Families have quite a few choices when it comes to remodeling their home, and this includes what materials they will use in areas such as their kitchen, bathroom, floors, and fire pit. Natural stone is an excellent option for many of these projects due its value, appearance, and durability. If you are designing a new home or preparing to remodel your current home, then take a look at these three easy steps that will help youfind the perfect stone.
What sets natural stones apart from man-made materials is the fact that they have a truly unique design. Man-made materials can give the impression of being unique, but the patterns that are used will eventually repeat themselves. You should start this process by requesting samples from a stone dealer or visiting a stone yard in person. Taking a look at the stones in different lighting will give you an idea about their actual color, veining, and movement. Those that decide to head to a stone yard should bring some samples of other parts of their remodeling project such as the color scheme of the walls, faucets, cabinets, handles, and window treatments.
The appearance of the natural stone is generally the most important variable, but you should also think about how it will be used and what it will be around. Some stones might be too brittle to use around open flames while others require too much cleaning and maintenance for high-traffic floors. As a general rule, softer stones are best used as decorative pieces and in areas where they will not undergo a considerable amount of wear-and-tear. This includes backsplashes in a kitchen, bathroom vanity tops, and wall cladding. You will have more leeway with harder stones that can withstand considerable pressure and do not require as much maintenance.
Once you have a general idea about the style and function of your stone, you can then start requesting specific samples and narrowing your choices. Here is a closer look at some of the most popular natural stones and where they will work best in your home.
Onyx is one of the more iconic options because of its deep black color, but it also comes with a few disadvantages. Due to its unique appearance and soft nature, this stone is best suited in areas that it will not come into contact with other hard objects. Onyx typically requires multiple layers of sealant and must be cleaned regularly with a special stone cleaner. This stone can easily be scratched by metal objects such as kitchenware and bar utensils.
Soapstone is a relatively durable stone and is mostly comprised of a natural substance known as talc. Depending on its makeup, most soapstone is found in blue, green, and gray hues. The standout feature of soapstone is its ability to withstand and absorb heat for a long period of time. Because of this, soapstone is typically used to line fireplaces or in outdoor kitchens where it will be exposed to open flames.
Marble is a classic and iconic stone that has been used for thousands of years as a decorative building material. While marble’s dazzling white color is eye-catching, it can be quite expensive and is a very soft stone. Even with a heavy sealant, marble is susceptible to cracks, scratches, stains, and etching. Over time, the marble’s patina (hue/color) will begin to change as it is exposed to different elements. Certain chemicals throughout a home can permanently alter the color of marble.
Many people will consider marble as a good option for the interior of their home only to realize that it is much more expensive than they originally thought. Quartzite is a popular alternative to marble and it is most often found in gray or white. This affordable stone is generally used for flooring, steps, and along the base of a wall. Quartzite requires a strong sealant and must be cleaned regularly as stains and scuffs are often quite apparent. Any spills that are not cleaned up could permanently stain quartzite.
Granite is often seen as one of the best all-around natural stones to use within a home. The first reason for this is the fact that granite is extremely durable and an excellent option for both low and high-traffic areas. Once it has been sealed, granite requires almost no maintenance other than minor cleaning. The other benefit is that granite comes in a variety of colors. From beige to black, granite can be matched with practically any color scheme imaginable.
Even though your stylistic preferences are important, taking the time to narrow down your choices will help you find the best stone for your own unique needs. When properly cared for, natural stones will last for decades and remain an important part of your home’s form and function.