Custom Stonework for Kitchens, Bathrooms and Outdoors from Skilled Wisconsin Fabricator
Alternatives to Granite, Quartz and Marble Countertops
Wisconsin homeowners looking for affordable, low-maintenance countertop materials find the best selection and prices at Granite Plus.
We fabricate kitchen and bathroom countertops, floor and wall tiles, tub and shower surrounds and more for homeowners and home remodeling contractors.
Granite Plus has the best options, prices and service for natural soapstone, quartzite, concrete, wood and man-made laminates. If we don’t have the material you’re looking for in stock, we can easily get it from trusted distributors.
Explore our stone countertop alternatives to choose the best material for your home:
Quartzite is a very hard natural stone ideal for countertops. Quartzite is a non-foliated (not layered or banded) metamorphic rock formed from pure quartz sandstone and transformed by extreme heat and pressure. Incredibly strong, beautiful and durable, quartzite is suitable for practically any indoor or outdoor use.
Quartzite vs Quartz
Quartzite is harder than quartz, which is a composite material made up of mostly natural quartz blended with synthetic binders and pigments. However quartz is less likely to chip or dent since it’s less brittle. Quartzite is also more heat resistant than quartz, which has resins vulnerable to high temperatures.
Because quartzite is a natural stone, its appearance varies based on the presence of other included minerals and the way it formed. Quartz is available in many more colors because pigment can be added during manufacturing.
Quartzite vs Marble
Quartzite and marble are both natural metamorphic rocks: marble forms from limestone and quartzite forms from sandstone. Both stones are appreciated for their natural beauty with fluid patterns, streaks and color variations.
Quartzite is very durable and unlike marble it does not easily stain or etch from contact acidic foods such as lemons, tomatoes and vinegar. Quartzite also resists heat and scratches better than marble and is easier to clean and maintain.
Quartzite vs Granite
Quartzite and granite both contain the mineral quartz (not to be confused with engineered quartz) and can have similar-looking sparkles and veins. However quartzite is typically found in a lighter range of colors (whites, greys and pinks) while granite is more often found in darker, bolder hues.
Quartzite and granite are both very hard, durable natural stones resistant to heat, staining and scratching. If you have your heart set on a natural stone requiring minimal maintenance, it really comes down to whether you prefer the appearance of granite or quartzite.
Quartzite is usually white or gray with brown or black veins or streaking. Some natural quartzite slabs may also contain hints of pink, red, blue, yellow or green due to impurities or minerals in the stone. The neutral tones of quartzite complement any other colors in the room, and the elegant veining provides a luxurious appearance.
Quartzite slabs custom fabricated at Granite Plus are perfect for any stonework project in or around the home, including:
- Kitchen and bathroom countertops
- Wall, floor and patio tiles
- Shower and tub surrounds
- Tabletops, bars and ledges
Caring for Quartzite
Quartzite is a worthwhile investment and easy to care for: use a damp cloth and mild soap to wipe the surface, and avoid abrasive cleaning chemicals to keep your counters looking brand new.
Contact us for a free quote on quartzite countertops.
Soapstone is a dense, nonporous natural stone. The name soapstone comes from the soft or soap-like texture of the surface due to talc in the stone. The architectural-grade soapstone used for countertops has a lower talc content than artistic (high talc) soapstone.
You may recognize this black countertop material from lab tables in science class. Soapstone is a popular choice in laboratories and kitchens because it doesn’t stain and isn’t harmed by acidic substances like lemon juice, tomatoes, vinegar or wine.
Soapstone is also very heat resistant. You can put hot pots and pans directly on your soapstone countertops without damaging it.
Soapstone Maintenance and Care
Soapstone is more susceptible to scratches, chips and gouging than other natural stones. However most marks can be easily buffed out with sandpaper. Homeowners who choose soapstone appreciate the character and “lived in” look it gives the kitchen.
Soapstone is low maintenance, resists bacteria and only needs to be cleaned with soap and water.
Soapstone never requires sealing and no chemicals are used in fabrication, making it a low-maintenance and environmentally friendly countertop option.
Soapstone Tiles, Fireplaces and Sinks
While not as hard as marble, granite and quartzite, soapstone is easier to cut, shape and install. The durability of soapstone makes it perfect for almost any use, including sinks, fireplaces, floor tiles, bathrooms and outdoor kitchens.
Soapstone countertops can be altered to include a sloped built-in drain area with grooves to allow water to drain back into the sink.
Soapstone countertops are available in various shades of grey, black, green and blue-ish greys and may contain speckled or veined patterns. The color of soapstone naturally darkens over time.
A darker gray or black color and more distinct veining can be achieved by applying mineral oil to architectural-grade soapstone. Different textures are also available for those looking for a slightly rough surface.
