Stone Countertops vs. Manmade: How Do They Hold Up?

Stone Countertops

Chances are, your kitchen countertop is among the most-used surfaces in your home. In turn, it’s critical to choose a very durable material that will stand the test of time, through daily cooking, wiping up and entertaining. At the same time, your countertop is a focal point of your kitchen design, so you also want it to be attractive. When looking for an option that satisfies both criteria, many homeowners land on stone countertops. But, which is better: natural or manmade? The answer all depends on the specific qualities and features you’re seeking in your countertop. So, let’s dive into some of the differences and explore what determines how well a countertop material will perform over time.

Stone Countertops vs. Manmade: How Do They Hold Up?

When it comes to how longwearing a particular countertop material is – in terms of maintaining its appearance and integrity – several things come into play. Key factors include:

  • Porosity – Kitchen countertops get subjected to a lot of water, from hand washing, ingredient rinsing and dish cleaning – not to mention possible spills of other liquids. So, the rate at which a surface absorbs moisture (its porosity) is a key consideration. Bear in mind that most stone countertops (with the exception of soapstone) will require regular sealing to arm against stains, etching, dark spots and bacteria/mold growth. Engineered countertop options like quartz are completely non-porous, meaning they don’t come with the extra maintenance step of applying and reapplying sealant over the years.
  • Finish – If you select a natural stone countertop, you’ll likely have a number of different finishes to choose from, while your options may be more limited with one of their manmade counterparts. A polished finish can look sleek, but a honed or leathered finish might be a more desirable option if you’re concerned about imperfections showing. On a countertop with light coloring in particular, opting for one of these textured finishes is a clever way to conceal any scratches or etch marks that might occur.
  • Resilience – Harder natural stones like granite and quartzite are well equipped to resist chips, scratches and heat, making them a wonderfully suited match for a countertop. Marble and soapstone are on the softer end of the spectrum, so these stone countertops are a bit more susceptible to damage in the course of daily use; but, they can be repaired in the event of a serious accident. Meanwhile, manmade materials like porcelain and quartz also make excellent hardwearing countertops that don’t require much maintenance. 
  • Care routine – As we mentioned above, it’s important to be attuned to whether your countertop needs sealing. Once you’ve established the right sealing schedule (if necessary), take the time to do your research to make sure you’re using appropriate cleaning products for the particular material. Harsh cleaners and rough scrubbers can cause damage like etching or break down the sealant (if applied), so they’re best avoided in favor of gentler products.

Last but certainly not least importantly, you’ll want to think about your price range for your new countertop when comparing options. Even if you’re on a budget, don’t count out more luxurious seeming materials like marble. They can actually be quite cost effective, depending on factors such as your chosen variety and finish. Just be sure to factor in fabrication and installation costs, which can be higher than you might expect for certain manufactured surfaces. 

Choose a Countertop That Checks All Your Boxes with Our Help 

If you love the unique blend of beauty and durability found in stone countertops and desire to bring them into your home, Cosmos Surfaces is here to help you do so for a competitive price. If you’re torn between stone countertops vs. manmade, our experts can assist you in making the best choice based on your maintenance preferences, budget and aesthetic vision. 

From elegant Absolute Black granite to exclusive Yukon Gold quartz, we offer something for everyone in our expansive selection. Preview the many outstanding options on our website, visit one of our showrooms scattered across the US or send us a message for individualized guidance on your search for your perfect surface! Whether it’s stone countertops, shower walls, a bathroom vanity or even flooring, our specialists can help you locate your ideal match and get it installed for enduring success.

Color of the Month: Serenity

Serenity is a misty light blue with notes of soothing grey. It creates a calming atmosphere in any room, perfect for a spa-like bedroom or bathroom.

A variety of colors and textures meld together to make up the quartzite named Fusion. Reminiscent of a canyon wall, waves of browns and reds merge with greens and silvers to create Fusion. The rich diversity of Fusion looks great installed as countertops and fireplaces, especially when paired with brown or black cabinets. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

A beautiful silvery blue curtain makes up the background of the Brazilian marble known as Australis. The feature that sets Australis apart from other marbles is the deep sapphire streaks that glitter throughout. Australis makes for beautiful countertops and backsplashes, as well as bathroom floors, vanities, and walls.

What Is the Most Durable Countertop Material?

most durable countertop material

Providing an area to prepare and enjoy meals, conversation and the company of your loved ones, your countertop is a pillar of your kitchen or entertaining space. Plus, it’s likely a focal point of the room design. So, it’s important to make sure it can stand up to frequent use while retaining its beauty over time. If you’re searching for the most durable countertop material, you have quite a few options, as there are many resilient choices. Quartz, soapstone, porcelain, quartzite and granite have all earned their place as standouts.

Ultimately, the right countertop material for your home will depend on your personal preferences and specifications. Our surfacing specialists are here to help you compare some of the top options by breaking down their features and differences.

What Is the Most Durable Countertop Material? 

In pursuit of a countertop that’s very well suited to your particular purposes, here are a few helpful questions to ask yourself:

  • Will your countertop be installed indoors or out? – If you’re shopping for an outdoor kitchen counter or bar top, it’s key to confirm its compatibility with the elements. Natural stones like quartzite and granite are built to last, even in the face of harsh weather and fluctuating temperatures. Porcelain is also commonly used for outdoor applications and sunny spaces, thanks to its capacity to resist fading along with moisture. For outside counters, you’ll want to avoid porous materials (which can be damaged by water), as well as materials containing resin binders (like quartz), as these may warp or melt when exposed to direct sunlight and high heat. 
  • Are you okay with having to seal your countertop on occasion? – Choosing a natural stone countertop means you’ll likely need to have it sealed at regular intervals to keep it from taking on moisture, bacteria and stains. If you’re more keen on a non-porous countertop that doesn’t require sealing, consider soapstone or quartz. 
  • How hard of a countertop would you like? – When it comes to countertops, hardness and durability go hand in hand. The hardness of various stones is ranked on the Mohs scale, with quartz, quartzite and granite being at the upper end. While less dense, soapstone and porcelain can still handle everyday wear and tear rather well, although there is a greater risk of scratches and chips in a high-traffic space.
  • What are your maintenance preferences? – Different surfaces have different care requirements. For instance, it’s best to use a cleaner that’s designed specifically for natural stone on granite and its counterparts. Meanwhile, soapstone and quartz are considered especially low maintenance, as they can be cleaned with a simple mixture of mild soap and water with no risk of harming the surface. If you’re seeking the most durable countertop material that’s also zero fuss, this may be something to think about.
  • What is your budget? – Countertop material pricing can vary quite a bit, even within a specific category. Also, when special equipment and techniques are required for proper installation, this can result in a higher price. Be sure to inquire about the cost of installation along with the price of the material itself when comparing different options. 

In addition to these factors, your desired aesthetic will also play a key role in determining your perfect countertop match. At Cosmos Surfaces, we offer a sweeping range of countertop options to explore, from various kinds of natural stone to man-made materials like engineered quartz.

In our showrooms across the nation and our online gallery, you’ll find a spectacular array of hues, patterns and textures to pick from, some made by the Earth and others by expert engineering. We are proud to have exquisite offerings for every budget.

Allow yourself to be dazzled by Cardinal Red quartzite, Evian White granite, Jade soapstone and a wealth of other elegant options available from Cosmos Surfaces. Feel free to peruse all the possibilities, or describe your design vision to us so we can help you narrow it down.

Reach Out to Cosmos for Help Selecting a Winning Countertop 

Eager to discover the most durable countertop material that best fits your needs and desires? Count on Cosmos Surfaces for professional guidance! Contact us via our website, and someone from our team of knowledgeable surface experts will be happy to assist you. Or, locate the Cosmos showroom closest to you and come see our amazing selection in person! Either way, we’ll provide top-quality advice to match our top-quality surfaces. 

Color of the Month: Emerald

Emerald is a muted, shaded aqua-green with jungle green undertones. Pair with lemony yellows for a soft glow, or with ebony black for a stunning contrast.

On Kamarica granite, sea foam green, rust orange, soft ivory and space gray swirl and twirl with one another to produce magical shapes. Bold yet sophisticated, this exotic, naturally occurring Brazilian stone is an awe-inspiring choice that works well for countertops, backsplashes, window sills, walls and many other interior design projects.

Like black soapstone, jade soapstone has a deep and dark color, rich in its elegance. Its sleek appearance matches its smoothly honed finish. Jade soapstone’s cool color makes it great for countertops and fireplaces, as well as backsplashes and poolside bars. Jade soapstone matches well with soft grays and wood alike.

Natural Stone Backsplash FAQs

natural stone backsplash

If you’re aiming to beautify your kitchen or bathroom, adding a natural stone backsplash will definitely help you accomplish this goal. Not only will it look exquisite; a stone backsplash will also make any food or liquid splatter easier to clean off. Different types of natural stone have varying properties, so let’s answer some commonly asked questions that will help you determine the very best option for your personal kitchen or bathroom.

Natural Stone Backsplash FAQs

When considering natural stone for a backsplash application, there are several things you might be curious about. For instance:

  • Which materials are best? – The answer to this depends on the look you are going for, as well as practical considerations like hardness/durability level. Natural stones range in hardness – from softer stones like soapstone and marble to harder stones like granite and quartzite – as well as in their typical hues and patterns. Before saying yes to a natural stone you love the appearance of, be sure to discuss its durability, expected longevity and care needs with a reputable surfaces supplier like Cosmos.
  • Does natural stone need to be sealed? – Sealing/resealing requirements may vary based on the specific type of natural stone you select. Most natural stone surfaces are porous and so will need to be properly sealed and resealed over time to prevent staining and moisture intrusion. This is especially true for a backsplash in an active kitchen or bathroom, where splashes are bound to end up on the walls from time to time. As an example, it’s advised that quartzite be resealed around twice a year in a room that gets daily use.
  • What about the grout? – Like the stone itself, the grout in between pieces on a backsplash will most likely need to be sealed on a regular basis. This maintenance step will help slow down wear and tear, strengthen the grout to prevent damage to the stone it surrounds and guard against grime, moisture, mold & mildew and staining.
  • How do you clean a natural stone backsplash? – Simply wipe the stone with a cloth or non-abrasive sponge as needed to keep it looking pristine. For both everyday care and tougher messes, be sure to use a cleaner that’s approved for natural stone surfaces. Generally, pH-neutral cleaners work best, and acidic products should be avoided to prevent damage/possible chemical reactions with the stone.
  • How do you clean the grout? – We can’t emphasize enough that caring for the grout is an essential step in preserving the unique beauty of a natural stone backsplash! To handle stubborn buildup, discoloration or stains on grout lines, a stone-safe grout cleaner and a soft-bristled scrub brush will work wonders. 

We hope this overview has helped you understand the possible pros and cons of choosing a natural stone backsplash. If you’re interested in getting more in-depth information on the features of specific stones, check out our comparison of different kitchen backsplash materials.

Alternatives to a Natural Stone Backsplash 

Looking for a no-fuss backsplash material that doesn’t require sealing? Engineered quartz is a terrific low-maintenance option that comes in a vast range of colors and patterns, some of which can even impressively imitate the distinct look of natural stone! For instance, Calacatta Luna is a striking white and gray quartz that brings traditional marble to mind.

Ceramic tile is another man-made material which can be fashioned to look like marvelous natural stone or even hardwood, thanks to manufacturing advances.

*Keep in mind that the grout between tiles will still need to be sealed for these natural stone alternatives.

Partner with Cosmos to Find Your Ideal Backsplash

From one-of-a-kind, earth-forged natural stone (including soapstone, granite, marble, quartzite and more) to ceramic tile to quartz, Cosmos Surfaces provides a world of wondrous options fit for your kitchen or bathroom backsplash. We even offer dazzling semi-precious stones like Blue Agate for the discerning homeowner eager to make their backsplash a true work of art.

If you’re eager to discover the perfect match for your design vision, room setup and care preferences, reach out to our surfacing specialists today. We’ve curated an online gallery where you can view samples and learn more about our superb selections, and we also have showrooms across the country that you can visit to see them in real life before making your decision. 

Color of the Month: Paperplane

Paperplane is a soft, gray, sepia greige with an umber undertone. This soothing, pleasing neutral elevates any room and pairs beautifully with grayed or creamy whites.

Azurra Bay quartzite combines a light blue background, with interweaving grey-white layers giving the illusion of overlapping waves. The multi-directional lines in this Brazilian quartzite draw your sight away from the center giving a sense of spaciousness to any room it is used in. 

A wondrous plateau of glimmering alabaster, charcoal gray, caramel and hints of cherry red, Bianco Romano is a type of granite fit for royalty. Capable of withstanding freezing temperatures, this Brazilian stone can be used in outdoor applications as well as indoor ones. Leverage its grace and panache to fashion outstanding countertops, outdoor living area features and more.

All About Blue Agate Countertops

blue agate countertops

Categorized as a semi-precious natural stone, blue agate is a bold and beguiling choice for spaces around the home, from kitchen to bathroom to living room. On an agate countertop, hand-selected stones marked by vibrant blues, moody grays and other varying tones give a nod to nature and honor the astonishing power of our planet. But, appearance isn’t all there is. If you’re interested in blue agate countertops, it’s important to familiarize yourself with their features and care requirements. Cosmos Surfaces is here to tell you more about these whimsical, long-enduring, one-of-a-kind premium stone slabs for countertop applications and beyond.

All About Blue Agate Countertops

Using a gemstone like agate for a countertop is sure to garner attention and spark well-deserved interest. Along with mystifying shades of blue, this stone can feature many different striking hues, including pink, red, brown, white and gray. 

The product of silica from groundwater being deposited in the cavities of igneous rocks, agate’s wide color spectrum occurs in unique banded patterns reminiscent of growth rings on a tree trunk. In similar fashion, agate’s lines tell the story of its past and of changes in the groundwater composition as it was formed. 

Once you bring agate into your home, how will it fare over time? Let’s cover some key things to know about its properties:

  • Heat resistant, agate lends itself well to placement next to stoves and other heat-producing appliances or fixtures.
  • Scratch resistant, agate countertops can stand up to everyday use in your cooking area or on a bathroom vanity.
  • Ranked as a 7 on the hardness scale, agate is similar to granite in that it offers high levels of strength, durability and longevity.
  • Non-porous by virtue of being bound together with resin, blue agate countertops are simple and stress free to maintain. Much like when caring for engineered quartz countertops, you’ll want to use a mild, pH-neutral cleaner and a soft, damp cloth to revitalize agate surfaces, plus wipe up any spills promptly to avoid staining. 

Owing to their captivating beauty and other favorable features, agate slabs are an alluring choice for countertops – but smaller pieces can also be used for numerous other applications, including decorative accent walls, fireplace surrounds, backsplashes and even water features.

Blue Agate & Other Stunning Varieties Available at Cosmos Surfaces 

If agate has caught your eye, it’s no wonder – these impossible-to-ignore gemstone surfaces are sure to make a statement in any space, while also offering a slew of practical and delightful benefits. Blue agate countertops are a popular standout, but they’re certainly not the only option. 

At Cosmos Surfaces, we offer several different types of agate to fit different design schemes and styles:

  • Agate Azure is our bold and beautiful choice for admirers and desirers of blue agate countertops. It features complex lake and geyser blues, robust grays and tones of white and brown dispersed throughout its bands. Due to its translucence, it pairs magically with under-cabinet lighting and white backsplashes.
  • Agate Earth is a bit warmer and more subdued in contrast to Agate Azure. Its tranquil characteristic hues of amber, red, brown, gold and black serve as the perfect complement to brighter crystalline whites scattered throughout. 
  • Agate Vermell stimulates the senses with bands of spirited reds, browns, blues and tans. Unexpected and inspiring, it looks particularly remarkable alongside wood design features.

Regardless of which agate variety you choose, you and your guests will surely not soon tire of gazing upon the natural splendor of this gemstone. Whether you display it on your countertops or use it for another application – indoors or out – you can count on agate to serve you well for years to come.

Discover a World of Wonderful Surfacing Options at Cosmos 

If you’d like to learn more about agate and explore a full selection of semi-precious stone surfaces, trust the professionals at Cosmos Surfaces to be your guides. From dazzling slabs of agate for countertops to white quartz for floors, we offer a vast selection of gorgeous and long-wearing stone surfaces for an array of projects.

Cosmos works with both homeowners and businesses across the US, delivering top-quality surfaces and service. You can visit one of our showrooms to see our stunning surfaces in person, or consult our experts from wherever you are to get reliable recommendations and advice for your project. Feel free to reach out to us anytime for assistance in bringing your design vision to life!

Color of the Month: Intrigue

Intrigue is a dark spiced brown with warm red-rock undertones. It lends exquisite depth to a room when paired with light cream accents as a trim or accent wall.

Citrino is a canvas of crystals, a work of art come to life. Baubles of white, gold, and black make up this Brazilian quartzite. Elegant and stylish, Citrino responds differently depending on the lighting. Mellower in low light, but striking in bright light, Citrino is a unique and classy choice for kitchens and bathrooms alike. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

A sheet of gold, it’s no surprise how Golden Paradise got its name. But it’s not just gold – look deeper to see the crystals of whites and greys that make up this Brazilian quartzite. Highly translucent, Golden Paradise makes for spectacular floors, walls, and fireplaces and matches well with blacks and woods. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

What is the Best Stone for Shower Walls?

best stone for shower walls

There’s nothing quite like a warm shower to help you unwind at the end of a stressful day. Adding natural stone elements to your bathroom can elevate this space and help you create a serene sanctuary, but what is the best stone for shower walls?

We invite you along as our experts discuss.

What is the Best Stone for Shower Walls?

Durability, aesthetics and ease of maintenance can all factor into the materials we choose for our homes. When it comes to selecting the best stone for shower walls, homeowners have several gorgeous options to consider. Let’s dive in. 

