Granite vs. Stone Benchtops: Making the Right Choice for Your Kitchen

When it comes to kitchen renovations or new constructions in Perth, one of the most critical decisions you’ll face is choosing the right benchtop material.  Your kitchen benchtops serve as the focal point of the room, influencing both its aesthetics and functionality.  Among the various options available, two popular choices are granite and engineered stone. Both have their unique qualities and advantages, making the decision-making process challenging.  In this article, we’ll compare granite vs stone benchtops in Perth to help you make an informed choice for your kitchen, ensuring that it not only looks stunning but also meets your practical needs.

Pros of Granite Benchtops: Timeless Elegance

Granite has long been revered for its timeless beauty and durability. It’s a natural stone that’s formed deep within the Earth’s crust, making each slab unique. Here are some of the key advantages of choosing granite benchtops for your kitchen:
  1. Exceptional Durability: Granite is incredibly tough and resistant to scratches, heat, and stains. This durability makes it a suitable choice for high-traffic kitchens.
  2. Unique Patterns and Colours: Each slab of granite is one-of-a-kind, boasting its own patterns and colours. This uniqueness can add a touch of luxury and exclusivity to your kitchen.
  3. Increased Home Value: Granite benchtops are often seen as a sign of luxury and quality. Installing them can potentially increase the value of your home.
  1. Easy Maintenance: Granite is relatively easy to maintain. Regular sealing will help keep it looking pristine, and daily cleaning with mild soap and water is usually sufficient. Dedicated granite cleaners such as MB Stonecare ‘MB5 Stone and More’ are reasonably priced and do a wonderful job of providing a hygienic, streak free finish.
  2. Higher Cost: Granite can sometimes be more expensive than the lowest price range of engineered stone, which may strain the budget of those people looking for the cheapest benchtop replacement possible.
  3. Need for sealing: Due to its more porous nature, white and lighter coloured granites will need a quick wipe down with a sealer in order to protect the granite from stains. This is a simple process however with a quality sealer such as MB Stonecare’s MB24 Barrier sealer.
  4. Limited Colour Range: While the uniqueness of granite is appealing to many, the limited colour palette may not suit everyone’s design preferences. If you’re looking for a bright primary colour, or a pure white, then granite will rarely be available in this category. It is also rare for a granite to look like a soft-flowing marble as mother nature creates these two natural products differently. 

Pros of Stone Benchtops: Versatile and endless colour choices

Also known as engineered stone or quartz benchtops, they are a popular alternative to natural stone like granite. They are composed of 90-95% crushed natural stone and silica and 5-10% resin, making them highly durable and versatile.  Here are some reasons why you might choose stone for your kitchen:
  1. Variety of Colours and Patterns: They come in a wide range of colours and patterns, offering greater design flexibility to match your kitchen decor.
  2. Consistency: Unlike some of the natural granite colours, stone benchtops often have a consistent appearance throughout the slab, ensuring that your kitchen looks uniform.
  3. Durability: They are reasonably resistant to scratches and stains and can withstand some heat. Although they are not as hard wearing as granite, they are more durable than marble. If the marble look is what you are after then engineered stone can provide a more durable solution to real marble. Although it is often hard to find one that looks realistic enough to pass muster for the connoisseur.
  4. Lower Maintenance: They require minimal maintenance, as the resin gluing them together makes them less porous than granite. They will therefore not need regular sealing. Care still needs to be taken with topical stains such as tumeric, curry or kid’s textas.
  5. Cost-Effective: The builder price range of engineered stone are slightly cheaper than granite, allowing you to achieve a high-end look on a budget.

Drawbacks to consider with stone benchtops

  1. Limited Natural Appeal: While they try to mimic the look of natural stone, they lack the unique patterns and variations found in granite.
  2. Not Heat-Proof: While they are heat-resistant to a degree, extreme heat can still damage the resin used in their composition. Never put a pot directly on the surface or you can melt or burn the top. Unlike granite, engineered stone can not always be used as a splashback as it needs a certain distance from the cooktop to withstand the heat. 
  3. Can Mark Easier Than Granite: Engineered stone can be scratched more easily than granite.  Simply scrubbing an engineered stone bench with a scourer pad or with an abrasive cleaner such as jiff or gumption can scratch the top and leave an unrepairable dull spot.  Bleaches and strong chemicals can remove the pigment used to create their colour palette leaving clouding on the surface. Cutting directly on their surface can leave scuffs and scratches . 
  4. Smaller Slab Sizes: Most engineered stone comes in maximum 3200 x 1600 slab sizes. For those of you dreaming of a 3300 to 3400 island bench without a join down the middle, engineered will not meet the necessary specs. 
  5. Health and Environmental Concerns: Some may be concerned about the environmental impact of using resins in the production of engineered stone. However a greater concern which is currently in the spotlight, is the amount of silica in engineered stone. Silica has been proven to cause silicosis, which is a deadly disease being investigated by the authorities. There are talks of banning engineered stone next year in order to protect stone masons from contracting it. Any future renovations to your house may have to take into account that engineered stone may not be able to be altered in situ without creating silica dust. 

