Countertop Confessions

When it comes to picking out great products for your kitchen, bath or built-ins what do you think about when it comes to countertops?  Many years ago your choices were whatever colors and patterns of Formica were available.  Now, there are a multitude of choices of surfaces, colors, and patterns.  You’re limited only by your imagination! 

When choosing countertops, like any other product, it’s good to know the good and the bad and also how it will be used.  Here’s a brief overview of some of the popular choices:

  • Granite- Still a very popular choice for countertops because of its durability and beauty.  It’s a very hard stone so it will stand up to almost any use.  There are also many different colors and types of granite, so there aren’t a lot of limitations as far as aesthetics go.  When it comes to the surface treatment, you can choose a polished (shiny), honed (flat or dull) or even flamed (pebbly textured) finish.  Each of these gives you a different look. I’m told it needs to be sealed, but I’ve had polished granite countertops for years that have never been sealed and see no difference.
Granite Countertop
White Paradiso Granite
  • Marble –  Beautiful but soft.  If you don’t like the look of scratches and stains (the patina of years of use) don’t get this.  That (in my opinion) is part of its beauty and charm.  There are also many colors of Marble. It needs to be sealed and polished on a regular basis.
White Marble countertop w/ grey veining
Marble Counter
  • Soapstone – A metamorphic stone, like Marble, it is soft and scratches easily.  It is somewhat impervious to stains, but does need to be treated with oil often.  Kinda high maintenance. 
kitchen countertop on Soapstone
  • Quartz –  These countertops are usually under trade names like Cambria, Silestone, Caesarstone, etc.  This is actually a man-made countertop using natural quartz chips bound together with a binder under heat and pressure.  Quartz countertops are very hard, (harder than granite!) impervious to stains and anti-bacterial because they’re non-porous.  They’re also maintenance free and come in a wide range of colors- some even looking like granite.
Sample of quartz countertop material
Cambria Quartz Countertop
  • Concrete – Hard, but fairly porous.  It comes in any color, shape, and texture you can imagine.  Needs to be sealed so that it won’t absorb water and stains. 
Concrete countertop w/ built-in drain board
Concrete countertop w/ built-in drain board
  • Corian – A solid surface material that comes in many finishes and colors,  can have integrated sinks of the same material.  Not heat resistant like most of the stones, can crack, but is fairly maintenance free.  It may stain, but the stain can be buffed out in most cases. 
Corian Countertop material that looks like stone
Corian Countertop

We can look at some other options for counters in the next post but for now- tell me what you like and dislike about any of these!  Have any personal experiences you’d like to share???

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Countertop Confessions- Part 2