Countertop - Material Choices Giving Me A Headache - Remodeling - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 10-06-2010, 08:55 AM   #1
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Countertop - material choices giving me a headache

We bought our house last year knowing the countertops were going to have to go. They are just an ugly laminate with a wood inlay around the edge. With the nice cherry cabinets, I don't know why the previous owners cheaped-out in such a way. Oh well.

Anyway, replacing the countertops is moving up on the agenda here. I've been casually looking around and trying to read reviews. I know I don't want laminate, but there are still plenty of options: Granite, concrete, synthetics (like Silestone), Corian. I think we prefer the warmer look of Granite/synthetics to concrete, but maybe I haven't seen enough concrete countertops?

I'm really at a loss here. I hear a lot of complaints that you have to seal granite - so what? I expect these countertops to be in place for many years here, until a complete kitchen rehab would be done - decades from now.

Any opinions or personal likes/dislikes would be appreciated. Thanks!

EDIT: here is an image from before we bought the house. It is the only picture I have available showing the countertops. Note: the appliances are all changed to stainless GE Profile.


Last edited by hyunelan2; 10-06-2010 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:19 AM   #2
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Our kitchen counters are quickly moving up our to-do list too. We currently have tile.
I am seriously leaning toward the newer granite looking laminates, or possibly a granite tile. Not only for the price, but my DH, as much as I love him, is a slob, and if I came home one day to find a drippy oil bottle on the expensive new granite slab I might...... well, never mind.

Three things to consider when deciding.
1) Price. Do you have a budget?
2) What you like.
3) Resale. What do your neighbors have? If you go with granite when all your neighbors have laminate you will recoup even less of your investment when you sell.

BTW, not all granites are the same. Some you have to seal, some not depending on the density. Talk to someone who really knows the business, not an apron store person. Better yet, talk to several.

Last thought: In your kitchen, I would stay with a lighter color counter to contrast the cabinets and floor. Give the room more of a wow factor.


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Old 10-06-2010, 11:25 AM   #3
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I found a better picture, after the Microwave was installed, while waiting for the stove to come in.

1) My budget is whatever it costs. I'm not going to go crazy and buy way more than I need, but it costs what it costs.
2) I like a lot of things. I like the granite and silestone type look over corian or plain-colors though.
3) Don't care about resale. I'm not going anywhere, but FWIW I'm positive all my neighbors have the most expensive you can buy. I bought the "beater" house on the block. The guy across from me owns 5 McDonald's restaurants if that helps add perspective.
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Old 10-08-2010, 08:34 AM   #4
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The last place we lived was a really nice rental. It had nice granite countertops and while I had nothing "against" them, they just never had the "wow" factor for me.

What does blow me away every time I go to a showroom is the quartz options - especially the ones w/ the sink fused to the countertop and especially the ones with the one-piece counter and backsplash - have you ever looked at those?

Sadly I probably won't be doing that in our current house since it's our first home and it's not that big. We will probably be doing a butcher block because it's available in the long length we need, it looks good and it's d@mn cheap... not really sure if that would fit into your kitchen though haha.
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Old 10-08-2010, 09:50 AM   #5
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We put in granite countertop and backsplash about four years ago, never sealed it. No problem. Check previous threads on this site for a full discussion about options. One thing to be aware of is that "granite" refers to a particular type of rock, and much of what is sold as "granite" is not in fact granite, but could be anything from gneiss to schist. Most people can't tell the difference by appearance, and since the word "granite" has such cache a lot of stores will sell non-granitic rock as granite.

Whether a particular type of stone needs to be sealed is a complicated function of minerology and fabrication techniques. A lot of the sealers sold contain very toxic compounds (they tell you right on the bottle), and I for one am very cautious about putting toxic compounds on a food preparation surface.

Many of the synthetic stone companies manufacture their "stone" from quartz crystals bonded with epoxy. We looked at them pretty hard, I liked them, but not quite as much as "granite". Some of them claim they do not need to be sealed. We ended up with a blue/green South American "granite", which my son (who is a geologist) tells me is not granite at all, but rather some sort of schist. Regardless, it looks good, it has held up well, and has required zero maintenance.
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Old 10-08-2010, 07:05 PM   #6
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Are you keeping the same sink. The granite countertops usually go with an undermount sink. I don't know if you can use a top mount with them. Sealing the granite helps keep bacteria out.

Last edited by Jim F; 10-08-2010 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 10-09-2010, 07:40 PM   #7
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Other than oddball possibilities like stainless steel or concrete, it seems simple.

I think you already decided you are not going to put in laminate.

Seems to me this is a question of "Do you want the look of stone ?"

If you do, you have to look at granite or quartz composite. I love the look of natural granite, but it can stain, so for me, that rules it out right there. Solid surface (Corian) that it supposed to look like granite seems tacky to me.
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Old 10-10-2010, 10:36 AM   #8
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There are different type of granite. Many of them are not really a granite. Certain types of real granite like Absolute is very dense and doesn't require sealing. Other stone counters have minerals in them that will absorb more then others. The sealing issue shouldn't be a major consideration considering the look the stone gives to a kitchen.
Granted, not all stone counters are equal. Some are boring and you wonder why it was even installed. But there are many stone slabs that are stunning. It's all personal taste.
I have cherry cabinets and installed a Blue Barracuda counter I love.


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