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What kind of stone counters do I have?

Feb 15, 2022

So you have a new (or new to you) house or property and have no idea what stone you have or how to care for it. You’ve come to the right place.

There are several popular stone surfaces that have been installed for decades and longer, including go-to materials like marble and granite, but then there are more unique varieties such as soapstone and granite.  Regardless of the stone you have, a few rules apply to their upkeep: Wipe up spills immediately, keep grit off your stone and with proper care, stone surfaces will last many generations

Do I Have Marble Countertops?

​If so, lucky you! While it can prevent some care challenges, there are a lot of solutions to make marble easier to manage.

Marble has been the material of choice for monuments, temples and buildings for thousands of years for good reason; it’s beautiful, timeless and enduring. Color can vary from white to black, marble that is free of any impurities appears nearly solid white. Layers in the limestone and integration with other minerals can create green, yellow, pink, gray, cream and bluish coloration. You won’t find natural marble in bright colors. From light cream veins in white marble to violet, red or blue veins in yellow marble, natural marble will show its impurities through long wavy streaks.

Do I Have Cultured Marble Countertops?

Is your sink, counter and or backsplash all one piece and in the same color and pattern with no seaming or caulking? Then you have cultured marble (aka plastic).

Real marble countertops, on the other hand, have top or under mounted sinks that require grout or caulk to seal around the sink and backsplash sections, doesn’t have consistent veins or coloring since it is a natural stone and has the same color and pattern on the underside. Cultured marble is man-made.

How Do I Know If I Have Soapstone Counters?

Soapstone is another great natural stone, usually dark gray or almost black in color with a smooth feel. Soapstone is often seen in historic homes but is also used in modern homes as both a countertop material.

Not sure if its Soapstone? Check the texture and hardness. There should be a waxy, soapy feel to the surface of the stone, whether it is polished or not. Still not sure? Find an area underneath the counter and see if the stone will scratch with your fingernail – if it leaves a mark, it’s likely soapstone.

Oh and one more tip: Soapstone is difficult to find in long slabs so most soapstone countertops will have a seam.

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Are My Counters Granite?

Some granite has more of a veined look, similar to marble, but if you look closely, the color patches tend to have a more grainy, blurry look rather than distinct streaks. Unlike marble, granite is completely opaque, so you will only see the outermost layer of the surface.

Still not sure? Do a scratch test. Take a knife blade, and try scratching the surface in a hidden area. If it’s hard to scratch, then it’s likely to be granite.

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Are My Counters Quartz or Quartzite?

The biggest difference between quartz and quartzite is that quartz is a man-made material, while quartzite is a natural stone. A quartzite countertop begins as sandstone, which under a natural process of heat and pressure is fused with quartz crystals to form quartzite.

Quartzite typically comes in shades of white or light grey, but minerals in the stone can lend pink, gold, or reddish-brown hues.

A quartz countertop is engineered with the same quartz crystals found in quartzite, but a man-made process binds the crystal with resins, pigments, and other materials such as bits of glass.

Still not sure? If you are in the market for stone restoration or protection, Boston Stone Restoration or your local stone care company will identify your natural stone in the initial quote discovery process for you.

Get your project quoted today

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