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Going Natural With Kitchen Countertops

There are several natural stones that can be used as a countertop for the kitchen.

Among the natural stones, custom granite countertops consistently place the top among the "most wanted list," due to their durability and rich composition.

The different natural materials used for countertops include granite, marble, limestone, slate, soapstone and natural quartz. Each of these elements provides a different characteristic to the countertop.

California Granite countertops are the most durable among all the natural stone countertops. They are chip and scratch resistant. In addition, individuals can roll dough and place hot pots directly on the surface of the countertop.

Marble tops are the next most popular choice among most homeowners. Marble is always cool to the touch and is available in a wide variety of colors and shades. White marble is probably one of the most popular choices for homeowners because of its natural elegance. However, marble kitchen counters require considerable maintenance. As the natural stone is porous it easily absorbs liquids and fats.

Limestone is used in kitchen countertops; however, it is not most homeowner first choice and is definitely not the best natural stone to use in kitchens. However, some homeowners like limestone kitchen countertops for the weathered look that it provides them. But the problem is that limestone is also a porous material and therefore stains very easily.

Slate has been used for centuries as kitchen countertops. Its natural beauty and strength lends itself to use in the kitchen. The advantage of limestone slab countertops is that it has a low absorption rate and keeps stains at bay. However, a lot of homeowners may want to use a sealant to add another level of protection.

Soapstone also referred to as "the original stone countertop," has always been a popular choice for slab countertops. The big advantage to soapstone kitchen countertops is that it does not react to acids and won't etch when acidic materials fall on it. Mineral oil treatment will bring out a darker, richer color.

Almost all natural stones including marble and granite countertops need to be cleaned frequently with a soft brush and mild dishwashing detergent. The use of harsh and abrasive cleaners will scour the surface of the natural stone and cause scratches to appear on the surface.