Sandstone countertops are natural stone countertops that are highly prized for their warmth and beauty. Sandstone countertops feature a rich texture and grain pattern that creates interest and depth in your kitchen or bathroom. Sandstone is produced over millions of years as sediment and minerals are pressed together to form sedimentary rock.
Sandstone countertops are reminiscent of the colors found in the Grand Canyon and the many plateaus found in the American Southwest. In fact, you may even find fossils embedded into the surface of the sandstone countertop. When installed, in kitchens and bathrooms, a sandstone countertop adds visual interest to the area thanks to the gorgeous striations in sandstone.
Sandstone Countertops’ Porosity
The biggest concern that homeowners have about sandstone countertops is the porosity of the natural stone. If the sandstone is not adequately sealed, it will quickly absorb liquids, juices, water, and oils, resulting in stains. If you will be sealing the countertop yourself, you must ensure that the sealer is designed to be used on sandstone.
To ensure you have adequately sealed and protected your sandstone countertops, you will need to apply two or more coats of sealer. Performing a water test, a lemon test, and an oil test will help you determine if you have adequately sealed your sandstone counters.
Performing routine maintenance will ensure your countertops continue looking great. First, you must clean up any spills as soon as they happen. Never allow liquids or oils to remain on your countertops for more than a minute or two. Use an absorbent towel to blot up spills immediately.
Clean your sandstone counters using a mild soap and a damp cloth. Avoid using excess water. Rinse the cloth and wring out. Then, wipe the soap from the countertops using your damp cloth. Finally, buff dry with an absorbent cloth.
Ask your countertop installer for a few pieces of scrap sandstone from your countertop project. These scraps will allow you to test out any cleaning products beforehand to determine if they are safe for your sandstone countertops. When choosing a cleaner, always opt for a pH neutral countertop cleaner designed for sandstone countertops.
Sandstone contains grains of quartz, clay, feldspar, olivine, muscovite, mica, and more, which can affect the distinct coloration of the natural stone. The different mineral content of sandstone changes its color. Sandstone countertops come in a plethora of color combinations, including off white, tan, yellow, pink, red, rust, orange, brown, and black.
From a distance, sandstone will have linear stripes or swirls of colors; however, upon closer inspection, you will see individual grains of minerals. The mineral makeup of the stone, along with the way the minerals combine creates a unique countertop. Sandstone countertops will provide you with a warm and soft looking countertop.
Sandstone Countertop Finish Options
Sandstone countertops come in a number of finishes. Each of these finishes has advantages and disadvantages that should be considered. Let’s take a look at the most common sandstone countertop finishes.
Sandstone’s texture is quite porous as well as soft and prone to scratching. If the surface of the sandstone countertop becomes wet, it can be extremely slippery. Furthermore, with time, sandstone will age; however, many homeowners desire this aged look. In order to keep your countertop’s looking like new, you will need to perform regular maintenance, which includes annual or biannual sealing.
- Leathered – Leathered sandstone countertops showcase the natural stone’s natural characteristics. Leathering feels excellent and is very easy to clean. The process creates a textured surface that is stylish and practical.
- Honed – Honing sandstone countertops create a smooth surface. The finish showcases the beauty of the stone. It has a satin finish that does not reflect the way polished natural stone countertops do; however, they do not have a flat, matte finish.
- Polished – Polished sandstone features a glossy surface, which reduces the porosity of the sandstone. This technique creates a smooth, slick surface that highlights the naturally occurring colors and textures of the sandstone.
The Pros and Cons of Sandstone Countertops
When homeowners begin researching the best type of natural stone countertops for kitchens and bathrooms, they will be inundated with different websites proclaiming this type of countertop or that type of countertop is best. Each type of natural stone has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Sandstone countertops improve the aesthetics in your home. This versatile natural stone can be used for a variety of construction projects, including kitchen and bathroom countertops, backsplashes, and wall cladding. The colors in sandstone create a sense of timeless sophistication in homes.
Because sandstone is a natural stone, it will never go out of style. The warm, neutral tones found in sandstone help create an open and inviting bathroom or kitchen. Furthermore, the neutral colors pair beautifully with bright, bold colors.
