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Old 12-03-2009, 09:17 AM   #1
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Solid Surface vs Granite and Quartz


Hi All,
My wife and I are debating whether to go with a solid surface countertop (that's Dupont Corian, Samsung Staron, etc.), or a granite or quartz (e.g., Silestone).


Solid Surface would be a *little* cheaper, but the pricing is close enough that we want to go with whichever would be a wiser choice for us.


At this moment we're leaning towards a solid surface because we've heard stories about how granite chips and cracks--something we would not have a problem with if we did a solid surface. However, solid surfaces can scorch easier than granite or quartz, and they scratch easier to. But from everything I can tell, they are easier to repair--damage can be buffed out with a scotch-brite or other very fine abrasive.


Also, there's the hardness issue. We've got kids and it's just inevitable that somebody is going to bang their head on a corner, or a drop a glass on the counter. Solid surfaces, being an acrylic resin, are not quite as hard as granite, and that, to me, seems like it's a pro for solid surfaces--they're less likely to bust a head or shatter a glass. Not that we're going to intentionally do either of those things :-)



But, what are the opinions here? Experiences with one, both, or the other?
Thanks!


-Josh


p.s. this is for a house we plan to *live* in, not a house we're going to try and flip.

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Old 12-03-2009, 10:12 AM   #2
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Solid Surface vs Granite and Quartz


It's a matter of style and choice. I have both and find both to be great counter tops. I also concrete counter tops. My leaning is towards the solid surfacing since I have more options with creativity and prefer the seamless and cleaner installation.

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Old 12-03-2009, 10:41 AM   #3
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Solid Surface vs Granite and Quartz


Do a search on lava stone. It has all the advantages of granite, concrete, and solid surface without the disadvantages.
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Old 12-03-2009, 01:35 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ARI001 View Post
Do a search on lava stone. It has all the advantages of granite, concrete, and solid surface without the disadvantages.
Hmm. Sounds good, but based on that description, I'm guessing I can't afford it. We're looking at Samsung Staron (solid surface) for $37/sqft, or a Uba Tuba granite for $40/sqft. Both those are the installed prices and include a free sink.

We've got 57 square feet of countertop, including backsplashes.

What should I expect lava stone to set me back, $80/sqft? :-)

But thanks, I will do some checking on this.

-Josh
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Old 12-03-2009, 01:39 PM   #5
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Solid Surface vs Granite and Quartz


Is this what you're referring to? (scroll down to "enameled lava stone)":
http://www.thesexykitchen.com/natura...untertops.html

Quote:

Enameled lava stone is mostly produced in France by a limited amount of suppliers and due to this lack of manufacturers involved in glazing this stone, it is a very expensive product, well over US$225 sq. ft installed. If you can afford it, consider Enameled Lavastone countertops because they can be extremely opulent.

At $225/sqft, I could only afford it if I completely skipped kitchen cabinets and only had countertop. Somehow I don't think that's a good trade off :-)

-Josh
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Old 12-03-2009, 02:02 PM   #6
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Solid Surface vs Granite and Quartz


Granite is not a magic word and all granites are the same. Some of the "pretty" are really not that good and can have high absorption even if they are hard and "granite". there is some pretty, but cheap and inferior granite offered because there is no standards that must be met other than saying it is "granite" (geologically).

I discovered this a few years ago when I had to look at granite veneered buildings. When you look at them after a rain, you see the obvious absorption of moisture. Some people seem to sell pretty and cheap granite based on looks and then advertise a "lifetime" sealer application. A chemical application only works if the granite will have enough absorption to incorporate the chemicals and may not be around when they slowly lose effectiveness.

I would take a hard look at the manufactured countertops (there are several different product names), but they are very dense, hard materials with low absorption that are made to a specific standard under controlled conditions and have a wide variety of appearances that easily mimic granite or other materials. I do not know about the price, but no one gives away a product when it is better than the other competing materials.
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Old 12-03-2009, 02:20 PM   #7
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Solid Surface vs Granite and Quartz


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I would take a hard look at the manufactured countertops (there are several different product names), but they are very dense, hard materials with low absorption that are made to a specific standard under controlled conditions and have a wide variety of appearances that easily mimic granite or other materials. I do not know about the price, but no one gives away a product when it is better than the other competing materials.
Hi Concretemasonry,

By "manufactured countertops" you're referring to "solid surface" countertops like DuPont Corian, Samsung Staron, LG Hi Macs, Avonite Surfaces, and so on? Or do you mean something else?

Thanks!

-Josh
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Old 12-03-2009, 03:47 PM   #8
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Solid Surface vs Granite and Quartz


According to your classifications, I was talking about the high quartz manufactured tops that are marketed with different names, but are high density manufactured products using different quartz/high silica materials using different color and size particles. The different size and color products give the variety of appearances.

Natural granite is high in quartz/silica, but there are other materials and striations between the crystals that seem to cause the higher absorption even though they give the finish an appearance that sells. the consumer.

I would put Silestone and other similar products in the same category of manufactured surfaces but some use larger particles of crushed purer natural stone. They are more costly than the granites normally used. Some use polymers, while others use pressure, vacuum and vibration in the manufacture with more natural materials and some polymers for enhancement.
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Old 12-03-2009, 07:44 PM   #9
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Solid Surface vs Granite and Quartz


Granite -

I have never had a maintenance problem with granite. For resale, granite is the most desireable. I like the look of granite.