Marble for Shower Walls 

Marble is synonymous with luxury. This impressive stone has many desirable features for bathroom uses. Known for its soft, light coloring and intriguing veining patterns, marble is a timeless classic that will serve you well in the bathroom for many decades.   

Natural stone marble is porous, and one of the most notable points about selecting it for the shower is the importance of sealing and cleaning it often. Very light variations of marble can stain over time if homeowners neglect the necessary maintenance steps. 

As some marble has a high iron content, frequent exposure to water can cause it to rust and discolor unless it is properly sealed. By using an impregnating (penetrating) sealer, you’ll protect your marble investment from moisture damage, mold and staining or discoloration.

Marble sometimes gets a less favorable reputation as a high-maintenance stone, which might concern some homeowners. It’s wise to remember, however, that any material in the bathroom will require a little extra TLC to keep it from taking on moisture damage, discoloring with use and developing mold/mildew growth. 

Learn all about how to clean a marble shower here

Pro Tip: The vein composition in marble can be slightly more vulnerable to moisture damage. To mitigate this, opt for high grade marble with fewer inclusions and minimal veining. 

Granite for Shower Walls 

Granite is a beloved natural stone in the home. Durable, easy to maintain and available in a wide range of dramatic colors and patterns, granite can help you design the bathroom of your dreams. 

Granite is durable with a dense composition. This makes it less prone to absorbing moisture. Just like marble, however, granite will also need to be sealed and resealed often to protect it against moisture damage, staining and mold/mildew growth. 

Homeowners looking to incorporate a darker color scheme in their bathroom design will find plenty of gorgeous options in granite, though a range of lighter shades are available too. 

Pro Tip: Homeowners looking to install natural stone on shower floors will want to go with a slip-resistant natural stone finish, like a flamed or leathered finish.  

Quartzite for Shower Walls 

Quartzite is one of the hardest surfacing materials, which makes it perfect for standing up to daily wear and tear in a busy bathroom or kitchen. Compared to marble, which stands at a 3 on the Mohs hardness scale, quartzite has a Mohs hardness of 7.

Even though quartzite is so hard, it is still porous, which means it needs to be sealed. You can expect to have to seal quartzite about once every 10 years, or when you notice that the surface seems to be absorbing water and turning darker in wet areas. Properly sealed quartzite is easy to clean with mild household cleaners and a soft sponge.

Most quartzites are white or light in color due to their quartz content, but additional minerals in the stone can produce vivid colors. If you’re thinking of a lighter color scheme in your bathroom, quartzite is definitely a natural stone to consider.

Porcelain for Shower Walls

While not a natural stone, large format porcelain slabs should also be considered for shower walls. A porcelain slab shower is a low-maintenance, hardwearing option that is available in a wide range of colors and patterns. It can be cleaned with common household cleaning products and doesn’t need to be sealed. Porcelain is slip-resistant, which makes it a safe option for bathrooms. Some porcelain is even antibacterial and antimicrobial.

If you love the distinguished look of marble but want a lower-maintenance option for your shower, porcelain that looks like marble is a great option. Thanks to an advanced engineering process, porcelain can be made to mimic the characteristic veining and smooth texture of marble. Although porcelain slabs may be more affordable than natural stone, they can come with higher installation costs due to the experience and equipment needed to handle them.

Natural Stone Care for Bathrooms 

Diligent care is always important to help preserve natural stone investments in the home. This fact is even more pronounced in bathroom areas. Neglecting the proper cleaning and maintenance requirements can lead to cracks, mold growth, staining and discoloration. 

To care for natural stone in the shower, consider these cleaning tips:

  • Clean Stone Weekly — Opt for non-abrasive, neutral cleaners and clean stone showers weekly to remove dirt, grime, soap scum and mineral deposits. Always check in with a manufacturer to ensure that a cleaner is safe to use on your natural stone of choice. 
  • Ventilate the Area —  To prevent mold and mildew growth on stone surfaces and in grout, ensure proper ventilation after using the shower. This includes running the fan and opening doors and windows after each use. 
  • Wipe Down Excess Water —  Stones like marble can take on water stains and lose its luster with constant exposure to water. Homeowners can mitigate this by wiping down excess water after each use (a squeegee can also help remove residual water). 
  • Clean and Seal Grout — Whether you opt for natural stone or porcelain, the grout between any kind of tiles can become porous and vulnerable to staining and mold growth. It’s important to keep up with cleaning and sealing grout lines. You can find a primer on sealing grout here.  
  • Seal Stone Regularly — One of the most important maintenance activities you can perform on natural stone in the bathroom is to seal it regularly (every 1-3 years) with an impregnating sealer. Be sure to check in with a natural stone fabricator on how often to reseal your natural stone.  

Buy Natural Stone for Shower Surfaces 

If you have any questions about selecting the best stone for shower walls or bathroom areas, reach out to Cosmos today! We bring decades of expertise to the table, and our pro team is always happy to help. 

Ready to browse natural stone? See our selection here

Color of the Month: Castle Stone

Castle Stone is a subdued, midtone green with azure undertones. It is a soothing color that works well in bedrooms and sitting rooms. Pair it with soft cream or and white trim for a light and airy effect.

White crystal bands and silver streaks dance through the vast and layered green and brown background of this Brazilian granite. The high contrast color palette coupled with the unpredictable patterns of Vostok granite are sure to add motion and momentum to modern design elements.

True to its name, Macaubus Fantasy brings to mind a calm, cool breeze across relaxing oceans. Ideal for kitchens and bathrooms or outdoor surfaces and tiles, this versatile white quartzite swirls shades of blue, grey, and subtle tans across a white background. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

What are the Most Heat Resistant Countertops?

most heat resistant countertops

The kitchen is a high traffic zone, and when it comes to selecting countertop materials, durability reigns supreme. Several factors determine how well a surface material will perform in the kitchen, but what are the most heat resistant countertops? Read on to see what our experts have to say.

Heat Proof vs. Heat Resistant

Before we dive in, it’s worth noting that “heat-resistant” doesn’t necessarily mean “heat-proof.” While countertops that exhibit high heat resistance are less likely to take on damage from hot pots or pans, caution remains the wisest approach. We’ll always encourage homeowners to use trivets, cooling racks, cutting boards and coasters, no matter your chosen countertop material.

Heat Resistant Countertops 

We’ve rounded up some of the most heat-resistant and gorgeous countertops on the market today. Of course, each surface material has its pros and cons. The right choice for your space will ultimately depend on a combination of characteristics. Let’s take a look. 

Granite Countertops

Granite is an all-star in the home surfacing world. This igneous rock — a rock solidified from lava or magma — is coarse-grained, highly durable and available in a wide range of colors and dramatic patterns. 

Granite performs well when exposed to heat, though trivets, cooling racks and coasters are recommended to prevent staining, scratches and discoloration. Granite typically requires annual sealing to protect the stone from staining and taking on moisture damage, but is easy to clean during/after everyday use. 

If you play host to a busy kitchen, granite is an excellent choice that holds up well to a wide range of common wear-and-tear scenarios.

Quartzite Countertops

Coming in at around 7–8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, quartzite is an incredibly durable natural stone, and this quality is reflected in its very high heat-resistance. 

Ranging in color from neutral grays and whites to warm, rich ochres and reds, quartzite stone often features dramatic veining and swirling patterns. 

It’s important not to confuse quartzite with its man-made counterpart, often simply known as “quartz”. While highly durable, quartz countertops contain natural stone components that are bound together with plastic resins. When it comes to heat-resistance, these plastic binders can melt or warp when they come into contact with extreme heat, so plenty of caution should be used. 

Quartzite counters, on the other hand, are virtually indestructible, easy to maintain and can accommodate just about any design style. Like granite, quartzite often benefits from being sealed annually.

Soapstone Countertops

Soapstone countertops are softer than other natural stone countertops like quartzite and granite. While they may be more prone to taking on scratches or chipping, they are chemically inert — which means acidic substances won’t damage them — and they are highly heat-resistant. What’s more, soapstone absorbs, retains and re-radiates heat, which makes it an excellent choice for homes in cold climates. 

Soapstone is also popular for uses like fireplace surrounds, as frequent exposure to heat won’t cause it to crack. As a kitchen countertop, soapstone could handle the heat from pots and pans easily enough, though as this is a softer stone, it is more likely to get scratched or chipped by cookware, so caution is always warranted. 

Soapstone is a low maintenance material, though some homeowners prefer to oil it with mineral oil to even out and speed up its natural darkening process. Scratches and chips can be buffed out or filled in, which makes soapstone an excellent option for those who enjoy the DIY experience. If your main concern is heat-resistance, rather than hardness, soapstone can make a warm, inviting addition to your home and often works well in rustic, farmhouse-style settings. 

Stainless Steel and Aluminum Countertops 

Popular in commercial kitchens, stainless steel and aluminum countertops are easy to clean and highly heat-resistant, though they may discolor with repeated exposure to extreme heat over time. Stainless steel countertops may not visually work in most home kitchen settings, but the material’s high-heat resistance, strong durability and hygienic qualities make it a great choice for heat-resistant home kitchen sinks

Heat-Resistant Countertops From Cosmos Surfaces

Cosmos Surfaces brings decades of knowledge and industry experience to the table. As a 2nd generation, family-owned business, our team is passionate about connecting our customers with exceptional materials. If you have questions about heat-resistant countertops or where to find them, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch by filling out our contact form today.

Color of the Month: Granada Red

Granada Red is a muted, warm, dark raspberry red that pairs well with chocolate browns. Its dark undertones make it the perfect color for accent walls and entranceways.

Striking red and black, Cardinal Red brings to mind the feathered plumage of the bird. In swirling waves of texture, this Brazilian quartzite has spots and layers of crystalline white and gray, giving it a uniquely high degree of variance. The deep reds and blacks of Cardinal Red complement both black and silver and looks great in kitchens. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

The type of quartzite named Malbec receives its nickname, Napa Valley, from the rich and complex colors that bring to mind the sunsets of northern California. Comprised of rolling hills of brown, red, pink, and white, transport yourself to the mountains and wine country by installing Malbec both inside and out. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

What is the Easiest Countertop to Maintain?

easiest countertop to maintain

The kitchen often takes center stage when it comes to everyday activities around the house. As a result, this hub of family life is particularly vulnerable to wear and tear, especially in areas like the kitchen countertops. Busy homeowners may not have much time to devote to the care and maintenance of their countertop materials. In today’s post, we’ll discuss the easiest countertop to maintain, along with our top runner-up choices.   

Man-Made vs. Natural Materials

Man-made materials like laminate or stainless steel countertops rank among the easiest countertops to maintain in the short term, as they may simply require wiping down with mild dish soap and warm water. In the long run, however, laminate countertops aren’t nearly as durable as those with natural stone components. Factoring in the cost and effort of replacing countertops more frequently, laminate countertops may not be the best choice for a long-term living situation. 

Stainless steel countertops are a great option in medical and food service settings. In the home, however, they aren’t necessarily a desirable countertop option in terms of aesthetics. Luckily, there are excellent partially man-made and all natural stone countertop options that are a breeze to maintain. 

The Most Low-Maintenance Stone Countertops 

Stone surfacing materials like marble, granite, soapstone, and quartzite make for beautiful countertops, but some materials are more low-maintenance than others. Whether you’re looking for a dazzling, dramatic accent in your kitchen, or a warm, inviting atmosphere, these particularly low-maintenance options can serve you in multiple ways. Let’s dive in and find out which option may be the easiest countertop to maintain in your home: 

  1. Engineered Quartz

Engineered quartz, sometimes simply referred to as quartz, is a man-made material that uses roughly 90–95% crushed up stone and recycled materials, including quartz crystals. The mixture is held together with about 10% of a quartz countertop’s composition consisting of resin binders. Quartz countertops can mimic the look of natural stone without requiring the maintenance associated with certain stone options, like marble. 

Quartz counters are available in a variety of patterns and colors, making it easy to match your countertops to your design style. When it comes to care and maintenance, quartz countertops can simply be wiped down using a gentle cloth and mild detergent mixed with warm water. 

In terms of durability, quartz performs impressively. These countertops are hard, scratch resistant and completely non-porous. That means they are far less susceptible to staining and harboring bacteria than porous materials. Owing to the resin binders holding them together, quartz countertops never need to be sealed. Though they are heat-resistant, extreme heat can melt or warp the plastic resins in engineered quartz. Always use cutting boards, trivets and cooling racks to protect your investment. With minimal care and maintenance, quartz countertops can elevate your space and keep your kitchen looking new and gorgeous for decades to come. Learn the ins and outs of how to clean quartz here

  1. Soapstone 

Naturally a non-porous material, soapstone is incredibly dense — and just like quartz — it never needs to be sealed. Homeowners can use soapstone to create a rustic, inviting look in the home, which may be enhanced by the natural patina or aged “sheen” that can form over time. Soapstone surfaces are highly stain-resistant and unaffected by heat. 

The natural darkening that occurs in soapstone can be evened out by applying mineral oil on a semi-regular basis, though this is optional and the only additional maintenance associated with soapstone. This stone’s coloration varies from white to charcoal grey, and the combination of chlorite, magnesite and dolomite can give this countertop option a milky look. 

Soapstone countertops resist bacteria and can be cleaned with a combination of soap and water. Avoid cutting directly on soapstone countertops, and use care when setting down heavy items. Knicks and scratches can often be filled in or buffed out. Take a look at the uses and benefits of soapstone here.  

  1. Granite      

Many granite options need to be sealed annually, but this is a small price to pay for the benefits of granite kitchen countertops. Granite is the most durable of these three countertop options, and with the minimal maintenance it requires, it can last for generations. 

Granite is available in a wide range of colors. It’s heat-, scratch- and stain-resistant (when properly sealed) and can add a look of sophistication to your kitchen. Countertops can be cleaned with a cloth or sponge, mild dish detergent and warm water or with a dedicated natural stone cleaner. Granite is by far one of the most popular countertop choices for busy kitchens, bridging the gap between luxury stone and ease of maintenance. You can learn more about granite here

For the Easiest Countertop to Maintain, Shop Cosmos Surfaces

Cosmos Surfaces has a wide selection of top-quality surface materials. Our team is always happy to answer questions and give expert advice to help you select the best materials for your home. Give us a call at your nearest location or visit us online today

Color of the Month: Mercury

Mercury is a soothing mid tone gray with warm, brown undertones. Pair it with neutral blues and greens to make these colors stand out beautifully. Mercury is perfect for accent walls and main walls.

Clean, beautiful, and cool – Vento Cinza is the smooth white of an undisturbed icy tundra. Upon closer look, you’ll see beautifully subtle lines of crystalline silver in this Brazilian quartzite. Vento Cinza is simple in both color and texture, but that doesn’t make it any less striking. It looks great in any space as a countertop, floor, wall, or table. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Utterly unique but still timeless, Roman Grey is a modern, porcelain take on Old World white marble. With striking veining in grey tones ranging from stone to charcoal, Roman Grey will elevate the look of your home or business without overwhelming it. Opt for bookmatched slabs to create a mesmerizing mirror effect and entrance onlookers.

Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Natural Stone

cleaning natural stone

Natural stone is a gorgeous investment that can elevate any space, and with proper care and maintenance, it can last for generations. While most homeowners understand the importance of cleaning surfaces like floors and countertops often, cleaning natural stone without damaging it requires some basic know-how. In this post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces discuss 5 common mistakes homeowners make when cleaning natural stone and why you should avoid them. 

Using the Wrong Cleaning Agents

Not all cleaners are made equal, and when it comes to natural stone, some are downright harmful. Acidic commercial cleaners and those containing harsh chemicals, like bleach, can damage and dull natural stone surfaces. Common household cleaning alternatives should be used with caution as well. As homeowners turn to natural, eco-friendly solutions, vinegar is lauded as an effective cleaning agent for a wide range of household applications. Unfortunately, vinegar is an acidic substance, which means it can cause a chemical reaction on your natural stone surfaces known as etching. 

Etching is a form of physical damage on a natural stone’s surface that appears as a dull mark. Calcareous stones — those composed of calcium carbonate, such as marble — are susceptible to etching when they come into contact with an acidic substance. This includes acidic cleaners, as well as any acidic spills, like wine, certain sauces or fruit juice.

Always check to ensure a cleaning solution is safe to use on your natural stone surfaces. Our experts recommend investing in cleaners specifically meant for natural stone, or sticking to non-acidic, mild dish detergent and warm water for regular cleaning.

Using the Wrong Cleaning Tools

Abrasive sponges, brushes and scouring pads can scratch or otherwise damage softer stones, like marble and soapstone. Even on hardier stone surfaces, like granite, abrasive cleaning tools can prematurely wear away the protective sealer that protects the stone, making it vulnerable to staining and moisture damage. 

Always use gentle cleaning products and sponges on your natural stone surfaces. Our pros recommend soft microfiber cloth, as it does an excellent job with capturing dirt, dust and debris.

Don’t Neglect Cleaning Natural Stone

How frequently you’ll need to clean your natural stone surfaces depends on your home, lifestyle and the location of the surfaces in question. Neglecting cleaning for too long is a common mistake that can lead to damage like etching, staining and scratches from grit. Countertops and floors require slightly different care. Let’s take a quick look at each:

  • Natural Stone Countertops and Backsplash

Kitchen countertops tend to be high-traffic areas in the home. It follows that natural stone surfaces, like countertops and backsplash, should be wiped down daily, especially after cooking or eating to prevent staining and moisture-related damage. A mild dish detergent and warm water may suffice for daily cleanings, though we always recommend checking in with manufacturers. Be sure to dry natural stone surfaces thoroughly with a clean microfiber cloth or towel after each cleaning. Kitchens that see a lot of use will likely benefit from a deep cleaning with an appropriate natural stone cleaner at least once a week, if not more often. 

