The popularity of stone countertops shows no sign of waning, and for good reason: their elegance and beauty work well in almost any setting, and they hold up very well against the wear and tear of daily kitchen life. Whether natural (e.g. granite, marble or slate) or man-made (e.g. Silestone), stone countertops rule the day in today's kitchen designs. These same advantages make stone an obvious choice for backsplashes, particularly in settings where the homeowner has opted for stone counters.
Just as slabs of stone can be milled for custom countertops, they can also be milled for backsplashes, with shapes and edge finishes that work perfectly with traditional and modern decor. As with the countertops, slab-type backsplashes offer a smooth, continuous surface that's extremely durable and easy to clean.
As with countertops, slab backsplashes do come with a hefty price tag. That's one reason stone tiles are such a popular option, offering much the same advantages for a fraction of the price. Designers often use stone tile or mosaic backsplashes in colors and patterns that harmonize with the countertops for dramatic effect. (As with other tiles (link), stone tile installations with seams and grout lines are more likely to trap dirt and grime than a continuous slab, but the advantages may well outweigh the drawbacks.)
Whether slab or tile, stone is available in a wide range of colors, tending to the dark shades and softer earth tones, and many patterns and textures from subtle to bold. Because it's a porous material, experts recommend sealing natural stone to protect it against stains from water, food, grease and the like, which can be difficult or impossible to remove once absorbed; the seal should be reapplied periodically. Materials such as Silestone are more impervious. While tough and durable, stone can be brittle and prone to chipping; discuss this issue with your building professional so you can choose the right material for the day-to-day demands of your own culinary style.
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