The Counters Blog

Kitchen Countertops Comparison Guide

Granite is a natural stone that can withstand direct heat from hot pans, nearly impossible to scratch, and is stain-resistant. Blending acrylic polymers with stone-derived materials makes for a durable, versatile, and repairable bathroom countertop or kitchen countertop. Marble is softer than granite, which makes it more susceptible to scratches. Travertine has qualities and characteristics similar to marble countertops when it comes to care & cleaning. Unique to limestone are embedded shells and fossils that add interest to the color and pattern. Also, it generally cannot be polished to a high shine like marble countertops. These natural stones are perfect and elegant for bathroom countertops, table tops, shower and floor tiles due to their excellent footing with a honed finish. It’s perfect for a country kitchen, but can also look stunning in classic black and white or modern minimalist kitchens. The quality of slate can vary quite a bit along with it’s durability so a careful choice of slabs is paramount. Durable and easy to clean, stainless steel is the top choice for the industrial look of a professional kitchen. This surface is made with shards of glass set in a cement or resin-based material to create a colorful mosaic. Cement-based surfaces will etch from acidic foods and drinks and also must be sealed to prevent stains. However, forceful impact can cause chips and cracks, but this is rare. The result is a super-tough surface that won’t burn, stain, etch, or scratch (except from ceramic knives). Quartz countertops are scratch, heat, and stain-resistant and have very similar performance properties to granite. Also, many prefer the consistent nature of quartz patterns vs. Quartzite is a natural stone not to be confused with “quartz” which is a man-made countertop material. Corian and solid surface countertops resist stains pretty well, but are rather easily scratched by knives or dented by pots and pans and can be damaged by heat. Color choices were once limited and conservative, but recently many attractive colors have been added reflecting natural patterns and textures with many that look like stone. However, contrary to what you may have read, most marble is not very porous and does not stain easy (though being a natural product there is variation). Likewise, travertine is not a top recommendation for use as kitchen countertops. In fact, all marble and travertine originated as limestone before going through various changes and transformations within the earth over millions of years. Soapstone will darken with use and exposure to foods and oils. However, it is soft and can scratch, but scratches can be sanded and repaired with relative ease. Laminate doesn’t handle heat too well, can scratch and chip, but generally this countertop material holds up under normal use with reasonable care. However, clear and recycled glass surfaces can etch from acids. Bamboo countertops can be burned by hot pans, stained, scratched and warped from water exposure.

10 Of The Best Kitchen Countertop Materials by doityourself.com

Here are a few of the best kitchen countertops on the market that may fit the bill for your household. If you do plan on getting concrete countertops, just remember to seal them properly and regularly to prevent water damage. Granite comes in a variety of beautiful colors so you’re likely to find one that grabs your attention. Although popular, granite isn’t the only natural stone commonly used for kitchen countertops. Some laminate countertops can stain easily and you’ll need to remember to use pot holders, but you really can’t beat the price. Not only are they heat-resistant, but they’re less likely to get scratched or stained and don’t even need to be sealed. One drawback: edges and corners can actually chip, but having rounded edges will help. Glass counters can be customized to give off any color you want and if you have the funds, you can pay for a thicker glass. Just beware that glass countertops can crack, and they’ll need to be wiped down often to look clean and shiny. Butcher block countertops are made from straight cuts of wood that are glued together. However, they are more susceptible to getting scratched than other materials and must be maintained regularly by sanding down scratches and oiling them. Stainless steel can tolerate high temperatures of up to 800 degrees and although it can rust, it happens at a very slow pace. There are so many different styles, sizes, colors, and patterns to choose. Tiles are also heat, scratch, and stain resistant, and are easy to keep clean. The great thing about them is that they can be made to look like almost any kind of material, such as granite, but without the risk of staining since they’re not nearly as porous as other materials. One of the largest and most noticeable features in a kitchen besides the cupboards are the countertops. It’s so durable, in fact, that it can withstand high heat and won’t scratch. There’s nothing quite as deep and rich as granite, and there’s very little you can do to damage it; heat, cuts, and scratches won’t harm it. Limestone and marble are also excellent choices that offer a natural stone appearance and heat resistance. If any of these materials get small nicks or scratches, you can finely sand them away and apply mineral oil. In the past, laminate may have looked fake or even cheap, but now it looks better than ever. Quartz is made up of mineral, color, and resin, giving it its vibrant colors and strength. As well as the attractive appearance, glass counters also resist stains, heat, and scratches. You also need to be aware of heat, and be sure to use pot holders. It’s so slow, in fact, that a stainless steel countertop is bound to outlast you. Just remember to clean it properly—vinegar and water will work wonders. Tile countertops were popular in the ’70s and ’80s, but have made a comeback in recent years. They’re not indestructible, though, and can crack or have their finish scrubbed off. Solid surface counters are also really strong and easy to rehab.

