Stone counters for bars, restaurants and homes

Opinion: Best stone option for bars and counters


For home, club, hotel or restaurant bars, both natural and artificial stone can be suitable, but artificial stone will be more practical. The variety of patterns available in artificial stone is endless, and identical equivalents to natural stones can be found. A bar with bold stone patterns will add drama to the space, while subtle patterns will create an impression of classical serene luxury and subtly contribute to the overall style of the room.


In a club or restaurant where drinks are served on the bar daily, it's important for the serving surface to be as non-absorbent as possible. A non-porous bar surface won't stain and will be low maintenance. Artificial stone has almost zero porosity, making it unfavorable for bacteria growth. You can confidently serve strongly staining drinks on a non-porous bar surface - red wine, colorful cocktails, coffee, beet or carrot juices. You can also sprinkle colorful spices on the bar. Wiping it with a cloth will leave no stains. Fruit acids or vinegar won't damage an artificial stone bar. Such a bar only requires minimal maintenance to always look neat and clean.


Low porosity is also a desirable feature for bar facades, as such surfaces are resistant to staining. If many people gather around the bar, you'll inevitably have to repeatedly clean shoe marks, fingerprints, and spills from its sides. So, it's better to think in advance about what material will make the cleaner's job easier. It's also important for the bar facades and counters to be scratch-resistant and hard to chip. Then you can place cocktail shakers, glasses, tableware, and trays on the bar, and not worry about impacts. People who quite often accidentally kick the bar front, won't damage its appearance. After wiping away shoe marks, the bar will look like new again. It's great if the bar surface is also resistant to high temperatures - you can serve flaming cocktails on it or place hot restaurant utensils.


In all these respects, bar counters made of artificial stone are particularly convenient. The toughest and most resistant in the category of artificial stone is sintered stone, also known as ultra-compact surface, and one step lower stands engineered quartz. Sintered stone bars are resistant to extreme heat, freezing, scratching, moisture, shock and other impacts. You can even perform fire tricks on a sintered stone bar. After cleaning the surface, no traces of fire stains will remain. However, you can only set fire on matte sintered stone surfaces. The glaze on glossy bars can change color due to extreme heat, and it can also be scratched with a porcelain knife. It takes considerable effort to scratch non-glossy sintered stone surfaces. It's really hard.


Ceramics and porcelain are also suitable for making home or restaurant bars. The properties of ceramic and porcelain bars are similar to those of pressed stone, except that ceramics are not as hard and resistant to absolutely everything. The glaze of glossy ceramic surfaces can also change color when exposed to extreme heat, and knives can scratch the upper layer of glaze over time. Matte ceramics and porcelain are resistant to scratching and heat. The hardness of ceramic and porcelain surfaces is almost on par with engineered quartz, but engineered quartz is slightly less elastic than ceramic and porcelain, therefore more brittle. The straight edges of quartz bars can chip or crack faster from strong impacts than ceramic ones. It is advisable to round the quartz bar edges, at least minimally.


A common choice in restaurants, casinos, or hotels is a bar made of acrylic solid surface. This material is also ideal for home bars. Solid surface is convenient for seamlessly connecting the bar with other elements made of the same material - for example, a wall, sink, or countertops. There are no seams or visible joints between the solid surface bar and its other components. The solid surface bar looks seamless, no matter what size or shape it is. This material is convenient for compactly filling the bar area, especially if there are curved corners, protruding architectural details, or recessed architectural details in the room.


Although acrylic solid surface is prone to scratching and less heat-resistant than other artificial stone materials, it's not a problem. Such bars can be easily repaired and refreshed. You just need to call a solid surface professional, who will take care of everything. The right craftsman will polish the bar anew, and if necessary, fill in a punctured hole or glue a chipped corner. There will be no signs of damage; the bar will look like new. A practical solution is to combine the front of a solid surface bar with a scratch-resistant ceramic, porcelain, or quartz countertop. Some solid surface colors are translucent, so lighting can be installed throughout the facade. In the dark, such a bar will turn into a glowing decoration. Translucent solid surface patterns of white or gray onyx look particularly beautiful.


A natural stone bar is also a wonderful choice, but natural stone is not particularly practical where colorful drinks are served. In a restaurant or hotel, natural stone bars will require more maintenance than those made of engineered stone types. For example, a marble bar surface quickly stains from fruit acids, vinegar, wine, cider, and other liquids. How to remove the stains? Unfortunately, you may have to live with them. A marble, onyx, or travertine bar will demand much of your attention and time, so perhaps it's better to choose other materials with similar patterns and not to bother. If you still can't resist the natural beauty of stone, a more practical choice than marble would be a granite or quartzite bar.


Whichever natural stone you choose for the bar, to maintain its flawless appearance, you'll need to impregnate it. Stone is a porous material and absorbs all kinds of liquids that come into contact with it. Therefore, untreated stone quickly becomes stained, can catch mildew due to absorbed organic materials, and change color. Stone impregnators and sealants solve this problem by closing the stone's pores so that other liquids cannot penetrate them. Since over time the impregnator washes away and evaporates, after some time, the surface of natural stone needs to be impregnated again. It is advisable to impregnate bar counters at least twice a year. Unlike natural stone, artificial stone surfaces do not need impregnation.


If you don't mind the care and hassle, natural stone is a fantastic choice for your bar in all other aspects.

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