Solid Surface, Engineered Stone, Natural Stone—What’s the Difference?

If you’ve ever watched Property Brothers on HGTV or walked into the countertops section of Home Depot, you know there can be a lot of terminology thrown around. You’ll hear things like “quartz” or “granite,” (the differences of which we’ve detailed here) but you may also hear terms like “solid surface,” “engineered stone,” or “natural stone.” So, what does all this mean? When the stones all look so similar, how do you know the difference?

Solid Surface

These are about one-third man-made, and two-thirds all-natural minerals. They typically lack the depth and lamination of real stone, but they’re an affordable option for people who just want a simple countertop. Solid surface stone has a uniform appearance and is soft and matte-like to touch. It’s non-porous, which essentially means you don’t have to worry about getting it sealed, nor about it getting stained. While easy to repair, also be mindful that solid surface stone can suffer from heat deformation.

Engineered Stone

This is the fancy name for “quartz,” and it’s become one of the most popular types of countertops in recent years. It’s 100% man-made, created by holding quartz crystals together with a resin binder. As a result, they look almost exactly like natural stone, but without the extra cost and without having to be sealed. The material is hard, and unlike solid surface won’t damage easily. It has a smooth and glossy feel, and, because it’s 100% man-made, you have lots of color and style options to choose from.

Natural Stone

Granite is the most popular kind of natural stone, but you’ll also find marble and soapstone in this list as well. Natural stone is exactly as it sounds—100% real stone quarried from the earth and sliced into neat slabs. It’s smooth, hard, and glossy to the touch with an “attractively chaotic,” as some have put it, look, basically meaning it’s not homogenous-like solid surface or engineered stone. This is certainly the most luxurious option, but it is porous, so it needs to be sealed, and it’s more expensive than solid surface or engineered stone.

Whichever option you think is right for you, MC Granite Countertops has a wide variety for you to choose from. Contact us today to find out more.