Soapstone is a timeless classic and looks equally good in a traditional farmhouse kitchen or a modern home.
Contact us for a free quote on soapstone countertops.
Wood Surfaces and Wood Veneer
Wood and butcher block countertops are prized for their natural warmth and organic beauty. Wood is an appealing, attractive choice for an island, tabletop or bar. Unlike stone countertops, the soft surface of wood is easy on dishes and absorbs sound for a quieter kitchen.
Natural wood countertops come in a wide range of colors, textures and grains. Maple and bamboo are popular choices for homeowners concerned with sustainability. Most types of local woods and hardwoods including walnut, mesquite, iroko, birch, cherry and beech wood can perform well as countertops however softwoods such as pine are not recommended.
Wood countertops can be customized in a variety of ways to match the design of your kitchen, including different styles of edge detailing and staining.
Wood veneer is wood sliced very thin, usually less than an eighth of an inch. The wood veneer is glued onto a board to create a panel used for cabinets, flooring, countertops and wall panels.
Wood Countertop Durability
The scratch and impact resistance of wood countertops varies depending on the type of wood and the type of sealer used. However any damage can be repaired easily by refinishing the surface.
High quality polyurethane sealers soak into the wood fiber and are impervious to water, citrus and common household liquids. However acetone (found in nail polish remover) and other solvents can still damage it.
Although some wood species are naturally heat resistant, using a trivet under hot pots and pans is recommended to avoid damaging the finish and the wood surface.
Cleaning and Maintaining Wood Countertops
Many people wonder if wood countertops are sanitary. When properly treated and sealed, wood surfaces have natural anti-bacterial properties. Wood countertops are safe for contact with food and you can even select food grade options for chopping and cutting for a solid butcher block.
No matter which type of wood you choose, the surface must be treated with oil and sealer to protect against heat and water damage. Finished wood surfaces will need to be refinished every few years. Unfinished wood countertops (such as butcher blocks) will monthly treatment with mineral oil or butchers wax.
Most sealed wood countertops only require cleaning with soap and water. Some types of sealer are better when cleaned with an all-purpose household surface cleaning product. Butcher blocks should be cleaned using a mix of three parts water to one part white vinegar.
Cost of Wood Countertops and Wood Veneer
The cost of wood or solid butcher block countertops per square foot is comparable to many types of stone and varies depending on the species you choose and your installation needs.
Wood veneer offers the warm, natural appearance of solid wood at a lower cost.
Contact us for a free quote on butcher block countertops.
Laminates make extremely low maintenance countertop surfaces and come in an almost infinitely wide variety of color and design options. If you crave the look of natural stone countertops without the cost, you can find a laminate surface designed to look like granite, marble, wood, metal and many other materials.
Affordable, Versatile, Durable Laminate Surfaces
Laminate countertops and flooring are long lasting, durable, moisture-proof and resistant to stains and impact. Many people assume laminate is made of plastic, but it’s actually made from layers of paper and melamine resin.
Laminate surfaces are not heat resistant and can be damaged by hot pots and pans. Laminates can also be scratched, and unlike wood you can’t just refinish the surface.
Laminate countertops are widely considered the least expensive countertop material. They’re also easy to install which saves money on labor costs. If you like the idea of redecorating periodically, the affordability of laminate counters makes it easier to change the look of your kitchen every few years.
Contact us for a free quote on laminate countertops.
If you’re looking for a unique and versatile home remodeling material, consider concrete. Concrete is incredibly durable and, when sealed, is also waterproof and stain resistant. If left unsealed, concrete is extremely heat resistant.
Concrete can be cast into any shape or thickness, stained virtually any color and can have custom edging or inlays to suit the style and interior décor of your home.
Low-maintenance concrete can be used for virtually any home remodeling project:
- Kitchen and bathroom countertops and sinks
- Fireplaces and hearths
- Tables, tabletops, bar tops and islands
- Outdoor kitchen surfaces
Concrete surfaces are easy to clean, lighter than stone and allow for imaginative design. If you’re looking for a truly one-of-a-kind countertop for your home, customize it with concrete!
Contact Granite Plus for a free quote on a concrete countertop and sink!
Free Price Quote from Milwaukee Custom Stone Fabricators
Request a free quote on your home project in quartzite, soapstone, wood, laminate or concrete from our experienced designers, fabricators and installers Granite Plus experts design, handcraft and install countertops, flooring, backsplashes, fireplace surrounds and outdoor kitchens in any of the above materials and more.
Contact the countertop installers Milwaukee trusts for the best service, artisan craftsmanship and courteous installation. Bad contractors leave a mess in your home and overcharge you for shoddy work. With Granite Plus, our fabricators and installers do the job right, finish on time and stick to the quote we gave you.