How to Shop for Kitchen Countertops

How to Shop for Kitchen Countertops

September 10, 2018

Time for new countertops! Whether your desire for a change comes from a life event (a move, a marriage, or a need for more space), or just wanting something new, deciding to renovate your kitchen or bath is a lengthy process that requires a great deal of planning. Many homeowners are unsure of where to start.

Time for new countertops! Whether your desire for a change comes from a life event (a move, a marriage, or a need for more space), or just wanting something new, deciding to renovate your kitchen or bath is a lengthy process that requires a great deal of planning. Many homeowners are unsure of where to start.

Fortunately, MARVA is here with resources for your journey. Here’s a guide to the different steps of purchasing a new countertop.

Your Natural Stone Partners


Antolini Luigi & C is the top producer of the finest natural stone, leading the way in technology, quality, and customer service. With more than 50 years in the industry, the Verona, Italy-based company is a worldwide distributor of natural stone.

Antolini merges a respect for the history and story of each slab with an openness to outside-the-box thinking that allows the company to grow and advance with new technologies for the natural stone industry. “Constantly evolving, the company has always supported new technology and development in natural stone processing – without forgetting the importance of quality,” Antolini’s story states. That commitment to technology enables Antolini to offer the highest quality stones that are perfected using their own exclusive methods.

In addition to the traditional sanding, polishing, brush hammering, sandblasting and flaming processes, Antolini offers their exclusive ARF® (Antolini Riven Finish) and AHF® (Antolini Hydro Finish) finishes for natural stone.


Neolith Sintered Compact Surfaces are the result of years of research by parent company TheSize, in Spain. Profound dedication to innovation has resulted in technologies that make Neolith unmatched in the industry. Among the most important of these is their Sintering Technology, which subjects 100% natural materials to very high pressures and temperatures, creating unprecedented physical and mechanical features.

Neolith surfaces are made from three groups of elements: minerals from granite (quartz and feldspar), which provide the product with hardness and strength; minerals from glass and silica that provide chemical stability; and natural oxides that offer chromatic properties. All of Neolith’s surfaces combine the very best natural raw material with state-of-the-art sintering technology, to create high-tech, durable slabs that are resistant to scratching, stains, extreme temperature changes, moisture, high traffic, chemicals, and UV rays.


With Cambria quartz surfaces, you may rest assured that you are getting high quality American-made craftsmanship and close-to-home customer service. Your quartz surfaces are responsibly obtained by conscientious partners and polished using 100% recycled water – a practice that saves an estimated 1.6 billion gallons of water per year. A limited lifetime warranty for all Cambria products and outstanding customer service further ensures that you will be satisfied with your Cambria experience throughout the life of your home.

Cambria products are harder than granite or marble, rated a 7 out of 10 on the Mohs scale, so their surfaces are unlikely to crack or scratch. And since the surfaces are nonporous, Cambria quartz doesn’t absorb liquids or food, which can cause staining and bacterial growth within the countertop, resulting in a more hygienic surface. Cambria is NSF-51 certified for food and splash zone use. Cambria is also GREENGUARD certified as a low-emitting product for indoor air quality.


Step One: Get Inspired!

What kind of countertop do you envision in your home? Get some ideas and start dreaming of your new countertops by visiting sources like Pinterest, Houzz and MARVA’s Blog to evaluate the aesthetic that you want for your new space.

MARVA can keep you up to date with some of the latest trends in kitchens, from vibrant colors to all-white designs, while helping you pinpoint exactly which stone options best suit your style. Our blog includes a vast catalog of design guides and advice to help you familiarize yourself with all sorts of kitchen design types, from the latest countertop innovations to helping you create just the right atmosphere in your space.

Our Inspiration Gallery is also full of photos to awaken your inner designer! Browse our library of images to gain a better sense of the stones available from each of our exclusive brands, and see how they can be adapted to different spaces and aesthetics. Our industry partners, as well, have their own galleries so that you can get a taste of their best offerings. Cambria offers a variety of digital tools to help you choose the ideal design for your style, from a vast Inspiration Gallery of their own, to their Cambria AR™ App, which allows you to scan the surface in your home and project an overlay of your selected Cambria design over it. You can also play around in Cambria’s DragonVision design suite, an interactive design tool that lets you realistically visualize and virtually design your dream kitchen, starting from a general kitchen style (traditional, transitional and modern) before customizing their countertops, cabinets, edge profiles and paint colors.

