Natural stone vs. synthetic stone countertops

When considering a kitchen or bathroom remodel, one of the crowning decorative changes is to the countertops. As countertops are a key tie-in for interior design choices as well as practice surfaces for food prep and toiletry rituals, it’s clearly an investment that should not be taken lightly.

With many choices available, here are a few material options to consider:


Easy to clean and non-porous, this man-made material is seamless, coming in one piece. As a result, there are no cracks to collect crumbs and other debris.

Maintenance: Use soapy water or ammonia-based cleaners. Avoid using strong chemicals. Proper cleaning resists bacteria and mold.

Granite is one of the hardest, strongest materials in nature - it's also highly heat resistant. Beautiful and featuring thousands of pattern variations and an almost unlimited range of colors, granite is the top choice for many homeowners.

If not cut from the same slab, finding matching colors can be very difficult. The material is porous, so it may be prone to staining. Natural internal fissures become cracks, however, if subject to sudden temperature change.

Maintenance: Clean with a stone cleaner, not soap. Requires sealing annually.

Made from quartz, this man-made material can be engineered to appear like granite. Silestone cannot be installed in an outdoor kitchen as the surface will discolor in direct sun. Although resistant to chemicals, heat and scratching, the surface can be damaged by intense heat, bleach, wine, vinegar, lemon juice or coffee.

Maintenance: Make sure to always use a cutting board and hot plates under pans. Use a sponge and hot water for daily cleaning, as well as a stone cleaning solution. No abrasive cleaners should be used.


Marble, a natural material, is softer than granite, so it's susceptible to scratches. Marble isn't very porous, so it does not stain easily. It is, however, prone to etching from things like alcohol, citrus, coffee and cleaning products which can leave a dark stain on the surface; not always the best choice for kitchen countertops.

Maintenance: Marble should be sealed as needed. Blot up any spills immediately, clean with a sponge or soft cloth and use coasters.

If you're ready to install a new solid surface to your kitchen or bathroom, research ratings and reviews on Indianapolis countertop installation companies by signing in to or joining Angie's List today.


Is granite strongest material compared to marble and silestone? What is quartz compared to granite? thank you, mmh

I work for the National Engineering lab. The Government has asked us to differentiate between a natural Granite/Marble and Artificial so as to protect our consumers from potential fake marketing of artificial stones as natural Granite/Marble. Can you advise on any test methods please? Thaking you

Add comment


What is Angie's List?

Angie’s List is the trusted site where more than 3 million households go to get ratings and reviews on everything from home repair to health care. Stop guessing when it comes to hiring! Check Angie’s List to find out who does the best work in town.

Local Discounts

Daily deals up to 70% off popular home improvement projects from top-rated contractors on Angie’s List!