Did you know that 75% of US homeowners who intended to remodel their kitchens said that they wanted granite or other natural stone countertops?
With so much choice when it comes to kitchen countertops, it's difficult to choose the right ones for your home. Countertops need to be durable, practical, and look great, which is why we've compared man-made and natural stone countertops, so you can see which is the right choice for you. Check out how the two compare in terms of pros and cons and maintenance.
Natural Stone vs Man-Made: What's the Difference?
When it comes to the kitchen, there's still a range of different styles that are popular throughout houses in the US. According to a Houzz study, transitional is the most popular style with 21% preferring it. With the contemporary style coming in as the second most preferred (15%) which just beat the farmhouse style (with 14% preferring this kitchen look).
Your kitchen should reflect your style. But when choosing the right kitchen you also need to think about the practical things, such as storage, the durability of countertops, and the ease of maintaining and cleaning appliances and tops. So, what's the difference between man-made and natural stone countertops?
Man-made stone, or synthetic, countertops are made to look like natural stone tops but they are engineered using a combination of natural stone and resin. This combination of materials makes man-made countertops cheaper than natural stone ones.
When it comes to man-made tops, there are plenty of options, including:
- stone coat countertops
- epoxy countertops
- concrete countertops
- laminate countertops
- cultured marble countertops
- recycled glass countertops
- and porcelain countertops.
One reason people enjoy having man-made tops is that they're more difficult to stain. All the man-made countertop options are chip and scratch-resistant, stain-resistant, and heat-resistant. However, similar to all countertops, you should avoid applying heat or cutting on them.
- Natural Stone
Natural stone countertops such as marble or granite are very durable and unlike man-made tops, they offer inconsistencies which add to the aesthetics of a kitchen. The natural stone look can incredible in homes and it can also increase the value of a house.
Compared to man-made tops, natural stone countertops are easier to repair when it comes to damages. And chips in natural stone tops aren't as noticeable, thanks to the inconsistencies of the material. (Whereas man-made tops are flawless, so the damages that may occur are more likely to show.)
Similar to man-made tops, natural stone tops are easy to clean, with the right care and attention. Natural stone is porous, however, with regular sealing you can easily protect your tops from stains. And the good news is that sealing natural stone only needs to be completed once a year.
Pros and Cons of Natural Stone and Man-Made Tops
Both natural stone and man-made stone tops are popular in households across the US and the world. And that's because they both have a range of pros and cons.
However, depending on your personal preference, some of the pros and cons of both countertops may seem better or worse than the other. For example, one pro of natural stone is the color and uniqueness of the finish. No two pieces of natural stone countertop materials are the same, which makes your kitchen unique.
On the other hand, the color of the natural stone might be a con for you and your style because you prefer consistent color tops. Which might mean that opting for man-made countertops is better for you, as this material promises color consistency.
In terms of durability, both countertops are strong and durable. A benefit of natural stone is that it is hard and thus difficult to damage. While a con is that different stone options might be softer than others, such as marble may be softer than granite.
A benefit of man-made tops is that they're often more durable than natural stone, however, they can also become damaged. A con of man-made tops is that if they're damaged it can be more difficult to fix.
A pro of natural stone is that it's easy to clean, once it's been sealed. While a pro of man-made tops is that they don't need to be sealed and are also easy to clean.
Maintaining Your Kitchen Countertops
Whichever countertop you choose, you'll need to ensure you care for them and maintain them. This includes sealing for natural stone tops and regular cleaning for both materials. There are many cleaning and care products that can help make your life easier and ensure your countertops look great and last longer.
Man-made countertops should be regularly cleaned with soap and warm water. You should also consider polishing your tops on a regular basis, such as once a month, but always avoid using harsh chemicals as these might stain your tops. If any stains do occur, there are also stain removing products that can help.
Natural stone countertops need to be sealed to ensure staining is prevented. There is a range of sealing products available that can help ensure your tops are kept clean from stains. As with man-made tops, you also need to ensure that you regularly clean your tops with warm water and soap, and other cleaning products if necessary.
Whichever countertop you have, always remember to avoid placing hot pans and pots on the surface. Both materials may become damaged when the heat is applied.
Transform Your Kitchen With Natural Stone Countertops
Personally, we love natural stone countertops because they look incredible and can transform any kitchen. They can also add value to your house, so if you're thinking of selling anytime soon or just want a better-looking kitchen, why not add some natural stone tops.
Contact us now to find out more about how to look after your stone countertops to ensure they look great and last longer.