Using Marble, Granite, Quartz and Stone in the Kitchen
It's no surprise that natural stone is one of the most popular materials for kitchen remodels. Stone brings a beauty and peacefulness that few other products can imitate. With a wide variety of patterns, finishes and styles, natural stone can be used in almost any custom kitchen remodel.
Many customers come to us because they're looking for ideas for remodeling a kitchen with natural, sustainable materials. Others know that they want a particular stone, like marble or granite, in their kitchen remodel but would like to customize it to fit their unique vision.
Whether it's a custom crafted sink or a tiled backsplash, it's important to find a skilled craftsman when you're using natural stone. Granite, marble and quartz are unlike any other building material on the market. Each type of natural stone has its own texture and properties. As a result, you'll need a skilled contractor to create and install a high-quality, long-lasting kitchen feature in natural stone.
Using Marble in the Kitchen
Marble is a metamorphic rock with a long history of use in sculptures and architecture. When used in the kitchen, it offers a classic, elegant look that's unparalleled by any other stone.
The majority of marble used here in the US is white or blue-gray, but it's possible to find marble in a range of shades, from pink to green. The most common types of marble are Carrara marble, a white or blue-gray marble that's quarried in Italy, and Vermont marble, quarried locally in Vermont.
Marble countertops, tiles and backsplashes are a striking addition to a kitchen remodel. In a contemporary kitchen, the swirls and veins in marble stand out against stainless steel appliances and dark fixtures. Don't ignore it in a classic kitchen: the natural surface is an ideal counterpoint to wood cabinetry.
Average Prices for Marble
Marble usually costs from $60 to $100 per square foot installed. It tends to be cheaper than other natural stones, but the price varies widely on the type of marble and what it's used for. Carrara marble is widely available and usually less expensive than other types. Calacatta marble, which tends to have more dramatic veining, costs more.
Maintaining Marble Kitchen Surfaces
Marble is softer and more porous than granite or other hard rocks, so it requires some maintenance, but it's high maintenance reputation is undeserved. Regular care simply means wiping up spills quickly and sealing the surface periodically. Acidic foods, like lemon, will dull the surface. For frequently used surfaces, look for honed marble, which has a matte finish and is generally easier to maintain than polished marble.
Custom Kitchen Remodeling Ideas With Marble
Marble stands out best when there's a wide surface to show off the veins and swirls that make it so distinct. Consider broad surfaces on countertops, kitchen islands and tables as ideal places to use marble.
Custom Marble Kitchen Countertops
If you're looking for a way to incorporate marble in your kitchen remodel, countertops are an ideal place. Marble counters add an elegant, light feeling to the kitchen. Because they resist heat, they're a good surface for baking as well.
Custom Kitchens Tables and Islands in Marble
Marble topped tables and kitchen islands are another way to showcase the pattern in this stone. Because of its neutral color, marble can be paired with a wide variety of materials. With steel or light wood cabinets, a marble island or table helps to create a light, modern look. Use a darker, more dramatic marble with oak or cherry wood for a natural look. Or consider using marble for the entire kitchen island for a stunning minimalist look.
Marble Kitchen Tiles and Backsplashes
If you'd like to use marble tiles, consider larger tiles that showcase the veins and patterning that make marble unique. One standout trend is to use marble tiles to create an oversized or full height backsplash that also serves as an accent wall. These backsplashes can add a timeless, elegant look to any kitchen remodel.
Another option is to use small marble tiles to create a mosaic as part of your backsplash or floor. Small hexagonal or square marble tiles stand out when surrounded by large tiles in the same material, and provide interesting visual appeal.
Using Granite in the Kitchen
Granite is resistant to both heat and scratches, which explains why it's the most popular natural stone finish in a kitchen. It's most commonly used in countertops and kitchen islands, but granite can be used for tiles, kitchen sinks and backsplashes as well.
Granite has a wide variety of colors and patterns, which depend on where the rock is quarried. It's an igneous stone created from the intense heat of a volcano and the texture and colors reflect the mineral composition of the lava.
Traditional granite countertops tend to be made of stones with a gold, beige or brown hue. Black, green or red granite is harder to find. Counters and sinks in these colors made a dramatic statement piece in modern kitchens. White granite is sometimes used to create a hard-working, marble-like countertop.
