Stone is one of the more sumptuous materials for the kitchen. Ancient, beautiful and durable, there is a type of stone that’s suitable for just about every kitchen, be it purple, green or familiar salt and pepper granite, pure white or black marble, or beige-brown travertine. Here are some types of stone to consider for the kitchen:
The granite used for countertops, an island top or tiles was formed eons ago under a volcano. Granite is made mostly of quartz and feldspar, with additions of magnetite, garnet, pyrite and other minerals that give it different colors. Whatever color granite is, it blends well with other hues that come from nature, such as the browns and beiges of woods, the blue of sky and robin’s eggs or the green of plants.
Though granite is a strong stone, strong enough for Mount Rushmore, it is porous and needs to be sealed against staining. Granite and stone in general shouldn’t be subject to even mild acid spills, knives or screaming hot pots and pans. All spills should be cleaned up right away, even if the stone is sealed, and knives should be used on cutting board. Pots and pans should be placed on trivets or folded dishtowels.
Marble is a metamorphic rock, which means it evolved over eons from one rock to another. Marble is softer than granite and needs the same care. It feels delightfully cool when it is touched and is often used to roll out pastry dough. People prize pure white marble such as Carrera, which was used by Michelangelo to create his sculptures, but marble comes in many colors. Only marble that is made of nothing but crystals of calcite or dolomite is pure white. Minerals such as hematite or silicates give it color. Marble is an amazingly classy stone to place in a kitchen, whether on the counter, peninsula, island or floor. By the way, with any stone floor it’s a good idea to lay down mats to protect it and to place pads under heavy furniture.
Travertine is a type of limestone made by the deposit of calcium carbonate in streams or hot springs. Even more porous than marble or granite, it needs to be sealed. Travertine’s neutral colors go well with other neutrals in the kitchen or calm down a kitchen that has big, bold areas of primary colors. This rock also has an interesting, somewhat pitted texture.
Piedrafina and Quartz
These are types of engineered stone. Counters and tiles of piedrafina and quartz are made of pulverized stone mixed with resin and pigment. In the past, a customer could tell if stone was engineered because it simply looked too perfect. Now, technology has allowed piedrafina and quartz to look like real stone. However, unlike natural stone, piedrafina and quartz do not need to be sealed, resist etching from acids and can bear the heat of a pot straight from the oven or stovetop.
To clean stone, wipe it with a damp cloth or mop and a cleanser with a neutral pH, or try our new Cutting Edge Kitchens Stone Cleaner!