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Material Comparison

Granite Kitchens of AZ is not only the premier installer of granite countertops in the greater Phoenix area, but can also help our customers install countertops in a wide variety of other materials. Below we have a list of the top materials that we install, as well as the unique pros and cons of each application:
Granite

As the most popular rock for countertops, granite is often considered to be the premier slab type for kitchens and bathrooms. As a hard, natural igneous rock that is formed of quartz and orthoclase or mica, granite has the follow strengths as well as some weaknesses:

Pro’s

  • Granite countertops, as the most currently popular style, will add value to your property
  • Granite is a unique, one of a kind natural surface that features (when polished) an almost luminous look
  • Granite is easy to clean, simply use soap and hot water
  • Granite countertops tend to hold their value over other slabs
  • Granite is not adverse to heat, and can withstand the touch of a hot pan
  • Granite is a sanitary material, in fact it does not cultivate or host bacterial contamination
  • If treated properly, granite countertops can potentially outlast even the structure of a current home

Con’s

  • As a purely naturally occurring rock, granite is not always uniform in look.
  • Since every piece is 100% unique, obtaining a completely uniform look is impossible
  • High-end granite, and particularly rare pieces can be expensive
  • Granite is a very heavy material, and can sometimes require additional support when added to cabinets

Marble

Marble is another popular application for kitchen and bathroom countertops. As a hard, crystalline metamorphic rock resulting from the recrystallization of limestone, marble is a common alternative to granite and has the following strengths and weaknesses:

Pro’s

  • Marble is one of the most beautiful and highly sought after materials for both home and commercial application
  • As it has a high tolerance to heat, marble is perfect for fireplace surrounds

Con’s

  • Marble is quick to scratch and stain, and has a higher probability of chipping than granite and some of the tougher substances

Engineered Stone

As a material that is becoming increasingly popular for countertops, engineered stone is a high-end quartz composite that comes in a wide variety of colors and styles. As with any other high end material, Engineered stone has some pro’s and con’s:

Pro’s

  • Engineered stone is non-pourus, and as such, does not stain
  • Engineered stone is harder than granite, and will suffers from less accidental chipping
  • Periodic sealing is not required of engineered stone
  • It is available in a wide selection of colors and styles

Con’s

  • As a high end material, engineered stone is typically 10-20% more expensive than granite
  • It is an engineered product, so is not completely natural like granite or marble
  • Can not be cut to have unique, decorative edges like granite

Travertine

As a natural stone that is similar in many ways to marble, travertine is a very popular material for both kitchen and bathroom countertops. It is available in a wide variety of colors and finishes, and has a few inherent pro’s and con’s:

Pro’s

  • Travertine is an extremely durable material. In fact, the Coliseum in Rome is made of travertine and has withstood 2000 years
  • The durability of travertine lends itself to both indoor and outdoor applications
  • Travertine lends itself well to backslashes and, fireplace panels, and sinks, as it is extremely easy to cut and shape
  • Travertine is available in a wide assortment of colors and textures

Con’s

  • Travertine is a highly reactive substance that can easily be damaged by acidic based compounds such as oranges and lemons
  • Travertine countertops are difficult to maintain due to the fact they can require specific cleaning products and can be stained easily
  • The application of travertine as a kitchen countertop is not recommended for those who plan to use their kitchen in an everyday fashion

Onyx

Onyx is a very beautiful and cryptocrystalline material that is popular for use in both kitchens and bathrooms. Although often thought of as black, onyx comes in a wide variety of natural earthy colors that when polished can provide a radiant sheen that is difficult to obtain from other stones. Onyx has the following pro’s and con’s when applied to countertops:

Pro’s

  • Onyx is extremely durable, and with care can last longer then other stones
  • Although Onyx is a high end material, it does not usually incur the same cost as some comparable materials such as granite or marble
  • The natural colors of Onyx make it a great finish for workshops and other earthy places
  • Onyx can be polished to a slightly translucent appearance that is particularly impressive under the correct lighting

Con’s

  • While Onyx is durable, it is not as tough as marble or granite and can be scratched by knives or other sharp objects
  • Onyx lacks the stain resistance of some of the other higher end materials
  • Like travertine, onyx can be susceptible to acid based compounds like oranges or lemons
  • Onyx can be difficult to maintain and repair if damaged