  • Natural Stone Floors

When it comes to natural stone flooring, trekked-in dust, dirt and grit can be abrasive when walked or stepped on. This makes floor tiles vulnerable to damage like scratches or wear patterns in high-traffic areas over time. To protect your natural stone floors, carefully sweep, vacuum or use a dry dust mop to remove potentially abrasive debris. If your home is subject to high amounts of foot traffic from family members and pets, you may need to dry mop or sweep every other day, or in some cases, on a daily basis. Floors should typically be mopped once a week, while high-traffic areas, like a busy kitchen, may benefit from being mopped twice a week.      

Pro-tip: High-traffic floor areas can be protected with an area rug or runner, while placing mats inside and outside of entrances will help trap dirt and debris, keeping it off of your floors. 

Don’t Forget to Seal Natural Stone

Many kinds of natural stone and grout need to be sealed and resealed to protect it against staining and moisture damage. Certain types of stone need to be sealed more frequently than others. The more porous a stone is, the more vulnerable it is to taking on damage when left unsealed. Highly porous stones like marble and sandstone may require annual resealing, while other stones may benefit from being resealed every 3–5 years. Learn more in our blog posts all about sealing natural stone and how to seal grout

Don’t Delay Cleaning Spills on Natural Stone

One of the most common mistakes that can lead to damaged natural stone is a delay in cleaning up spills. The longer a staining agent sits on your natural stone surface, the more likely it is to be absorbed by the stone, causing chemical reactions like etching, staining or allowing moisture to penetrate porous stones. Trapped moisture can lead to major issues, like mold growth or cracking. Always be sure to wipe up spills as soon as possible.

Find Natural Stone Countertops and Tiles at Cosmos Surfaces    

Cosmos Surfaces is proud to offer a wide range of gorgeous natural stone countertop and tile options. If you have any questions about natural stone and how to care for it, give us a call at a location near you or contact us online today for expert advice. 

Color of the Month: Welcome Home

Welcome Home is a smooth, muted yellow with beige and lemon undertones. It is a stately color that pairs well with white trim and deep wood furniture in dining and living spaces.

Experience the singular beauty of Sedna, an exquisite vein of molten gold running through pitch black and rich brown granite. Like a wealth of brilliant magma trapped just below the surface of the earth, black Sedna is a rare and powerful treasure, embodying the most raw and powerful forces of nature.

Elegant, powerful, beautiful – Roma Imperiale is one-of-a-kind. Crystals of white and gold crisscross and swirl, battling for dominance in this Brazilian quartzite. Roma Imperiale is complex, detailed, and stunning. It looks great among greenery and in bathrooms as vanities, bathtubs, and countertops. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

What is the Hardest Natural Stone?

hardest natural stone

When we measure the hardness of a mineral or natural stone, what we’re really measuring is its relative resistance to scratching. This is typically done by scratching one material against another of known hardness. In this post, we discuss the hardest natural stone and how common countertop materials stack up. 

What is the Hardest Natural Stone Based on the Mohs Hardness Scale?

Named for German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs, the Mohs Hardness Scale is used to assign a numeric value between 1–10 to minerals and objects based on their ability to scratch softer substances or their resistance to being scratched. Out in the field, geologists can use common objects with known values on the Mohs scale, such as glass, a copper penny or a fingernail to test minerals by attempting to scratch them. 

The higher the number on the Mohs scale, the harder the substance. Diamonds, the hardest known material on Earth, come in at a 10 on the scale. A human fingernail is a 2.5, while talc—the softest mineral—sits at the bottom with a Mohs hardness of 1.

How Hard is Quartzite?

Quartzite, which contains at least 90% quartz, comes in at an 8 on the Mohs scale. This gives it a slight edge on granite, making it the hardest natural stone countertop commonly available. Quartzite is so hard, in fact, it’s not advised to use knives directly on the surface—not for fear of scratching the countertop, but because true quartzite is more likely to dull a knife blade! One should, however, refrain from cutting directly on any countertop, no matter how hard the material. 

Quartzite and granite have similar properties, and both materials should be sealed regularly to protect against staining. Unlike materials containing calcite, granite and quartzite are resistant to acidic substances and will not etch with exposure.

How Hard is Granite?

Granite is by far one of the most popular surfacing materials on the market. It’s also one of the hardest natural stones—surpassed only by quartzite and gemstones. Coming in at between 6–8 on the Mohs hardness scale, granite countertops are favored for their durability, hardness, scratch-resistance, ease of maintenance and aesthetics. As a reference point, a steel knife sits at a 7 on the scale. 

How Hard is Marble?    

Marble is an elegant, luxurious stone that’s been lauded for its beauty for centuries. It is, however, one of the softer materials. Composed of metamorphosed limestone and containing mostly recrystallized calcite or dolomite, marble sits between 3–5 on the Mohs scale. As calcite is usually one of its main components, marble is also vulnerable to etching when it comes into contact with acidic materials like juice, wine, sauces and certain cleaners.

Marble is a porous stone and needs to be sealed regularly to protect against staining and moisture damage. While marble requires diligent maintenance and care against scratching or making contact with hard objects, it can elevate the aesthetics of any space where lifestyle and daily traffic allow for it.

How Hard is Engineered Quartz?

Quartz countertops are often confused with quartzite, but there’s an important distinction to be made: quartzite is a natural stone surface, while quartz countertops typically refer to engineered quartz, which means they are man-made. Quartz countertops are made of roughly 90% quartz that is ground up and bonded with resins, polymers and pigments. 

Engineered quartz comes in at around 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This surface material is non-porous and doesn’t typically require sealing. Although engineered quartz is comparable to granite in hardness, the resins that bind everything together can take on damage, such as melting from exposure to extreme heat. 

How Hard are Porcelain Slabs?

Several factors can affect the hardness of a porcelain slab, but unglazed porcelain typically sits at a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. This makes porcelain an excellent option for those seeking a middle ground between durability and price. Because its hardness can vary, it’s important to work with a reputable manufacturer when shopping around for porcelain tiles or large-format porcelain slabs

How Hard is Onyx?

Onyx falls between 6 and 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, putting it on or slightly under the hardness level of engineered quartz, porcelain, and granite. However, it is a more brittle natural stone that can be prone to scratching and cracking when used as a surfacing material or in high-traffic areas. Onyx slabs tend to come with a fiberglass mesh backing to help strengthen and hold it together.

How Hard is Soapstone?

Soapstone has high talc content and only has a rating of 1 on the Mohs hardness scale. Although soapstone is dense and nonporous, giving it excellent water-repelling properties, it can be vulnerable to scratches and chips. Soapstone intended for practical use in kitchens and bathrooms will feature less talc and be harder. Working with a reputable dealer will ensure that soapstone is a good match for your lifestyle.

How Hard is Schist?

Schist falls between 4 and 5 on the Mohs hardness scale, which makes it about as hard as marble. Like marble, it is a porous stone that needs to be sealed regularly (see “How to Care for Schist Countertops” for detailed information). This will prevent staining and moisture-related damage. In addition, the larger the grains of minerals are in a slab of schist, the more carefully it will need to be installed, since it can have areas of weakness where it can split if not supported properly. Schist is highly heat resistant and makes a beautiful, unique addition to kitchens and bathrooms.

Natural Stone at Cosmos Surfaces 

Cosmos Surfaces is a second-generation family-owned business dedicated to bringing you high-quality surfacing materials that are sustainably sourced. We offer a wide selection of natural stone, sinks, porcelain slabs and tiles.  

If you have questions about the hardest natural stone and which materials are best suited to your project, contact Cosmos today. Our team is always ready to help with expert knowledge and advice.

Color of the Month: Dresden

Dresden is a soothing, muted orchid blue with violet undertones. It is a stunning option to pair with floral artwork, and works well in any room.

A cloudless blue sky meets the regal and dignified columns of ancient Rome is what Azul Imperiale brings to the imagination. A striking gold cuts through the mellow blue background, giving this Brazilian quartzite depth and beauty. Azul Imperiale creates a soft and light atmosphere, making it perfect for bathrooms and exterior environments. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Nicknamed Ocean Blue and Elegant Grey, Elegante is a blend of colors, from blue to gray to white. This Brazilian quartzite creates a soft and classy atmosphere, both calming and mellow while still capturing a layered complexity. Elegante is a great choice for flooring and walls in open well-lit spaces, as well as in aquatic environments. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Types of Countertop Materials: Pros and Cons

types of countertop materials

Renovating a kitchen or bathroom can feel like a huge undertaking, between designing your ideal space, coordinating with multiple contractors, and staying within your budget. Choosing surfacing materials is an essential step in the process that will have a big impact on the final look of the room. Many people aren’t sure how to choose between different types of countertop materials. Read on for a pro assessment of the different materials available to consider in your renovation.

Types of Countertop Materials: Pros and Cons    

From various natural stones to ceramic tiles, there are many options when it comes to types of countertop materials. Here is a rundown of the options, and their pros and cons for use in kitchen and bathroom countertops:

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile

  • The Pros: Tile is DIY-friendly and visually versatile, with a wide range of colors, sizes, and shapes available. Tiles can add visual interest with textures and patterns, and grout color can also be used to add emphasis to colors and designs. Large format tiles can be used to create a more seamless look. Ceramic is sustainable and easy to maintain. Lastly, it tends to be an affordable option when compared to natural stone.
  • The Cons: Ceramic tiles means dealing with grout, which can pick up stains and contaminants over time. It’s important to keep up with sealing grout. In addition, while ceramic tile is quite durable, it can chip if something hard or heavy is dropped on it.


  • The Pros: Marble is great at resisting heat and cracking, which makes it ideal for kitchen countertops. It also has outstanding temperature retention qualities. It is naturally cool and soft to the touch, which is perfect for creating a bathroom or kitchen sanctuary.
  • The Cons: Marble’s softness is beneficial in many ways, but also makes it more vulnerable to etching and staining. Professional sealing on a regular basis is a must, which means maintenance can be more time-consuming than with other materials. It is also crucial to avoid acidic cleaners.


  • The Pros: Engineered quartz is dense, scratch resistant and non-porous. Unlike with marble, there’s no need for sealing. Quartz can tolerate acidic cleaning materials and liquids like wine and citrus juice as long as they are rinsed promptly. Quartz certainly has an edge over natural stone when it comes to ease of maintenance.
  • The Cons: Quartz is less heat-resistant than stones like marble, so it’s necessary to use trivets and avoid setting down hot materials. It can also be vulnerable to warping with prolonged exposure to direct sunlight – something to think about when considering where countertops will be placed in the room.


  • The Pros: Granite is extremely durable and can stand up to heat and high traffic. Its extreme hardness makes it easy to prevent scratches and cracks. Like other natural stones, granite comes in a stunning array of natural colors and patterns.
  • The Cons: Many types of granite require regular sealing, and granite does require daily and weekly cleaning to maintain a pristine appearance, optimal performance and longevity. It can also feel a bit too hard for some homeowners.


  • The Pros: Soapstone is highly heat resistant and can retain heat, which can be very pleasant in a bathroom. It is resistant to acids due to the talc in its makeup, so it’s also a good choice for kitchens where acidic substances may be spilled. Lastly, it is extremely dense and repels water, so it won’t harbor bacteria and doesn’t need to be sealed.
  • The Cons: Soapstone is a softer natural stone, so it can be vulnerable to chipping and gouges from everyday use. It also looks best when oiled with a thin layer of mineral oil, so it isn’t totally maintenance free.


  • The Pros: Onyx is quite rare as a countertop material compared to other natural stones, so it can lend one-of-a-kind beauty to a design. It can last upwards of 100 years with proper maintenance.
  • Onyx is more brittle and fragile than other natural stones, and can be scratched and scraped more easily. This means it isn’t likely to hold up well as a high-traffic countertop material.


  • The Pros: Quartzite is a natural stone that is twice as hard as glass and harder than the blade of a knife. It’s also heat resistant, making it perfect for high-traffic countertop areas. A mild detergent and soft cloth will do the trick when it comes to cleaning this durable material.
  • The Cons: Quartzite is not indestructible, and regular sealing is needed. Spills should be cleaned up as soon as possible, and trivets should be used under hot objects like pots and pans. 

Work with Cosmos!

If you have any questions about selecting countertop materials for your bathroom remodel, reach out to Cosmos today! We bring decades of expertise to the table, and our pro team is always happy to help.

Color of the Month: Dresden

Dresden is a soothing, muted orchid blue with violet undertones. It is a stunning option to pair with floral artwork, and works well in any room.

Reminiscent of clouds on a summer day, Blue Sky is a soothing blue marble from Brazil. Veins of gray and white are dispersed against a backdrop of varying blues, which brings soothing and comforting sophistication to any it is used in.

A beautiful silvery blue curtain makes up the background of the Brazilian marble known as Australis. The feature that sets Australis apart from other marbles is the deep sapphire streaks that glitter throughout. Australis makes for beautiful countertops and backsplashes, as well as bathroom floors, vanities, and walls.

Benefits of a Natural Stone Outdoor Kitchen

stone outdoor kitchen
Home exterior backyard hardscape outdoor entertainment and cooking area with barbecue

The season for long, relaxing evenings spent outdoors with family and friends has finally arrived. A natural stone outdoor kitchen or bar allows you to maximize your outdoor time, entertain easily and make clean-up a breeze. If you’re considering making this wonderful addition to your home, you’ll want to invest in the best materials. In today’s post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces discuss 5 benefits of a natural stone outdoor kitchen or bar. Let’s dive in.    

5 Benefits of a Natural Stone Outdoor Kitchen or Bar

Whether you simply want to enjoy the gorgeous weather or you love to entertain, a stone kitchen or bar outdoors is a great way to do it. Here are 5 benefits of installing a natural stone kitchen outside: 

  1. Durability

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to outdoor materials is durability in the face of wear and tear, and harsh weather. Natural stones like granite and quartzite are excellent options for outdoor kitchen countertops, bar tops or fireplace surrounds. These stones are hard, durable and naturally resistant to bacteria.    

  1. Weather Resistant

Granite and quartzite both hold up well to a wide range of temperatures. As both stones are highly heat resistant, they won’t take on damage from heat as a result of cooking or extreme temperatures. Conversely, surfaces with a man-made component—such as quartz countertops that are held together with resin binders—can melt or warp in the face of extreme heat or direct sunlight. Porous stones run the risk of moisture damage, especially in the winter as water gets into the stone, freezes and expands. As a result, it’s imperative to seal porous natural stones regularly and ensure you’re selecting the best natural stone for your needs. 

  1. Aesthetically Cohesive

Natural stone outdoor countertops transition beautifully to outdoor landscaping and features like stone paths, stone garden walls or natural water features like ponds and water fountains. Opting for natural stone will create a cohesive, aesthetically pleasing look to your backyard oasis. Another reason we love natural stones like granite for the outdoors is that it’s eco-friendly. Our natural stone is sustainably sourced and won’t give off toxic chemical emissions the way man-made and manufactured products, like those containing plastics sometimes do.

  1. Easy to Maintain

Natural stone features are a fan favorite in the home because they’re beautiful, highly functional and easy to clean and maintain for generations. This translates to the outdoors as well. Make entertaining stress-free with a stone kitchen or bar top for your outdoor patio or entertainment area. To clean granite, simply wipe it down with a cleaner that is safe to use on natural stone. Regular sealing will go a long way toward maintaining your stone in the long run, while stubborn stains can be removed from natural stone in several ways.  

  1. Increases Home Value

Whether you decide to install natural stone on the inside or outside of your abode, it’s sure to boost your home’s overall value. Natural stone is synonymous with aesthetic beauty and luxury. An investment in natural stone is both long-lasting and sustainable. Outdoor entertainment areas, like an outdoor kitchen or bar, make for a highly sought-after feature that’s sure to catch any buyer’s eye. The National Association of Realtors reports that over 50% of home buyers are willing to pay more for a home with an outdoor living space, and outdoor kitchens are rising in popularity. This means an outdoor natural stone addition will help you create your own memories, while providing you with an excellent return on your investment if you ever decide to move on.

Natural Stone at Cosmos Surfaces

Natural stones can be used for a variety of outdoor applications, including countertops, walkways, fire pit or brick oven surrounds, pools surrounds, garden walls and outdoor patios. If you have questions about using natural stone for outdoor features like kitchens, bars, patios or fire pits, let us know! 

Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned and operated business. We pride ourselves on sourcing high quality, sustainable products in a way that is respectful to the planet and local communities. Our team of experts is always happy to help answer questions and provide guidance on selecting the best natural stone to suit your needs and your budget. Contact Cosmos Surfaces today to learn more about our wide selection of natural stone products

Color of the Month: Molasses

Molasses is a rich brown sugar color reminiscent of gingerbread, perfect for accent walls. Pair it with earthy natural stone or wood for dark honeyed tones.

Audax is a type of schist that is dynamically layered and one-of-a-kind. The layers create fluid bands of brown, black, silver, and white that is stunningly complex and pleasing to the eye. A work of art, audax looks great in kitchens and bathrooms. The long bands of layers can be installed as floors and countertops.

Rivers of gray and brown flow across this stunning white Brazilian marble. The Crystal River has a beautifully subtle pallet of whites, grays, and browns that help create an atmosphere of softness and sophistication, making it a perfect choice for traditional and modern homes alike. This marble is adored by homeowners for its simple elegance and is often seen as kitchen counters and bathroom vanities.

What is Agate Stone? A Complete Guide

You may have heard of agate and its many uses in the home, but what is agate stone? From decorative set pieces to permanent household fixtures like countertops and wall applications, agate is eye-catching and versatile. In this post, the Cosmos team discusses agate stone countertops. 

What is Agate?

Agate is a type of microcrystalline quartz sometimes used as a semi-precious stone. That is, when it’s of high enough quality and coloring. Agate is formed when silica from groundwater gets deposited in the cavities of igneous rocks (rocks formed from the cooling and solidification of magma). These deposits can occur in concentric layers around cavity walls, or in horizontal layers building from the bottom up, producing gorgeous banded patterns. 

