Every home needs countertops; it’s just a matter of deciding which material is best for you. At Victory Surfaces, we provide hard surface selections in an array of materials and finishes.
Natural Stone is a tried and true choice; boasting beauty, durability, and value to the homeowner. There are many types of natural stone to choose from: granite, marble, quartzite, soapstone, onyx, limestone, and slate being some of the most common.
Here’s a brief look at each of these options:
Granite is an igneous rock, formed by the solidification of magma. As such, it is very strong and resistant to scratches, although it is not scratch-proof. The wide variety of colors available in granite is caused by the mineral composition of each stone. Similarly, different granite pattern/movement is caused by the crystal formation (magma cooling) of the stone.
Granite performs well in all applications: interior surfaces (countertops, tiles, trim pieces, fireplace surrounds, etc.) and outdoor surfaces (tables, statues, pavers, cladding, etc.)
Granite is relatively low maintenance. Regular cleaning with mild soap and water or PH-neutral cleaning products is recommended.
Marble is a metamorphic rock, formed when limestone is exposed to heat and pressure until the recrystallization of its minerals.
Marble has a high calcite composition, making it prone to etching. Etching occurs when an acidic solution (fruit juices, vinegar, wine, coffee, etc.) has a chemical reaction with the calcite. The result is a slightly rough, dull patch where the reaction occurred. As a slightly softer stone, marble may also scratch from knives or other hard utensils. With time a marble surface will gather a natural patina—a culmination of etching, scratches, and general wear to the finish. This is a look that has been adored for centuries across Europe. If, however, a patina is not for you, please keep in mind that all surfaces can be re-polished or honed.
While marble is considered more “high maintenance” than granite, it is often well worth it. With the use of coasters, trivets, hot pads, cutting boards, and regular cleaning with mild soap and water or a PH neutral cleaner, you can maintain a beautiful surface. Wiping up spills immediately and the use of continually-sealing cleaning products can also aid in the maintenance of your marble surface.
Quartzite is a metamorphic rock, formed when quartz-rich sandstone is exposed to heat and pressure until the recrystallization of its minerals.
Although it goes through a metamorphosis like marble, quartzite will not be scratched by a metal blade. With a mineral composition near 90%+ of quartz, quartzite is stronger than granite and rates a 7 on the Moh’s scale.
Regular cleaning with mild soap and water or a PH-neutral solution is suggested.
Soapstone is a metamorphic rock composed mainly of talc, with varying amounts of other minerals. Because of its talc content soapstone is a softer material which will scratch; however, with a high density, it is non-absorptive and unaffected by heat or chemicals.
Scratches in soapstone can be addressed by simply taking sandpaper to them or using a mineral oil to treat the affected area. Another option is to allow the scratches to remain and have a natural patina on your soapstone countertops.
Soapstone comes in tones of blue, green, grey, black, and brown.
Onyx is a sedimentary rock formed from the stalagmites and stalactites of caves.
Most onyx types are translucent, with varying degrees of inclusions that may offer a more opaque finish. Because of this unique composition, many onyxes are used as lighted features in bars, art pieces, or wall applications.
Onyx is more sensitive to acid and scratching than marble and is not advised for kitchen countertops.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock, composed of 50%+ calcium carbonate (calcite). It is most commonly formed at the bottom of a body of water (ocean) and made up of organic sediment such as shells, skeletons, algae, etc. Travertine is a type of limestone formed at hot springs, which causes voids in the stone.
Similar to marble, limestone will etch at the presence of acidic solutions. Additionally, staining can occur so it is suggested to wipe up all spills immediately.
Because of its reaction to chemicals, stainability, and relatively softer composition, limestone is not suggested for a working kitchen countertop.
Slate is a metamorphic rock, formed under relatively low pressure and temperature.
Slate is dense, strong, acid-resistant, non-absorptive, and impervious to the freeze-thaw cycle. Because of these factors, it has been a very popular building material for the past thousands of years. Although it is dense, slate is brittle. Slate is characterized by its foliation, along which it breaks, leaving a smooth, flat surface.
Slate comes in great earthy tones, ranging from black, grey, green, purple, and red.
