Utah Granite Countertops by Ken Law

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How To Choose Stone

Man Made vs. Natural

Silestone vs. Granite Countertops - The Real Story

By Ryan Burden


So you want to upgrade your kitchen or bathroom with a new countertop, but you’re not sure what your options are. Chances are you’ve heard of granite and marble. After all, they have been used for myriad construction purposes for centuries and you always see marble and granite countertops in luxury homes.

But what about Silestone...isn’t it better than granite?

Well, it depends on what you think is better. However, Silestone and other makers of engineered quartz stone countertops, such as Zodiaq and Cambria would have you believe their product is a significant upgrade from granite.

Engineered stone countertops are a man-made product that mixes quartz found in granite with a resin to make a surface with properties almost identical to granite. Silestone and all the other companies make essentially the same product, which is widely regarded as an excellent countertop surface.

However, these companies try to make mountains out of molehills in an effort to sell their product and compete against granite which is and has bee the most popular and proven surface type.

Myth #1: Sealing granite is a horrible, dirty chore.

This issue has been blown way out of proportion with marketing. It’s always listed as a benefit and one would get the impression that granite is defective and must be sealed with over and over to protect it.

True, you don't have to apply a granite sealer to an engineered stone counter top. And hey, that’s great, but applying a granite sealer is really a very simple and infrequent "wipe on, wipe off" procedure. It is not a major chore and for all practical purposes it isn’t a determining factor when comparing Silestone vs. granite.

Also, it doesn't take a closet full of special chemicals to protect your granite and keep its luster as Cambria and other engineered stone counter top manufacturers suggest on their websites. Hey, to their credit they are just trying to effectively market their product.

A little secret about most granite . . .

You could do nothing but wipe it with a sponge for years and it would still look gorgeous. Minor, easy maintenance performed periodically will, however, give you peace of mind and bring out the best in your granite and natural stone. And the same can be said about quartz. Care and cleaning is equally easy for either surface.

Myth #2: Again with the sealing.

You may also read that you must seal granite to maintain it's shiny polish. Not true. Sealing is for stain resistance. Both natural and synthetic stone counter tops are polished by grinding and buffing the surface into a smooth shine.

Myth #3: Granite harbors bacteria.

Silestone also tries to claim their product resists bacteria while granite "harbors" bacteria. This is totally false. Studies prove that both granite and quartz are among the safest and cleanest surfaces on the market today, but one isn't superior to the other.

So Which Countertop Is Best?

Well, once you remove the hype and you understand that man-made quartz countertops and granite perform equally well and that the care and cleaning of each surface is essentially the same, the decision between granite and Silestone, Cambria, Zodiaq or other quartz counter tops usually comes down to color, pattern and perceived value for most buyers.

Color and Value

Granite enjoys a greater “prestige” due to it’s natural uniqueness and is therefore, of greater value in the minds of most homeowners and buyers. New granites come on the market all the time from different countries providing hundreds and possibly thousands of different colors and patterns to choose from.

Silestone and other engineered stone manufacturers offer 20-50 color choices all of which have basically the same repetitive pebbled appearance. The benefit here is that you never have a problem matching a pattern or color at a seam, which sometimes is a problem with granite. Of course, you may end up with the exact same countertop as your neighbor, which won’t happen with granite as each slab is unique.

So, whether you choose engineered stone or granite you will get an excellent countertop surface. Just don’t listen to all the marketing hype and pick your product based on what color and pattern you like best.

Read the warranty of any man made product before you decide. You will find the problems the manufacturers have discovered in the disclaimers and exclusions.

That being said, with normal use of any of the products you should not have many problems.