Many years ago, molten magma flowed into surrounding igneous rock structures and cooled, very slowly. In short, this formed granite. Composed mainly of quartz, feldspar and some mica, in its natural state it is a rough looking rock but once it is polished and sealed it becomes a beautiful smooth lustrous surface. Granites come from around the globe and they vary greatly in colour and pattern. The unpredictability and naturalness of pattern is part of its appeal. Granites are strong, durable and cool to the touch. Contrary to popular myths their maintenance is very little. They usually only require soap and water to clean and the claim that it needs sealing once a year is misleading. Really, the sealant comes in a spray bottle and is a very easy application that takes only minutes.
Although hard as rock nothing is indestructible. If you happen to drop a large heavy object, you run the risk of causing a chip. But this should not be a deterrent since you cannot always avoid accidents. The option to grind down the stone and reseal it afterwards is available.
Although granite is porous, the holes are microscopic and the stone is sealed. This makes the surface resistant to germs and is ideal for food preparation directly on the counter. However, do not chop on granite! You may damage the seal. Its cool surface is ideal for baking and rolling out your dough and since it can withstand temperatures of up to 800 degrees Celsius feel free to place hot pots or cookie sheets directly on to the counter.
Composed of 90% stone and 10% resin and polymer adhesives, Quartz is a wonderful choice for many reasons. Unlike granite, Quartz offers a beautiful homogeneous flow of colour and pattern. There is no guessing how your large piece will look once installed.
Quartz is actually non-porous therefor antimicrobial and does not need to be sealed. They are heat resistant to about 200 degrees Celsius. If damage happens to occur it can be repaired by sanding down the surface. The main composite is hard quartz mineral. This is a strong durable surface resistant to scratches and can even dull your knives without causing damage to your counter.
Quartz does resist impact quite impressively. Due to its composition the polymers and resin offer a flexible elastic type of shock absorber.
There are many fabricators to chose from all offering a variety of colours and patterns. Chose Vicostone for surfaces that are inspired by natural granite or HanStone or Zenith Quartz for continuous smooth patterns.
A Laminate counter is a layer of plastic bonded to a hard core of particle board. One must note that their technology has come a long way offering durability and versatility. Laminates remain the most popular choice due to its affordability and colour palette. Available in different textures as well, they are made to mimic many different patterns form natural to man made.
Butcher block remains a steadfast choice in kitchens. Popular as a food preparation area Butcher block is often paired in a kitchen with other counter surfaces such as quartz, granite of laminate.
Butcher block is often made of reclaimed of recycled wood which is appealing to an eco conscious consumer. They are made by crafting wood pieces together then sanded smooth and sealed. The wood is assembled to form a counter top and the results are a rich combination of color and pattern.