Meanwhile, Neolith’s Spaces Generator allows you to choose one of their designs and see it within one of their stock photos for kitchens, bath, and living areas so that you can see for yourself how the right surface can transform a room. For tried-and-true photos, check out Neolith’s Projects catalog to see Neolith surfaces in real-life projects.

Step Two: Research Stone Types

Natural stone is a perfect way to embrace the beauty and durability of mother nature’s creations and incorporate it into a home or business space. But with such a wealth of options, it can be difficult to distinguish between different types of stone.

Whether you want something straight from the earth, like granite or marble, or enhanced by modern innovation, like Neolith or Cambria quartz, MARVA’s Galleria Consultants can walk you through the different options for your project, including the style options, durability, and more.

We will discuss the sort of traffic you expect your stone to withstand, as well as your budget, your space, and more to help you make your decision.

Here is a brief primer of some natural stone types to consider:

Granite: Granite is a classic countertop choice for anyone who wants an affordable, durable, and beautiful natural stone. Scored at a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, granite won’t scratch and etch through everyday use. It is heat-resistant, so the surface will not blister or melt when exposed to heat; however, the density of the stone may mean that direct heat can cause the countertop to crack (the layers closer to the surface will expand rapidly, while the deeper layers further away from the heat source will not). Granite is ideal for kitchens, because it is less easily damaged by heat, knives, or water than other natural stones. Flooring, shower surrounds, and fireplace surrounds are perfect applications for granite, as well, since it can stand up to regular heat, water, and weight.

Copacabana Marble, Quartzite Thunder, and Silver Pearl Granite

Marble: With its striking veins, fine texture and unlimited color selection, marble demands attention and captures the imagination. From Michelangelo’s David to the Palace of Versailles, marble has been a cherished symbol of luxury and refinement throughout history. Marble rates a 3 on the Mohs hardness scale, and is considered a “soft” stone, which makes it ideal for interior accents like tabletops, staircase handrails, and bathroom vanities. In the kitchen, marble backsplashes bring classic grandeur to the room without being subject to the traffic that a countertop must withstand. However, more and more homeowners are embracing the natural wear of marble and opting for their use on countertops, either choosing to be more diligent with maintenance or let the imperfections of their surfaces tell the story of how they use their kitchen.

Quartzite: Quartzite is a natural stone that is taking center stage in the design world, as appreciation grows for its marble-like appearance combined with granite-like durability and application possibilities, which this remarkable stone provides. Quartzite has a similar hardness level as granite, rated at around 7 to 8 on the Mohs scale. It is resistant to scratching and is not acid-soluble, so it won’t etch when exposed to vinegar or citrus juices, making it ideal for countertops, bartops, fireplace surrounds, and nearly anywhere that granite could be used. Quartzite is an increasingly popular countertop option for homeowners.

For more detailed information, check out our natural stone fact sheet.

Step Three: Visit Your Local MARVA Showroom

Once you’re ready to check out some beautiful stone slabs, or pick up some samples to take home, come to your local MARVA showroom to see our extensive selection and meet with our Galleria Consultants.

One look at our showroom and you’ll see – we have more options than any chain retailer! MARVA offers all of the most coveted natural stone options, including marble, granite, limestone, soapstone, onyx, travertine, quartz and more. But with the vast array of selections, there are different considerations for each product based on how they will be used and what sort of maintenance they will require. Since MARVA Galleria Consultants are natural stone experts, we can answer any questions and guide designers and contractors through the selection process for each project. We will discuss your vision for the final product, the traffic that the surface needs to withstand, and where it will be used. Based on that information, we will make a recommendation for the product that will function best.

Step Four: Assemble Your Team of Professionals

A kitchen renovation requires a team of experts, including an installer. It’s always a great idea to consider including a general contractor or a designer for larger remodeling projects.

Industry groups like the Natural Stone Institute often have directories of accredited companies within their ranks, which can be a good resource as well.

Once you’ve gotten your team together, it’s time to decide on your countertops!

Step Five: Choose Your Stone

After a few visits to MARVA’s Showrooms, you’ll find the design that calls to you. It fits your aesthetic, it’s visually stunning, and its functional properties suit your lifestyle.

The best part about visiting MARVA’s showroom is that you can choose the exact slab that will be used in your home. Select the perfect piece of stone that will complete your vision for your new space, and put it on hold for purchase at MARVA. When the time comes, your team of contractors and fabricators will use that exact slab to create your countertops. And since you now own the stone, you have the option of using its remnants from your project to create a matching piece of accent furniture for your home.

Ready to get started? Check out MARVA’s Inspiration Gallery to get those creative juices flowing, or stop by your local MARVA showroom to see our stock in person!

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