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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need some opinions, hopefully to help me make up my mind.

I built a house and need to decide on countertops. My 2 options are a laminate or tiling it with 1'x2' granite tiles. After getting a price from the local lumberyard the laminate will be approx $1600.00 and I can tile it for around the same price, maybe a bit less.


Downfalls for laminate - cheap looking, easy to mark and burn.
Downfalls for tile- much more time involved for installation (which I am doing my self) and grout lines that can trap bacteria.

There is no way i can afford real granite, or any other stone (natural or engineered). I like the look of butcher-block but it is also out of my price range.

What would you personally rather? And most importantly what is better from a resale perspective? Are there any other options I should consider?
 

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Too Short? Cut it Again!
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If laminate or tiles is your price point, I am not sure what to suggest. Do make sure you can get your hands on a complete laminate sample thingie and you might need to go to a kitchen place or find an interior designer to have such access. Laminate is what it is but some patterns and textures are not so bad.

Corian would be the next price jump up I guess although last I checked it was almost as costly as stone.

Stepping up around the price of granite? Recycled glass, or even glass, and concrete countertops are beautiful with limitless color possibilities. You might be able to get a tax credit for using renewable materials to offset the cost a bit. They are about the same as granite otherwise. With concrete you can mold your sinks, etc. into the overall design so would save that money you would spend otherwise on sinks. Concrete countertops poured in place is an option also but I have never specified that approach yet.

http://www.vetrazzo.com/

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.trendir.com/archives/absolute-concrete-works-concrete-countertop.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.trendir.com/archives/001053.html&h=297&w=450&sz=39&tbnid=Z_X6d29JX9SsHM:&tbnh=84&tbnw=127&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dconcrete%2Bcountertops%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=concrete+countertops&hl=en&usg=__Y13UfTKfwjh2iWqiEApEt_WmRyQ=&sa=X&ei=--rLTb6SEMjx0gGIi-XmBg&sqi=2&ved=0CFsQ9QEwAA

Do remember that within reason, any money you sink into a kitchen to make it nice is going to be returned to you. Budgets are budgets though.
 

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Jack of all - master none
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Laminate. To me, granite tile countertop looks exactly like the situation you are in: couldn't afford the real thing, so did a cheaper alternative. I'm not sure anyone in history has ever picked tiling a countertop for a reason other than price. My parents have a tile countertop in their kitchen, and keeping the grout clean is a major hassle. Wiping the counter is a pain too - crumbs/etc. stick to the grout and make it difficult to wipe the counter down.

If you go with a laminate, avoid something that is trying to look like stone - those look cheap too. You can get a good laminate countertop, that doesn't look like it's trying to be something it's not, and have it look really nice.



EDIT: one other thing - how DIY capable are you? You can get 4x8 sheets of laminate and do the whole project for WELL under the $1600 price. Brief how-to: http://www.acehardware.com/info/index.jsp?categoryId=1280476
 

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Learning by Doing
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I am also in the anti-tile camp for counter-tops. If you love it, than use it. If you are lukewarm about it then don't.

Every place I've lived with tile countertops I have hated them. The grout lines collect crumbs and stains. I agree that nice looking laminate is superior to tile. But that's just one chick's opinion.
 

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Too Short? Cut it Again!
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EDIT: one other thing - how DIY capable are you? You can get 4x8 sheets of laminate and do the whole project for WELL under the $1600 price. Brief how-to: http://www.acehardware.com/info/index.jsp?categoryId=1280476
Yup! Contact adhesives are unforgiving but you will get the hang of it. Nice sharp laminate router bit and you are good to go. Rounded corners are tough for the diyer though

Also agree with prior poster and hinted in my suggestion to get your hands on samples of all laminates out there. You are not going to fool anybody into believing a piece of plastic is wood or stone so pick something else that is stunning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If laminate or tiles is your price point, I am not sure what to suggest. Do make sure you can get your hands on a complete laminate sample thingie and you might need to go to a kitchen place or find an interior designer to have such access. Laminate is what it is but some patterns and textures are not so bad.

Corian would be the next price jump up I guess although last I checked it was almost as costly as stone.

Stepping up around the price of granite? Recycled glass, or even glass, and concrete countertops are beautiful with limitless color possibilities. You might be able to get a tax credit for using renewable materials to offset the cost a bit. They are about the same as granite otherwise. With concrete you can mold your sinks, etc. into the overall design so would save that money you would spend otherwise on sinks. Concrete countertops poured in place is an option also but I have never specified that approach yet.

http://www.vetrazzo.com/

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl...=--rLTb6SEMjx0gGIi-XmBg&sqi=2&ved=0CFsQ9QEwAA

Do remember that within reason, any money you sink into a kitchen to make it nice is going to be returned to you. Budgets are budgets though.
I have no grants avalible to me, here in Ontario they are only avalible for renovations not new construction. I like concrete but my girlfriend does not and I have no experience with them.



Laminate. To me, granite tile countertop looks exactly like the situation you are in: couldn't afford the real thing, so did a cheaper alternative. I'm not sure anyone in history has ever picked tiling a countertop for a reason other than price. My parents have a tile countertop in their kitchen, and keeping the grout clean is a major hassle. Wiping the counter is a pain too - crumbs/etc. stick to the grout and make it difficult to wipe the counter down.

