Natural stone, often called granite, is indeed 100% natural since it is quarried directly from the earth in large blocks. These blocks are then sliced into slabs and polished on one side at the quarry before being shipped to the broker or fabricator for your selection. Slab sizes vary greatly because the size of the slab is governed by a multitude of factors, including the fragility of the slab, its stability for transport, and the size of the railcar available to haul it out of the quarry. We cut your countertop pieces from the slabs according to your verified countertop template or measurements, then profile and polish the edges before installing it in your home or business.
Pros and Cons
- Mother Nature made this material. It’s 100% natural, which is why it’s such a popular choice with homeowners, designers, and architects.
- Natural stone is durable. The strength of natural stone varies with the physical and geological characteristics of the material, but most natural stones are quite durable once installed. However, it’s not indestructible and can chip, scratch, or even break if abused. And if you happen to spill red wine or other acidic substances on it, it will stain, regardless of any sealer that may have been applied.
- Natural stone is one-of-a-kind. Each slab is inherently random and therefore unique. For many people, this is a pro, and for others, it is a con, so you’ll see it listed again below. Those that consider it a pro generally like the concept of exclusivity—they like the idea that no one else will have the exact same countertop as they have.
- Natural stone needs to be sealed. Your fabricator will typically seal your stone either in the plant or when it is installed, but you’ll also need to seal it every year afterwards too. Why? Because natural stones are porous, which means they can harbor bacteria, germs, mold, and other unhealthy things if not sealed regularly. While some people seal their natural stone countertops every three years (and can get away with it on darker colors that don’t show stains as easily), we recommend doing it yearly.
- Seams are plainly visible in a natural stone countertop. Natural stone is a seamed product and seams will be plainly visible in the finished product, especially if your stone has veins or directional movement in the pattern. Buying a seamed product means that you have to be OK seeing the seams.
- Natural stone is one-of-a-kind. Remember how we mentioned above that “one of kind” can be both a pro and a con? Well, granite is generally not uniform in color or pattern, so those that consider it a con like things to be consistent and predictable. Unfortunately, no two natural stones are alike; even your sample probably won’t look exactly like what is installed in your home. It will be a beautiful stone for sure, but it might not be the beautiful stone you were imagining.