Onyx countertops are quite rare. They have a unique and awesome look but you really need to understand where and how onyx is best used as a countertop material. Seldom is the stone used in a horizontal orientation as a countertop. Onyx is a strikingly dramatic stone that comes in pastel colors and swirling patterns. But it scratches easily and quickly looks old and used. Check out these onyx sinks for yet another dramatic use of the stone.
Onyx is translucent . . . light transmits through it. It is often backlit to take advantage of this unique property. It makes a dramatic backsplash material but onyx for countertops can be a mistake.
Onyx is a calcareous stone, formed by dissolving limestone and redeposited as a new kind of stone. In caves, drip water forms onyx as stalactites and stalagmites. It is a soft, brittle stone and should be carefully evaluated for its intended use.
Onyx slabs almost always have a fiberglass mesh material on the back to hold the stone together. This should be an indicator of just how fragile the stone is.
As a countertop, onyx is visually appealing but has some drawbacks. It is calcium based, so it reacts to acids and will etch. It is also very soft and scratches easily. Wine, fruit juice, lemons, and vinegar will all react with onyx and can etch the surface.
Cleaning an onyx countertop requires non-acidic cleaners. See care of onyx countertops for cleaning instructions for all types of natural stone.
You should seal onyx . . . however, the stains that you might see are actually acid etched stains which a sealer cannot protect against.
I have seen interesting applications such as onyx bathroom countertops but onyx kitchen countertops are seldom practical. Consider onyx for all sorts of dramatic design elements, because unlike other stones, light transmits through it and makes for a very cool and interesting appeal.
Acids and onyx . . .
Compared to granite counter tops, onyx countertops are beautiful and unique but may not be the right choice for your kitchen.
For sealing onyx tops, we recommend and use a fluorocarbon alphatic resin sealer. Unlike silicon sealers, it will not evaporate or go through any type of natural deterioration. That's why the particular brand we use for all our sealing, MB Stone MB-4 impregnator, comes with a 10 year warranty.
Unfortunately, fluorocarbon alphatic resin is more expensive, but you get what you pay for. And in this case it is piece of mind and easy maintenance. Contact MB Stone to order onyx sealer direct.
Natural stone cleaner and sealer specially made for onyx!
When dealing with contractors of any kind, quality referrals are your best way to avoid frustration and hassles. Angie's List is your source for quality referrals, from people just like yourself. And it's not limited to granite fabricators and installers. You'll see reviews from service providers spanning construction to auto repair to medical providers.
You need solid support for stone tops. Here's a selection of handmade, wrought iron and steel brackets and corbels for granite countertops all made in the US. Each is designed to support the weight of stone counters, but styled to compliment your kitchen . . . More Countertop Supports