Other Natural Stone Products

Granite

Granite countertops are perhaps the most common and widely used stone countertop surface. There was a time when they were found only in high-end kitchens and were among the higher-priced countertop surfaces.

Thankfully, things have changed and granite has become more affordable. One of the main reasons for this is because of improvements in the processing technology necessary to extract, cut, shape and process the granite slabs. As a result the cost of granite countertops has come down and is comparable or in some cases, even cheaper than some of the other countertop surfaces.

Despite this moderation, there are other factors that influence cost and can still cause you to pay more. Some granite varieties or colors are more rare and less prevalent than others and will be more costly than more common varieties.

Granite is an igneous rock which was formed by once-molten material that cooled and hardened. It’s primary mineral constituents are quartz, mica and feldspar. Quartz is a particularly hard mineral which makes granite a very hard stone. It won’t scratch unless it’s scratched by another quartz material or something harder like diamond. Despite its toughness however, it does have an Achilles heel and that’s its porosity. Most granites are porous and should be sealed to prevent or minimize stains from dark and/or oily liquids.

While granite overall is a good stone for a countertop application, be aware that there is variability among granites themselves. Some granites may contain calcite, a mineral that’s typically found in marble and limestone and is vulnerable to acids. The porosity can vary as well, with some stones being very porous while others are almost impervious to liquids.

Granite is quarried and brought to market in slabs for the production of surfacing products like countertops.

The dimensions of the slabs can vary somewhat so if your countertop design has long runs or you have a particularly large island, you’ll want to find larger slabs. That will help minimize or eliminate any seams. Seams are typically filled with a silicone caulk.

Granite countertops and any stone countertop for that matter is best purchased through a local distributor and fabricator. That usually allows you to browse and choose the slab that your countertop will be made from as well as getting to know the fabricator and their capabilities.

Marble

Marble is a metamorphic rock, meaning it underwent a “metamorphosis” or change from its original sedimentary form. It is primarily made up of calcite which is a crystalline form of the chemical compound calcium carbonate. That’s just the scientific way of saying that it’s the residue from organisms that lived millions of years ago.

The calcite is what makes marble sensitive to acids. This means vinegar, citric juices and any household cleaners of an acidic nature will etch the surface. The etching is essentially a reaction between the acid and the calciferous makeup of the marble.

Because marble can be used as kitchen countertop surface, it doesn’t mean it’s practical in that environment. As stated earlier, marble has characteristics that make it vulnerable to etching and damage and your marble countertop is bound to meet up with some of these caustic characters sooner or later. Unless you plan to be very careful with how they’re used you might be better off looking at other stone choices or other types of countertop surfaces altogether.

If you still find yourself with a need for marble countertops and nothing else will do, you might consider serpentine, which is a marble-like alternative. It’s not a true marble in the strictest geological definition but has the look of marble. It’s better suited for the kitchen because it’s not affected by acids because it’s non-calciferous. It’s also harder and more scratch resistant than marble. On the downside, it is more absorbent than marble but you can address that with an appropriate sealer. It’s also only available in green.

Slate

Slate is another metamorphic rock that originated as a sedimentary stone. The variations in the way slate was formed produced a range of qualities that make it more or less appropriate for various uses such as countertops, flooring or roofing, depending on the application.

Some slates are denser than other types of stone and as a result have a lower moisture absorption rate. However among the slates themselves there is variability so some will be more absorbent than others. Slate is on the softer side relative to other stones such as granite so it can scratch.

Opinions on the viability of slate for use as a countertop not surprisingly fall on both sides of the pro/con debate. The key to sorting it out lies in working with a reputable dealer/fabricator, one who particularly has dealt with slate and the problems and issues that you might come up against. Also, obtaining some samples and subjecting them to various forms of punishment will give you a good idea on what you can expect.

Soapstone

Soapstone is a very soft stone that has a smooth, warmer texture than other types of stone countertops. Its natural color is a lighter gray and it can include some veining of lighter gray or white.

Soapstone is a very dense stone and does not need to be sealed. In fact, it can’t be sealed in the true sense of the word since there’s no way the sealer can ‘enter’ the stone.

Left on its own soapstone will eventually darken over time however the application of a mineral oil can be used to accelerate the darkening and attain a uniform color throughout. Keep in mind though that this process isn’t acting as a sealant. Also, be aware that you’ll have to re-oil the surface periodically to retain its darkened uniform appearance. The frequency will vary but it could be bothersome particularly if you have a lot of things on your countertops that have to be moved each time you oil it.

Soapstone is easily scratched because it’s primary mineral constituent is talc, one of the softest minerals. Soapstone is often used in sculpting because of it’s softness and ease of workability.

The type of soapstone that’s used on countertops is actually called steatite. It’s harder than the sculpting grade of soapstone but it will still scratch. On the positive side, any unwanted scratches can actually be sanded out. Just remember that cutting on the surface isn’t the only means of scratching; dragging dishes or a heavy bowl of fruit across the surface can have the same effect.

Soapstone is very heat tolerant so it’s not going to flinch if you put a hot pan down on top of it. It’s also an inert material which means its not affected by acids or alkali materials.

Limestone

Limestone is a sedimentary stone which, like marble, is made up primarily of calcite (calcium carbonate). Consequently, it’s vulnerable to acidic materials which are typically prevalent in any kitchen environment. Limestone is also porous and light in color which makes it susceptible to staining. Sealing will help resist staining but won’t protect against acid etching.

Like with marble, although there are fabricators of limestone countertops in the marketplace, limestone may not be the best application for a kitchen work surface. Be sure that you’re OK with the vulnerabilities of limestone and understand how it will stand up in your kitchen environment before deciding to purchase it.

Travertine

Distinctive in looks, travertine kitchen countertops have emerged as an affordable kitchen counter-top material with its unique features. A natural material, travertine is a kind of marble that you can get in color variations ranging from gray to coral red and beiges to tans. Because of its pitted surface, it is often filled and sealed so that the porous surface does not absorb food spills and get stained.

Although travertine countertops are not as hard as some other stone materials like granite, it is still sturdy enough as a kitchen countertop. Regular maintenance, however, becomes necessary.

When you order travertine for your kitchen countertop, you can opt to have them filled or unfilled. The harder type of travertine can be polished to a glossy finish. The less hard travertine has a ‘honed’ finish, which is similar to a matte finish. Another finish is ‘tumbled’ which makes the surface looked weathered.

Onyx

Onyx is shiny-translucent stone and under light, it illuminates which brings up its beauty even more. Buycountertop has a wide collection of onyx countertops for your kitchen and bathroom. Onyx, deals with natural stones like marble, granite and limestone. Onyx is known for its sculptured looks and always been a first choice of artisan. Onyx is very soft stone and should be installed very carefully. Today black onyx is not only used as jewelry item but it is also used in bathroom vanities and sinks bowls.

Going Green!

At McGrory Inc, we are committed to being as Eco Friendly as possible. We have started to implement some energy saving features, such as energy efficient lighting and recycled materials, to show our customers that we are 100% committed to ensuring a healthy planet for the coming generations.

15 Year Warranty!

McGrory Inc. offers a 15 year warranty on all natural stone products.

Exclusive Dealer!

McGrory Inc. is the exclusive dealer for Mirasol Soapstone LLC

Contact Us

Address : 576 Rosedale Road
Kennett Square, PA 19348

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Phone : 610-444-1512
Fax: 610-444-1513
Email : sales@mcgroryinc.com
Website : McGrory Inc.