Agate comes in a wide range of colors, including white, blue, brown, red, pink, black, grey and more. The coloring found in agate is the result of impurities and appear as alternating bands within the patterning of the stone. This happens when different groundwaters, made up of different compositions, are deposited into the cavity over time. The banding visible in a piece of agate essentially acts as a record of water chemistry changes. In this way, the history of the stone is written in its pattern.

The Uses of Agate Stone in the Home

Agate stone is often found around the home. Individual pieces make for handsome decor elements like paper weights, bookends and standalone sculptures, while larger slabs utilizing agate can be used for permanent fixtures. The uses of agate as a surfacing option include:

  • Countertops
  • Wall applications
  • Backsplashes
  • Fireplace surrounds
  • Water features, like fountains or waterfalls

The Properties of Agate Stone Slabs

It’s always important to consider a stone’s properties and whether it’s appropriate for its intended use. The properties of agate stone slabs include:

  • Hardness—agate comes in at a 7 on the mohs scale of hardness, which makes it comparable to granite. Both are considered highly strong, durable stones.  
  • Heat Resistance—agate is highly heat resistant, which makes it appropriate for use near stove tops and as fireplace surrounds.
  • Scratch-Resistance—owing to its hardness, agate makes for a highly scratch-resistant surface, which is always great news in high traffic areas like the kitchen. 
  • Easy to Clean—the gemstones in agate countertops are carefully selected for their color, shape and pattern, then bound together with resin. This makes agate countertops non-porous, which makes cleaning and maintaining them a breeze. 

Agate Stone at Cosmos

Agate countertops are beloved for their striking colors and dramatic patterns. This makes them an excellent option for a focal point in the kitchen or for use as an accent wall. Here at Cosmos, we’re proud to offer several gorgeous varieties of agate stone slabs, including:

  • Agate Azure—a bold, striking blue slab fit for installation as countertops, walls, backsplash and more. Agate Azure features handpicked stones in ocean hues that contrast beautifully with white, grey and brown tones scattered throughout in dramatic patterns.
  • Agate Earth—featuring a custom blend of hand-picked stones, Agate Earth plays hues of brown, red and black off of gorgeously contrasting white. These earth-inspired tones can help create a warm, inviting feeling while adding dramatic texture and visual interest to your space. 
  • Agate Vermell—a work of art in and of itself, Agate Vermell features deep amber, warm browns and dramatic reds. The hand-picked, semi-precious stones that make up Agate Vermell pair well with natural features like wood and bring a sense of vibrancy and energy into a space.

Pro-tip: Hard natural features like stone pair well with softer materials in the home. Decor like plush rugs, blankets and pillows or woven wall art can help create eye-catching contrasts, along with making the space feel warm and inviting. 

Work With Cosmos! 

Cosmos Surfaces brings decades of knowledge and industry experience to the table. As a 2nd generation, family-owned business, our team is passionate about bringing businesses and consumers  exceptional materials. If you have questions about agate countertops or where to find them, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch by filling out our contact form today.

Color of the Month: Saffron

Saffron is a radiant gold with bright and deep undertones. It is perfect for adding sunny color to the walls in any living space. Pair with deep toned antiques or clean black and white.

Experience the singular beauty of Sedna, an exquisite vein of molten gold running through pitch black and rich brown granite. Like a wealth of brilliant magma trapped just below the surface of the earth, black Sedna is a rare and powerful treasure, embodying the most raw and powerful forces of nature.

What is the Best Material for a Kitchen Backsplash?

best material for kitchen backsplash

A kitchen backsplash adds texture and color to your home, but it’s a highly functional part of your kitchen too. As the name suggests, a backsplash is there to protect your walls from food spills and splashes, like sauce or oil. With so many backsplash material options on the market, it can be tough to know which one is right for your home. In today’s post, the experts at Cosmos discuss the best material for kitchen backsplash to help you decide. 

Kitchen Backsplash: Functional Aesthetics

An eye-catching backsplash can set your home apart. A backsplash can be used to create a gorgeous focal point in your kitchen, and the options for tile patterns are nearly endless. A well-chosen backsplash should complement and coordinate with existing permanent features in the home. With careful selection and a little bit of planning, beautiful backsplash tile can tie the room together and add value to your home. 

It’s not all about aesthetics, though. The best material for kitchen backsplash tile depends on your needs, lifestyle and budget. If you love to cook and entertain, you’ll want to select a material that’s easy to clean and maintain. If you rarely cook but want your kitchen to make an impact, you might opt for aesthetics over function. Either way, the options are good and plenty. Let’s take a look:

Ceramic/Porcelain Tiles

Ceramic tiles are the most widely used backsplash material—and for good reason. They’re resilient, inexpensive and easy to maintain. Since ceramic is a manmade material, tiles come in a wide array of sizes and colors, including those not found in nature.

Ceramic tiles make it easy to coordinate various features in your kitchen. As an example, larger tiles with the same color or pattern can be used for kitchen flooring. Ceramic is also incredibly heat- and stain-resistant, which makes it perfect around areas like stovetops. Cleaning glazed ceramic or porcelain backsplash is as simple as wiping off spills and splashes.

Natural Stone Backsplash

Natural stone adds a timeless beauty that can’t be argued with. Installing natural stone features in your home will increase its value and elevate its design. Backsplashes can be matched with natural stone countertops or tiles to create a cohesive look. When it comes to natural stone backsplashes, most stones need to be sealed frequently to avoid absorbing stains. Before you decide on a natural stone kitchen backsplash, it’s important to know their features:

  • Granite—you can’t go wrong with the beauty of granite. With a wide range of colors and patterns available, you’ll have plenty of options to help create your desired look. Granite is one of the most durable stones out there, and its resistance to heat and scratching makes it perfect for a high traffic area like the kitchen. With frequent cleaning, sealing and occasional polishing, granite backsplash can last for a lifetime. 
  • Marble—marble is softer than both ceramic tiles and granite. Since it’s an inherently porous stone, sealing marble frequently is paramount.  If you’re focused on bringing aesthetic beauty into your kitchen and you don’t cook frequently, marble might be right for you. Even though it requires a bit more TLC than some of its natural stone counterparts, marble is an investment that can be well worth the effort. 
  • Quartzite—quartzite (not to be confused with quartz), is one of the hardest, most durable stones on the market. This stone offers a wide range of colors and patterns and will need to be resealed about twice a year in an active kitchen.
  • Soapstone—soapstone is one of the softer types of stone you can use for kitchen backsplash. Available in a range of dark green and grey tones, soapstone tends to darken over time. You can treat the soapstone with mineral oil to darken it yourself and keep it looking fresh. While soapstone does take on scratches, these can be sanded or buffed out. Soapstone is impervious to chemical reactions with acids, which makes it easy to clean and maintain. 

Quartz as Backsplash

Quartz is a man made material composed of quartz pieces and materials like glass or other crushed up industrial materials. These components are held together with plastic binders like resin. Quartz comes in many different colors and patterns, and it never needs to be sealed. It’s important to note that grout in between tiles still requires sealing. 

Quartz is durable and easy to clean but doesn’t hold up to excessive heat or direct sunlight. The resin binding that holds quartz surfaces together can melt or warp when exposed to heat, so your kitchen setup will likely determine whether quartz is a good option for you. Likewise, some cleaners might be safe to use on quartz stone itself but could damage or etch resin binders. 

It’s always wise to research cleaning products and check with manufacturers to ensure a product is safe to use on your surfaces. 

Need the Best Material for Kitchen Backsplash? Work with Cosmos Surfaces!

If you have questions about the best material for kitchen backsplash in your home, we’d love to hear from you! Contact us today with questions, comments and concerns. Cosmos proudly offers a wide selection of products and our blog provides information on materials, maintenance and design tips.

Color of the Month: Vanilla

Vanilla is a neutral, soft-toned white with honey undertones, perfect for a main wall or any room of your choice. Pair with white accents or softer sand-toned colors, or pops of floral inspired reds, teals, and corals.

This Brazilian quartzite dubbed Calacatta Silk boasts dynamic charcoal veining over its soft gray background. Ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, or outdoor surfaces, this versatile white quartzite is a perfect choice to add an element of endless elegance to your space. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

What is the Best Stone for a Patio?

Beautiful Outdoor Living Space with Fire Place and BBQ Grill/ Outdoor Kitchen

As the days lengthen and the cold weather subsides, now is the perfect time to give those outdoor areas some extra thought and attention. In today’s post, we discuss the best stone for a patio, along with a few pro tips for creating gorgeous, functional spaces you and your loved ones can enjoy for decades to come.

What is the Best Stone for a Patio?

Our top picks for outdoor patio and kitchen areas include granite, quartzite, and porcelain.

  • Granite is durable and heat resistant, and can be used both indoors and outdoors to create a seamless, unified look. Granite can be cut in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and can be treated to make different textures. It’s low maintenance and environmentally friendly as well. One possible downside of granite is that it is porous by nature, and should be sealed to avoid possible staining and moisture damage.
  • Quartzite is also extremely durable and great for indoor and outdoor applications. It is non-porous, not slippery, and harder than granite. However, it can be a bit more costly than granite, depending on your patio design and other factors.
  • Porcelain is also colorfast, weather-resistant, and low maintenance. Porcelain that is rated for flooring and not glossy is a great choice for a patio surface. This is especially true for those looking to mimic the look of marble outdoors, where calcareous stones (like marble) might not perform as well. 

Designing Outdoor Areas

After a long, harsh winter spent indoors, it’s easy to see what a valuable asset an outdoor space can be. Whether your goal is to create a safe way to spend time with family and friends this summer, enjoy your own downtime outside or if you just love to entertain in general, a well-designed, functional outdoor area adds value to your home. Before you design your outdoor patio, which might include an outdoor kitchen, firepit, grill surrounds or pizza oven, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Function: The purpose of a space and how it will be used can help you narrow down material options. An area surrounding a pool or jacuzzi, for example, would likely benefit from a stone or material with a non-slip, textured finish. If you’re installing outdoor kitchen countertops, you’ll want to choose a non-porous, durable stone, like honed granite. 
  • Weather: While some materials hold up better against the elements than others, it’s always wise to minimize a stone’s exposure to harsh weather, perhaps by placing your patio in a shaded, somewhat sheltered area. 
  • Location: If you’re looking to design an outdoor kitchen or food prep area, location is key. You’ll likely need to move food and supplies back and forth from your indoor kitchen, so it’s wise to keep your layout convenient and accessible. 
  • Aesthetics: Stones that can be used both indoors and outdoors enable you to create a continuous, unified effect by extending the same materials used inside your home into your garden. 
  • Lifespan: Durable natural stones like granite and quartzite make for excellent long-term investments and add to the value of your home.

Tips for Using Natural Stone Outdoors

When it’s time to choose a stone for your outdoor project, the following tips can be useful:

  • For outdoor countertops, thicker slabs (around 3cm) can be used to help ensure long-term durability. More substantial-looking surfaces are also more likely to fit in with an outdoor aesthetic. 
  • Darker stones will get hot in the sun, which can be uncomfortable to walk on with bare feet and/or work around. 
  • Dense, non-porous stones like quartzite will perform better outdoors than porous stones like marble.
  • Be sure to use a penetrating sealer on natural stone patios to help prevent stains and moisture damage. Proper sealing also makes cleaning and maintenance a breeze, enabling you to wipe off any offending substances. Our blog post on sealing natural stone covers this topic in depth. 

Outdoor Uses for Natural Stone

Natural stone comes in a wide variety of patterns and colors, making it versatile, functional and beautiful. Let’s look at just a few other outdoor applications where natural stone can be used effectively:

  • Garden walls
  • Walkways
  • Seat walls
  • Firepits
  • Pizza oven/Grill surrounds
  • Outdoor kitchen countertops/islands


Natural stone offers a sustainable, long-term investment into your home and its overall value. When it comes to designing your outdoor patio and garden areas, planning ahead can save you time, money and headaches down the road. Consider working with a professional landscaper or outdoor architect to get the most out of your outdoor oasis. Lastly, getting in touch with a professional stone fabricator can help you find the best materials suited to your needs, climate and budget.

Work with Cosmos!

Whether you’re interested in granite, marble, quartzite, schist, onyx or soap stone, quartz, porcelain, tile for your home, Cosmos Surfaces offers a wide range of surfacing options to satisfy any design style. 

Cosmos brings decades of knowledge and industry experience to the table. As a 2nd generation, family-owned business, our team is passionate about connecting North American businesses and consumers to exceptional materials in a way that is respectful to local communities and the environment. Get in touch by filling out our contact form today!

Color of the Month: Vanilla

Vanilla is a neutral, soft-toned white with honey undertones, perfect for a main wall or any room of your choice. Pair with white accents or softer sand-toned colors, or pops of floral inspired reds, teals, and corals.

Maori granite has a pattern that’s reminiscent of drawings on a chalkboard, with thin-to-wide, grayish-white lines intersecting on top of a stark black base. A striking and stylish stone, Maori is a suitable selection for anyone seeking an adventurously decorated granite countertop that will continue making a statement for years to come.

Spa Master Bathroom Ideas with Natural Stone

spa master bathroom ideas

The demands of modern-day living can leave us feeling tired, stressed and anxious. With the ongoing global pandemic adding to these feelings, designers have seen a steady increase in the popularity of relaxing, spa-like spaces in the home. The importance of self-care and occasionally disconnecting from our screens cannot be overstated. That’s why today’s post is all about spa master bathroom ideas that can help you unwind in the comfort of your own home. 

Natural Stone Bliss

One of the most powerful ways to recreate that traditional spa-like feel is to incorporate natural features like plants, wood and natural stone. With so many gorgeous colors and patterns available, natural stone can work wonders when used with intention. Soothing colors like blue, green, grey and white can create a sense of calm and connection to the natural world, while dreamy, swirling patterns can have a soothing effect. On the other end of the spectrum, dramatic colors and patterns can help create a sense of energy and movement, helping you recharge and awakening your creative senses.

An integral part of recreating the spa experience lies in creating a sense of luxury and self-care. By incorporating natural stone into your master bathroom, you can truly elevate the sense of luxury in your space, creating your own private refuge from the world. 

Tips for Incorporating Natural Stone

  • Marbles like Calacatta can create a soft, soothing and luxurious look.
  • Granite and quartzite both hold up well to everyday wear and tear and are easy to maintain.
  • Honed, textured or matte stone finishes, rather than polished finishes, can add a soft look and luxurious feel.  
  • Using decorative edge types, like an ogee edge for vanity countertops can add a sense of spa-inspired detail and luxury.
  • Natural stone can retain heat. As a result, it makes a great option for heated flooring. 
  • Warm-toned stones like Magma Gold and Golden Paradise pair well with wooden tones and features.

Tips for Maximizing the Spa Experience at Home

  • Reduce sensory stimuli and avoid bringing screens into the bathroom space.
  • Keep things clean and simple, removing as much clutter as possible. 
  • Avoid using bright lights, highly reflective/shiny surfaces and flashy colors. Instead, opt for matte, soft finishes and muted color tones.
  • Incorporate relaxing audio into your space, either by playing sounds like wind chimes, birdsongs or relaxing music, or by using features like indoor water fountains to foster a sense of connection with nature.
  • Make luxury a part of your design plan by installing “pampering” additions like towel warmers and heated flooring.
  • Arrange furniture in a way that maximizes openness. 
  • Allow as much natural light in as possible, as this not only helps improve mood, but also helps reset our circadian rhythms. 

Maintenance Tips for Natural Stone in a Bathroom

Natural stone is a long-term investment, and while some stones require more care than others, all types of stone require some measure of care. To protect your investment, be sure to take the following steps:

  • Most types of natural stone require regular sealing to protect it from moisture damage and staining. Check out our blog post all about sealing natural stone for an in-depth look at this topic.
  • Use mild soap or a dedicated stone cleaner on stone surfaces to remove soap scum and other types of build-up. Always be sure to rinse the stone thoroughly and dry it off with a soft cloth, such as a microfiber cloth. 
  • Cleaning and sealing grout can keep your bathroom looking fresh and luxurious.
  • Ensure that the space is well ventilated and whenever possible, wipe down, rinse and dry stone surfaces after use. 
  • Stones like marble require diligent maintenance to help keep it looking gorgeous. Our post on how to clean a marble shower provides helpful tips for daily cleanings, as well as deep cleaning.

Work with Cosmos Surfaces for Spa Master Bathroom Ideas

Here at Cosmos, we are big self-care advocates who believe your home should be your sanctuary. We would love to help you create the relaxing spa master bathroom of your dreams! If you have questions about surface materials, contact us or give us a call today! Cosmos Surfaces has a gorgeous selection of natural stone surfaces and our team of experts is always ready to help.

Color of the Month: Silver Leaf

Silver Leaf is a subdued, ethereal green with azure undertones. It is a soothing, yet inviting color, perfect for a bedroom or kitchen when paired with soft cream and white.

On Kamarica granite, sea foam green, rust orange, soft ivory and space gray swirl and twirl with one another to produce magical shapes. Bold yet sophisticated, this exotic, naturally occurring Brazilian stone is an awe-inspiring choice that works well for countertops, backsplashes, window sills, walls and many other interior design projects.

Alexandrita Quartzite is a type of light green quartzite; a beautiful, tranquil stone that is perfect for countertops, floors, wall applications, backsplashes, and more. The soft hues of green, ivory, and peach create a calming effect, reminiscent of sand and sea foam. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched. Call your nearest location and see this beautiful green quartzite for yourself!

Natural Stone in 2021: Color Trends and More

2021 color trends

With many of us spending more time at home than ever before, it’s no surprise homeowners have been focused on turning their living spaces into sanctuaries. Safety, comfort and mental wellness are all driving forces behind 2021 color trends. In this post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces discuss the colors, materials and design principles leading us into the new year.

