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Marble, granite, limestone, quartz: understand the differences

PUBLISHED: 15:22 23 September 2016 | UPDATED: 15:22 23 September 2016

Bianco Lasa Quartzite Counter Tops and Shelves

Bianco Lasa Quartzite Counter Tops and Shelves

Archant

Thinking of using natural stone, but not sure what sort would be best for what you have in mind? Below is a quick rundown on the different types of stone and what to use where.

Granite

Granite is a natural stone with good strength and low porosity which makes it perfect for kitchen worktops. Is has very good scratch and heat resistance. There are hundreds of different sorts of granite in different colours. The markings also vary from small to large and depend on the mineral and rock content of the area where the granite formed. Granite is easy to care for, and should last for years.

It’s great for use in kitchens, but looks equally stunning in bathrooms.

Nero Assoluto Granite WorktopNero Assoluto Granite Worktop

Marble

Marble is a softer stone than granite. Often used in bathrooms it makes great wall tiles, vanity tops and basins, but is best avoided for a kitchen counter unless you like the idea of a worktop that will develop an antique patina as it ages.

However if you are prepared to seal it regularly, wipe any spills as soon as they occur and like the idea of it developing character with age, then use it in your kitchen.

Bookmatched Calacatta Vagli Marble CladdingBookmatched Calacatta Vagli Marble Cladding

Limestone

Limestone is also often used in bathrooms and perfect for use as tiles, shower trays, vanity tops and cladding.

Again its softer nature means that it is best avoided for kitchen worktops.

Quartzite

This beautiful stone is becoming very popular as an alternative to granite for kitchen worktops that is as hard wearing, will not etch and looks similar to marble. True quartzite is fabulous, but also very expensive due to its rarity.

Beware of cheaper imitations which are not pure quartzite and will not wear as well.

Caesarstone Oyster Worktop and Grigio Perla Limestone TilesCaesarstone Oyster Worktop and Grigio Perla Limestone Tiles

Engineered stone & quartz

All natural stones will have variations in tone and markings depending on where they’ve come from in the rock seam. These are part of the beauty of the stone, but if you want something more uniform, then you should consider an engineered stone instead.

Composite stones such as Silestone and Caesarstone are made by mixing particles of quartz or marble with resin and colouring. They started out as an alternative to granite for kitchen worktops for those who did not want as much variation. They are now often used in bathrooms as well. They demand about the same level of care as granite.

Cosentino, the manufacturers of Silestone, have recently introduced a new material called Dekton, which is very hard wearing, scratch and heat resistant. This can be used for kitchen worktops, bathrooms and even outside although again the finish is very uniform and it does not resemble a true natural stone.

See for yourself

The best way to choose the stone for your project is to go and look at different types of stone, ideally in as large a piece as possible. stoneCIRCLE’s Newbury Showroom is an ideal place to start. It has a large indoor gallery where you can view the biggest selection of full size slabs in the South East and get expert advice from the staff about what stone would best suit you.

There are also displays of products that have been made out of the different types of stone to help you visualise what can be done in this beautiful adaptable material.

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