The Best Stone for Your Home

The Best Stone for Your Home 1There are many options for beautifying your home with the long-lasting performance of natural stone. Selecting natural stone is just like selecting a work of art. It’s a personal decision based on what YOU like. It also depends on where and how the stone will be used: kitchen countertops or a bathroom vanity, wall cladding or floors, inside or outside.

Northwestern Marble and Granite has the largest selection of natural stone products in the Twin Cities. Visit our showroom to see counters, vanities and fireplace surrounds in many shapes, sizes and colors. You can also view hundreds of full-size slabs in our fabricating plant and pick the exact product you want. When you work with us, the stone you choose will be all natural — not a composite or manufactured product. It will be one-of-a-kind — yours and yours alone.

Any of the major stone products we have are beautiful: granite, marble, limestone, travertine, slate and soapstone. However, some are better suited than others for a particular use. Read through this section and others on our website , then stop by our showroom and we’ll help you pick the perfect stone for your project.

Granite Counter Tops Are the Most Popular

The Best Stone for Your Home 2Because of versatility and superior performance characteristics, granite countertops are the most popular choice. In fact, granite has been rated the top performing kitchen countertop material by a leading consumer magazine, scoring higher than engineered stone, butcher block, ceramic tile, stainless steel and other manufactured surfaces. It is also more hygienic (tied with quartz) than all other surfaces.


Granite originated from the earth’s core as liquid magma. It is one of the hardest and strongest materials in nature. It contains quartz, mica, feldspar and other minerals.

Over time, the earth’s heat and pressure produced the fascinating combinations of color and pattern as well as the many outstanding qualities we know and love about granite.

The Best Stone for Your Home 3Granite will impress you with an innate ability to withstand tough wear conditions. A granite counter top is nearly impossible to scratch (you can cut your veggies, etc. on it if you don’t mind dulling your knives). Hot utensils and pots won’t hurt it, and bacteria and stains aren’t a problem under normal use and proper cleaning.

Most granite is naturally porous to a certain degree and can be susceptible to staining. However, millions of homeowners who have granite in their homes will tell you that it’s not the problem that some would have you believe. There are several varieties of granite (especially blacks) that are so dense they simply will not stain and therefore do not need sealing… ever.

Granite Counter Tops Colors & Patterns

From a design, a homeowner and a designer’s perspective, granite is a dream to work with. Every slab features a broad spectrum of colors and an interesting array of patterns that offer endless decorating possibilities. The choices are continually expanding as more countries and regions around the globe explore their unique geology to bring new granites to market.

We have literally hundreds of colors in stock, including many choices in golden browns, pale pinks, deep plums, earth tones, exotic blues, greens, blacks and many subtle shades in-between .

Surface patterns typically will have a flecked or pebbled appearance which can vary in size and shape and in the density of the pattern depending on the particular mix of quartz, crystals and minerals that make up the stone.

The pattern can be highly structured, with a uniform appearance over the entire countertop. Or, the pattern may change continually, without repetition, which is called “movement”.

Movement is often desired for the organic and dramatic look it adds to your kitchen or bathroom design.

Every Design and Every Piece is Different

The Best Stone for Your Home 4Granite and other stones developed their color and pattern over millions of years of natural formation creating a surface that is truly unique.

So, it’s never a problem finding a granite color or pattern that fits with your design. The trick is deciding which of the gorgeous granites you love the most!

Unique Texture.

The most popular texture for granite is a polished surface. However, honed, flamed and brushed surfaces are also used.

You can find more information about all of these items on Granite Colors & Design.

Granite Tiles and Slab Sizes

Slabs for granite countertops are cut from monolithic blocks and come in thicknesses of 2cm (3/4 inch) or 3cm (11/4 inch) or custom sizes.

The 2cm is most common and is generally less expensive. The thickness depends on the look you’re trying to create, especially concerning the edges, and how the top complements your kitchen cabinets.

A thicker slab gives you more options when choosing your edge profile/style.

Granite Tiles are excellent for bath or kitchen flooring or anywhere else around the house, inside or out. A granite tile countertop can save you money and still provide the distinct look and desirable qualities of a full-slab countertop.

Versatile, resilient and naturally beautiful, granite is an excellent surface for any project you’re planning. No other natural stone or engineered stone can match granite’s numerous and unique characteristics.

Bacteria Resistance in Granite Countertops

The Best Stone for Your Home 5If you are concerned about bacterial contamination of your kitchen countertop, granite is one of your best choices. A study by the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management, a St. Paul company that develops educational materials and research for the retail food industry, shows the following:

The study measured the bacteria resistance capacity of six common countertop materials. Each surface was contaminated with E-coli (nearly 2 billion of the micro-organisms), washed and rinsed with soap and water and then sanitized with vinegar-and-water solution. The results are shown below.

Surface Micro-organism ELIMINATED by cleaning
Stainless Steel        85,113,804
Granite                    79,432,823
Plastic Laminate     498,884
Tile                           293,765
Concrete                  32,810
Wood                       2,080

Dr. O. Peter Snyder, Jr. who conducted the study said, “We hope our research will help consumers make healthy decisions when selecting a countertop surface for their kitchen.” Dr. Snyder has educated thousands of executives, chefs, employees, and home food preparer’s in recipe hazard analysis and self-control procedures for producing safe food and is the president of Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management

Source: Today’s Homeowner Magazine