While laminate materials were once the material of choice for countertops, greater availability of natural stone materials (including granite, marble, travertine to name just a few) have changed the dynamic of the global countertop market. Once thought of as a material reserved for the rich, natural stone has become more popular than its lower quality laminate competitor since the turn of the millennia. Stone has numerous properties which make it more suitable for countertops than laminate materials, and is far safer for your family and the environment.
An Increased Global Demand
According to a study done industry market research firm The Freedonia Group, the demand for countertop materials, particularly for use in the kitchen, has been on the increase throughout the world and is expected to continue to rise until at least 2021. For the middle class, natural stone was typically considered an unaffordable luxury until a larger volume of entry level granite began to flood the market between 2000 and 2010. This increased availability of granite led to a decline in price which prompted homeowners planning a new construction project or those looking to remodel to upgrade from the laminate option to far more desirable natural stone, particularly granite.
Laminate Materials Release Toxic Chemicals into Your Home
Laminate materials are produced with the help of glues and other adhesives which contain a high amount of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) which are continuously released into your home for many years after their installation. The EPA has acknowledged that indoor air is often far more contaminated than outdoor air, as products including laminates, furnishings, carpets and more all contribute to high levels of VOC’s which largely remain trapped within the home due to lack of sufficient fresh, outdoor air.
Better for the Planet and Your Family
Since natural stone slabs are mined directly from large chunks of solid material within the earth, their production is far gentler on the planet than laminate materials that require the use of toxic chemicals produced in factories, which contribute to the world’s pollution problem. Natural stone also offers a significant advantage to those seeking a cleaner indoor environment, as no VOC’s are ever released into the air after their installation. This is particularly important for people who suffer from allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems, as VOC’s have been shown to worsen these conditions.
Beauty, Durability and Accessibility
Natural stone is beautiful, highly durable and resistant to staining when it has been properly sealed. In addition, it provides homeowners with the best countertop material money can buy. Thanks to the increased availability of natural stone products, a larger percentage of homeowners can now enjoy the benefits of this top quality material at an affordable price.
This is an investment that will last a lifetime, and when properly cared for, will remain as beautiful as the day it was installed.