Sandstone countertops are among the most attractive available to today’s homeowners. But are they right for use in the kitchen? This guide to sandstone counters will give you pros and cons you can use to make your decision.
Sandstone Countertops are Beautiful
Sandstone is a natural stone. When you read literature online, it seems that sandstone is often confused with Soapstone. The two are not the same. Soapstone counters are made from quarried stone. The stone is a steatite stone that includes chlorite, magnesite and dolomite. Most also contains quite a bit of talc which accounts for the milky or powdery look and feel of the stone. Soapstone is a natural stone, and is not a manufactured hard surface countertop like to DuPont Corian or Swanstone.
Like granite and marble, sandstone is mined and cut from solid stone. This natural material can be finished in a number of ways. Cutting and standard finishing leaves the counters with a bit of texture that retains a natural appearance not unlike granite. Polished sandstone countertops have an elegant sheen.
In addition to the natural character, the coloration of the stone is superb. Earth tones with rich depth predominate, and hues vary throughout each slab. Like canyon walls in the Southwest, these lovely countertops can show hues of rose, mauve and other colors too.
Sandstone Counters Require Proper Installation and Maintenance
The biggest concern about sandstone is that it is very porous. This means it will quickly absorb oil, juice and other liquids that will stain it if the stone is not sealed as it should be.
Therefore, if you’re going to install sandstone in your kitchen, make sure you know how to properly seal it. If you don’t, it’s a very good idea to hire a contractor with good experience in sandstone countertop installation. Find out about the contractor’s expertise. Ask how the countertops will be sealed, which products will be used, and whether a guarantee against stains is provided.
Ongoing maintenance is just as important. First, clean up spills quickly. Don’t let juice, wine or oil sit on the countertops for more than a few minutes. Clean the counters with mild soap and water, but don’t use excess water, and towel dry the surfaces when done. If you have a few scraps of countertop left over from installation, test any cleaning product on them before using it on your installed sandstone counters.
Reseal Sandstone Surfaces as Needed
The last maintenance step is to have the sandstone countertops resealed on a regular schedule.
Most sealants are designed to last for three to seven years. Talk with your sandstone countertop installation expert about the durability of the sealant being used. Schedule an appointment to have the counters sealed again before the earliest point in which the sealant may begin to break down or fail.
Are sandstone kitchen countertops a good idea? If you don’t mind giving them the TLC they require, then they can be the perfect finishing touch to a very attractive kitchen.