This specialty countertop finish is sure to bring luxury to any project! Semiprecious stone slabs are created by hand-carving smaller pieces of stone (quartz, amethyst, pearl, petrified wood) and nesting/adhering them into slab form with a resinous binder.
Many of the options available are transparent, allowing you the opportunity to create a lighted feature.
Depending on the material selected, your maintenance, lead time, and price point can all vary with this product. The most advisable cleaning is to use a mild soap and water or a PH neutral cleaning formula.
Quartz is another popular choice among designers and homeowners alike.
Quartz is a manmade material comprised of natural quartz particles (~90-95%) formed with a resinous binder. This mixture is then compressed under a large vibrocompression vacuum to create a virtually nonporous finish. With modern color palettes and easy maintenance, this finish is here to stay.
We work with a number of manufacturers, allowing you to pick the perfect style and price-point for your project.
For specific quartz cleaning tips, we recommend you consult with your selected manufacturer’s website or use mild soap and water or a PH neutral cleaning formula.
Concrete and Terrazzo
Concrete and Terrazzo are two amazing, historical products with endless possibilities for your countertop needs.
Recently concrete has become a very popular countertop material because of its wide range of styles and finishes. Concrete can be dyed or stained a multitude of colors and can be formed to custom shapes and sizes.
Similar to a few of the natural stones above, concrete is sensitive to acidic substances and can etch. Concrete is also a porous material. As such you have two options for how to treat your countertop. The first option is to do nothing–allow the top to patina! Over time there will be stains, lighter/etching spots, possible scratches; all of these elements will give you an old-world feel. The second option is to periodically seal your countertop with a penetrating sealer or wax. Along with sealing the top, you will need to be aware of the stains and clean them quickly.
With whatever maintenance method you use, for cleaning concrete it is suggested you use a mild soap or a PH neutral cleaning solution.
Terrazzo is another product with historical roots. Similar to concrete countertops, terrazzo countertops can be customized by shape, size, and thickness. With a literal rainbow of stone/glass/shell aggregates available and endless color selection for the binder, terrazzo is the most customizable product on the market!
Maintenance of your terrazzo top will vary based on whether you have cement terrazzo or epoxy terrazzo. The cement terrazzo will need maintenance similar to concrete: periodic sealing, a careful eye on spills, and cleaning with a PH-neutral solution. For your epoxy terrazzo, it is important that you avoid placing hot objects on the surface, as these will damage the resin, and avoid harsh chemicals. Again, surfaces should be cleaned with a PH-neutral solution.
Large-format porcelain is one of the newest options available when it comes to your countertops. Another manmade material, porcelain slabs are being manufactured by a number of suppliers. Marble looks are predominantly the most popular color/style, with some onyx and semiprecious stones being a close alternate.
Because of their thin nature, porcelain countertops often have a mitered edge (reference edge E1 on our Edge Profile sheet). However, there are other choices when it comes to edge selection. With a shift towards modern design, thin edges are in! An eased edge or knife edge are both popular selections when using a 12mm slab.
With a number of new finishes on the market, the porcelain slab industry has made great strides towards looking and feeling like a true stone. Stop by our showroom to view samples from various suppliers.
With similar fabrication characteristics, Neolith and Dekton often get described under the large-format porcelain umbrella. However, each of these is created with different material compositions and different manufacturing processes. As such their individual performance will vary greatly from that of a standard porcelain. To learn more about each of these specific materials, please visit their manufacturer’s website.
We are Here to Help
Architects, cabinet-makers, general contractors, owners, and builders looking for a commercial bid are always welcome to get in touch with our estimating department. We can help you source the ideal material (granite, quartz, marble, or otherwise) as well as perform the necessary fabrication/installation project needs.
Not all countertop options are ideal for an outdoor kitchen or living space. As a general note, any products produced with a resinous binder will not be UV stable and as such would not be advised to be used outdoors. Below is a list of recommended countertop options. Looking for an option you don’t see listed? Please contact us to discuss your project specifics.
- Cement Terrazzo
- Large Format Porcelain
- Neolith or Dekton