- Advantages of Sandstone Countertops
- Aesthetics – Sandstone is beautiful and will improve the aesthetics of your home. Whether you prefer a traditional or contemporary design, sandstone will work thanks to its unique characteristics and ability to blend seamlessly with any type of décor.
- Durability – Sandstone can withstand heavy traffic when it is properly installed and sealed. This beautiful stone will provide you with years of enjoyment.
- Increased Property Value – Unlike other types of countertops, sandstone countertops will not go out of style. The timeless look of sandstone countertops will not only increase the value of your home but will also increase your home’s appeal to potential buyers.
- Low Maintenance – Believe it or not, sandstone is very easy to maintain. All that is needed to clean your countertops is a mild detergent and a soft cloth. Wipe your countertops, rinse, and buff dry daily to keep them looking great.
- Disadvantages of Sandstone Countertops
- Porosity – Sandstone is naturally porous, which means it will quickly absorb liquids or oils. If a liquid or oil is allowed to remain on your countertops, a stain can occur. Reduce the risk of staining by sealing your sandstone countertops.
- Regular Sealing – Sandstone should be sealed using an impregnating sealer every year or two. Many homeowners also prefer to use a topical cleaner/sealant weekly to help ensure their countertops are fully protected.
- Scratches – Sandstone is soft compared to many other natural stones. If a heavy item is dropped onto the countertop, the sandstone can dent or scratch. To help prevent damage to the countertop, always use a cutting board when chopping vegetables.
How to Seal Sandstone Countertops
Sandstone countertops must be sealed immediately following installation. The porosity of the sandstone requires routine sealing. When choosing a sealant for your sandstone countertops, choose an impregnating sealer that is designed for sandstone and other porous countertops.
Clean your sandstone countertops and allow them to dry for 24 hours before applying the sealer. Apply the sealer following the manufacturer’s directions. You will need to apply multiple coats of sealer to reduce the porosity of the stone.
Impregnating sealers work by soaking into the natural stone surface and filling the pores of the stone with sealer. Sealers are made by suspending resin in either a solvent or water based delivery system. As the water or solvent evaporates, the resin hardens and fills up the pores in the sandstone to slow down the absorption rate of the stone.
The final coat of sealer should be allowed to dry for 48 to 72 hours before you begin using your countertops. Typically, after 24 hours, light usage is permitted; however, it can take up to a week before the countertop sealant fully cures.
You should not depend on a topical sealer to fully protect your sandstone countertops; however, topical sealers can add a layer of protection to adequately sealed sandstone. For best results, spray your sandstone countertops down with a topical sealer once a week and buff to a beautiful finish.
How Much Do Sandstone Countertops Cost?
The cost of sandstone countertops varies based on the colors found in the sandstone, the sandstone’s striations, the finish of the sandstone, and the origin of the sandstone. For example, if the sandstone originates overseas, the shipping charges will be calculated into the price of the sandstone slab.
You can expect to pay around $80 for a domestic sandstone slab. However, if you want an international sandstone slab or prefer a sandstone countertop with unique colors, the cost of a sandstone countertop can run upwards of $200 per square foot.
The total cost of your countertop project will depend on the square footage of the countertop needed, the number of cuts required, and if the countertop requires multiple seams. Each of these examples takes more time, which will increase the cost of labor.
Sandstone Final Thoughts
Sandstone countertops look wonderful in kitchens and bathrooms. Sandstone’s natural beauty shines through and adds warmth and beauty to your home. The neutral colors and unique patterns add interest to a home without overwhelming the decorating style.
Sandstone transitions beautifully throughout the different areas of your home, allowing you to create one cohesive design. The neutral color palette enables you to choose accent colors that match your lifestyle. Whether you prefer contemporary design or prefer a traditional look, sandstone countertops have you covered.
Although sandstone countertops are porous, they will provide you with years of beauty as long as you maintain them and seal them every year or two. If you prefer a more natural look, opt for honed sandstone countertops or leathered sandstone countertops. Conversely, if you prefer a shinier finish, opt for polished sandstone countertops.
If you are looking for a countertop that will give you the look and feel of the American Southwest, sandstone countertops have you covered. These beautiful countertops feature a neutral color scheme and will provide you with many years of enjoyment.