stone counters

yesterday i spent a lovely day going to distribution centers for stone-- marble, granite, limestone, slate, soapstone-- for counters.  we wandered through huge warehouses looking at hundreds of different kinds of stone.  my favorites?  german 'greenstone', sometimes called 'jura green'-- a stone from the jurassic period found in germany-- it is a soft gray with green undertones, with very little 'veining' but lots of little fossils; and 'kirkstone'-- a limestone from the lake district in england-- made from many dense layers of volcanic dust and ash-- no veining, no fossils, but a nice mottled gray color.

the stone industry tells us that the kind of stone you choose should depend on where you are putting it:  granite and limestone are dense and strong enough for kitchen counters while marble, slate, and soapstone are better left to the bathroom where they will get less wear.  that said-- i have put marble on more than one of my own kitchen counters.  look at your own habits-- are you prone to spills that you don't notice?  better go with granite.  the acids in milk, orange juice, and wine can stain your counter if left on there for a while.  will you mind sealing and oiling your counters regularly to keep them in good shape?  if not, then you can probably handle the maintenance for soapstone or slate.  but you should ask a lot of questions about any stone you are interested in-- some limestones are as hard as granite, some less so.  some soapstones are very soft, while others are more like limestone.

and then you get to choose-- 'polished', 'honed', 'leathered', 'flamed'-- these are all finishes for the stone.  the slabs above are 'polished' granite-- see the reflection?  'honed' means that the stone has a smooth-- but not shiny surface.  leathered and flamed finished are both more like natural stone-- there is some texture to the surface and it is not shiny.  

such beautiful rocks!

happy saturday!


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