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Solid Surfaces ~ How They Compare

Granite

Granite is the most durable, and is chip and scratch resistant. You can cut, roll dough, and place hot pots directly on granite. Because stone is porous, each stone requires special sealants. But granite absorbs the least and only requires resealing once every couple of years. Granite is ideal for kitchens as it offers both functionality as well as beauty.

Marble

Because it’s smooth and cool to the touch, marble is the traditional favorite for rolling dough and making pastries. However, it lacks the durability of granite and requires sealants to be applied more frequently to prevent stains. Marble is porous and can be easily stained and can be etched by acidic substances. Avoid setting beverage glasses directly on marble as they can leave rings. Marble is not as well suited for kitchens, due to its composition, however is a perfect choice for a bathroom, fireplace or floor.

Limestone

Limestone is not the best choice for messy—or frequent—cooks. It offers a unique weathered look but also stains easily due to its more porous nature, so spills must be addressed immediately. But don't write it off too quickly: Jerusalem stone, a generic term for stone primarily quarried from areas around the Holy Land, is a dolomite-limestone that resembles marble but is hardier than both it and limestone.

Slate

Used for centuries to create stylish weather resistant roofs, slate's natural beauty and strength are finding their way into the kitchen. Befitting of a roofing material, slate is durable, hard and fireproof. Luckily, it's beautiful, too, making it a prime choice for homeowners seeking a countertop that will make a statement. You may want to seal regularly to add a further dose of protection.

Quick tip: As you investigate your natural stone options, consider functionality first, then this: do you want a stone that will look brand new 10 years from now, or one that will take on the patina of age? Let your answer help guide your choice.