Nature Keeps us Grounded

A stressful year (to say the least), 2020 saw an uptick in the desire to bring the outdoors inside. Plants, wood and natural stone all contribute to the sense of calm and inner peace that attracts us to nature in the first place. Additionally, the strategic use of color can not only elevate the interior design of a space, it can have a tremendous effect on our moods.

Earth tones and neutral colors reign supreme in 2021 color palettes:

  • Classic white and grey hues help create a clean, simple and peaceful look that offers endless versatility when it comes to pairing with furniture, décor and paint colors.
  • Warm tones like browns, reds and golden hues help create an inviting sense of safety and comfort.
  • Drawn directly from nature, blue and green hues offer peace, serenity and a sense of connection to the natural world.

Marvelous Materials

The pandemic won’t last forever, but it will have a lasting impact on the way we work moving forward. As many companies consider either making a permanent shift to remote work or adopting hybrid models in the future, those commuting to their kitchen counters require both versatility and durability in their surface materials.

Here at Cosmos, we’ve seen an increased focus on the quality of natural stone from buyers, rather than price. The shift makes sense, as more time at home leads to greater wear and tear on high-traffic areas like kitchen counters.

Granite—a natural stone lauded for its durability—has propelled itself into the recent spotlight, competing with bestsellers like quartz. Granite in white and grey hues combines the serenity, versatility and durability so many homeowners are seeking as they navigate the “new normal.” Blue and green granites, such as Azul Bahia and Cosmos Green, have also received a fair share of attention, proving effective in evoking themes of nature and a sense of connection to the Earth.

White quartz, however, remains the undefeated bestseller. Quartz—a man made material which is different from quartzite—is favored for its ability to mimic the look of natural stones like marble, as well as its ease of maintenance. Quartz products like Alaska Bianca, Calacatta Santa and Calacatta Vintage all resemble Calacatta marble in appearance and make for popular choices when it comes to both new constructions and renovations.

Designing with 2021 Color Trends

Trends, by their very nature, are subject to change. It may seem tricky to utilize color trends when it comes to permanent fixtures in the home but fear not! The following design tips can help update your space while keeping things flexible enough to change with the times:

  • Using neutral hues like white and grey (or warmer neutral earth tones like brown) in permanent fixtures like kitchen countertops keeps your color options open with furniture, décor and wall paint colors.
  • Selecting a mostly neutral stone with color accents present in its veining or pattern can help tie a room together. Accent colors can remain subtle, or they can be pulled out by matching surrounding design elements to the colors present in the stone.
  • Ensure stone fixtures blend in well with the overall look and feel of the home first, then find ways to incorporate color trends with surrounding décor.
  • Use colored stone strategically, such as a dramatic accent wall or a focal feature in a room, such as fireplace surrounds.

To recap, the color trends taking the spotlight in 2021 are all about creating a sense of serenity, inner peace and connection to the natural world. We hope you’ve found this article on 2021 color trends helpful as we all strive to turn our living spaces into much-needed sanctuaries in the new year.

Work with Cosmos!

Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned business dedicated to providing you with knowledge, meaningful customer service and high-quality surface materials. We offer a wide range of products and resources to assist our customers in their surface material needs. Contact us today to get started!

Color of the Month: Lava Blue

This month’s featured trending color is Lava Blue! Neutral, dark blue with violet undertones calls to mind the power and beauty of the Earth’s natural forces. Pair with white or off-white to create a stunning accent wall, or design your foyer or dining room with this rich, welcoming blue in mind.

Oxford Blue - Multi Quartzite 2

Oxford Blue is the Northern Lights come to life, your favorite pair of faded blue jeans personified, a sunset on the ocean. Layers of blue, white, and pink meet in this Brazilian quartzite. Creating an atmosphere of liveliness and nostalgia, Oxford Blue looks great in busy aquatic environments, such as a poolside counter or a waterfall. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

How To Choose a Backsplash for Your Kitchen

choose a backsplash

By adding visual interest to the walls, a tile backsplash will instantly modernize just about any kitchen. Whether you desire a design that commands attention, or one that blends in with the rest of your kitchen design scheme, there’s a colossal range of tile colors, shapes and styles to choose from! With such a wide selection of beautiful options available, you might have a tough time deciding which will work best in your space. If you’re looking for expert advice, then this article on how to choose a backsplash for your kitchen was made for you! Read on to learn our pro tips for finding the ideal backsplash material, color and layout for your kitchen makeover.

How To Choose a Backsplash for Your Kitchen

Here are a few best practices to help you select a kitchen backsplash that complements your overall design, plus fits your budget & lifestyle:

  • Determine your square footage early on – When adding a backsplash on a budget, it’s wise to figure out how much square footage you have to cover prior to shopping for materials. Calculating this number will help you narrow down which tile material options are within your price range, given the scope of your kitchen renovation project.
  • Take tile properties into account – Naturally, you’ll want to research the durability, required maintenance & other qualities of various backsplash tile options. Keep in mind: Ceramic tile is a resilient, cost-effective option, while porcelain is even more hardwearing & moisture resistant, thanks to its higher density. Both are relatively low-maintenance and come in a broad range of gorgeous styles, with ceramic tending to be available in a slightly wider selection of intricate designs. Then, there’s natural stone tile, which offers rustic, organic beauty but typically requires regular sealing in a kitchen environment. For more details on these popular backsplash tile picks, check out our helpful comparisons of ceramic vs. porcelain tile and natural stone vs. ceramic tile!
  • Consider your countertops & other design elements – In terms of how to choose a backsplash color that meshes with your kitchen design, your countertops are a crucial factor. As a general rule of thumb, the bolder your countertops are, the more tame your backsplash should be. Staying within the same color palette can also be an effective strategy to unify your design. If you’d like your backsplash to pop, choosing a brighter contrasting color is a great way to accomplish this. A darker backsplash shade can afford a strikingly sophisticated aesthetic, especially when paired with white cabinetry. Keep in mind – these are merely suggestions. Ultimately, it’s your kitchen, your rules, so don’t be afraid to take a more imaginative approach!
  • Finalize your design goals – Deciding on a tile pattern is another key step in the backsplash designing process. Giving some thought to what you’d like to achieve in your design will help guide you to the right layout. If you’re going for a more traditional look that creates the illusion of a larger space, you might choose a classic brick layout using subway tile. To take center stage with your backsplash, ultra-modern & visually intriguing herringbone is a wonderful choice. Meanwhile, installing stacked stone tile on the walls will enliven your cooking space with rugged yet refined texture. For further inspiration, consult our full list of tile pattern ideas!
  • Embrace focal points – Panels of wall space above the sink, beyond where the cupboards end and behind the range are natural focal points in a kitchen layout. In turn, these are all great places to put an accent border you’d like people to notice. Perhaps you’ll choose a more ornate tile pattern for these areas, while selecting something simpler for the main backsplash.
  • Don’t forget about the grout – Selecting a grout shade offers yet another opportunity to personalize your tile design & complete your desired look! Check out our tips for choosing a complementary tile grout color for your backsplash installation.

Source An Attractive, Durable Backsplash Material from Cosmos Surfaces

Hopefully, you’ve learned some new & useful information in this article detailing how to choose a backsplash. If you’re looking forward to giving your kitchen a facelift with a stunning backsplash, the experts from Cosmos Surfaces are here to help you select & acquire your perfect tile variety! To get started with our friendly, highly trained team, contact us online today.

Color of the Month: Chive

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-0323, Chive! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “A savory herbal green, Chive imparts a healthy and restorative harmony.”

Verde Fusion - Green Granite 3

Beautifully complex and richly diverse, Verde Fusion is comprised of greens, blacks, creams, browns, and greys. Hailing from India, Verde Fusion is a bold and impressive choice that complements modern settings. Use Verde Fusion inside as kitchen countertops, flooring, and backsplashes or outside as waterfalls, patio accents, or poolside tiling.

How to Get Stains Out of Natural Stone

stains - natural stone

Beyond being adored for its sublime beauty, natural stone is celebrated for its resilience. When proper maintenance and care guidelines are followed – including cleaning & sealing natural stone regularly – these surfaces offer magnificent durability. Even so, stains can happen as a natural consequence of frequent use. When it comes to how to get stains out of natural stone, a strategic approach is essential. In this article, we’ll go into detail about how to effectively address different sorts of stains which may appear on natural stone surfaces, both inside & outside the home.

How to Get Stains Out of Natural Stone | Step 1: Identify the Staining Agent

Have you noticed a stained area on your natural stone countertop, vanity top, wall or floor? To successfully remove the blemish, your first step is to identify the type of stain you are dealing with. Ascertaining the culprit is key, as this will determine the most appropriate method to restore your stone surface. Staining agents commonly present in the kitchen, bathroom and other areas where natural stone is used include:

  • Organic materials, such as wine, fruit juice, food scraps, tea/coffee and leaves
  • Oils, such as cooking oil, cosmetics, grease and oil-based paint
  • Ink, such as pen or marker
  • Metals, such as copper and iron
  • Biological agents, such as mildew and algae
  • Hard water

Not sure what stained your natural stone surface? By considering where the stain is located & the activities which are done in that area, you should be able to make an educated guess. Ask yourself: Is the surface indoors or out? Is it in a spot where food preparation or dining occurs? How about an area where cosmetics are applied? Finally, what color/shape is the stain? Asking these questions will help you determine what most likely caused the stain, allowing you to select the most fitting solution for how to get stains out of natural stone.

Step 2: Remove the Stain Using an Appropriate Cleaning Agent or Poultice

Once you’ve assessed the type of stain present on your natural stone surface, it’s time to acquire the right cleaning agent or chemical to remove it. To draw out certain types of stains, you may need to prepare a poultice, or a paste made by combining a liquid cleaner/chemical with a white absorbent material such as talc or diatomaceous earth. Here are the recommended cleaning solutions for various types of stains on natural stone:

  • For organic stains, combine 12% hydrogen peroxide OR acetone with a powdered poultice material
  • Oil-based stains can typically be removed using a poultice of baking soda and water
  • To remove ink stains from light colored stone, use hydrogen peroxide OR bleach; for dark stones, use acetone OR lacquer thinner
  • Rust stains can sometimes be removed using a poultice of diatomaceous earth and a commercial rust remover, although professional assistance may be needed for these notoriously stubborn stains
  • Copper stains may be lifted by a poultice of ammonia and a powdered absorbent material; but like rust, they might require professional help
  • Biological stains are effectively removed with a poultice of diluted ammonia OR hydrogen peroxide OR bleach (Remember: Do NOT mix ammonia and bleach – a toxic gas results from this combination!)
  • Water rings & spots will typically disappear after spraying with a neutral stone cleaner, then buffing with a soft cloth or non-abrasive scouring pad

Pro Tips for Using a Poultice

If the applicable method for removing the stain in question calls for preparation of a poultice, here are a few important things to know:

  • First, here’s a more comprehensive list of absorbent materials which can be used to prepare a poultice: powdered chalk, fuller’s earth, kaolin, diatomaceous earth, talc & white molding plaster. White gauze pads, cotton balls or paper towels may also be used.
  • Whiting clays such as fuller’s earth should not be used with acidic chemicals, as mixing the two will create a reaction that renders the poultice ineffective on stone.
  • When forming a poultice paste, aim for a consistency similar to peanut butter.
  • To apply a poultice, use a plastic or wooden spatula. Spread the poultice over the stained area, to a thickness of about 1/4” to 1/2” above the surface. Then, cover with plastic and leave the poultice on for 24 to 48 hours. The liquid cleaning agent or chemical will work to draw out the stain, absorbing it into the powdered material.
  • For deeply set stains, the poultice application process may need to be repeated several times in order to achieve full resolution. If you are having difficulty removing a stain, consult a professional for assistance.
  • Do NOT leave bleach on for too long on dark stone surfaces as it might discolor the surface itself.

Discover the Best & Broadest Natural Stone Selection at Cosmos Surfaces

Hopefully, you’ve found our explanation of how to get stains out of natural stone to be helpful. If you are currently contemplating whether a natural stone surface is right for your project, the Cosmos Surfaces team is here to offer our expert advice. As long-time specialists on all varieties of natural & engineered stone, we can help you select the most ideal surfacing material for your particular application, design style and budget. To get started, explore our dazzling selection & connect with us today!

Color of the Month: Ash

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-3802, Ash! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Solid and strong, eternally timeless Ash conveys a message of longevity.”

Cianitus - Black Schist 3

Cianitus is a highly layered type of schist. Mainly a dark grey and black, the prominent layers of silver and gold create a more complex and dynamic appearance. A striking, artistic schist, Cianitus is ideal for bathroom and kitchen floors, countertops, and fireplaces, and pairs well with both silver and wood.

Colored Natural Stone: An Interior Design Comeback

natural stones sustainable

Natural stone surfaces make for gorgeous, eye-catching features in the home. In addition to its status as a sustainable, durable material, natural stone can be a powerful design element, adding color and texture to any space. In this post, the experts at Cosmos discuss different types of colored natural stone, interior design enthusiasts can’t get enough of.

Breaking Away from Black and White

Black and white design motifs have long been considered timeless and classic. However, colored stones are rising in popularity once again. Whether warm, inviting spaces or dark, dramatic palettes suit your design needs, colored natural stone is making a comeback in a big way.

Dark Natural Stone Colors

Dark colored stones are an excellent option for countertops, walls or flooring, especially in spaces that open out into gardens or outdoor patios. In these cases, the same stone can be used indoors and outdoors, creating a continuous or “infinity” look. Darker hues make for a dramatic effect that contrasts beautifully with lighter-colored furniture and appliances. Stones like quartzite, granite and slate come in a variety of dark colors, including shades of blue, grey, green and brown. These various dark tones can help create a cozy, rustic look that plays well with natural elements like plants, wood and water.

Warm Tones in Natural Stone

Warm hued natural stone colors can range from dramatic, fiery red tones to subtler reddish, brown and yellow tones. Bright, dramatic reds inspire a sense of energy and expression, while subtler hues within this color family help create a warm, inviting atmosphere. This makes warm colored natural stone an excellent choice for spaces often used for entertaining. A marble stone like Daino Reale Extra is an excellent example of a warm, inviting stone with gorgeous brown and white tones.

Stones with ochre, honey or yellow hues help create a bright, happy atmosphere, while pale yellows pair well with elements in complimentary pastel colors, like mint green, sky tones and violet.

Blue Natural Stone

Blue tends to be a popular color family for both interior and exterior stones. Lighter sky-blue tones can have a calm, soothing effect, while saturated blue hues pair well with contrasting tones like white or yellow to create a more energetic, dramatic effect. Azul Bahia is a breathtaking blue granite that can add a gorgeous pop of color to fireplaces, countertops, showers, floors and other surfaces.

Green Natural Stone

Green natural stone can create a serene, tranquil feeling that pairs well with natural elements in the home. Our blog post all about green natural stone takes an in-depth look at different types of green stone, like soapstone and green granites like Emerald Pearl, exploring their properties.

Neutral Stone Colors

Neutral stone colors can include off-whites, greys and black in warm or cool hues. These colors have long been favored in design because of their versatility. Pairing well with nearly all other color palettes, cool neutral colors work beautifully in modern spaces and contrast well with white. Gray stone colors from a warmer palette create an inviting atmosphere and play well against natural features like wood. A marble like Grey Imperiale features multiple shades of grey along with white veining, adding depth to the stone and pairing well with darker colors.

Natural Stone Accent Colors

Many types of natural stone have features like veining or dramatic bursts of color on an otherwise neutral backdrop. These stones can be used to great effect, drawing the eye in order to accent specific pops of color. These colors can often be matched with surrounding furniture or other design elements in the home to help tie a room together.

How Natural Stone Colors Affect Your Mood

Aside from helping us create a desired aesthetic in the home, the colors we use in our spaces can affect our emotions when we spend time in those spaces. Our blog post on how natural stone colors can affect your mood takes an in-depth look at the emotional effect various stone colors can have on us.

Work with Cosmos!

If you have questions about colored natural stone, or if you are searching for a stone with specific color properties, Cosmos can help!

Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned business dedicated to providing you with knowledge, meaningful customer service and high-quality surface materials. We offer a wide range of products and resources to assist our customers in their surface material needs.  Contact us today to get started!

Color of the Month: Ash

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-3802, Ash! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Solid and strong, eternally timeless Ash conveys a message of longevity.”

They say every cloud has a silver lining, which is exactly the idiom that this quartzite brings to mind. Flashes of silvery white streak through a curtain of cloudy grey to create a stormy but hopeful atmosphere. Install Silver Lining in bathrooms to set a rejuvenating mood or in kitchens to complement a modern aesthetic. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Is Natural Stone Sustainable?

natural stone sustainable

All human activities impact the environment, often in devastating ways. As we continually see evidence of our negative effects on the planet, finding “greener” ways to live has never been more important. If you are starting a bathroom or kitchen design project, you may be wondering, is natural stone sustainable? In this post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces talk about sustainability in the natural stone industry.

Is Natural Stone Sustainable?

The good news is natural stone is the most sustainable building material available! Owing to its natural origin, durability and ease of maintenance, natural stone can be a great help in reducing a building’s impact on the environment. Read on to find out more about the concept of “green building” and how natural stone factors in.

What is Green Building?

Green building refers to a design process that takes sustainability into account. This approach focuses on reducing waste and increasing efficiency of resource use (such as energy, water and building materials). Additionally, green building aims to reduce a building’s long-term impact on the health of its occupants and the environment, and accounts for every step of the building process––from site-selection and design to construction, operation and maintenance. Lastly, the concept of green building looks ahead, ensuring the eventual removal or disposal of building materials can be done in an environmentally responsible way.

Natural Stone Production

Natural stone comes directly from the Earth. It does not require factory production, which often involves the need to bond materials together with petroleum-based resins. Furthermore, nearly 100% of natural stone from deconstructed projects can be recycled for use on other projects or crushed for use in constructions like roadbeds.

