrape, flatly, across the stone. You should see the residue come off the stone right away when you scrape. Then use a super fine steel wool to sand the area. This method often works well around sinks and cooktops where residue build up is more common.
After scraping away the residue and cleaning the stone with water, you can use a polishing powder to restore the shine. These polishing products are safe for most stone. You will need to reseal the stone after completing this process.
Another option for small areas is Stone Scrub or Acetone to remove residue. These are slightly abrasive liquid products that can be applied by hand or with a variable speed polisher/buffer. You will need to polish reseal your stone after using this product.
For large areas, you may want to try one of the above methods to clean problem areas, then use a granite polishing powder to restore the entire countertop, rather than just the small area. This will give you a uniform finish with a like-new shine. You will likely want to use a variable speed buffer for this. You'll simply work the dry powder into the stone, covering the entire countertop. This process will remove minor scratches and stains and help restore the stone’s natural shine.
Polish and Reseal Granite
There are several polishing compounds on the market that are effective. Make sure you select one for your stone’s specific color, and again ensure it is okay to use the product on your countertop by referring to your manufacturer's guidelines. After buffing or polishing with a compound, you will need to reseal the granite.
While some people polish and reseal their granite on their own, Quality Granite and Marble advises calling a professional. If you live in the Wichita area, call us to ensure your granite restoration is done correctly.
If your countertops are damaged, badly dulled, if they've never been thoroughly cleaned or if they have etching, a professional can completely refinish and reseal the granite.
Call Quality Granite and Marble today at 316-946-0530 for granite restoration.
If you’re considering stone for your fireplace surround, you have a number of excellent options.
Natural stone is one of the most popular materials for fireplace surrounds for a number of reasons. First, because the fireplace is often the focal point of a room, aesthetics are key. Stone fireplace surrounds are available in a wide range of colors, patterns and textures that can match any interior design style.
In addition to design versatility, natural stone also offers a high level of durability. From its heat tolerance, to it’s hard, scratch resistant surface, natural stone can handle the rigors of day-to-day use.
Lastly, value. Natural stone may cost more than low-end fireplace materials, but overall it’s an exceptional value. It will require fewer repairs, it will last longer, and because it is a premium material it can add value to your home.
Here are a few stone choices to consider for your fireplace project:
Perhaps the most popular option for a fireplace surround, granite is one of the most durable materials you can buy. It’s extremely scratch resistant, unlikely to crack or chip, and it has good heat tolerance.
Granite is suitable for gas or wood burning fireplaces. The stone does require regular sealing, but it is relatively low maintenance and easy to care for. You’ll find hundreds of unique colors and patterns in granite slabs, sure to fit any design aesthetic.
Slightly more expensive than granite, and not quite as durable, many people choose marble because of its timeless beauty. It’s an elegant stone that has been associated with quality for centuries.
Marble has excellent heat tolerance and can be used with wood burning, gas or electric fireplaces.
When properly cared for Marble rarely suffers from stains, cracks and chips. Typically available in white, and light colors, marble will require more cleaning than darker stones, such as granite.
Limestone doesn’t fit every design style, but it is a beautiful stone with an earthy, rustic feel. It is also one of the less expensive stone options.
Like other natural stones, limestone is very durable and has good heat tolerance. However, this stone should only be used with electric or gas fireplaces. Like granite, limestone requires regular sealing to prevent stains, but when properly cared for it can handle a great deal of abuse.
Limestone fireplace surrounds are available in neutral colors, often light cream colors or tan and on the darker side light browns, whites and grays.
A durable, hard material, slate offers a darker color options, such as reds, greens, blacks and grays. This option is a little more expensive than limestone, but less than granite.
Slate is typically characterized by an uneven surface, so it has a more rustic look. Slate is resistant to heat, but only appropriate for gas and electric fireplaces, the heat from wood fires can be too intense.
Slate is able to fit almost any design style thanks to the many color and texture options.
If you're thinking about a stone fireplace surround, visit our showroom to see these and other options.
While you can cut directly on some stone countertops, it is not recommended.
Granite is one of the most durable countertop materials you can buy, and it can certainly withstand cuts from a knife blade. However, if your granite has a sealer on it, cutting can eventually wear down the sealant. Over time, this can lead to liquids and food absorbing into the stone, which can cause stains and other issues that require repair.
With unsealed granite, cutting may be be less of an issue, though again not suggested. Generally the stone is hard enough to be cut on without scratching, however it is also hard enough to dull your knife blades rather quickly.
Similarly, quartz is a very durable, scratch resistant countertop that in most cases can be cut on without damaging the stone. Quartz is not completely scratch proof though, so it is still possible to cause some damage.
Other natural stones are softer and are more likely to scratch if a knife is used on the surface. Marble, limestone and sandstone are among these. Many of these stones also require a sealer, which again can be damaged and lead to scratches and stains. Soapstone is a softer stone that scratches quite easily, however it can be restored with mineral oil or by sanding.
While it is possible to cut directly on natural stone, it's generally safer and easier in the long run to use a cutting board.
Quartz countertops are the easiest natural stone to take care of. They are engineered using ground stone and resin, so they don’t require regular sealing they way most granite and marble countertops do. This stone is non-porous, so it does not easily stain or etch. Other than cleaning regularly, quartz doesn't require any ongoing maintenance. It’s a great choice for a busy kitchen. This engineered stone is comparable in price to granite and synthetic solid surface countertops. See our quartz FAQs.
Soapstone is very dense, and naturally non-porous. Just like quartz, this countertop doesn’t have to be sealed or polished. Many people apply mineral oil to soapstone semi-regularly to help even out the natural darkening that occurs in the stone. Other than that, there is no additional maintenance. Soapstone doesn’t stain easily and it offers excellent heat resistance. While this the look of soapstone isn’t for everyone, many people enjoy the rustic style and natural patina of this low-maintenance material. See our soapstone FAQs.
While many granite countertops require annual sealing, overall the stone is generally easy to care for. Granite is very durable, so it’s very difficult to scratch. It has high heat resistance and doesn’t easily crack or chip. When properly sealed the stone doesn’t stain, so if you clean up spills quickly and ensure the sealer is strong, there’s really very little maintenance to worry about. See our granite FAQs.
While no counter is 100% maintenance free, most natural stones offer great durability and more pros than cons when it comes to long-term value. If you enjoy the look of natural stone and are looking for a durable material that can often last a lifetime, the amount of maintenance for most stones is minimal. If you have questions about which countertop might best suit your household and lifestyle, learn more in our countertop education center.