Kitchen Countertops: Which Is More Durable? Granite Or Quartz? by archcitygranite.com

But which of these two counter materials are the most durable? Let’s look at some of the factors that go into a durable counter so that you can make an informed decision about which elements are most important to you. In fact, if you cut directly on granite, you are more likely to ruin your knives than to scratch your granite. If you do ever chip or scratch your granite somehow, it can be repaired. You can comfortably take your pots and pans from the stove or oven and place them directly on the granite. Granite and quartz are about equal when it comes to resisting scratches or chips. Quartz countertops are completely stain resistant, and they don’t need to be sealed. One difference between quartz and granite is that quartz counters are only heat resistant up to a certain point. It is usually not recommended to use quartz in outdoor settings as certain colors may fade under intense direct sunlight (they are completely fine indoors even if you have sunlight in the kitchen). Both are reliable choices for a hardworking kitchen counter, and the only factors to consider when choosing one or the other based on durability is heat and location. A lot depends on your lifestyle and where the counters will be. Some knives can leave unsightly steel marks, so for the sake of your stone and cutlery, we recommend using a cutting board. Granite counters are completely heat resistant, so you don’t have to worry about granite being damaged in any way by heat. Granite is extremely weatherproof (that’s why it’s used on so many buildings) and will not fade or discolor under direct sunlight. Like granite, it will dull your knives, so use a cutting board. The only difference is that quartz cannot be repaired (although this doesn’t really matter when you consider the extremely low likelihood of either countertop being damaged in this way). So, even if you have a lighter colored quartz counter, you can use it confidently knowing that it’s safe from stains no matter what ingredients get spilled. Most quartz manufacturers recommend you use hot-pads as a precaution. The bottom line is that both granite and quartz are extremely durable.

Pros and Cons Of Different Countertop Materials; Kitchen Countertops by marble.com

Of course, when choosing, you must take into consideration how much traffic and to use the countertops will be enduring. As for commercial use, you may want to consider a stone that is more neutral in tone and color as to match the usual neutral decor of the place. There are stone types to consider when shopping for kitchen countertops. Because one slab of this is large, your countertops can be cut without many seams depending on the dimensions of your countertop of course. It is very elegant in its appearance and comes in a selection of unique colors as well. A downfall of marble is that it is not scratch resistant meaning a simple drop of a knife by accident can damage the stone permanently. It looks like marble stone, is very durable, easy to clean and scratch resistant but we still wouldn’t recommend cutting directly on the stone. It not only boosts the value of your home, but it is also very versatile, looking fantastic in both your kitchen and bathroom alike. Limestone is soft so it can scratch easily making it better for low-traffic areas. If you are in the market for a kitchen for your personal home, you may want to consider a natural stone that is veiny, durable, and does not damage easily. As with many things in life, there are pros and cons to various natural stone for kitchen countertops. A con about granite stone is that, if not sealed correctly, will quickly absorb whatever spills onto it. Marble can take high-heat, but we still recommend using trivets our towels under hot pots and pans. A downside of quartz is that it tends to be on the more pricey side making it unaffordable to some. This is a completely naturally-derived stone that is quarried in the same fashion as granite. It needs to be sealed up to two times per year like granite. This takes the cake as one of the most popular countertop choices among homeowners. Limestone will ruin if acidic liquids such as soda and alcohol come into contact with it and aren’t cleaned up immediately.

