Man-made vs natural stone: The perfect materials for revamping your kitchen

Brown stone surface with breakfast foods, plates and coffee on top at stoneCIRCLE, Basingstoke

The variety of veining and colours of natural stone makes each kitchen surface unique. - Credit: stoneCIRCLE - photography by ©Marco Joe Fazio

Deciding on the best materials for your new kitchen can be a tough challenge.

Natural and man-made stones have an abundance of qualities that make them a fantastic choice to enhance the look of your kitchen. “The variety of different types, and the distinctive nature of stone adds something unique and practical to any home,” explains Steve Vanhinsbergh, director of stoneCIRCLE in Basingstoke.

Below, Steve discusses the advantages of using stone for your kitchen worktops and flooring.

Q: How does the type of stone affect your kitchen’s look? 

A: The choice of material, as well as its size, cut and finish, can have a major impact on the aesthetics of your kitchen. Granite and quartz are the most popular choices for kitchen counters. Granite is an extremely tough, resistant natural stone, making it ideal for worktops. The veining and colours also add a stylish aspect to your kitchen space. 

Quartz, on the other hand, is a man-made stone. As such, the colour and patterning are much more uniform, and can be made bespoke to suit your style preferences. 

Green stone surface with bowl of green beans and jug at stoneCIRCLE, Hampshire

A new treatment developed by stoneCIRCLE allows softer stones such as marble and limestone to be used for worktops. - Credit: stoneCIRCLE - photography by ©Marco Joe Fazio

Q: Can stone accommodate a wide range of finishes? 

A: Absolutely, in the same way that we can provide bespoke slabs for clients, there are plenty of beautiful finishes available. The most popular are polished and honed, but an antiqued finish also works well in rustic designs - thanks to its well-worn and lived-in look. A polished finish uses fine abrasives to achieve a deep gloss look that's generally easier to keep clean.

Q: Why use granite or quartz composite in your kitchen? 

A: A granite worktop is resistant to everyday wear and tear thanks to its durability and low porosity. As a natural stone, granite is an environmentally friendly option to decorate your kitchen with, producing a lower carbon footprint during the manufacturing process.

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Quartz composite is created using a mixture of crushed quartz with bonding agents and colouring pigments. Composite stone retains all of the strength of natural stones with a uniform, consistency of colour that does not occur naturally.  

Light stone flooring and walls with stone structures at stoneCIRCLE, Basingstoke

Make sure that you avoid spilling acidic substances on your stone surfaces, and use warm water and a cleanser instead of bleach. - Credit: stoneCIRCLE - photography by ©Marco Joe Fazio

Q: What makes marble a popular choice for home design? 

A: Traditionally, marble was reserved for low-impact areas like vanity tops, flooring and bathroom surfaces. After many years of testing and experimenting,  stoneCIRCLE can now offer a protective treatment for marble and limestone. The new sealant provides resistance from acid etching and staining, making it suitable for kitchen worktops. 

Marble is a beautiful, bold design choice, perfect for creating a show-stopping statement island top. It’s available in a vast array of colours from red, black and green to white, with the stone’s natural veining contrasting with its base colour to dramatic effect. 

Limestone tends to have shades of beige, cream and grey, often with beautiful fossil inlays. Traditionally, limestone was used for flooring in kitchens, but it can now be used for countertops as well thanks to the new protective treatment.

Q: How easy is it to care for stone kitchen surfaces? 

A: Whilst sealants can provide a great deal of protection, to ensure the long life of your surfaces there are some maintenance techniques you can utilise. For all worktops, take care to avoid bleach or abrasive cleaners – instead clean up any spills with warm water and a cleanser.  

Avoid spilling acidic substances and remove any spills by wiping inwards to prevent further damage. Use trivets and pan stands for hot objects, coasters for mugs and don’t leave wet objects on the surface.  

For more information on the array of stone materials on offer, visit stone-circle-home.com or call 01256 850380.