Thursday, 7 October 2010
Kitchen worktops - Stone Worktops - Granite or Quartz?
How to Choose the Best Finish for Your Kitchen
Stone worktops are all the rage these days. They're everlasting, they look amazing and they add a real touch of solidity to the finish of a kitchen. They are also available in about as many colours, hues and mixtures of stone type as a person could care to name - which makes choosing the right one pretty tricky. In general, the choice is between granite worktops and quartz worktops - but even here there are hundreds of variations, shades and types. So how does a person successfully choose the right worktop for his or her kitchen?
As a basic rule: quartz surfaces tend to be more "uniform" - i.e. they display a single colour or hue; while granite surfaces have a speckled effect (the speckles are actually bits of quartz, confusingly enough). That's because granite in its natural form is composed of more than one type of rock - it will have strata of quartz, feldspar and mica in it, all of which lend it its distinctive glitzy appearance. Polished granite can appear almost reflective, so riotous are its displays of mineral flecking. Quartz worktops and granite worktops, then, are differentiated in the first instance by their general appearance: brash and bold for granite, understated and quiet for quartz. Don't forget, either, that quartz is mostly a pale mineral - which means that worktops made from quartz will appear white, or silvery, or even pearlescent, but very rarely dark.
One's first consideration, then, is pretty simple. Light or dark? Light worktops actually don't go well in as many schemes and situations as dark - so in order to choose quartz worktops one must be definitively sure that one's kitchen has the right amount of light and space to make paler materials work properly. Granite worktops, which vary around thematic shades of red and black, are much more likely to go everywhere: so only kitchens with a particular requirement for a paler work surface will be certain to need quartz. Everywhere else is guaranteed to look good with granite - while quartz is more of a gamble.
In general, granite can pretty much be tailored for any colour scheme. That's because there are hundreds of varying shades of granite, determined by the concentration of coloured minerals in its makeup. That makes variations possible from almost black through to bright pink. Just select the degree of colour intensity that suits your kitchen and personality best.
Quartz worktops, because of their paler colours, tend to work very well in bathrooms and shower rooms - where a "whiter" or lighter look is generally the norm. Remember that quality stone fittings don't just stop where the cooking finishes. There's nothing like stepping out of a hot shower into a gloriously fitted bathroom - and you don't get much more glorious than the pale sheen of a quartz sink top.
Kitchen or bathroom, a big deciding factor for any household material is cost. Here we find a small contradiction: granite worktops tend to be slightly cheaper than quartz worktops. That's because a lot of quartz surfaces are actually composited - which means they have been made as a blend of quartzes, to lend a certain hue or effect to the finished work surface. Granite work surfaces are hewn and polished as found, requiring less work and so less money. Either way, quartz or granite or even a bit of both, stone surfaces are back - and they look amazing.