One of the popular modern elements of the decor of the kitchen are stone countertops, which represent a work surface. They look not only stylish and expensive, but also feature high-quality functional features.
Types of stone
Recently, natural stone is often used to make worktops. Stone countertops are made from so-called slabs.
A slab is a monolithic slab that has been mined in a quarry. Most often, the thickness of such a plate varies from two to three centimeters, but sometimes you can increase it to 6 cm. To do this, just glue an additional plate.
Basically, granite or marble is used to create countertops.
Granite is most popular in the restaurant business , as it is often used to produce these racks or professional cuisine.
This is due to the fact that granite is more resistant to high temperatures and does not deteriorate due to exposure to chemicals.
Marble loses in strength to granite, but has its own advantages. For example, when a stone is exposed to water, an alkaline environment is formed on its surface, in which bacteria cannot multiply.
Granite countertops in the kitchen are an expensive element of the design of the room. It is not only strong and durable, but also perfect for almost any interior.
Granite has unique natural patterns: fine or coarse-grained, and the color of the stone can vary from light to black.
Due to its natural color, granite looks good in tandem with metal and wooden interior elements.
As a rule, the thickness of a plate made of natural granite varies from 3 to 5 cm. The plate itself can be represented in different forms - oval or round, square or asymmetric.
When choosing countertops made of natural stone, many customers fear its radioactivity. In particular, this applies to granite.
But a small level of radiation is present in every natural stone (and even concrete). The degree of radiation is so small that there is no need to worry.
If you still care about this moment, then when choosing a material, you can dispel your doubts using a Geiger counter.
There are several types of granite countertops to choose from, depending on taste preferences and interior style.
Countertops can be:
- matte - with a soft touch texture;
- canting - retrostyle when the countertop is given an old look;
- heat-treated - a stone slab is roughened by exposure to a jet of high temperature gas.
In addition, you can choose a work surface made of artificial stone or the so-called cast granite. Such material is obtained by mixing granite chips with polymeric substances. It is difficult to distinguish it from natural stone, and to the touch this granite is even warmer.
Advantages and disadvantages
The main advantage of granite is its high strength.
The material is difficult to scratch or damage, even if you cut products without a cutting board.
Granite can withstand both high and low temperatures. Hot dishes can be safely placed on a granite work surface; the stone will not be damaged from this.
Among the disadvantages of granite countertops, several factors are noted.
- The complexity of the replacement. If suddenly part of the surface is damaged, then it will be almost impossible to choose a similar plate, since natural granite has a unique shade and pattern.
- High price. The process of manufacturing and installing granite countertops is a rather expensive undertaking. Therefore, ordering a surface of granite, you will not be able to save.
- A lot of weight. The granite slab for the countertop is quite heavy. That is, under such a surface, high-quality and durable kitchen furniture is required.
How to choose?
When choosing, you need to focus on a number of expert advice.
- It is necessary to check with the manufacturer what is the stone's resistance to damage, humidity or temperature extremes. No water stains should remain on the countertop made of natural stone.
- For the kitchen you need to choose granite with a polished surface. In the absence of polishing, grease and dirt will accumulate in the pores of the stone. Then spots will remain on the working surface that are difficult to remove.
- The density of the stone should be high - this can be checked if water or oil is poured onto the stone sample and left for several minutes. After that it is necessary to wash off the liquid, wipe the surface, and evaluate if there are spots on the countertop. If there are no spots, then the stone is of the desired density and is well suited for a kitchen set.
- Transportation and installation. It is better to attract specialists for the transportation and installation of stone, as this requires special equipment.
Marble countertops are well suited to both the modern and classic style of the kitchen interior.
This stone goes well with various materials - wood, metal, ceramics and even plastic. Marble has a pattern that does not repeat. Therefore, each countertop is unique in its own way.
Light marble is the most popular. It is a material of white, light blue or gray with veins. The natural pattern of the veins creates bumps and due to this is combined with the straight lines of the modern interior.
Marble countertops are installed in conjunction with cast artificial stone sinks and aprons that are similar in shade.
There are several types of marble countertops - glossy surface, matte or antique.
- Matte stone has a silk texture to the touch and a muted color. Such a stone is often used in a country style interior. On the matte surface, scratches are hardly noticeable, but at the same time, such processing of the material makes the stone less resistant to pollution due to the porosity of the surface.
- Gloss , as a rule, is more expensive due to its increased resistance to pollution, as well as versatility. Such a stone will be well combined with almost any style of the room - from baroque to hi-tech style.
- The antique surface of the countertop has a texture that resembles leather to the touch. This treatment is used for dark stone. In addition, scratches, chips or fingerprints are practically invisible on the surface.
Subtleties of choice
The thickness of the marble slab should be about three centimeters. The edge of the surface can be different, but the most universal and practical form is a rectangular one.
If a large countertop is needed, then it can be made by joining several plates.
Advantages and disadvantages
Among the advantages of a marble surface, the following are distinguished:
- the uniqueness of colors and patterns - shades of stone can be different and successfully emphasize the natural structure of marble;
- environmental friendliness and hypoallergenicity - natural stone does not cause allergies and is safe;
- the stone is resistant to damage;
- marble is easy to process - you can update the appearance of the stone through regular polishing and polishing.
The disadvantages of marble countertops include:
- instability to temperatures - the stone is brittle, and when exposed to high temperatures, the surface may be damaged;
- porosity of the material - traces of products and liquids remain on the marble, it absorbs dirt well, because of this the stone cannot be called durable.
About how to choose a countertop made of natural stone, see the video below.