Durability of Natural Stone

Durability is one of the biggest factors making natural stone a sustainable choice. From the Egyptian pyramids to the Parthenon, the evidence is clear––natural stone can last through the ages. This means the natural stone countertops, flooring, walling and other surfaces in your home are a lifelong investment––with proper care and maintenance, natural stone surfaces can last for generations. There will be no need to expend energy and resources on replacing your surfaces.

Reducing the Heat Island Effect

“Heat Island” refers to the way a building can raise the average temperature of the surrounding area. Light-colored varieties of natural stone have the ability to reflect heat, rather than absorb and radiate it, which helps reduce a building’s potential to become a “heat island.”


Maintenance is yet another way in which natural stone asserts itself as an eco-friendly building material. Simple, regular maintenance goes a long way in increasing a stone’s longevity, and these surfaces can often be cleaned with a mild, Ph-neutral dish detergent, rather than harsh cleaners that can make their way into our soil or water sources.

Quarrying and Location

Over the last two decades, the practice of quarrying has made significant strides in improving best practices related to the environment. Today, domestic quarries are required to adhere to strict guidelines, with close oversight by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (among other organizations). Many quarries currently active in the US, Canada and Europe have reclamation plans in place for quarry sites when operations are finished, and countless old quarries have been turned into state parks, lakes and other kinds of recreation areas.

Stone quarry sites are typically available within 500 miles of nearly any building site in the US. This makes it easier to invest in locally sourced materials, reducing greenhouse gas emissions during transportation and supporting local economies.

Natural Stone Surfaces in the Home

Natural stone can be used in the home in a multitude of ways, including:

  • Kitchen countertops
  • Bathroom vanities
  • Flooring
  • Backsplash
  • Fireplaces and mantels
  • Walling
  • Bar top
  • Tub Surrounds
  • Outdoor walkways and patios

Work with Cosmos!

Whether you’re interested in granite, marble, quartzite, schist, onyx or soap stone, Cosmos Surfaces offers a range of eco-friendly natural stone options to satisfy any design style. Our guide on how to choose a natural stone fabricator offers insight on how to find a reputable company to work with, and you can take sustainability one step further with our post on how to use natural stone remnants around the home.

Cosmos brings decades of knowledge and industry experience to the table. As a 2nd generation, family-owned business, our team is passionate about connecting North American businesses and consumers to exceptional materials in a way that is respectful to local communities and the environment. Get in touch by filling out our contact form today!

Color of the Month: Ash

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-3802, Ash! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Solid and strong, eternally timeless Ash conveys a message of longevity.”

Grey Imperiale - Grey Marble 3

Flowing rivers of a variety of greys is why this Brazilian marble earned its name, Grey Imperiale. A myriad of shades of grey layer together to create a beautifully mellow but surprisingly textured material. Grey Imperiale’s simplicity makes it a versatile choice for any space, and the spectrum of greys pairs well with darker colors.

How to Clean Natural Stone Like a Pro

clean natural stone

From countertops to floors to tub surrounds, there are so many surfaces for which natural stone can be a marvelous choice! Whether you seek to enliven your interior or to ground a space within your home, different stone varieties such as marble, granite and quartzite can help you achieve your design dreams. Regardless of how you leverage the beauty and durability of natural stone in your home, you’ll naturally want to maximize its longevity through proper care. From installation day forward, knowing how to clean natural stone is a must to maintain its pristine appearance and optimize its performance.

How to Clean Natural Stone: What Every Homeowner Should Know

To help you protect your investment, Cosmos Surfaces is here to share a few important natural stone maintenance steps:

  • DO Be careful to choose an appropriate cleaner – Using a cleaner which isn’t approved for your particular natural stone surface can be detrimental in several ways. First off, it can damage the stone in the form of burning or etching. Additionally, it can break down the sealant (if one was applied) and dull the finish. Thus, you should take care to always read labels and confirm that products are compatible with your natural stone before applying them.
  • DO Be sure your stone remains well protected – If you select a porous natural stone such as granite, regular sealing will likely be recommended to preserve the stone’s beauty & integrity. How often sealer will need to be reapplied will depend on several factors, including the porosity of the stone, the chosen finish and whether the surface is located in a high-traffic area. If you wish to skip sealing, consider a non-porous stone such as soap stone.
  • DO Get in the habit of dry mopping/wiping regularly – Dust and debris can cling to polished stone surfaces. Luckily, it’s easy to lift them away with a dry dust mop or a microfiber towel. Doing so on a daily basis – and before using a moist cleaner on your stone surfaces – will prevent signs of wear such as scratches.

Common Natural Stone Cleaning Mistakes to Avoid

Now that we’ve highlighted a few major do’s for how to clean natural stone like an expert, let’s look at what you generally should NOT do:

  • DON’T Use acidic cleaners on natural stone – Vinegar and lemon juice are useful for cleaning and disinfecting many surfaces throughout the home – but not so much for natural stone. A word to the wise: Acidic cleaning agents will etch the surface of many natural stones, including marble and granite, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.
  • DON’T Clean your natural stone with harsh chemicals – Of course, you want to make sure your natural stone surfaces remain clean and sanitary for your family. However, using heavy-duty disinfectants such as bleach or ammonia can discolor & damage most types of natural stone. As a safer alternative, we recommend choosing a stone-specific cleaner with bacteria-fighting properties. Aside from skipping the intense chemicals, avoiding the use of abrasive scrubbing pads in your natural stone maintenance routine is also advisable to prevent scratches.
  • DON’T Try to repair major damage yourself – Natural stone wins praise for its hardwearing properties. Still, by virtue of daily use, it can be subject to chips, stains and other damage. Wiping up spills right away and taking care to avoid placing hot cookware directly on your natural stone will go a long way to sustain it. Further, a simple baking soda and water paste can often be effective at buffing out small marks or scratches. But if significant gouging, chipping or etching occurs, it’s best to call a professional for stone restoration. Attempting to DIY your stone repair will likely be ineffective, and could actually make the issue much worse.

Look to Cosmos Surfaces for the Broadest & Best Selection of Natural Stone

Perhaps you have already made the decision to incorporate a stunning natural stone surface into your home design, or maybe you are still exploring whether this material is the best choice for your project. Either way, we hope you’ve found our tips on how to clean natural stone to be valuable!

As long-time surfacing industry experts, Cosmos Surfaces is proud to be an authority on natural stone. If you are seeking a gorgeous surface that will mesh with your lifestyle and design goals, our team is here to help you find the perfect product in our extensive natural stone collection. We are also happy to offer our professional advice on caring for natural stone so it continues to look fresh and perform beautifully for decades. To be connected with a member of our team, get in touch today!

Color of the Month: Fired Brick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 19-1337, Fired Brick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Strong and sturdy, Fired Brick adds gravitas.”

Vitrium - Cream Granite 3

The granite dubbed Vitrium is both bold and complex. Hailing from Brazil, a creamy Feldspar and white quartz background is accentuated by diverse patterns that range from strikes of gold to swirls of black. No two areas of Vitrium are the same; every inch is uniquely diverse and beautifully translucent in some areas, which makes Vitrium a versatile option for any room or application.

All About Green Natural Stone

green natural stone

Green natural stone surfaces can be especially unique and eye-catching––perhaps because green is a less common color when it comes to natural stone. In this post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces explore green natural stones, their origins and their properties.

Types of Green Natural Stone

Whether you’re on the hunt for a stone that’s specifically green in color, or a stone with certain properties––but you would love a green variant––green natural stone can be found in serpentine, as well as in variants of soapstone, quartzite, marble and granite. Let’s take a closer look at each:


Geologically known as serpentinite, serpentine refers to a family of stones that are formed in a similar way, but can contain different minerals. Due to these variations, the hardness, color and patterns found in serpentine can vary. Serpentine is a metamorphic stone, which means it formed from a different type of stone after a change in conditions, like extreme heat and/or pressure below the earth’s surface.

Serpentine forms from iron-rich magma found deep beneath the ocean floor, with its source in the Earth’s mantle. This magma contains olivine, a bright green mineral (perhaps better known to those born in August as peridot). As this iron-rich stone makes contact and mixes with hot seawater, it gives rise to the formation of new types of minerals. This process occurs deep within the Earth’s crust and leads to the variation of minerals––and therefore the properties––found in serpentine.

The stone typically lands between 3 and 6 on the Mohs hardness scale, which means it’s harder than marble, but softer than granite. Serpentine comes in bright green or deep, forest green varieties. Depending on the minerals present in the stone, brown, red and white accents might also make an appearance, creating patterns in the stone that range from dramatically mottled to gentle swirls.

Green Granite

If you’re in search of a stone lauded for its hardness and durability, green granite is an excellent option. While green variants of granite are less common than, say, the typical grey, ivory, brown or black, the presence of certain minerals can create gorgeous green hues and dramatic patterns.

Emerald Pearl is a gorgeous, dark green granite variant, owing its coloration to green feldspar, while Cosmos Green, sourced from India, contains flurries of royal gold and emerald over expanses of charcoal grey and white. Another popular green granite is New Costa Esemralda.

Granite is highly durable and heat-, crack- and scratch-resistant. This makes it a great option for a variety of applications including countertops, mantelpieces, floor tiles and backsplash.


Soapstone is known for its “soapy” feel, and it comes from the mineral talc––the softest mineral on Earth (measuring a 1 on the Mohs hardness scale). The amount of talc in soapstone varies, which means the overall hardness of the stone will vary as well. Commercial soapstone slabs intended for practical use contain less talc, with the remaining composition including harder minerals like chlorite, magnesite and amphibole. Like serpentine, this broad variation in potential mineral components and their percentages makes soapstone more of a family of stones.

Despite being relatively soft, soapstone has many benefits––acids, liquids and extreme temperatures won’t harm the stone. While the daily wear and tear of the kitchen will show, scratches can be sanded and buffed out, or treated with a coat of oil. Soapstone is a great option in areas where it won’t be exposed to the level of wear and tear typical of a kitchen, like in a bar or bathroom.

One of the most interesting properties of soapstone is its ability to absorb and re-radiate heat. This makes it an excellent choice for use with fireplaces, mantels or wood stoves, especially in colder climates. These stones tend to be green, grey or black with white veining like you see in our Soapstone Jade. Soapstone has an easygoing, soft aesthetic to it.

Other Green Stones

Quartzite, sandstone and slate all have green varieties of their own as seen in Botticelli and Rain Forest Green. Bringing this peaceful, soothing color into your home is simply a matter of finding the right color and stone combination to suit your needs.

Work with Cosmos!

If you have questions about green natural stone, please reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today! We offer a wide selection of natural stone and our team of experts is always ready to help.

Color of the Month: Fired Brick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 19-1337, Fired Brick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Strong and sturdy, Fired Brick adds gravitas.”

Nacarado - Gold Quartzite 2

The dry browns and subtle oranges of Nacarado brings a desert scene to mind. Mellow and warm, the Brazilian quartzite of Nacarado is perfect for bathrooms, fireplaces, and exterior countertops. Available in several types of finish, Nacarado looks and feels great among brown and golds. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Your Guide for How to Choose Countertop Material


There are many great natural stone and engineered surfacing materials to choose from – each with their own properties, maintenance requirements and aesthetic appeal. In this post, Cosmos Surfaces provides guidelines on how to choose countertop material to fit your needs and your budget. Here are some of the factors you should take into consideration when making your choice:


One of the first things you think about when choosing a countertop is the appearance. The finish applied to a stone surface can alter its overall visual effect. There seems to be a trend among homeowners to opt for a leathered finish, which adds texture to the surface. When it comes to light-colored surfaces, like white countertops, a honed or leathered finish can help disguise etch marks.

It’s important to note that not all types of stone can accept all types of finishes. If you have your eye on a particular style of finish, you’ll want to make sure the stone you decide can accept it. Our post on everything you need to know about stone finishes provides an in-depth look at the properties of each type of finish.


One of the biggest considerations when choosing a kitchen or bathroom countertop material is porosity. This will significantly impact the maintenance required, as some porous stones/surfaces need to be sealed regularly to prevent stains and damage. Marble is an example of a porous stone that requires that bit of extra attention to keep it looking gorgeous. With the right care and maintenance, marble can last for generations – but it might not be the right surface for you if you want to avoid sealing. Take a look at our detailed post on how to care for marble for more information on this gorgeous natural stone.

On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find surfaces like quartz countertops – engineered stone containing minerals along with binders and fillers. Quartz countertops are completely non-porous and do not require sealing, which makes them easy to maintain. They come in a wide variety of styles and colors and can even mimic real marble very closely. Our post on how to clean quartz surfaces explores its properties and the maintenance required.

showroom 2


The durability of a surface is a huge factor in an area like the kitchen, where everyday wear and tear is inevitable. Busy families might want to consider natural stones known for a combination of durability and low maintenance. Granite and quartzite are both great options here, as these materials balance beauty, durability and relatively low maintenance requirements. This post on granite and its uses provides more information on the stone’s qualities, while our post on quartzite maintenance covers cleaning, sealing and stain removal.


At the end of the day, your budget will definitely impact your decision. It’s important to note many factors go into the cost of a surface material. There might be decisions you can make along the production process that impact the final price tag. Marble, for example, is a natural stone some might consider outside of their budget. However, there are different types of marble that vary in price. Factors like where the marble is quarried, the rarity and demand for the stone, the finish applied and details like edge profiling can all add to or subtract from the final cost. If you have your heart set on a type of stone, but you are concerned about the limits of your budget, work with a professional to find out whether there are alternatives to the product of choice or if any adjustments can be made to suit your budgetary needs.

showroom 3

Why Natural Stone?

Speaking of budget, you might wonder why homeowners would opt for natural stone surfaces when manmade alternatives are available, often at lower costs. This, too, is a multifaceted topic. While these materials may have a lower initial cost, they sometimes cannot stand up to the durability of natural stone surfaces. You can think of natural stone as a long-term investment. With proper care and maintenance, these surfaces can last for generations, while manmade alternatives may need to be replaced within the same period of time.

In addition to durability, a natural stone surface has the appeal of being completely unique. These stones are the result of the Earth’s natural geological processes – no two slabs are exactly alike. Some stones are the result of a powerful, violent event, like the eruption of a volcano, while others formed across millions of years of heat and pressure below the surface of the Earth. Natural stone surfaces are abundant in unique, striking details. They often contain patterns or vibrant splashes of color that tell the story of its formation, and the minerals contained within.

Wondering How to Choose Countertop Material? Work with Cosmos!

If you have more questions about how to choose countertop material, reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today. We bring decades of expertise to the table, and our team of experts is always happy to help!

Color of the Month: Fired Brick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 19-1337, Fired Brick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Strong and sturdy, Fired Brick adds gravitas.”

Rich browns and deep silvers make up the quartzite known as Sandalus. Sandalus has a leathered finish that brings out the subtle layers that give this material a rugged appearance. Perfect among wood, leather, and silver, Sandalus makes a great addition to any exterior space or woodsy aesthetic. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Accepting Imperfections in Natural Stone (and Growing to Love Them)

accepting imperfections

Stones like granite, marble and quartzite are the product of geologic changes which occur over hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of years. Volcanic activity, tectonic plate shifts and subterranean heat and pressure are just a few of the forces which contribute to the formation of these marvelous stones. Given the natural processes which create them, it’s only natural to anticipate that each piece of stone will have an idiosyncratic, totally unique appearance – and this is indeed the case! While natural stone is famed for its distinctive beauty, imperfections in granite countertops and other stone surfaces can be a concern for some. For instance, prospective stone buyers might worry that the “flaws” in natural stone could take away from the unity and elegance of their design. Today, Cosmos Surfaces is here to make the case for accepting & embracing the imperfections in natural stone.

What Imperfections Might Be Found in Natural Stone?

Wondering what exactly we mean by “flaws” in natural stone? Let’s get technical for a moment and discuss the inconsistencies which may be apparent in natural stone, as well as why imperfections in granite countertops and other surfaces can actually be worthy of adoration.

  • Variations in Color – Color intensity and shade can vary between different slabs of the same kind of natural stone, which can be concerning to buyers who want very specific coloring within their design. However, color variation is one of the main factors that makes natural stone so unique. No matter what kind of coloring you find within your natural stone, it is sure to be a beautiful illustration of the natural forces that shaped its creation.
  • Too Much or Too Little Veining – Like color, veining in natural stone is one-of-a-kind and will always vary. Instead of focusing on whether the veining on a surface is “too much” or “too little,” it is best to appreciate the totally unique veining that formed over so many years by the forces of nature. The veining in your natural stone cannot be found anywhere else on earth!
  • Pattern and Color Asymmetry – Asymmetry in interior design is a concept that offers so many unique possibilities, and natural stone is the perfect way to showcase the beauty of asymmetry. Natural stone will never offer a perfectly symmetrical pattern end-to-end, and this is one of the qualities that makes it so special and desirable.
  • Pores & Pits – While natural stone can appear quite smooth, tiny pits and pores are often present on the surface. Certain varieties are more porous than others and thus require sealing to keep out moisture and bacteria. After sealing, some of these tiny blemishes are likely to remain visible upon close inspection – but this only serves to add dimension and character to the stone!
  • Fissures – While far beneath the surface of the Earth, natural stone is often exposed to immense heat and pressure. As a result, natural crevices may form in certain spots or throughout. Known as fissures, these thin lines create intriguing patterns & color variation in the stone. But rest assured: they typically will not interfere with its integrity.
  • Cracks – Natural fissures are not to be confused with cracks, which can appear in natural stone as it is subjected to wear and tear over time. If significant in size, a crack may compromise the stone’s structure, so it is important to be aware of this particular imperfection. Still, cracks in natural stone are typically no big deal and can often be repaired relatively easily.
  • Scratches, Chips & Etches – Natural stone is known to offer impressive durability and longevity – especially the harder types like granite. Even so, chipping, scratching or etching can occur in a high-traffic kitchen. Once again, these flaws can be fixed if they bother you, but they are unlikely to detract from the countertop’s natural beauty in a noticeable way.