If you go with a laminate, avoid something that is trying to look like stone - those look cheap too. You can get a good laminate countertop, that doesn't look like it's trying to be something it's not, and have it look really nice.

EDIT: one other thing - how DIY capable are you? You can get 4x8 sheets of laminate and do the whole project for WELL under the $1600 price. Brief how-to: http://www.acehardware.com/info/index.jsp?categoryId=1280476
I am leaning towards laminate the more i think about it, but do like the tiled look better. I am thinking if i do laminate I would go with the square edge, somthing about the rolled edge screams cheap to me. I do not want to tackel making my own for the reason of time. I have to build a deck and side my house, do some landscaping this summer and possibly trim the interior and there are a million little things to finish. The biggest advantage of laminate for me is in 3 weeks I will have a contertop and all I have to do is shim and screw.
 

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One thing to keep in mind with both laminates and solid-surface things like Corian - the more glossy the finish the more scratches will show. A matte finish will hide more use-marks than if you put in something glossy.
 

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I think everyone is all about granite countertops, but I don't understand why. My kitchen remodel Illinois contractor helped me choose a countertop made from quartz- and I love my countertops! Granite is not as easy to maintain as people claim. Try getting anything acidic on it...that will really mess up your granite countertops! That means you can't even use certain household cleaners because a lot contain acidic chemicals. They also are suppose to hold bacteria! If you ask me, granite is not the better choice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think a lot of people like granite for the name and reputation. But I really like it because of the natural look and "imperfection" in appearance/pattern in a way. Another reason is in my part of the country, northwestern Ontario, it is the landscape. I literally built my house on bedrock, which is mostly granite. There are a lot of local colors that i like, but i was going to chicken out and go with black. Something about Vermillion pink, its so nice, but i don’t know about having it in my whole kitchen.

Either way I just can not afford any stone countertops at this point of my life.
 

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Just a thought, Ikea butcherblock countertops are very reasonably priced. You could do the counters not near the sink in the butcherblock and maybe be able to afford granite for the sink cabinet run. Personally speaking, no matter what finish you put on it, I'd be worried to have wood surrounding the sink.
 

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When it comes time to resell you typically can't go wrong with granite. Albeit the are a lot of good alternatives for any number of reasons.
 

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Tiling looks dated, even in granite. There are tons of nice laminate patterns to choose from. In my experience as a Realtor, as far as resale goes, if the kitchen is clean and the counter is in good shape, the laminate won't be a deal breaker,
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just a thought, Ikea butcherblock countertops are very reasonably priced. You could do the counters not near the sink in the butcherblock and maybe be able to afford granite for the sink cabinet run. Personally speaking, no matter what finish you put on it, I'd be worried to have wood surrounding the sink.
Although my cabinets are ikea, I am not near any of the canadian outlets. The closet is in Minniapelos MN. I ordered my cabinets and had them shipped but I dont know if they ship the countertops and would like to go local.

Tiling looks dated, even in granite. There are tons of nice laminate patterns to choose from. In my experience as a Realtor, as far as resale goes, if the kitchen is clean and the counter is in good shape, the laminate won't be a deal breaker,
That is good to hear form a realtor for sure, im really leaning towards laminate. I will be putting a bar height countertop on the halfwall (see drawing) above the sink area. I am thinking I will do something different there and laminate on the rest. I have some milled lumber from a large red pine I cut down to build my road, might try to use that?
 

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Why not use laminate and finish with a wood trim that can be stained to match the cabinets. It looks alot better than a factory laminate edge. Do it yourself and save 60%.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
like i said, the main benifit to laminate for me is time. If I have it made, its one thing off my plate. If I am going to devote alot of time to this I would tile it
 

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One more vote against tile. I have them in my house and I hate it.
 

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I have some milled lumber from a large red pine I cut down to build my road, might try to use that?
It's your house -- you can try what you like.

If you're going to be using the countertop for wet things, then pine might not be the best choice. But if I assume correctly, it's free wood, and large pieces of wood tend to look nice, so there's no harm in trying it.

Pine tends to warp, twist, and split as it dries, so make sure it's fully dried before putting it in.

Personally, I think I'd want something more durable.
 

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If choices are laminate and tiles, I'd choose laminate as there's no grout joint to clean up ... there're some pretty nice looking laminates that "look" like granite.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It's your house -- you can try what you like.

If you're going to be using the countertop for wet things, then pine might not be the best choice. But if I assume correctly, it's free wood, and large pieces of wood tend to look nice, so there's no harm in trying it.

Pine tends to warp, twist, and split as it dries, so make sure it's fully dried before putting it in.

Personally, I think I'd want something more durable.
Yes it was free, i cut the tree down and bought a bottle of rum for a guy that had a portable saw mill. Its been drying for over 1 year now. It would not really be a spot where it will be getting wet alot, just a breakfast bar area. But it is still a concern weather or not it is durable enough, and what is invoved in fishing it and sealing it for this type of application?
 

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At least check out what is available in laminate. The hardwood edge makes a huge difference. I built my house 16 years ago and used laminate with a wood edge. Holding up well and still looks good. I hate tile on a top for all the reasons stated here previously. To install laminate is no harder than installing tile.
 
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