One of the biggest problems you are likely to encounter with natural stones used as countertops is matching the patterns and veins at the seams. Mismatched stones can ruin the look of your bathroom or kitchen countertops, especially when you have long ones.

One technique to achieve a cohesive or matching look with kitchen countertops or backsplashes is book matching. It is one of the best ways to highlight the beauty of stone, especially for marble countertops. Here are the 6 things about book matching countertops you should know.

What is book matching?

The easiest way to understand the concept of book matching is to look a butterfly. If you look at one wing of the butterfly, you will notice that it duplicates the other wing, resulting in a mirror pattern. When it comes to stones like marble, such a mirrored pattern will not come naturally. Book matching requires a specific cutting and polishing technique to achieve a mirror pattern.

How is it done?

Achieving a book match effect for kitchen countertops usually starts with the slab itself. In some cases, it starts with the quarry.

Usually, the quarry will send large blocks of stone to a plant for processing. The plant will cut slabs from the block in a pre-set thickness (usually 2 or 3 cm) using a gang saw, which works a lot like a bread slicer. They polish these slabs in no particular order before shipping them off to their distributors and retailers.

However, for book matched slabs, the plant will cut and number the slabs in order. It will polish one side of one slab, and the other side of the next slab (1-2, 3-4. 5-6, etc.) so that when laid side by side, the pattern of these slab pairs will continue without a break. The effect is the butterfly wing or mirror pattern that creates a rich and cohesive look for the countertops. Book matched slabs look fantastic in all kitchen styles.

In some instances, you can also create a book-matched pair using any of the slabs available from your countertop supplier. You can commission the fabricator to slice a thick slab of marble into two thinner slabs and polishing the facing surfaces. The nice thing about this method is you can choose the slab. However, you have to choose from an inventory of thicker slabs.

Where should you use it?

Book matched slabs can go on anything you want to look stunning, but it is most suitable where you have large areas of stone surface. That way, you make the most of the effect of the book-matched slabs. These include shower walls, backsplashes, bathroom vanity tops, and of course, kitchen countertops. You can achieve naturally beautiful art on functional surfaces, and that is the best use of book-matched slabs.

Can you achieve this with any slab?

No. Book matching will only work with stone with distinctive veins and patterns or those with a lot of dynamism. It will not have any significant effect on stones that have uniform patterns or faint coloration, so it would be a waste of effort and money. Book matching works best with some marble and granite slabs that have dramatic patches of veins, colors, and crystals. Choose the right stone, and you will have uniquely dramatic surfaces for your bathrooms and kitchens.

Will it be expensive?

Based on the description above on the creation of book-matched slabs, you can expect that it will be more expensive than regular slabs. However, it is well worth the additional cost if you can get some wonderful surfaces as a result.

In some instances, you may be lucky enough to find slabs that can approximate the look of book-matched slabs without actually being ones.  If you work with experienced fabricators, they can do this by strategic manipulation of the slabs. You will have some substantial remnants, but you can use these for other purposes. Some countertop specialists will only charge you for the actual square footage you use, so that is something you should ask.

Where can I find it?

Book-matched slabs are rare, although you can order it from the manufacturer if you have the time to wait for them, you need a lot of them, or both. Your countertop specialist can help you with this. They can also help you choose from available slabs and create the book-matched look you want one way or the other. Of course, you will probably have to pay a premium if you choose to slice a slab into two, as this takes time and a lot of skill to do properly.

Conclusion

Book-matched countertops are fantastic if you can get them. You would do well to heed these 6 things about them you should know before designing around them. A reliable countertop specialist can help you with this project.

Keystone Granite & Tile can help you source book-matched slabs or simulate the look of them for your kitchen countertops if you are in the areas of Columbus, Ohio, Delaware cities, Lancaster and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

We have showrooms with hundreds of potential slabs of marble and granite in Lancaster and Horsham, Pennsylvania as well as New Castle, Delaware and Columbus, Ohio.  We will walk you through each slab and point out which ones you can use for your book-matched kitchen countertops.

If you prefer engineered stones, you will not need book matching as they are available in patterns you can easily match. We carry the top brands in the industry such as Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI, all with manufacturer warranties.

Once you have chosen your slabs, we provide free professional design consultation and quotes so you know exactly where you are before committing. We also have a quick turnaround, so you will get your products on time and on budget. We are experts at fabricating and installing engineered stone, marble, and granite countertops, so you can be confident that you will get the very best in product and service quality.

Give us a call or send us an inquiry through our website to set the ball rolling!