When you plan on installing dimension stone in your home, the biggest problem you have when you get to our showroom is choosing the right stone. With so many types and varieties of each type available at Wisconsin Granite, the prospect can be intimidating.
Versatility and beauty of stones
Back in the day, granite and marble were extensively used for monuments and statues to commemorate a victory, honor a person (usually royalty), or display the genius of an artist because they lasted for a very long time, and look even better as they age. It wasn’t something that was used by the commoners. If you had granite or marble in your home, you were privileged, or rich, or both.
That is no longer the case. The home use of dimension stones has never been more popular. Because of advancements in technology, it is now more affordable for regular folks to reap the benefits of the remarkable versatility and beauty of dimension stones such as granite, marble, and engineered quartz.
It is now common to find some type of natural or quartz stone in homes, both inside and outside. They are favored for use as kitchen countertops, floors, walls, fireplace surround, bathroom vanities, dining tables…in fact, you can put them anywhere!
The fact is, stone products in the home give it a measure of elegance and beauty. Even quartz stone, which is technically not a natural stone, brings in nature in the best possible way. Most people prefer natural stones, but quite a few are turning to engineered stone as the better option. It all depends on the preference and needs of the homeowner, and we at Wisconsin Granite can give you whatever you choose.
So it comes down to the most basic question when selecting stone: engineered stone or natural stone? This requires getting down to particulars. Both category of stones are durable, versatile, and beautiful, and both have their peculiar drawbacks. At a pinch, you could actually choose any stone you want for any purpose and it will work to a certain degree. In most cases, however, we recommend some stones for particular areas of the home than others because of their particular characteristics.
In order for you to select the best stone for your home improvement or build project, here is a brief rundown of what we believe is the best stone for a particular purpose, and why.
Best stones for bathroom vanities
We first tackle bathroom vanities, because of two things: bathrooms are one of the two most frequently used room in the home, and it is constantly moist. You should know that most natural stones are porous, so a moist environment is not the ideal situation for natural stones with significant porosity, such as marble, limestone, and travertine. They can still work, however, if you seal them properly, but for the sake of practicality, we would recommend either granite or engineered stone for bathroom use.
Granite is also porous, but much less so than other natural stones because of the way it is formed. It is also heat-resistant, so it will take no hurt from exposure to hot instruments such as recently used blow dryers. For homeowners that only want natural stone in the home, granite is your best option.
On the other hand, engineered stone is non-porous, so it does not require sealing even when used as a bathroom vanity top. It is also heat-resistant (though not to the same degree as granite) and extremely durable. For the practical homeowner, engineered stone is definitely a strong contender.
Best stones for kitchen countertops
The main concern in choosing stones for kitchen countertops is the amount of traffic it is likely to come under. All stones from Wisconsin Granite are good candidates for kitchen countertops for specific areas, with the proper sealing (if any). Marble, for example, would be perfect for use in pastry making and light duties, such as a buffet counter. However, for workhorse counters, the best stones would be granite and engineered stone, which can stand up under a lot of use and abuse without damage.
For backsplashes, you can go all over the place. In most cases, homeowners choose the same stone as their countertop for their backsplash. However, we recommend travertine and limestone when your countertops are solid or neutral colors, because they come in interesting shades and patterns that can serve as accents for the kitchen. Neither limestone nore travertine would be particularly good for countertops, though, because they are quite soft and porous.
Best stones for fireplace
For the fireplace, our top recommendation would be granite. It is heatproof and heats evenly, so it is practical for use as a hearth as well as fireplace surrounds for retaining heat. Some stones that are otherwise heat resistant may crack when subjected under high heat because they do not heat evenly and develop “hotspots.” A good example of this is marble, limestone, and travertine. At a pinch, you can use these alternatives as beautiful fireplace surrounds, but not as a hearth.
Because granite comes in wide variety of finishes and colors, you not only have a fully functional fireplace, it is also a showpiece. If budget is a concern, we recommend granite tiles in place of slabs. It is a little more difficult to install, but with our professional, staff, you can be sure it will be installed properly.
On the other hand, quartz stone is also heat resistant. The problem is with the resin, which is primarily a polymer that can melt under high heat. Constant exposure to heat can permanently damage the stone itself, so it is not recommended for use as anything more than a decorative surround.
Stone color options
Generally, natural stones cannot be ordered on demand. If you want a particular color or pattern, and it is not available, then you have to choose something else. In terms of variety and supply, marble tends to be the most limited. Marble is most commonly found in different shades in white, and not much more. However, if your kitchen or bathroom design calls for white stone, then marble is a great choice.
Like marble, granite commonly comes in light colors, but rarely is it mostly white. The main components of granite are quartz, which has no color, and feldspar, which is most pink and browns. However, darker minerals may come into the mix in smaller quantities, which imparts interesting crystal formations of different colors to granite which makes it distinct from all other dimensions stones. You may find engineered stone that looks a lot like granite, but it will not have the uniqueness you can only find in natural stone.
That said, quartz come is a myriad of colors, shades, and designs, and you can have it customized to fit your needs. All you have to do is check the catalogue of different brands we offer, and order what you want.
Things to consider
Selecting the stone comes down to (in order of importance) appearance, price, maintenance, and warranty. The stones in our warehouse are all desirable in different ways, so it boils down to your personal taste and overall design. Generally:
Marble equates elegance and luxury
Granite and quartz stone combine function and esthetics beautifully
When it comes to cost, quartz is generally more expensive to buy and install, but marble and granite are not far behind. When we give you an initial cost estimate we will take into consideration many factors, including the number of slabs required, the difficulty in installation, and the rarity of the material.
Quartz stone is largely no-maintenance, so that makes it the top choice for busy homeowners. However, granite comes close second, and with proper sealing and a few caveats, marble is not particularly hard to maintain. A big disadvantage of quartz stone is that once it gets damaged, it is almost impossible to repair, unlike granite and marble. Fortunately, most engineered stones come with a manufacturer’s warranty, which is not the case with natural stones. However, all Wisconsin Granite natural stones pass through a rigorous quality check before displaying them in the showroom, so you have our guarantee that all the natural stone slabs and tiles we supply will be in great condition.
Selecting the right stone for your home is crucial, as you will make a considerable investment in it. However, we at Wisconsin Granite can walk you through it. Contact us now for a free estimate and consultation.