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Actually, there are a number of really beautiful options out there, depending on what you want to achieve. Does your kitchen get hard, daily use, or, do you mostly eat out? How much pattern do you want? Are you looking for an unusual color?

Questions like these will “frame” your choice…and what the final tab will be.

If you’re not a fan of granite, or like me, you’re just tired of hearing about it, here are a few other directions you might consider (courtesy of Gian Luca Fiori’s Marble and Granite Blog) and a few things you should know before you buy:

(photo courtesy of Artistic Tile and Stone, NYC)

MARBLE

· Overview – Marble is a popular choice.  Commercially, any stone that can be polished is also known as marble, with the exception of granite. This includes serpentine, travertine, limestone and onyx.  Often called the “green” marble, serpentine marble is not actually marble but looks very similar and is more stain and spill proof than actual marble!
· Appearance – Marble comes in a wide variety of colors and with different sizes and types of veining, often in complementary or contrasting colors.
· Beneficial Features – Natural marble is very hard, making it a versatile choice. However, you’ll need to protect marble from water, spills and stains.
·Care– Clean up any water or spills on marble as quickly as possible and consider adding a sealant. Do not use marble in high traffic areas of the home where dirt, sand or other particles may grind into the marble, which can permanently damage or mark the stone.  Never leave a chemical, citric or acidic item or substance on the marble.  Clean marble with a clean, slightly damp cloth and then dry with a soft towel.  Avoid bleach, acidic cleaners or any abrasive household cleaners as etching and dullness may occur.

QUARTZITE

· Overview – Quartzite, which is predominantly silica, is a hard non-foliated metamorphic rock which was originally sandstone. Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure related to tectonic compression. It’s siliceous nature makes it a perfect choice for kitchen counter tops because chemically it has a very high resistance to anything acidic.
· Appearance – Pure quartzite is usually white to gray, though it also occurs in various shades of pink and red due to varying amounts of iron oxide (Fe2O3). Other colors, such as yellow and orange, are due to other mineral impurities.
· Beneficial Features – Quartzite is a decorative stone which is used for kitchen counter tops, to cover walls, as roofing tiles, for flooring, and for stair steps. Quartzite is extremely popular due to it’s marble like appearance and granite like properties which makes it an ideal choice to be used in kitchen. The hardness of quartzite makes it extremely resistant to water absorption, heat & scratches.
· Care – Use a stone sealant for an additional layer of protection. There are instances when a particular block of a quartzite can have traces of calcium carbonate which can be a cause of localized etching if that particular section comes in contact with anything acidic. That said, even in this situation it will give you more time to clean up before it starts to etch.

CAESARSTONE

· Overview – CaesarStone is primarily comprised of crushed quartz, to which high-quality polyester pigments and resins are added, making it very strong.
· Appearance – Over 40 colors are available.
· Beneficial Features – CaesarStone is stain, heat, scratch and chemical-resistant. In addition, CaesarStone is non-porous and does not require sealing.  It is crack and chip proof and has been certified for use in hospitals and restaurants by the National Sanitation Foundation.
· Care – CaesarStone is maintenance free. Just wipe with a damp cloth.

NEOLITH

· Overview – Neolith is a ceramic stone that comes in large slabs (12 ft./144″ instead of the usual 8 or 10 foot lengths).
· Appearance – Neolith is ceramic and is available in a wide variety of colors.
· Beneficial Features – Neolith is stain, water and heatproof.  You can even cut on it!  It can be cut very thin (1 centimeter) and looks great with contemporary cabinetry.
· Care – The material does not need to be sealed and is easy to clean with non-abrasive household cleaners.

GLASSOS

· Overview – Glassos is an exciting new quartz stone and the first resin-free engineered quartz surface on the market.  Being resin-free means it will not scorch or burn and does not give off toxic fumes.  The brilliant white surface is nonporous and harder than most granites.
· Appearance – Comes in two shades of white.  GLASSOS® Nano White has a mirror like polish that will never yellow or fade. Our unique process starts with the forming of ultrafine Nano quartz powder. The proprietary blend of quartz and other minerals is then heated at temperatures over 3000 degrees Fahrenheit and transformed into a molten liquid. Afterwards the liquid is molded into slabs, then polished. Quality control inspections follow the entire process to ensure slabs meet strict GLASSOS® Nano standards.
· Beneficial Features – a slab material of extreme hardness and classic beauty with no resins used in its manufacturing.  Stain proof and scratch resistant, interior applications include counter tops, vanity tops, walls panels and floor tile.  The slabs are also suitable for exterior building cladding due to their high UV resistance and zero water absorption properties.
· Care – Wipe clean with a damp cloth and mild detergent.

So how can you find these paragons of virtue?

Domoteck Interiors will order (they do not stock) and fabricate any of these products…and so much more!  Domoteck Interiors INC, 24-30 B.Q.E West, Woodside, New York, 11377, http://www.domoteckinteriors.com

HG Stone has a wide selection of materials in stock at all times (they have their own quarries), but works with a firm called Cayuu for fabrication.  HG Stone, 65 Davids Drive, Hauppauge, NY 11788, http://www.hgstones.com;  Cayuu, 280 Johnson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11206, http://www.caayu.com

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