Granite vs Stone Benchtops: Installation Considerations

When it comes to choosing between granite vs stone benchtops, it’s not just about aesthetics and durability; installation considerations also play a significant role.  Here’s what you should know about the installation of these two popular benchtop materials.

Granite Benchtop Installation:

Installing granite benchtops requires careful planning and professional expertise due to their natural variations. Here are some installation considerations:
  1. Weight: Granite and engineered stone are both similar in weight. After all, engineered stone is made from crushed granite and silica. The installation procedures will not vary from one to another due to weight.  Most quality kitchen cupboards will support using either granite or engineered stone without alteration.
  2. Seam Placement: Kitchens nowadays are typically large enough that at least one join will be required whether you use granite or engineered stone. A skilled stone mason will ensure that joins are inconspicuous and that the patterns match seamlessly. Some granites can have a linear flow pattern which needs to be taken into consideration by a professional stone mason when working out wear to cut and join the pieces.
  3. Edge Profiles: Granite offers a variety of edge profiles to choose from, including bullnose, square with pencil rounded edges, beveled, and more. Discuss your preferences with your installer to achieve the desired look.
  4. Templating: Precise measurements and templating are essential to ensure that your granite benchtop fits perfectly. Any inaccuracies during this stage can result in ill-fitting benchtops.
  5. Sealing: Granite benchtops need periodic sealing to maintain their beauty and resistance to stains. Discuss a maintenance plan with your installer to ensure the longevity of your benchtop.

Stone Benchtop Installation:

Being more consistent in their composition, they can sometimes offer a more straightforward installation process. Here are some installation considerations:
  1. Seam Placement: Engineered stone is manufactured into slabs that are consistent in size and colour. This often results in a more straightforward installation as the stone mason may not have to consider pattern flow and direction.
  2. Edge Profiles: Just like granite, stone offers various edge profiles to choose from, allowing you to customize the appearance of your kitchen.
  3. Templating: Templating for stone is a precise process, ensuring that the fit is perfect. Skilled installers will measure your kitchen accurately to avoid any fitting issues.
  4. Maintenance: They are known for their low maintenance requirements. They are not as porous, which means they don’t require sealing like the lighter coloured granites do. Regular cleaning with mild soap and water is usually sufficient.

Choosing the Right Benchtop for You

In the battle of granite vs stone benchtops in Perth, the choice ultimately depends on your individual needs, budget, and aesthetic preferences. Here are a few scenarios to consider:
  1. Timeless Elegance: If you appreciate the unique, natural beauty of granite and can accommodate the higher initial cost, it’s an excellent choice. Its durability and potential to increase home value make it an investment in your kitchen’s future.
  2. Versatility on a Budget: Stone offers a wide range of colors and patterns at an affordable price starting point. If you seek low maintenance, and design flexibility, stone is an excellent option.
  3. Environmental and Health Considerations: If you’re environmentally conscious, inquire about the sourcing and manufacturing processes of both granite and stone. Some engineered stone products use recycled materials and eco-friendly manufacturing techniques. Stone should be processed correctly in order to reduce the risk of silica dust being released into the air. 
  4. Consult a Professional: Ultimately, it’s advisable to consult with a professional in Perth who specializes in benchtop installations. They can assess your kitchen, discuss your preferences, and provide guidance based on your unique circumstances.

Choosing Your Perfect Surface: Navigating the Granite vs Stone Benchtop Decision

The choice between granite vs stone benchtops in Perth is a significant decision when it comes to kitchen renovations or new builds. Consider your budget, aesthetic preferences, maintenance requirements, and environmental concerns when making your choice. Both options offer their own set of advantages, and with the right installation and care, either can transform your kitchen into a functional and visually stunning space that you’ll enjoy for years to come.  Remember that investing in a quality benchtop is an investment in the heart of your home.

Leave your granite worries to Granite Warehouse

Whatever product you decide is best for your project, Granite Warehouse can help you find the right material to suit your needs. With over 40 years of experience and over 200 selections, you’re sure to find a product that fits seamlessly into your kitchen’s design and your lifestyle. Plus, our low business model means you pay less with our highly competitive rates, so browse our wide range of products today or contact us on 08 9209 2620 to speak to a member of our team!