Choosing the Right Material for Your Countertops

The lasting beauty of natural stone is one of the primary reasons people choose it as a countertop surface. Your choice of stone, in consultation with qualified design professionals, will help you realize your vision and insure the integrity of your project.

The choices in natural stone encompass a variety of unique characteristics.The Spectra experts can you help you determine the best option, based on your wants, needs and requirements.

Granite is a popular countertop choice because it exemplifies durability, strength and firmness. Granite is also resistant to scratches, stains and more household chemicals.
Marble offers great appeal because of its bold colors, exotic veining and distinctive earthy tones. However, it is generally considered softer than granite. As a result, most professional fabricators will steer customers away from utilizing marble in high traffic areas such as kitchen and bathroom countertops. Exposure to food, household chemicals and beauty products can damage marble surfaces. As a result, marble is generally an excellent choice for locations such as fireplace treatments, backsplashes and in other specialty capacities. The stones in this category will also include Onyx and Serpentines.
Quartz is an engineered stone product, meaning it combines elements of other substances, such as granite bits, pulverized stone dust and polymers to create slabs. That process adds to the durablity, and a number of companies–we carry Silestone, Cambria, Zodiac, Pental, Ceasarstone, Hanstone, Samsung Radianz, and LG Viatera–have pushed the envelope in an effort to improve its already impressive strength, color, texture and pattern benefits. While it acts as a good imitator of many stone products, it is not recommended for outdoor applications. Quartz is generally stain and scratch resistant, extremely durable and does not require sealing.
Stones such as Travertine, Slate, Onyx, Serpentines and Soapstone offer their own unique aesthetic and can be ideal based on design concept and color palate. However, these varieties all have absorption rates greater than most Granites and need more frequent sealing. As for Slate and Soapstone those surfaces are enhanced by mineral oil and not necessarily sealed. Re-oiling can deal with most scratches and marks.
Some love it. Others, not so much. The benefits include a wide range of colors. As a result, integrated sinks are stylish, easy to clean and often hygienically superior. Unfortunately, solid stone can rest to heat, scratch and lose some of its luster. Repairs and maintenance can be on-going costs. Corian, LG Hi-Macs, Wilsonart, Livingstone, Avonite, Hanex, and Staron are among the brands we carry.
Countertop manufacturing is also available in eco alternatives. Spectra wholeheartedly supports companies such as Vetrazzo, Eco, Richlite, Paperstone, Geos, and Curava, businesses that create countertop options through efforts to integrate recycling, repurposing and sustainability. These materials meet standards while still providing quality durability and design.

Ultimately, there is not “better choice” or “worse choice” there is only the best choice for the job based on taste, budget, appeal and application. Spectra is dedicated to assisting you with your choice.

Whichever material you choose, by following a few simple steps, you can ensure your natural stone will provide a lifetime of beauty and practical use. We’ve put together a Natural Stone Care & Maintenance Guide with cleaning recommendations, routine care and Do’s and Don’ts for granite, marble, quartz and soapstone.

Download Your Guide

Our Process

Every project is unique, with its own set of circumstances, challenges and opportunities. Construction or remodeling can be a stressful experience, and unfortunately, delays are common, even under the best of circumstances. We approach each project with an effort to minimize these situations, while maximizing results in a timely fashion. Understanding  “The Process” helps our customers see the what, why, and when, of how things should proceed and builds a better relationship leading to a better result.

We will meet with you at your home or venue, or at our offices, to discuss design choices & options.
During this consultation, we determine the exact measurements we will be working with and evaluate any special situations or conditions associated with the project.
You’ll select materials for your project from our inventory or by visiting one of our local distributors.
Once we have a project plan and all your materials have been selected, we will create a written proposal for your consideration.
If our proposal is accepted, a detailed contract, outlining all aspects of the work to be done will be prepared and executed. Most jobs will require a 50%-80% deposit at this time, depending on the cost of the materials and the scope of work.
A timeline will be created for the templating, fabrication, and installation of all items included in the contract.
Our technicians will measure and construct a physical template for all the work to be done. This can take as little as one hour, or up to several hours, depending on the size of the project.
If necessary, we will have a layout session to determine the best outcome and final check for deficiencies in the material. Then the slabs are marked, cut and made into counter tops at our facility.
Once the fabrication is complete, installation will take place based on previously agreed upon scheduled dates.
We perform an evaluation of the job to insure quality and completion. Commonly, the terms of our contracts call for payment due upon completion. Other payment arrangements may incur additional cost.
Defects from workmanship are covered for a period of 2 years from completion of work. Final payment does not waive any warranty rights of the customer and often, small “punch list” type items are scheduled after final payment. Material warranties will vary depending on the manufacturer or source.