Choosing the Best Stone for Kitchens and Fireplaces

There are Many Stone Types that can be Used in the Kitchen and in Stone Fireplace Construction

By Mark J. Donovan

The use of stone in a kitchen brings unmatched elegance, and admittedly expense to a kitchen remodeling project. This said, including stone in your kitchen remodeling plans helps on the return on investment when you eventually sell the home. In today’s high end kitchen designs stone is used for countertops, flooring and even walls. Choosing the best stone for your kitchen, or even for a new fireplace, can be difficult simply due to the large number of stone choices to select from.

Granite is the most popular stone used in the kitchen today. It’s also used often in stone fireplace construction.

Here in New Hampshire, for example, granite stone is often picked up out of the fields and woods and used in the construction of stone fireplaces. Granite, however, is mainly harvested from quarries all over the world and is cut into either large raw sheets or tiles. Once delivered to local stone kitchen countertop suppliers the granite stone sheets are then cut to specific kitchen countertop measurements. Due to the fact that granite is quarried from all parts of the world there’s nearly an infinite amount of colors and tones to choose from.

Granite is not the only stone used in kitchen remodeling and stone fireplace construction. There are many other types of stone that are used in kitchens and fireplaces including, soapstone, onyx, marble, and travertine. Each has their unique beauty and functional benefits, so it’s important to select a stone type that meets all of your needs. For example, granite is extremely dense and durable, and is less apt to stain than travertine. Soapstone is also a smooth, durable, and warm feeling stone that is commonly used for kitchen countertops and sinks. Applying granite sealers

Travertine is often used in flooring applications where light foot traffic is expected. Consequently travertine may be best for kitchens that have only one or two occupants in the home.

Marble and onyx are often used around fireplaces boxes and on hearths. Marble and onyx, with their swirling bright whites and translucent colors are also frequently used in bathrooms, however like travertine are limited to homes and kitchen renovations that do not include children and pets.

After choosing the best stone for your kitchen or fireplace project next comes selecting the right color. Again, due to the fact that stone is a natural product, there are almost an unlimited number of color and tone choices to choose from with any of the aforementioned stones.

When selecting a stone color look at color charts and samples to see which stone(s) best meet your color plans for the kitchen remodel.

Stone fireplace

Also think about the types of stone finishes. There are a variety of stone finish types to choose from. Some are shiny, while others have a dull, flamed, brushed, or honed appearance. Stones can also vary in porous levels. For kitchen countertops and high traffic floor areas its best to choose stones and finishes that are highly non-porous.

Also ask about the frequency of sealing the stone to prevent staining. In general the lighter the stone color, the more porous it is.

Also keep in mind when selecting stone for kitchen countertops that seams may be required, particularly if it is a large kitchen countertop design. Talk to your stone supplier about what are your best options for limiting seams and where to locate them in your kitchen countertop design. In addition, consider the thickness of the stone. The thicker the stone, the more expensive it is. Normally stone kitchen countertops are 1-1/4 inch thick. However, you can purchase slightly thinner stone for kitchen countertops and reinforce them with a piece of plywood underneath it. Also, granite tiles can be used for kitchen countertops at a more affordable cost. For stone fireplaces and vertical wall applications, ¾ inch stone is more commonly used.

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See’s Ceramic Tile Calculator

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