How does Stainless Steel compare to Granite and Marble?
Because Stainless steel is non-porous it can be easily cleaned and does not have areas where mould and bacteria can grow. In contrast a granite or marble countertop has a porous surface in which food particles can become absorbed into the material. To fill this porous surface manufacturers seal the granite or marble. This stone sealant degrades over time and must be reapplied.
Chipping & Staining
One of the major drawbacks to granite or marble is the possibility of chipping and/or staining the material. Any chips and/or stains are permanent and cannot be fixed. Stainless steel countertops are more durable in this aspect in that the material cannot be chipped and staining is nearly impossible.
As with any softer material the surface may be dented if proper care is not taken. Stainless steel, along with marble are softer materials which require the owner to be more gentle with heavy objects. Although the likelihood of denting 16 gauge (0.060″) Stainless Steel is rare, it is possible if a heavy pot is dropped on the surface.
Whether granite, marble, or stainless steel is chosen for a countertop they will all be subject to minor scratches over time. As with any countertop material, care should be taken to prevent scratches. Fortunately scratches can be fixed fairly easily on stainless steel with a little instruction. For a detailed video on restoring a stainless steel #4 (brushed) finish click here. Granite or marble countertops also experience scratches and although some can be masked with a permanent marker, removing a larger scratch requires a professional to remove the sealant, grind the affected area, and reapply the stone sealant afterwards. This process can be time consuming and costly.
As a countertop material, stainless steel is less expensive than granite and marble. The great advantage of stainless steel is that as a manufacturer we are able to integrate backsplashes, sidesplashes, sinks, drainboards, compost bins, and marine no-drip edges without substantially increasing the costs. A granite or marble countertop with these integrated features would be too costly to produce. Determining a price per square foot for stainless steel is difficult since there are many factors which can increase the costs. Pricing is always determined by material costs and the labour involved in fabricating. The labour always make up the majority of the costs of which welding and polishing consume the most hours. Costs can be approximated by using $45 – $55 per square foot for simple rectangular shapes not exceeding 135″ in length. For other shapes including “L” shape and “U” shape the costs will increase to $80 – $100 per square foot due to the welding and polishing required.