4 Myths About Natural Stone (And Why They’re Not True)

Rather than keeping designers away from natural choices, there are great reasons why the major detractors can be debunked and turned into assets
By Stephanie Vozza

Natural stone is one of the most beautiful materials available for residential and commercial design. Each piece is unique, not manmade, and can fit effortlessly into a variety of decors, making it a top choice for consumers and designers. While natural stone is a popular material, there are several myths surrounding its use that cause homeowners to question its practicality.

Myth: Natural Stone Stains Easily
Staining is a big concern for many homeowners considering natural stone. A common misconception is that common products like red wine, cosmetics, or coffee will stain natural stone countertops beyond repair. While staining can occur on any light colored material, including some lighter stones, Carl Vona Jr., president of Paramount Stone in Stamford, Connecticut, says that most stains are treatable. “We can always troubleshoot the problem. If you know the origin of the stain, you can care for it.”
Jennifer M. Foresman, owner of Madison & Wells Design in Atlanta, Georgia, recommends being mindful of material choice if stains are a concern. “If a client wants white marble for their bathrooms, I would recommend using it in the master bath rather than a child’s bathroom. White granite would be a beautiful option for a child’s bathroom—it gives a similar look but is more stain resistant.”

Myth: Natural Stone is Expensive
Natural stone is often found in high-end projects, but that doesn’t mean it is out of reach for more modest budgets. The cost of natural stone depends on a variety of factors, including availability and demand.
Susan Thiel, founder of Susan Thiel Design in Los Angeles, remarked that natural stone is often in a similar price range as many manmade materials. “Prices vary depending on the movement of the slab and the color. Sometimes we find that natural stone is less expensive than manmade materials.”

Myth: Natural Stone is Delicate and Requires Maintenance
Softer stones, such as marble or limestone, can be susceptible to etching or scratching. However, those types of issues can easily be avoided by taking simple preventative measures. Always use a cutting board when preparing food on natural stone countertops, especially with acidic foods such as tomato sauce or lemons. Consider using coasters and trivets under glasses and hot pans. Clean up spills as quickly as possible. Last but not least, do not use harsh cleaning products on natural stone—instead, choose a gentle cleanser and a soft cloth.

Myth: Natural Stone Goes Out of Style
While particular colors and finishes may come in and out of fashion, natural stone is a timeless, classic material. “You can’t go wrong,” says Thiel. “Natural stone is beautiful and durable.” Natural stone also adds a level of romance not found in any other product. “It offers a sense of history, nature, or drama to a space while always feeling authentic,” adds Foresman. “Stone also brings depth and texture to a space that is hard to replicate. It’s been used for centuries as a building material; while it can change in appearance over time, most styles age very gracefully.”

Stephanie Vozza is a Detroit-based freelance writer and editor with more than 20 years of experience covering real estate and home design. For more information on natural stone care and maintenance, and to find a stone supplier in your area, visit  www.usenaturalstone.com.