Average Prices for Granite
Of all the natural stones, granite has one of the widest ranges in cost. Granite surfaces start at $60 per square foot installed, and they range to more than $150 per square foot. However, it has an average cost of $80 per square foot installed. Much of this range is influenced by the rarity of the granite's texture and color.
Maintaining Granite Kitchen Surfaces
Because of its durability, granite materials in the kitchen tend to need very little care. Wipe up spills regularly and vacuum or sweep granite floors to prevent sand and dust from etching into the stone. This is particularly important if the stone has a polished surface, because marks will show more easily on the smooth, shiny rock. Sealing should also be done on a regular basis.
Custom Kitchen Remodeling Ideas With Granite
Because of its durability, granite can be used throughout the kitchen. Along with countertops and islands, consider granite kitchen sinks and backsplashes.
Granite Countertops, Kitchen Islands and Tables
With its durability and variety of colors and patterns, it's no surprise that granite is a standout choice for counters and other kitchen surfaces. Use traditional browns and creams with small flecked patterns to add a natural appeal to your kitchen countertops without drawing attention away from other features.
Custom Granite Kitchen Sink
Although stainless steel is the most popular material for a kitchen sink, granite kitchen sinks have some surprising benefits. They're highly resistant to heat and scratches, so you should maintain their appearance with little assistance. Natural stone can also help to tie together a room. Most granite sinks are inset, with counter surrounding the entire sink.
Look for dark grey or black granite for a statement piece against lighter countertops. Many people consider using granite with a medium-sized pattern, which is then set only partially into the counter, called a farm-style or apron front sink. The pattern on the side of the sink will be visible when you enter the kitchen, and it adds a striking accent to lighter cabinetry and counters.
Custom Granite Backsplashes
Because of the width of colors and patterns available, granite is an ideal choice for backsplashes. If you're using light granite on your countertops or floors, consider reversing the color scheme in your backsplash. Using darker granite with a few light accents can help to tie together your kitchen.
You could also combine granite with other natural stones to create textural interest, which can be ideal if you're using one material, like granite, for your countertops, and another natural stone like slate for your floors. Creating a custom backsplash with both granite and slate tiles will connect these colors and textures in the room.
Custom Granite Kitchen Floors
Because granite is quarried in slabs, you have a few options when it comes to your kitchen floors. Polished granite tiles usually have a tighter, flecked pattern. If you'd like a lighter, more open pattern, consider using granite slabs instead of tiles on the floor.
Whether you use tiles or slabs, the durability of granite makes it a good choice for high traffic areas like kitchens. Polished tiles and slabs will create an elegant, timeless look, but they may be slippery when wet. Honed surfaces will be more slip resistant, and leathered finishes will help to hide marks on the floor.
Using Quartz in the Kitchen
Quartz is an engineered stone, which differentiates it from other natural stones in the kitchen. Most stones are quarried in slabs, but when quartz is used in countertops or tiles, it's quarried and then crushed. The crushed quartz is combined with resins to create one of the most durable stones used in the home.
Quartz has a wide variety of textures and colors. Traditional whites, greys and tans with a flecked texture offer a natural touch for classic kitchens. And airy swirls in white, red and gold can help to create a dramatic kitchen island, backsplash or sink.
Today, quartz stone is available in a wide variety of finishes. Along with the traditional polished finish, some quartz is available in a honed or a matte finish, or sandblasted for a more rustic appearance.
Average Prices for Quartz
Historically, quartz has been one of the more expensive materials to use in kitchens. However, recent technology has lowered the price considerably, putting it on par with other materials used in custom kitchen remodels.
Quartz generally costs from $65 to $120 per square foot installed. Like other custom kitchen surfaces, the installed cost accounts for labor like cutting, grinding and finishing the surface, not only the material.
Caring for Quartz in the Kitchen
Of all the natural stones, quartz needs the least care. It's an extremely hard, almost stainless material. It also doesn’t need to be sealed. However, quartz does tend to lighten if it's overexposed to sun. If your kitchen is particularly bright or has large windows, it's important to be aware that quartz surfaces might lighten. Use shades or blinds to shield them from intense sunlight. Also be careful to always use protection under hot pots or slow cookers, as exposure to heat may discolor the binders used by manufacturers when creating the quartz slabs.
