WORKSHOP RECAP: 5 Countertop Options to Know

Posted on under IDC Profile

Lonna Heshelman, Santarossa Mosaic & Tile Co.

Looking for the right natural stone countertop choice for your home remodeling or building project? With so many choices available, the best advice is to start with an introspective approach. Kicking off this year’s spring Designer On Call workshop series, ‘Santarossa Mosaic & Tile Co. showroom manager, Lonna Heshelman, offered valuable tips on choosing a natural stone product that fits with your lifestyle and your personality. Yes, your personality is a great indicator of how you will tolerate living with certain natural stone surfaces in terms of their look and performance on a daily basis. There are also many alternatives to natural stone that offer pros and cons for your consideration.

“Are you a perfectionist who enjoys uniformity with little room for error? If you answered ‘yes’, then you are a perfect candidate for granite, terrazzo and quartzite. And marble it probably not for you,” said Heshelman.


Currently the most popular natural stone in the industry, granite is one of the hardest and most durable stones. It is available in a wide range of colors and can be honed, polished or given a leather finish. As a bonus, this versatile stone has little maintenance associated with it. Granite sealers have great longevity and last 20 to 25 years.

Granite countertops
Granite countertops by Santarossa Mosaic & Tile Co.


Terrazzo is a man-made material consisting of an aggregate and a base material to bind it together. Aggregates can range from marble chips, glass, recycled materials or mother-of-pearl. Once the aggregates are chosen, they are combined with an epoxy base. This results in an extremely durable, sustainable and completely customizable material. Terrazzo can be formed and used in flooring, countertops, sinks, showers, bathtubs and more.

terrazzo floor
Terrazzo is a completely customizable surface and among the most durable options, which is why you often see it in flooring and commercial applications.


Quartzite is a naturally occurring metamorphic rock originating from sandstone. Newer to the market (within the past 4 years), quartzite is very dense and has a marble-like appearance. It is a high performer in kitchen applications because of its durability, heat, scratch and stain resistance. Quartzite has natural veining making it an ideal candidate for those who love the look of marble, but demand higher performance. {Of note: quartzite is not the same as quartz. Quartz is actually a synthetic material that combines stone chips, resins and pigments and quartzite is a natual stone.}

Quartzite countertop with waterfall edge by Santarossa Mosaic & Tile Co.


A softer stone, marble is naturally prone to staining, etching and scratching. A great choice if you enjoy a patina. Marble has a classic appeal and can be honed (dull) or polished according to your preference.

“If you are not ‘Type A’, and can appreciate the look of a natural patina achieved over time, then you are a great match for marble or soapstone. These surfaces have defining characteristics for those who appreciate a timeless look”.

White marble countertop and backsplash by Santarossa Mosaic & Tile Co.


Soapstone has a timeless look and tends to be darker in color, smooth and soft to the touch. Remember those chemistry lab tables in high school? That was soapstone and it has re-emerged as a beautiful option. Soapstone is acid-resistant and develops a natural patina over time. It can also be oiled for added protection – but it will scratch. Oiling the stone will darken the overall appearance. Soapstone blends nicely with other natural materials making it a great choice for those who want variety in their design.

Classic soapstone with white veining by Santarossa Mosaic & Tile Co.

Tip: Mix Your Materials

Lonna also shared the very latest ‘on trend’ looks in the workshop. Designers are mixing and playing with multiple textures (honed with polished surfaces, for example). Also gaining popularity are bolder colors or pops of color. Green has emerged as the color of the moment and we’re seeing more color start to win out over the ever-popular grays and whites that have dominated design projects for the past few years.

Stones and surfaces can be mixed in a space to create a beautiful and unique look. This kitchen by Santarossa shows quartzite on the island and granite on the perimeter counter and wall.

To learn more, stop into the Santarossa showroom on the first floor of the Indiana Design Center (suite 117) Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm and Saturday, 10 am to 3 pm. To schedule an appointment, call 317-580-1924.