Embrace Imperfections in Granite Countertops, Or Not: It’s Up to You!

Crafted by Mother Nature, natural stone surfaces are defined by their imperfections. Without these variations, the slabs would be nowhere near as distinctive, precious or inimitable. Your countertop need not be symmetrical, identical from end to end or perfectly polished in order to be a showstopper. In fact, marble with deep, dramatic and unpredictable veining is all the rage right now, as are boldly colored stone varieties!

Hopefully, this article has given you a new perspective on imperfections in granite countertops. At the same time, it’s totally alright if you prefer a more uniform countertop. If you decide to seek out a surfacing material with a lower degree of variation, you’ll still have plenty of options to choose from! Feel free to explore stone varieties at both ends of the spectrum – and everywhere in between – to help you find what you really love.

The more you explore, the more you’ll get a keen sense for the sort of pattern and coloring which will best suit your personality and design style. Your countertop is the cornerstone of your kitchen, so it’s important to choose something you absolutely adore!

Achieve Your Dream Countertop with Cosmos Surfaces

If you desire to make a statement with natural stone in your interior, Cosmos Surfaces is here to help you bring your vision to life. From the intricate & distinguished Butterfly Gold to the ultra-daring Bacural, our extensive selection of granite and other stunning stone surfaces includes something for every style & setting. To enlist the expertise of one of our surfacing specialists, contact Cosmos Surfaces today.

Color of the Month: Lark

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-1324, Lark! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Authentic and low-key, Lark is an understated and versatile khaki.”

Golden Paradise - Gold Quartzite 2

A dazzling sheet of gold, it’s no surprise how Golden Paradise got its name. But it’s not just gold – look deeper to see the crystals of whites and greys that make up this Brazilian quartzite. Golden Paradise makes for spectacular floors, walls, and fireplaces and matches well with blacks and woods. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

How to Choose the Right Natural Stone Patterns for Your Interior Design

choose natural stone

It’s no secret that natural stone surfaces can go a long way toward creating a desired aesthetic in the home. The natural stone patterns within those surfaces can further help refine your design style. In this post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces share tips on how to choose natural stone patterns to help you create the exact look and feel you want in any room.   

Design Goals

When considering various stone patterns and finishes, it’s important to understand what your design goals are. For example, if you are hoping to achieve a minimalist look with just a pop of color or texture, you can use natural stone patterns to achieve these highlights. Or, you can opt for simple stone surfaces and play around with furniture or painted accent walls for your color or texture fix. Let’s take a look at a few design styles and which stone patterns and colors can help you achieve them:

Minimalist Spaces

As mentioned above, colors and patterns can be used effectively in a minimalist setting. A dramatic accent wall, for example, can perfectly balance out the simpler design elements in the space. Stones like Magma Gold and Maori (both granites) and Raphael and Oxford Blue (both quartzites) have striking, complex patterns along with gorgeous colors. Any of these stones would work well in a minimalist setting and can be used to create truly breathtaking accent walls or other features like kitchen islands.

Warm, Inviting Spaces

For homeowners who like to entertain or simply want a warm, inviting feel to their space, stones with classic brown tones and consistent patterns can help create this aesthetic. Stones with blue, copper or golden elements in their patterns are both striking and elegant, while retaining a sense of warmth and comfort. Granite products like Vitrium, Lapidus and Giallo Fiorito are all examples of stones that contain gorgeous warm tones within their patterns.

Small Spaces

Using design elements wisely can help smaller spaces look and feel bigger. As an example, a stone surface with a flowing vein pattern can make a kitchen island appear bigger, as well as the room itself. Using vertical veining patterns on stone walls gives a sense of high ceilings, as the vertical lines direct the eye upward and appear to elongate the space.

Invoking Nature

If you’re looking to replicate the look and feel of wood around areas like the fireplace or an indoor garden, stones like Brown Silk (a granite) and Sequoia Brown (a quartzite) are excellent options, as their patterns and textures mimic those of wood. The colors and patterns in these stones in combination with the texture created by a leathered finish can truly bring a natural aesthetic into the home.

Speaking of natural elements, using a stone like Black Marinace (a granite) in or around a water feature, such as a water fountain, adds an elegant touch without the struggle of having to clean pebbles. The pebbled texture of the stone adds detail and depth and brings along with it the durability and ease of maintenance for which granite is so well-loved.

Stones like Rain Forest Green and Café Forest Brown mimic natural elements like leaves and branches and invoke a sense of calm and tranquility. They are perfect for bathroom vanities, kitchens and living rooms.


One of the most impressive features of natural stone is the immense variety created by the natural processes behind stone formation. Long veining patterns are inherently elegant and soothing, while dramatic swirling patterns invoke a flowing sense of movement and energy. Each unique pattern tells the ancient story of its stone.

When it comes to natural stone and interior design, there are multiple steps you can take to craft your desired aesthetic, from the type of stone you select, to the colors and patterns contained within and, finally, the type of finish applied to the stone surface. The options are just about endless!

For more information on the various aspects of using natural stone in interior design, take a look at our post on how to design your home like a professional. If you’d like to know more about how various stone finishes alter the look and feel of natural stone, our blog post on how to choose the perfect stone finish provides a detailed overview.

Cosmos Can Help!

Cosmos Surfaces brings over three decades of knowledge and industry experience to the table. As a 2nd generation family-owned business, we are passionate about sourcing high-quality surfaces for your home or business. Get in touch by filling out our contact form today – our team of experts is happy to help you along the journey of designing your dream spaces!

Color of the Month: Lark

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-1324, Lark! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Authentic and low-key, Lark is an understated and versatile khaki.”

For those in the market for an exotic, one-of-a-kind granite countertop, Belatrix is a top contender. This natural Brazilian stone features a polished finish and a pattern that is truly extraordinary. Set upon a shining black background are idiosyncratic shapes formed via a melange of rust, burgundy, gray and cream.

Fall Color Trends for Interior Design

fall color trends

The fall season conjures up vivid color palettes like no other. Warm earth tones and elegant neutrals form the basis of fall color trends. When it comes to interior design, using these colors well can inspire warmth, comfort and flexibility in your home year-round. In this post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces provide a quick guide to some of our most popular fall-friendly products, along with 3 design tips to help cozy up your home this season.

Fall Color Trends in Natural Stone and Surfaces

First, let’s take a look at the most popular stone colors trending this fall:

White Stone

The most popular option, by far, remains white stone. White stone surfaces in the home can brighten up your space and help create a fresh, clean look and feel. A neutral color like white can ensure a timeless, elegant aesthetic that pairs well with any color palette or design style.

For those who enjoy texture and depth, white stone is by no means lacking in this department. Natural stone is typically off-white, or near-white and can exhibit gorgeous, complex textures from grain patterns and veining. A few examples of white stone available at Cosmos Surfaces include:




Earth Tones and Warm Color Tones

Earth tones have long been associated with fall-inspired palettes. The use of earth tones and warmer colors within permanent fixtures in the home have been increasing in popularity. Using these tones with interior design creates a warm, cozy and inviting space with a natural look and feel. Let’s take a look at a few options by stone type:



Grey and Black Stones

Grey and black stones are steadily increasing in popularity. These elegant neutral colors can create the same warm, natural aesthetic as warm colors and earth tones, but may allow for a bit more freedom when it comes to pairing up décor year-round. Just a few of the grey and black options by stone type available through Cosmos include:




Additional Tips for a Cozy Home

Aside from the color and type of stone you decide on, factors like vein patterns and the type of finish applied to a stone can help alter the look and feel of your space. If you want to achieve a warm, cozy fall aesthetic, here are three additional tips to help you get from here to hygge:

  1. Textured Stone Finishes

Various types of finishes can be applied to natural stone before it makes it into your home. Stone can be polished for a glossy look, honed for a silky matte finish or even flamed, a process where a high-temperature flame is applied to the stone, resulting in a highly textured surface.

Two stone finishes that are trending this season are leathered, and honed finishes. Honed finishes create silky, matte stone surfaces. This helps create a warmer, cozier feel than say, a polished finish. A leathered finish creates a suede look and feel and is slip-resistant. Again, this finish helps give your space that warm, inviting feel we all crave when the weather gets colder. It’s important to note that a leathered finish can only be applied to some varieties of marble and granite. For an in-depth look at the different types of stone finishes, check out our post on Everything You Need to Know About Stone Finishes.

  1. Neutral Colors

Opting for neutral colors like white, black or grey can leave you with lots of freedom and flexibility when it comes to year-round décor. Unless you plan on sticking with a specific interior color scheme in the long-term, using neutral colors for permanent fixtures like countertops, backsplash and fireplace mantels can help you achieve the style you want in every season.

  1. Grain Patterns and Veining

Silver Waves - Black Granite 6

Sticking to neutral colors or a timeless white stone surface doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice texture and color. Grain patterns and veining can add a touch of color and movement to a space, and even provide design cues when it comes to choosing colors for furniture, walls and other types of décor. Granite products like Silver Waves and Viscon White are excellent examples of stones with inherent patterns that evoke movement.

Work with Cosmos!

Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned business dedicated to providing you with knowledge, meaningful customer service and high-quality surface materials. We offer a wide range of products and resources to assist our customers with their surface material needs.  Contact us today to get started!

Color of the Month: Lark

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-1324, Lark! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Authentic and low-key, Lark is an understated and versatile khaki.”

Magma Gold - Gold Granite 2

Like molten magma swirling and pooling deep within the Earth’s crust, Magma Gold granite is fierce and fervent. In its larger-than-life pattern, deep gray veins stretch in all directions, surrounding and blending into areas of rust, cream and gold. Specks of white on the gray add even more visual interest, putting the finishing touches on this excellent option for counter and vanity tops.

Future-proofing Your Investment: To Do and Not To Do

future proof

When it comes to natural stone care and maintenance, regular attention goes a long way. A natural stone surface is an investment that can last for many years. If properly cared for, it can last for generations! In this post, we look at what you can do to future-proof your investment, and what to avoid.

Natural stone can be classified as either siliceous stone, or calcareous stone. It’s important to know which category your stone surfaces fall under, as each requires its own approach to cleaning and maintenance.

Siliceous Stone

Stone in this category is mainly composed of silica or quartz-like particles. Siliceous stone types include granite and quartzite. These stones tend to be durable and easy-to-clean with mild, acidic solutions.

Calcareous Stone

Stone in this category is mainly composed of calcium carbonate. Marble, limestone and onyx are all calcareous stone types and require a different approach to cleaning than siliceous stone types. Notably, they are sensitive to acidic cleaning products.

Aside from understanding which category your stone surface falls under, there’s plenty you can do for all types of surfaces to protect your investment from the wear and tear of daily life. Let’s take a look:


  • Do know what type of stone you have
  • Do clean spills immediately
  • Do seal stone when needed
  • Do use coasters and placemats
  • Do use trivets and cooling racks
  • Do place non-slip mats and area rugs on stone flooring
  • Do clean frequently with mild detergent or appropriate stone soap
  • Do rinse with clean water and dry your surfaces thoroughly after cleaning
  • Do consult with manufacturers for proper care instructions


  • Don’t use vinegar, lemon juice or acidic cleaners on calcareous stone like marble, limestone or onyx
  • Don’t use abrasive cleaners
  • Don’t use acidic cleaners such as tub and tile cleaners, bathroom cleaners or grout cleaners on natural stone
  • Don’t place hot pots, pans, trays or plates directly on stone
  • Don’t allow water to collect on the surface for long periods of time
  • Don’t mix bleach and ammonia when cleaning (this creates a toxic, lethal gas)
  • Don’t mix chemical cleaners unless instructed to do so by the product directions
  • Don’t use an old vacuum on stone surfaces, or even a new model without extreme caution – a vacuum’s attachments or wheels can scratch stone flooring

Next, let’s look at general cleaning guidelines for countertops, floors, bathrooms/wet areas, and outdoor surfaces:


Clean countertops regularly with a few drops of mild detergent, appropriate stone cleaner or a neutral cleaner and warm water. It’s best to use a soft cloth and stay away from scouring powders and creams, as these contain abrasives. Keep in mind that acidic food and drinks can etch and dull the surface of calcareous stone types. Take extra care when working with such food and drink, and blot spills up immediately.


When it comes to natural stone flooring, trekked-in dirt, sand and grit can damage your surface with scratches. You can minimize these effects by placing non-slip mats and rugs near entrances to catch outdoor debris. Carpeted runners that extend from each outside door into the home can aid in cleaning and drying foot soles before they reach stone flooring. For outdoor flooring, be sure to remove standing water, ice or snow as soon as possible.

To clean flooring, dust mop floors frequently using a dry dust mop. Wash floors with clean water and appropriate neutral cleaners, then rinse thoroughly, dry floors with a soft cloth and allow to air dry completely before resuming use.

Bathrooms and Wet Areas

Soap scum tends to accumulate in these areas and can be removed with a squeegee and non-acidic soap scum remover. A solution of ammonia and water can also be used, but keep in mind that using ammonia frequently can dull the surface.

Outdoor Pool and Patio Areas

Flush these areas with clean water to get rid of dust and debris. A mild bleach solution can be used to remove algae or moss growth, but it’s important to ensure you can use bleach on your type of stone. When in doubt, always check with your manufacturer or supplier!

Natural Stone Care and Maintenance: Conclusion

Take good care of your natural stone surfaces and they will reward you with generations of elegance and beauty. For more cleaning and maintenance tips, take a look at these posts from our blog:

If you have any questions about the care and maintenance of natural stone, reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today! We bring decades of expertise to the table, and our team of experts is always happy to answer questions about future-proofing your beautiful investments.

Color of the Month: Classic Blue

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 19-4052, Classic Blue! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “A boundless blue hue, Classic Blue is evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky opening us up to a world of possibilities.”

Java Blue - Blue Quartzite 4

Java Blue is a compilation of several blues and soft crystal colors. Primarily a calming light blue, Java Blue is cut through with streaks and spots of navy and gold. Upon closer inspection, the crystals are apparent and beautiful. Java Blue is great for aquatic environments and looks great poolside as a fountain, waterfall, or exterior countertop. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched

The Art of Bookmatching Natural Stone

bookmatching stone

Of the many different ways natural stone is used, perhaps the most magnificent and eye-catching effect is accomplished through a process known as bookmatching. This technique can be used to highlight any stone with strong veining and a plentiful amount of movement, and it works particularly well with marble. You may be wondering: What is bookmatched marble, and what is the appeal of adorning a surface with bookmatched natural stone? Cosmos Surfaces is here to give you an in-depth look at the art of bookmatching and why it has become a major design trend.

What Is Bookmatching & How Is It Done?

The process of bookmatching is designed to create a mirror effect with consecutive slabs of natural stone. As the name suggests, bookmatching is done by placing successive pieces of stone next to one another so that they resemble an open book.

In order to produce the desired mirror image effect with marble or another natural stone, large blocks of stone are sliced into slabs and polished on the two sides that were previously facing each other. This method creates stone slabs which are virtual copies of each other, resulting in an astonishing kaleidoscopic pattern when they are arranged side by side.

What Is Bookmatched Marble?

Now that we’ve introduced bookmatching, let’s move on to the next question: What is bookmatched marble, and why is it so popular? As mentioned above, marble is a type of natural stone that is incredibly capable of creating an effective and inspiring bookmatched design. This is because most varieties of marble feature very prominent veining and flowing linear movement in their pattern. Plus, the hues in marble tend to be on the more subdued end of the spectrum, meaning the pattern won’t become overwhelming if mirrored.

bookmatched marble

Aside from marble, certain varieties of granite, quartzite and other natural stone can also be bookmatched to create uniquely stunning works of abstract art. Ultimately, the pattern and coloring of a stone will be the main determining factors in whether it is a logical choice for bookmatching. Beyond this, it comes down to your personal design style and what level of flair you’re looking to achieve in your space.

Where Might Bookmatched Stone Be Used?

Regardless of which variety is chosen, the goal of adding bookmatched natural stone to a space is to create a dramatic effect. Thus, many homeowners prefer to use it for larger areas so that the pattern has a prime opportunity to shine. Applications for which bookmatched stone may be a good fit include:

  • Shower walls
  • Accent walls
  • Large kitchen islands
  • Bar tops or tables
  • Fireplaces
  • Water features

If you are seeking to use bookmatched natural stone or porcelain for a certain application, it is important to consider the properties of the various kinds of natural stone to figure out which will work best for your purposes. When planning a bookmatched stone design for a high-traffic application such as a kitchen island, for instance, you might favor quartzite over marble, as the former tends to be more hardwearing.

Work with Cosmos Surfaces to Forge a Natural Stone Masterpiece

Perhaps you are interested in exploring the endless design possibilities afforded by bookmatched natural stone, or maybe you are looking for a less ornate option for your project. Either way, it is vital to work with a reputable surfacing material supplier to ensure a seamless finished product.

The design professionals at Cosmos Surfaces have the experience and know-how needed to help you find the optimal material for your application – whether you’re renovating a kitchen, modernizing a bathroom or working on some other project. Whatever the application, we are committed to providing the highest quality surfacing materials, plus helpful resources and unmatched customer service. Browse our extensive selection of natural stone for inspiration and brainstorming purposes, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!

Color of the Month: Classic Blue

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 19-4052, Classic Blue! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “A boundless blue hue, Classic Blue is evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky opening us up to a world of possibilities.”

Venturesomely dotted and speckled by Mother Nature’s paintbrush, Blue Pearl GT is a Norwegian granite with a reputation for unparalleled elegance. Dubbed Blue Pearl for its characteristic spots of white that pop against the rich blues and blacks that span the granite, this natural stone is a terrific pick for a fashionable, long lasting countertop.

All About Sealing Natural Stone: Where, When, and Why

sealing stone

Sealing your floors, countertops, and other surfaces is the best way to future-proof your investment in natural stone. However, there are a number of things to know before you go ahead and start sealing! In this post, Cosmos Surfaces will tell you all the ins and outs of sealing natural stone.

