I have been gathering info on kitchen counter choices for over 2 months. There are so many options and then so many conflicting opinions that I’m worried I’ll never figure this out. Am doing a new kitchen with white (I call them white white meaning not off white) cabinets and 2 islands one matching the white cabinets and one black. It is a simple design somewhat farm or country style. We are doing medium to dark random plank floors. I want to do a large custom copper sink but am flexible if it wouldn’t work with the counters.
What i want is white marble (carrera or calacatta gold) for the island counters and something dark like soapstone for the perimeter counters.. it is a large kitchen so lots of counter. My husband does not want me to do soapstone so am looking for a granite to give that soapstone look. I was told honed absolute black would work but then I read many horror stories online about it. What do you think of honed jet mist or virginia mist? are they the same granite? Also what about all these different finishes? Honed, velvet, suede, brushed? Do you think marble is ok for kitchen? The fabricator we are thinking about using says they recommend it if honed and sealed properly. My husband drinks red wine every night and one of the islands has a raised bar height end which will get heavy use when we entertain. If we could get comfortable with marble I sometimes think we should do all the counters in it.
Someone told me Donna Sandra Granite looks a lot like Carrera marble. Do you know anything about it? Could you please give me some ideas for these counters and also try and clarify for me what is positive and negative about marble and or granite. I currently have polished ubatuba and do not want the shine and sparkle look in my new kitchen. Thanks for your help you are providing a much needed resource on such a confusing topic. I think you’re great sending the money from this to such a worthy charity.
p.s. I should have told you I’m open to looking at any suggestions — color or surface. I do love copper and pewter and my kitchen needs to work with both of them.
I will give you the facts in response to your questions and some personal comments. From that you can make decisions based on your maintenance expectations and desired color décor.
First of all, Carrara and Calacatta are both white marbles from Italy as you know. Before mining technology allowed granites to be extracted, the most popular choice for a stone kitchen countertop was white marble. Carrara Marble being the most widely available and least expensive became commonplace in Italy. Fast forward a couple hundred years and Carrara Marble on countertops still draws an old world Italian charm yet because of the lower maintenance alternative (granite) it comes with sacrifice. Unlike granite, marble is softer than steel and made of mostly porous Calcium Carbonate; therefore, it scratches and stains easily.
Unfortunately, you can not just seal marble and use cutting boards to eliminate the maintenance issues. Because Calcium Carbonate is acid-sensitive, marble will etch from acid in fruit juice and wine. Wine spilled on a professionally sealer marble countertop will still be stained overnight. The only exception to this is a when a topical sealer high in silicone is applied but this will leave your countertop looking polished, not honed.
If you do choose Carrara or Calacatta Marble, you need to be either extremely diligent to use coasters and cutting boards, or you need to have the Italian mentality and just not care about stains or scratches. It is true that the Italians really feel that the stains and scratches just show the classic antiquity of marble and the old world it renders.
Regarding Soapstone, if Martha Stuart didn’t like it, I don’t know who would. This is a very dense, non-porous stone but extremely soft. Your fingernail can scratch it. Basic Soapstone maintenance involves sanding down scratches and using mineral oil to even out the variations after sanding. If you THINK you might like Soapstone, then you don’t. If you want a divorce, then this is a good choice. I rarely find two people in the same room that like Soapstone.
Honed finished granite is problematic if not professional sealed. Granite is hard but the orthoclase minerals and the microscopic gaps between then can be somewhat porous. That issue is successfully avoided after it is professionally sealed. However, honed granites love to show smudges from wipe cleaning and thumb prints. Dark colors are worse than light ones. If you search Absolute Black Granite on my blog, you will see how much I discourage using Honed Absolute Black Granite. That being said, I do know the Virginia Black Granite very well. It is the same stone as Jet Mist. This was very popular granite for government building in the early 1900′s. I never thought of this granite for a kitchen countertop before but it might be the perfect color for those looking for a honed black that does not create the ‘flat black’ maintenance issues. If you use this granite on the perimeter and ask you husband to keep the wine off the Carrara White islands, then I really can see this combination working in an old-world euro-style décor.
Ok, but here are some other options to think about. First all, Donna Sandra Granite? In 18 years, I have never heard of it. It is probably a fictitious name. Basically, select a white granite color that you like and have it professional sealed. I suggest looking at Bianco Romano Granite or White Springs Granite. If you can find White Springs in your area, that would be the best choice. These granite colors are from Brazil and you can see swatches of them at www.GraniteStock.com.
I do like the Jet Mist honed choice. I think that is a very good choice. Bianco Romano or White Springs would compliment the Jet Mist well. With this color combination and the described décor, a flat edge detail with minimal overhang would be best. A copper sink on the white granite would look granite. On the Black surface, I’d highly recommend white porcelain as copper won’t work at all.
My best wishes!