Where to Use Quartz in the Kitchen
Because quartz is stain resistant and very durable, it's most often used in high traffic areas of the kitchen. It's ideal for both custom countertops and kitchen sinks, which see frequent use and might normally be stained by a variety of foods.
Custom Quartz Kitchen Sinks
The scratch resistant surface and durable nature of quartz make it an ideal material for kitchen sinks. Another benefit of quartz sinks? They have natural antimicrobial properties. Both light and dark quartz is often used in kitchen sinks, and the color can be chosen to match or accent other colors in your kitchen. If you want a kitchen sink that blends seamlessly with the counter, consider both a quartz kitchen sink and quartz countertops.
Quartz Countertops and Kitchen Islands
In the kitchen, quartz is most commonly used for countertops. Because it's resistant to both scratches and staining, it's a good choice for surfaces that experience heavy traffic. The antimicrobial properties are also useful for counters, which might see a variety of materials placed on them.
Lighter quartz countertops or an island can help brighten up a kitchen. Quartz that's patterned like marble, with blue-grey veins, is a particularly good option for classic countertops when staining or etching is a concern. With larger surfaces like countertops and islands, it's important to be aware of bright sunlight dulling the stone. Quartz shouldn't be exposed to intense sunlight, so consider other stones if the counters will be in the sunlight for a long time.
Using Stone in the Kitchen
Other natural stones can also be used in the kitchen. Many clients come to us looking for a one-of-a-kind feature piece in soapstone, onyx or serpentine for their kitchen remodel.
Metamorphic stone, whose strength and texture is formed over many centuries of compression, can be used for countertops, tiles, sinks and backsplashes. Metamorphic stones used in the kitchen include:
- Onyx. Dramatic stone that’s often black or red. Sometimes banded with white. It's notable for its semi-translucent sheen. Consider backlit areas or a custom kitchen bowl sink to make its semi-translucent properties really shine. **We would not recommend using onyx for a kitchen sink as it is delicate and more susceptible to cracking, a powder room sink would be a more recommended use!
- Soapstone. A softer grey, blue or white stone that's ideal for carving. Soapstone is often used in inlays and backsplashes. Harder varieties are used for sinks and countertops. It takes on a lovely patina as it ages, which can be enhanced with oils.
- Serpentine. Dark green or brown stone that tends to have a scaled or folded appearance. The veins in this rock make it an eye catching alternative to marble for countertops and backsplashes.
Sedimentary stones like sandstone and limestone are durable and slightly porous. As they form, they tend to fold and compress with dramatic patterns that make them ideal for eye-catching backsplashes and countertops. Ideal choices for the kitchen include:
- Sandstone. A richly textured stone with dominant shades of brown, gold and tan. It tends to be highly resistant to weathering and offers a natural look that's ideal for kitchen tiles or backsplashes.
- Slate. Once used primarily for roofing tiles, slate's black, blue and purple shades make a dramatic statement in the kitchen. It's a fine-grained stone that’s often polished for custom counters and islands, where its very low water absorption is helpful. Slate tiles are sometimes used on kitchen floors, where the natural and fine-grained texture is ideal.
- Travertine. A metamorphic rock with a brown or reddish tint. Travertine is often used for tiles and pavers both indoors and out. The light colors and natural appearance make it ideal for a wide variety of home styles. It is an ideal stone for an indoor-outdoor transition from the kitchen.
Average Prices for Stone
Natural stone has a wide range of prices, which are influenced by the type of stone, its finish, and where it's used. In general, natural stone ranges from $23 to $35 per square foot of tile. Rarer materials like onyx or serpentine can range from $40 to $250 and up per square foot.
Caring for Stone in the Kitchen
The type of care that's needed depends on the stone that's used and its finish. In general, natural stone is sensitive to acid, so acidic cleaners should be avoided. Natural stone may need to be sealed, depending on the type of stone and its location. Stones may need either surface sealants, which prevent water from entering the stone, or impregnators, a more powerful sealant that's used for countertops and table surfaces.