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Choosing a maintenance free stone

As somebody that specifies the use of stone, you can greatly reduce the maintenance burden for your client by choosing the right stone based on its functional use.


These are areas that are intended to be heavily used, with potentially staining items regularly touching the work surfaces; so surfaces resistant to staining are important. Finally, the surfaces need to be easily cleanable.

Based on the criteria above, Stone Masters always recommends a polished surface for kitchen worktops. Despite modern design preferences for alternative surface finishes, the advantages of polished stone when it comes to cleaning and stain resistance makes it a must.

In terms of the material itself, we recommend granite or quartz surfaces as opposed to any other kind of stone. These surfaces often require no sealing at all, and can retain their new looking shine over many years just by regularly cleaning the surfaces with mild soap and water.


The choice is wider here as, despite the presence of water, there are distinctly less staining chemicals likely in a bathroom than in a kitchen.

This opens the choice to beautiful natural marble. Marble come in many colours, and has the advantage of generally being cheaper than granite or quartz surfaces. Most marbles are quite suitable, and used regularly in large commercial projects with high levels of public use. As an example, Stone Masters recently supplied and installed Brown St. Laurent marble in the public bathrooms at the new Westfield Shopping Centre in London.

Even if some water does permeate the surface of marble, it is generally harmless to the stone and will dry off shortly.

Some of the quartz surfaces brands also now market marble composite stone for use in bathrooms. Quartz Compac, for example, offers over 10 colours and more than one finish in this new type of stone. This type of stone is much cheaper than quartz composite, yet offers the same colour consistency. Please contact us for more information on this product.

Tiled areas – Hallways, public areas etc.

Our recommendation here tends to be on a project by project basis as the possibilities are endless, and overriding concerns tend to be budget, colour and suitability.

In terms of cost of tiles, limestone tends to be the cheapest, followed by marble, then by granite, and then finally by quartz surfaces. In terms of long term durability and maintenance, the order is exactly the opposite, with granite and quartz equally long lasting, marble showing age in the medium run, and limestone always having the danger of looking worn in short order.

For colour, quartz offers the most consistency and a large range too. Granite and marble are natural, and so are subject to natural veins and patterns. It may be that you get differences in the product in different parts of your project. There are steps that can be taken to mitigate this problem, but it can add to the cost of the stone.

Many people, including experienced designers and architects, forget the massive choice in colour available in natural stone. This is in large part to the marketing efforts of the quartz brands who have blinded their clients to other choices.

Limestone is sometimes a good choice for colour consistency, as the overriding patterning of natural stone is less evident in limestone. Be very aware of its suitability however for tiling. Hard limestone like Jura limestone should be considered, whereas soft limestones like those from Portugal will land you in trouble in the long run.

Consider again using marble composite stone for tiled areas. This is a much cheaper alternative to quartz composite stone, yet with the advantage of colour consistency.

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