IMHO -
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Old 12-04-2009, 06:37 AM   #10
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'concretemasonry' is quite correct about the descriptions and qualities of the various hard surface, natural stone and stone-like conglomerate countertop materials; in the end, it's your choice but one dimension of the suitability of a countertop material has to be - as it is everywhere else where "stone" is considered - and that is maintenance.

There are issues with all 'stone' and 'stone-like' materials - some more complex and more elaborate than others - and no moreso than in kitchens where the variety of punishments to the surface is wide; from the width of the pH scale and the colour scale, from the use or disuse of certain scouring pads, from oxidizers to reducers, from sharp-pointed objects to dull, from heavy to light, from a buff with sandpaper to a full rehoning or polishing restoration procedure, from touch-up paints to replacement, they're all to be considered at purchase long before the unfortunate accidents happen.

To make things worse, there's the whole misunderstood issue of natural stone 'sealers'...so, if a single blemish on your countertop is likely to cause you sleepless nights, if you just can't live with a synthetic material in your home, if you have one eye on the resale value of your house, well then you'll have to make the appropriate choice of a countertop material. Price per square foot naturally enters the picture at the beginning so please just consider 'maintenance' as part of the overall cost. A lower cost material may have a higher price tag in the end.

Oh, and "Banging one's head" isn't on that list. They're all "hard" surfaces. There are bigger issues than that...
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Old 12-04-2009, 06:47 AM   #11
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Solid Surface vs Granite and Quartz


I can't tell if you're saying that you'd consider a solid surface (like Corian) higher maintenance than granite, or if granite or quartz would be higher maintenance.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:11 AM   #12
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Solid Surface vs Granite and Quartz


That's because there are too many variables to be able to say that "product A is better than Product B'...depends on what yardstick you use. Look at it this way: a relatively inexpensive Formica kitchen countertop with a burn mark on the surface is almost a candidate for complete removal and replacement. Maintenance almost = 0; cost: low. Asset value = 0.

Now, a blemish on a true granite surface that causes the same amount of anguish to the consumer as the burn on the Formica, might mean a repolishing of the whole surface. That's oversimplifying, I know, but calls for a professional stone refinisher. Cost? up to $1000? maybe. Maintenance: medium. Asset value: high.

As for a conglomerate like a quartz stone embeddded in an epoxy resin, it's somewhere in between, probably similar to Corian or other solid plastics like that. Cost: medium. Maintenance: medium. Asset value: medium.

I'd say marble has a high maintenance, high cost and high asset value in a kitchen - but that's not the case here.

But maintenance is an issue that deserves to be quantifed with the manufacturer and, believe me, it's not an issue most of them bring up. They will say how great it looks, talk to the ease of cleaning etc but not the price tag attached to the lifetime of the piece. Ask who can restore it if...x happens to it - where x is something you can see happening in your kitchen. If you think that a refinisher is expensive at $500 per incident, then you'll have to plan for extra scratch to be available for when that incident happens.

I can't speak to the relative merits of each surface and don't ask me to make your mind up...that's a personal decision. But from a stone refinisher's point of view and knowing the full scale of possibilities, I am just pointing out the issue. Ask each supplier for a full breakdown of "what happens if" scenarios with reference to their products. And remember it's a compromise because the perfect product hasn't been found yet.

Proabably never will.
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Last edited by ccarlisle; 12-04-2009 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:36 AM   #13
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Solid Surface vs Granite and Quartz


Quote:
Originally Posted by jbeall View Post
Is this what you're referring to? (scroll down to "enameled lava stone)":
http://www.thesexykitchen.com/natura...untertops.html

Quote:

Enameled lava stone is mostly produced in France by a limited amount of suppliers and due to this lack of manufacturers involved in glazing this stone, it is a very expensive product, well over US$225 sq. ft installed. If you can afford it, consider Enameled Lavastone countertops because they can be extremely opulent.

At $225/sqft, I could only afford it if I completely skipped kitchen cabinets and only had countertop. Somehow I don't think that's a good trade off :-)

-Josh
Yes this is what I was referring to. I never said it was cheap.
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:48 PM   #14
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Solid Surface vs Granite and Quartz


Granite is harder than any manufactured product. Take a kitchen knife to a showroom and try to scratch the granite - all you will do is dull your knife. Granite does require resealing on an annual basis but that is a very quick task. The problem with granite is more one of the weight and the cabinets need to be able to support the added weight or be reinforced and it is more labor intensive to install and finish.

For my kitchen I bought some pre-finished slabs in 24x96 (2) and 30x96 (1) size that already had the edges rounded. The installers had to fit the 3 pieces together and make the holes for the cooktop, sink, and faucet, which took 2 workers one long day. The total cost was 25% less than what I was quoted by Home Depot for their manufactured product with its installation. The granite just looks like stone and the artificial products I looked at all looked like artificial products (i.e. cheaper looking).
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:31 AM   #15
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Solid Surface vs Granite and Quartz


I really like the look of both solid glass and the terrazo like countertops made from old bottles, traffic lights and so forth. They are hard as stone and the color choices amazing. They are also lighter in color than most natural stone which is nice if light is an issue in your kitchen. Since they are renewable and recyclable resources you may get a tax or other green credit? Here is one manufacturer.

http://www.vetrazzo.com/

Concrete counters can be beautiful too and you can mold the sinks and things into them in any interesting way. You can pour them in place or get them like any other counterop material. You can do terrazo type finish and the color choices are extensive and near unlimited.

Nothing at all against stone countertops either by the way. Not so wild about things like Corian.


Last edited by user1007; 12-16-2009 at 06:39 AM.
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