Factors to Consider Before Sealing Natural Stone

Some natural stone surfaces don’t need to be sealed. Here are some factors that can help determine whether a stone needs to be sealed at all:

  • The porosity of the stone and how fast it will absorb liquids
  • The durability, density and hardness of the stone
  • Type of finish applied to the surface – a polished surface, for example, is more resistant to staining than a honed or leathered surface and might provide adequate protection
  • How frequently the stone will be exposed to staining agents
  • Whether resin has been applied to the surface (some sealers can react negatively with resin)
  • The location of the stone – interior vs. exterior, countertop, wall, floor, etc.

In the next section, we’ll break down the types of stone surfaces and whether or not they generally need to be sealed. Best practices can still differ even between different styles of the same type of stone, so it’s always best to check with your supplier for specific instructions.

Sealing by Type of Natural Stone

  • Granite: Granite is durable and naturally resists water, but it is also porous. Sealing granite makes it easier to clean and protects against stains and spills. Impregnating sealers work best on granite.
  • Marble: Due to porosity and susceptibility to staining and etching, marble requires more attention than some other stones when it comes to maintenance. Like with granite, an impregnating sealer works best to protect many types of marble and will need to be reapplied as directed by the brand of sealer or your installer.
  • Quartzite: The hardness of quartzite helps it resist scratching and etching, but it is still susceptible to staining. Impregnating sealers can last longer than topical sealers, which can wear away quickly.
  • Schist: Schist has a lower abrasion rating than some of its harder counterparts, like granite. This makes it more susceptible to scratching, while certain substances can also stain schist. Schist countertops should be well sealed for protection.
  • Onyx: Onyx requires special care to protect and maintain, and sealing is paramount. Onyx surfaces are typically sealed upon installation and re-sealed at regular intervals. Consult a professional about sealing onyx and setting up a proper maintenance plan.
  • Soap Stone: Soap stone is non-porous and doesn’t require a sealer. Applying a thin layer of mineral oil regularly will help retain its shine and cover any scratches.

Types of Sealers

Now that you know which surfaces need to be sealed, it’s time to learn about different types of sealers. Sealers come in two varieties: topical/coatings, and impregnators.

Topical Sealers/Coatings

Topical sealers/coatings are designed to form a film on the surface of the stone. These sealers can be classified into two types: strippable and permanent. Strippable sealers can be stripped or removed from the stone, while permanent sealers are very difficult to remove and are typically not recommended for natural stone. Since topical sealers form a film on the surface that is less durable than the stone underneath, your maintenance approach might need to shift to caring for the sealant. As an example, you might have a stone surface which is resistant to scratching, but once a topical sealer is applied, you will need to be mindful of scratching the sealer itself. In this instance, applying a topical sealer can negate some of the benefits of your chosen stone surface – this all depends on your needs, of course.

The advantages of topical sealers/coatings:

    • The initial cost is relatively low
    • They are fairly easy to apply
    • It provides a protective layer to take on wear and tear
    • Topical sealers can add luster to your stone
    • Certain products provide slip resistance

The disadvantages of topical sealers/coatings:

    • They can alter the texture and finish of the stone
    • It creates a layer less durable than stone, which can scratch, scuff and show signs of wear and tear – frequent buffing, burnishing or reapplication can help with this issue
    • Some coatings need frequent stripping and reapplication. It’s important to note that some of the chemicals and abrasives used during this process can damage the stone underneath, or react with the polyester resin binders that agglomerate stones often contain
    • Coatings can build up over time, creating a wavy, plastic-like appearance
    • Lower quality coatings can turn yellow, especially if the surface is exposed to UV light
    • Some coatings can restrict the “breathing” capability of a stone, trapping moisture below the surface and causing spalling (flaking)
    • Some sealers can react with cleaning chemicals or components within the stone
    • You will need to ensure a topical sealer applied to a countertop is safe for food use
    • Topical sealers are generally not recommended for use on exterior stone, as they can trap moisture, which can be detrimental for the stone during freeze/thaw cycles

Impregnating Sealers

This type of sealant penetrates below the surface of the stone and acts as a repellent. Some impregnating sealers are hydrophobic, which means they repel water, water-based chemicals and water-based liquids like fruit juices, soda, coffee and so forth. Oleophobic impregnators repel BOTH water and oil-based liquids like grease, cooking oil and body oils. It’s important to note that some products are labeled “oil-resistant” rather than “oil-repellent” – there is a difference, as “oil-resistant” impregnators only slow the absorption of oil into the stone, while “oil-repellent” products prevent oils from entering the stone at all.

The advantages of impregnating sealers:

    • “Breathable,” which means they keep contaminants out while allowing for vapor transmission and for interior moisture to escape
    • Typically don’t change the appearance of the stone
    • Don’t usually require frequent reapplications
    • Typically hydrophobic, while some are oleophobic as well
    • Usually unaffected by UV light

The disadvantages of impregnating sealers:

    • Solvent-based impregnators produce potentially noxious and flammable vapors during application, and some varieties are harmful to the environment (for this reason, the use of these varieties is restricted in certain states). Some water-based impregnators can also contain harmful/toxic chemicals – it’s always important to research a product or contact the manufacturer before deciding to use it
    • Application is more difficult and often warrants professional consultation
    • The initial cost is higher than for topical sealers
    • Impregnators typically cannot be used below grade (below ground level), since pressure in these spaces can force water through the stone
    • In some cases, applying an impregnating sealer to a resined stone can lead to clouding, fading and discoloration

Consult a Professional

As you can see, sealing natural stone can be a complex topic. You’ll want to do thorough research or consult a professional before applying a sealer to your natural stone. Factors like chemical composition and brand can lead to unexpected reactions with your surface, so it’s always wise to read product labels and instructions carefully and consult manufacturers whenever possible. Your fabricator will make it easy to understand how to care for your specific surfaces.

Cosmos Surfaces offers a wide selection of natural stone surfaces, and our team is dedicated to serving your needs with knowledge, passion and respect. Contact us today to get started!

Color of the Month: Ultramarine Green

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-5338, Ultramarine Green! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Ultramarine Green, a deep cooling blue-green, exudes self-assurance and poise.”

Amazonite brings to mind splotches of sunlight filtering through thick leaves of a rainforest or the turquoise blue of the Atlantic Ocean. This Brazilian granite is great for bathrooms and sunrooms. It matches perfectly with both aquatic and botanic environments, and looks beautiful as a vanity, counter, top, or wall.

Dazzle and Delight With Semi Precious Stone Countertops


Known for their showstopping appearance, semi precious stone countertops offer far more than just visual magnificence. The advanced production process used to craft these one-of-a-kind slabs heightens the functionality of wondrous natural stone. Through an artisanal technique, gemstones like amethyst and agate are suspended in resin in order to fashion a completely unique surface that is highly resilient and thus well suited to a wide array of applications. Namely, semi precious stone makes for luxurious kitchen countertops, bar tops and beyond.

What Makes Semi Precious Stone a Splendid Choice for Countertops?

Cosmos Surfaces is proud to be a trusted source for brilliant semi precious stone countertops of the highest quality. Now that we’ve introduced semi precious stone and the process by which it is crafted into countertops, let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of this striking surfacing material:

  • Exceptionally Eye Catching – Semi precious stone is guaranteed to make your countertop the centerpiece of your space. Whether you choose an energetic, multicolored variety like Agate Vermell or opt for something more neutral & serene like White Quartz, the hand-picked, multidimensional crystals and gems will mesmerize and inspire all who gaze upon it. No two slabs are the same, especially when it comes to semi precious stone.
  • Incredibly Resilient – Semi precious stone countertops are far more durable than you might expect given their opulent appearance. To elaborate: When professionally sealed and finished, a semi precious stone countertop is resistant to heat, scratching and staining. Sealing also ensures that the surface is impervious to moisture and will not harbor bacteria.
  • Environmentally Friendly – Exotic gems are carefully selected and arranged by hand to create a truly inimitable countertop. This meticulous process creates very little waste material. In turn, semi precious stone ranks among the most eco-friendly options out there for kitchen islands, bar tops and similar projects.
  • Easy to Clean & Maintain – The fact that it’s low maintenance is yet another thing to love about semi precious stone. To maintain a sparkling, hygienic countertop, simply wipe it with a soft, damp cloth on a daily basis or as needed. For guidance on stain prevention and removal, see our tips below.

How to Keep Your Semi Precious Stone Countertops in Pristine Condition

The result of nature’s handiwork combined with masterful engineering, semi precious stone countertops are visual masterpieces with impressive longevity. While this premium countertop material typically comes with a higher price tag than other natural stone options like quartzite, it is an investment that will last for years so long as it receives proper care. Here are a few must-know pieces of advice on maintaining a countertop made of semi precious stone:

  • Promptly wipe up spills to prevent staining
  • Use a pH-balanced countertop cleaner that is approved for use on semi precious stone
  • To remove stains: Apply a small amount of baking soda & water and gently scrub the spot; then, wipe away the cleansing solution with a damp cloth and dry the area thoroughly

As you can see, maintaining a semi precious stone surface is very similar to maintaining other stone surfaces, both natural and engineered. A quick daily wipe down with a gentle cleanser and cloth will make cleaning any of your surfaces easy for many years to come. Check out our detailed care and maintenance resources for more information.

Peruse Our Catalog of Striking Semi Precious Stone

If you’re not already seriously considering semi precious stone for your next renovation project, you certainly will be after exploring our awe-inspiring selection!

Made from a custom blend of hand-picked stones, Agate Earth is one of our most prized and precious stone countertop materials. Featuring tones of brown, red and black, this gemstone is both warm and familiar, a tie back to home and the earth. Exceedingly strong and capable of withstanding the elements, Agate Earth is a suitable choice for indoor and outdoor applications alike.

To be captivated by our full collection of semi precious stone, click over to our online gallery now.

Reach Out Today for Expert Assistance with Transforming Your Home

Eager to discuss whether semi precious stone is the most ideal material for your particular project? The specialists at Cosmos Surfaces are here to help you weigh your options and decide on the very best option for your application. Whether you settle on semi precious stone or another surfacing material, you can depend on our customer-focused team to supply it for the most competitive price. To get started, fill out our online contact form and let us know how we can assist you.

Color of the Month: Ultramarine Green

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-5338, Ultramarine Green! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Ultramarine Green, a deep cooling blue-green, exudes self-assurance and poise.”

Flecks of emerald green and gleaming silver pop out from a backdrop of jet black, taking center stage when the light hits them. Emerald Pearl is a stunning type of granite quarried in Norway. Glamorous without being fussy, this resilient stone makes for a magical backsplash, countertop, accent wall or floor.

How to Use Natural Stone Remnants (And Where to Get Them)

natural stone remnants

When a large stone slab is cut to make your custom shower wall or countertop, what happens to the small pieces of stone that don’t make the cut? These beautiful “leftover” pieces of stone are called “remnants,” and they don’t go to waste. Natural stone remnants are actually in high demand by designers and other creative people with great ideas about how to use them. In today’s blog, Cosmos Surfaces will talk about how to use natural stone remnants in homes and other buildings, and where to get them so that you can get started on your own stone remnant project. We hope to inspire you to use these gorgeous, environmentally friendly stone remnants in a variety of ways.

Before Using Natural Stone Remnants…

…Be sure to consider the type of stone. Some are more prone to scratching or staining than others, so they shouldn’t be used in an environment that will expose them to these events. For example, soapstone is extremely resistant to acids and has a porosity of nearly zero. This makes it an ideal surface for serving food, so it’s a great option if you want to create a gorgeous cheese platter out of natural stone. On the other hand, soapstone is relatively soft and vulnerable to scratches. You wouldn’t want to use it as a cutting board – granite would be a much better choice.

before natural stone remnants

These are just a couple of examples of how the type of natural stone can affect where it should be used. Be sure to ask your supplier for advice about what types of stone would be best for your design, and read our blog and other care and maintenance resources for detailed information about caring for different types of natural stone.

Ideas for Large Remnants

Not all natural stone remnants are very small. Often, rather large pieces will be left over after an installation. This is a great opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture and bring luxurious natural stone into every room of the home. Large stone remnants can be used for:

  • Tabletops
  • Kitchen islands
  • Bar and buffet tops
  • Vanities
  • Windowsills
  • Outdoor Kitchens

Long, narrow remnants are perfect for these applications. This shape may not be ideal for a shower wall, but it is perfect for an in-home bar or a custom kitchen island. Just a touch of natural stone around the home can create an atmosphere of elegance and refinement.

ideas large remnants

Ideas for Small Remnants

The possibilities are endless when it comes to small, and even very small, natural stone remnants. Because natural stone is naturally beautiful and unique, you can use a small remnant anywhere in the home. Here are some exciting ideas for these “leftover” pieces of stone:

    • Serving and cutting boards
    • Mosaic backsplashes and accent strips
    • Coasters and trivets
    • Decorative objects
    • Plant stands
    • Stepping stones
    • Mosaic walkways and stairs
    • Mosaic stair raisers
    • Coffee tabletops

Simply placed on a table or under a prized houseplant, a natural stone remnant instantly elevates your decor. Or, design a stunning mosaic for a kitchen, bathroom, entryway, or garden. Remnants can be further shaved or cut down to create mosaic tiles in any shape. Even a small strip of decorative tiling between the countertop and the vanity mirror will draw the eye and add a touch of luxury.

ideas small remnants

Natural Stone Remnants are Environmentally Friendly

Less waste is better for the environment, and natural stone remnants are a perfect example. Using the remnants of stone slabs that have already been quarried and transported means less wasted energy and fuel. Natural stone is super durable and outlasts other manufactured products, so maximizing its use means less wastage and efficient use of natural resources across the design industry. It can also be recycled and repurposed for construction, filler material, or even mineral-rich fertilizer for plant life.

Where to Get Natural Stone Remnants

Now that you’ve been inspired to create something beautiful out of natural stone remnants, where can you acquire them? Simply ask your local stone slab supplier. It is likely they have plenty of remnants remaining from installation projects that are ready to be repurposed. At Cosmos Surfaces, we value the design possibilities and environmental benefits of natural stone remnants, and we are happy to work with you to find the perfect remnants for your idea. Contact us to get started.

Color of the Month: Ultramarine Green

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-5338, Ultramarine Green! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Ultramarine Green, a deep cooling blue-green, exudes self-assurance and poise.”

Fascination - Green Quartzite 2

One of our most unique pieces, this quartzite is aptly named Fascination. Resembling an aerial view of the earth, the alluring waves and layers of Fascination captivates and delights no matter where it’s installed. New patterns continue to draw the eye the longer one looks upon the winding veins of black, gold, green, and white that make up Fascination. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

A Guide to Shopping for Natural Stone Slabs

stone slab suppliers near me

If you’ve turned to your browser and typed in a phrase like “stone slab suppliers near me” lately, the odds are you’re considering an important purchase. With so many options on the market, the search can feel daunting. Here’s a quick guide from Cosmos Surfaces to shopping for natural stone slabs!

Step 1: Assess your Needs

The properties you need in a natural stone surface will vary based on its application. A kitchen countertop should be scratch and stain resistant, while a commercial countertop might need to withstand fingerprints and oils. Stone used for outdoor applications like patios needs to withstand extreme temperature shifts, while you might favor texture for grip on a bathroom floor. It’s a good idea to write out a list of the properties you need so you can get advice from your stone slab supplier.

Step 2: Visit a Stone Showroom and Obtain Samples

Once you understand your needs and have narrowed down your search, visit a stone showroom to see the options you have and satisfy your requirements. If you are not sure, ask for assistance. Once you know your choices, it can be helpful to get sample sizes of the stones you are considering. Suppliers can often provide samples so you can experience the texture, color, and  coordinate other finishes like backsplash, trim, paint, cabinet colors and appliances.

Step 3: Test the Stone

To really assess whether a natural stone will meet your needs, you can do some tests on your samples. You can test for the following properties:

  • Hardness – a stone’s resistance to scratching. Use a sharp corner of the stone to scratch a glass tile, or scratch the stone with a knife blade. If the stone leaves a scratch on the glass or is able to withstand a blade, it can likely withstand common wear and tear.
  • Durability – a stone’s resistance to splitting or cracking. Many types of stone, like slate or schist, are layered. You can investigate a broken edge to see if you can pry apart those layers. It’s also a good idea to check for fissures (naturally occurring splits in the rock) or cracks (man-made splits caused during fabrication, transportation or installation). You’ll want to watch out for fissures or cracks you can feel on the surface, any that run all the way through or any appearing near edges or overhangs.
  • Acid Resistance – Everyday household acids can cause etching (a dull mark) on stone. Test for acid resistance by letting lemon juice or vinegar sit for several minutes before wiping it off and checking for etching at a low angle. Granite, quartzite and soapstone are excellent options if acid resistance is a priority.
  • Staining/Porosity – If your sample is sealed, check to see if water beads up and is wiped away easily, whether it leaves a damp mark or whether it soaks into the stone. Porosity is a good indication of how easily a surface will stain. Lower absorption means higher stain resistance.

Looking for “Stone Slab Suppliers Near Me”? Turn to Cosmos Surfaces

If you have questions about natural stone, please call or contact us today – Cosmos Surfaces is happy to help! We are experts on the properties of different types of natural stone, so we can provide the best advice on the perfect material for your project.

Color of the Month: Cinnamon Stick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-1345, Cinnamon Stick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Earthy and warm, Cinnamon Stick is sweet yet spicy.”

Swirling pink and umber is how this rust-hued onyx, Red Dragon, gets its name. Originating in Iran, Red Dragon resembles an aerial shot of a desert, a soft caramel with rivulets of bold amber. With its polished finish and unique texture, Red Dragon is stunning in bathrooms as a vanity, wall tiling, or flooring.


South East
South East

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