Natural Stone Countertops
Today’s homeowners are more inclined to refurbish their homes for their own enjoyment than for resale. And, where once natural stone countertops were quite expensive, today they are priced much more affordably and the demand for natural stone has continued unabated.
Competition has driven the price of granite down considerably and its popularity as well as competition has led to the availability of a larger selection of colors, finishes, and edges.
Natural stone is the most durable building material ever known, according to Kevin Sanchez, a spokesman for Antolini, “and has been used in décor and construction for thousands of years.” He adds that natural stone can certainly be seen as the natural choice for a hard surface application.
“Granite continues to be one of the most popular choices for kitchens because granite is a very hard stone that’s formed at very high temperatures deep in the earth. Its polish is not subject to etching by household acids or scratching by knives and pots and pans. It’s unaffected by typical kitchen heat such as hot pans, or spilled liquid,” Sanchez says.
Natural stone and solid surface countertops have been synonymous with quality for several years, according to Marcia Leach of Designer Floors & Interiors. “The sky is the limit when it comes to countertop options. There are beautiful standard granites and amazing specialty natural stones,” she says. “We are seeing a growing interest in some of our solid surface man-made products. Some clients prefer less movement and a more consistent pattern such as we see in the man-made pattern.”
Leach suggests that countertops should be the first selection for the kitchen. “The cabinet color, backsplash, flooring choice, and paint color will then coordinate with the natural stone movement.”
Crediting high tech equipment has allowed greater economies of scale which have helped make natural stone more affordable, according to Jeremy Werthan of Werthan LLC. Pricing is far more attractive than a decade ago, he says, and options among man-made materials have also grown.
“Natural stone adds an organic component to homes, giving them a warmth and a sense of permanence,” Werthan says. “These natural materials have taken millions of years in the creation that makes them durable materials for use in the kitchen.”
Selecting your own natural stone at a slab yard is the way to go, according to the experts. “Go with the fabricator to the slab yard,” says Werthan. The fabricator is the person who crafts the slab to meet your specifications.
Leach says, “Visiting the granite yard is exciting. It is amazing to be able to hand-select a one-of-a-kind piece of art made by nature.”
Karen Merritt of Silver Stone Designs suggests wearing comfortable shoes. “These are large warehouses where you’ll be able to see hundreds of slabs. Bring with you samples of your flooring, cabinets, backsplashes, and paint colors if you’ve already made those decisions.”
No two slabs of stone are exactly the same, adds Amanda Sweeney Davis of Just Design This.
Colors found in natural materials will never go out of style, says Melinda Dupree-Kewley of Choice Cabinet. “Granite is the top choice in natural stone countertops. Affordability, availability and variety of colors, seem to be the top reasons homeowners choose granite. Granite adds an instant upgrade to any kitchen remodel,” she says.
Knowing what you’re looking for—aesthetically speaking—and knowing the maintenance qualities and budget you’re seeking are the first step in honing your search for countertops, according to Sheri Hendel of Granite Direct at The Selection Center.
“Every countertop material has its positive and negative attributes ranging from durability, color options, seaming, maintenance, and price point,” she says. “I think the competitive price point and low maintenance characteristics of natural stone such as granite have allowed it to surpass solid surfacing as the preferred countertop for most consumers..
“Alternative green products for the most part are more expensive and have led homeowners back to natural stone,” says Hendel. “We’ve seen granite priced only several hundred dollars higher than what high-end laminate might cost. We’re also seeing homeowners and designers opting for a more custom look with full-height granite backsplashes.”
There are a number of sources for countertops in the Nashville area including:
Brentwood Granite & Cabinet Design Center
Designer Floors & Interiors
Granite Direct/Selection Center
Just Design This
Nashville Granite & Marble
Natural Stone Distributors
Silver Stone Designs
Wholesale Granite Warehouse