Nearly any type of stone can be made into a bathroom or kitchen counter. Each has its own characteristics and style which are helpful in determining which stone to use in a space.
Granite is the most commonly used stone for kitchen and bathroom counters. It has a crystalline structure, which makes it durable and impervious to scratches and hot pots and pans. Granite essentially comes in two styles: one which has veining and movement with dramatic colors and patterns, while the other has a tighter, more granular pattern that fits in better with traditional and formal style kitchens.
Granite takes a high polish well, but it can also be honed to a matte finish, or given a flamed or textured finish.
Marble is used frequently in bathrooms, but is found in kitchens as well. With its softer colors and rich veining, marble makes an elegant statement.
Because marble is softer than granite, it may dull in finish over time. This is known as a patina and, for some people, this can be a desirable trait.
Marble has the ability to take a high polish, but can be used in matte or rustic finishes as well.
Limestone is another material occasionally seen in kitchens and bathrooms. Limestone is much softer than granite or marble, and has a soft, matte finish often studded with fossils. It will patina similarly to marble, but because it begins with a honed surface, this may not be as noticeable at first.
Soapstone is a very low maintenance, talc-based stone also used often in kitchens. It has a unique texture that gives it a soft, soapy feel pleasant to the touch. It comes in fewer colors than other stones, but requires less maintenance.
With the many types of stone available for use on a counter, the choice should be made based on kitchen style and homeowner lifestyle. Any stone will make a beautiful statement, regardless of type.