There is a reason why we love stone countertops. They’re obviously hard and can be relied upon to last for years, though some types of stone slab last longer than others. Typically, luxury natural stone is also attractive, with many types of stone coming in a wide variety of patterns and shades. But not all types of natural stone are created equal. This is why it’s important for homeowners to put a good deal of thought into the types of stone they are considering before committing to one for their countertops.

Taking that into consideration, let’s explore some of the different types of natural stone that are available for homeowners to buy.

1. Granite

Perhaps most importantly, homeowners should consider granite stone slabs first because they’re the most popular. The National Association of Home Builders reports that 62% of millennial home buyers prefer granite stone countertops. This is understandable when you consider the fact that granite is quite hard, and for that matter is less expensive than some comparable types of stone like marble.

Another benefit of choosing granite stone slabs over materials in a similar price range is that they offer a variety of different shades. There are various color tones to choose between different veining patterns, and much more. Homeowners should think about this as they try to find stone countertops that fit in well with their color schemes.

2. Onyx

For those who would prefer stone that is somewhat more dramatic than natural granite slabs, onyx is another possible option. The rock is banded, which means that it features strips of different colors and textures formed through different concentrations of minerals. This creates a very different and eye-catching stone. It may be too flashy for some, but for those who prefer something more modern onyx could be exactly what they want.

However, there is a catch. Onyx tends to be more difficult to care for than other types of stone. Compared to other types of stone, onyx is quite soft. It often needs to be reinforced by other materials in order to make it strong enough to act as a countertop material. Ultimately, the cost of the stone plus the cost of reinforcing it creates an expensive countertop.

3. Soapstone

Soapstone is quite different from other types of stone slabs for sale in that it is based in talc and is a type of metamorphic rock. Unlike other types of natural stone, soapstone is not porous. This means that it will not stain, and it doesn’t need to be regularly resealed. Many owners of soapstone countertops simply apply oil to maintain their counters.

But like onyx, soapstone is rather soft. It’s prone to scratches and chips, if not quite as much as onyx is. Furthermore, soapstone is limited to shades of white and black. While this will appeal to plenty of people, many still like the different shades offered by nature stone granite slabs.

4. Quartzite

Similar to soapstone, quartzite is a type of metamorphic rock. When sandstone is rich in quartz, it essentially transforms into quartzite. Like soapstone, however, quartzite is very hard and resistant to scratching.

Unlike soapstone, quartzite is prone to staining. It’s quite porous and may need to be sealed twice a year in some cases. While all stone countertops need to be sealed and re-sealed regularly, many homeowners consider this a simple and necessary part of maintaining countertops. It’s important that quartzite in particular is regularly maintained.

5. Marble

It probably won’t come as a surprise that marble is actually another type of metamorphic rock. Rather beautiful and associated strongly with luxury, marble is preferred by many homeowners as it offers a smooth, clean appearance. But it’s also rather expensive. While cheaper types of marble are available, they are often flawed, with veining that doesn’t align correctly.

Marble is also very absorbent, which results in many of them developing a patina. It could potentially become uneven over time as well.

With all of this in mind, homeowners need to make decisions considering not only the value of their countertops but how easily they will be to maintain. No stone is perfect for countertops. But one will serve your needs better than others.

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