What do you need to know before heading to the showroom to choose a natural stone? This quick read will get you on the path to choosing the best stone for your home.
How do you know which stone is the best stone? Before heading to the showroom to pick out your stone, consider these things to make sure you get the best stone for you.
Is the stone right for your project? While onyx and marbles are quite beautiful with their translucent colors, bright whites, and intense swirls and markings, think twice if you are putting in kitchen countertops. If you love to cook or have children, this isn't the best of combinations. These stones, as well as travertine are best saved for lighter trafficked areas.
Granite and soapstone are both very durable natural stones and work wonderful for kitchen countertops. These will last many life times with heavy use in your kitchen. Think about how you will use the stone.
Once you know the type of stone you are going to use, narrow down your color preferences. How do you choose a color or narrow it down? Look at color charts and samples to get a feel for what you like. When you're out and about, pay attention to what others have done with color. Think about what color makes you feel good.
Do you like dark stones? The darker stones tend to be harder, and shinier with less chance of staining or discoloring. They also need to be sealed less frequently, if even at all! But, they tend to show fingerprints and dust more readily. If you have a smaller kitchen, a dark stone may make your kitchen appear smaller.
If you love the look of lighter colored stones, they will expand a small room and make it seem larger. Dust and fingerprints aren't so apparent. But, lighter stones are more apt to stain and they need to be sealed more frequently.
Look at the different patterns... solids, swirls, dots. There are so many to choose from, you're bound to find one that's totally you. Other than choosing the right type of stone for your project, color is important. You will look at it every day. Go with the look and color you love. Take your time.
Think about the thickness of your stone. A 3/4 inch stone is best suited for vertical wall applications and fireplace surrounds while 1 1/4 is preferable for countertops.
Have you thought about your surface finish? I prefer polished for its shine, ease of care, and maintenance but I know it's not for everyone. If you don't like a shiny look, a honed finish may be for you. This matted surface does take a little more maintenance and care and it's more susceptible to stains and aluminum markings.
A flamed or brushed finish still has a shine but it is more dimpled or rough to the touch giving your stone a natural look. This finish isn't a great choice for countertops because of the textured surface. It will be harder to clean. Ask your fabricator about the pros and cons of different finishes for your project before heading out to look at stone. Then, make the appropriate selection.
Your fabricator will tell you how much stone you need, as in how many slabs. Do you know what size slabs you want or need? This is so you are able to minimize your seams. Slabs of different stones come in many different sizes. Since stone is a
natural product, there is no such thing as "one size fits all". If your countertop is 100 inches long and the slab is only 80 inches long, you will have a seam.
With this information in hand, you're off to the stone yard/ showroom.
Darren fabricates and installs natural stone near Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is also co-author of http//www.natural-stone-interiors.com, a site dedicated to helping homeowners choose natural stone. For tips, hints, and ideas every month, go to http//www.natural-stone-interiors.com/the-stone-circle.html.