Current trends for materials seen in the kitchen are moving toward “warm” “natural” materials that can last for years without dating the space. This means that natural stone is seeing a huge uptick in use in the kitchen area, on counters, backsplashes, and flooring. In most cases, this is a wonderful thing; natural stone is a beautiful, durable, and long-lasting material that will complement many kitchens. But in some cases, the wrong stone could produce a look that is not desired in the space.
While the majority of stone used in the kitchen is granite, slate, quartzite, and soapstone – all materials that can hold up well to the daily use of a kitchen – there are some homeowners who mistakenly believe that because stone is so hard and durable, that any stone could be used in this space. Unfortunately, while it is true that you can cut, shape, and install any type of stone in the kitchen, some stones are less suitable for this use than others.
Limestones and marbles in particular are made up primarily of calcite – a mineral that reacts when it comes in contact with acids and alkaline materials. This means that things like vinegar, lemon juice, wine, and tomato sauce can all not only leave behind stains on the stone, they can also etch or remove the top layer of the stone, leaving behind a dull mark even after the stain has been removed.
For this reason, not every stone is recommended for use in the kitchen. And while sealing your stone is a good first step toward preventing these problems, sealing only gives you time to clean up spills; it doesn’t prevent all damage to the stone.
To determine how a stone will hold up in your kitchen, purchase a sample and try pouring on small amounts of food or liquid that is frequently used in the space. Let them sit for about an hour, then wipe them away. If you find significant changes to the surface of the stone, you may want to find a different material to use in the space.