Natural stone is one of the most beautiful materials available for residential and commercial design. Each piece is unique, not manmade, and can fit effortlessly into a variety of decors.
While natural stone is a popular material, there are several myths surrounding its use that cause homeowners to question its practicality.
Myth #1: Natural Stone Stains Easily.
Staining is a big concern for many homeowners considering natural stone. A common misconception is that common products like red wine, cosmetics, or coffee will stain natural stone countertops beyond repair. While staining can occur on any light colored material, including some lighter stones, Carl Vona Jr., president of Paramount Stone in Stamford, Conn., says that most stains are treatable.
“We can always troubleshoot the problem,” he says. “If you know the origin of the stain, you can care for it.”
Jennifer M. Foresman, owner of Madison & Wells Design in Atlanta, Ga., recommends being mindful of material choice if stains are a concern.
“If a client wants white marble for bathrooms, I would recommend using it in the master bath, rather than a child’s bathroom. White granite would be a beautiful option for a child’s bathroom —it gives a similar look but is more stain resistant.”
Myth #2: Natural Stone is Expensive.
Natural stone is often found in high-end projects, but that doesn’t mean it is out of reach for more modest budgets. The cost of natural stone depends on a variety of factors, including availability and demand.
Susan Thiel, founder of Susan Thiel Design in Los Angeles, remarks that natural stone is often in a similar price range as many manmade materials.
“Prices vary depending on the movement of the slab and the color,” she notes. “Sometimes we find that natural stone is less expensive than manmade materials.”
Myth #3: Natural Stone is Delicate and Requires Too Much Maintenance.
Softer stones, such as marble or limestone, can be susceptible to etching or scratching. However, this can be prevented by taking simple preventative measures. Always use a cutting board when preparing food on natural stone countertops, especially with acidic foods such as tomato sauce or lemons. Use coasters and trivets under glasses and hot pans. Clean up spills as quickly as possible. Do not use harsh cleaning products on natural stone —instead, choose a gentle cleanser and a soft cloth.
Myth #4: Natural Stone Goes Out of Style.
While particular colors and finishes may come in and out of fashion, natural stone is a timeless, classic material.
“You can’t go wrong,” says Thiel. “Natural stone is beautiful and durable.”
Natural stone also adds a level of romance not found in any other product, adds Foresman: “It offers a sense of history, nature, or drama to a space while always feeling authentic. Stone also brings depth and texture to a space that is hard to replicate. It’s been used for centuries as a building material; while it can change in appearance over time, most styles age very gracefully.”