Silestone Vs Granite by countertopinvestigator.com

On the other hand, a porous stone like granite needs to be sealed at least once a year to keep it protected. This can actually end up being a safety hazard in the sanctity of your own kitchen. Granite contains crystalline material, which allows for fissures and small spaces. Just to make things clear though, it would take an excessive amount of force to crack or chip the countertop in any way. In regards to their looks and fashion statement, they both come out as winners. Some people adore this natural look and would never settle for anything less. You’re going to be the one that is looking at and appreciating your countertop the most, and for the cost of the investment, you’ll want to have and enjoy the counter that resonates the most with you. And even natural products are quarried from different locations which can change the organic composition of natural rock like granite. I selected a charcoal/grey/tan flecks to go with toffee colored cabinetry. You may want to stay far away from this product based on the above until reviews turn more positive. Not sure how they will get in and out when it’s wet or icy weather. And the fact that the company doesn’t stand behind their product should there be a problem. I also have silestone as one of my bathroom countertops -still as beautiful, as the day it was installed. In my other house the contractor is pushing hard for granite. We discovered about a year ago, some white lines appearing in it. They had their installing company call us and send pictures. You also mention that some quartzite could have resin mixed it. When they did the templates, they said it very important to have a stable surface, especially for larger pieces. Two months after the install i dropped a cheap cereal bowl on the edge of my counter and 2 large chunks fell out of the edge of the counter. Because it’s manufactured by adding resins, glass etc… to the natural quartz my belief is i have a bad slab. They tout that warranty so proudly but how often do they honor a claim? I have had no problems whatsoever with cracking or chipping and they are completely non-porous. They will not stand behind their warranty and blame hot pans on the counter and bad installation. A friend has a different color and has also had issues with chipping. I take things right out of the oven and put right on the counter! I just discovered a hairline crack in my new (2013) silestone counter top. See this page if you’re looking for a very detailed and in-depth comparison. Silestone quartz comes out as the winner for this one since it is an extremely non-porous counter that can easily res ist spills and ultimately stains. As well, without the sealing protection, bacteria can grow in the small crevices that you can’t see with with the naked eye. Although it is extremely resilient to cracking and chipping, it just isn’t as strong as quartz in this regard. The small difference in strength shouldn’t really be much of a consideration when you’re deciding between the 2 types of counters. If you have a decided preference towards granite, this should end up being your stone of choice. They contract out to different vendors and they could be gathering the different forms of counter top from different places around the world that are not the same forms. Respect each other’s sharing – as it’s an opportunity to make a future informed purchase. From the start, it was recommended we re-level this 1972 home’s floor, we did. Nice guys, but it’s scary how hard they worked… like a chain gang. May be a new (changed formula?) manufacturing process that the company does not want to own up to. I have to agree, though, having read the comments, that there must have been a manufacturing change. It stains ridiculously easily… and we have the high traffic edge of our kitchen island chipped to crap! We are looking at a complete replacement… original money is thrown away! I have an issue with the recommendation that granite is bacteria-free – don’t know a health facility that uses it – so questionable in my opinion – as far as marble my sons had it in their condo snd after several years it was losing its lust. It says that granite is porous and therefore susceptible to backteria etc. As far as putting something hot, like a pan on it, don’t try it. We didn’t put hot items on it but it still developed unsightly marks. We have had it for about seven years in our kitchen. He happened to have a representative of that company come out for another possible sale and when he saw it, he said it was an obvious imperfection in the material. Long story short, they denied it saying it must have been the result of a hot item placed on it. The uneven torques are apart of nature, no matter how hard you think the material might be. The marketing says ‘hard’ and ‘durable’ and ’25 year warranty’. It would be nice to see report on the warranty claim rate/denial rate. No need to worry about having to seal them or be concerned about bacteria. I belong to a home builders association and have made my experience known. The two most obnoxious chips were from a basic water glass bumping the side of the countertop — the glass didn’t break, chip, or have one mark on it, but the countertop chipped badly. Neither of us had chips in our former kitchens with other surfaces and both are easy on our homes.

THE PROS AND CONS OF A KITCHEN WITH GRANITE COUNTERTOPS by harkerheightstexashomes.com

If you’re considering buying a home with granite countertops—or adding them to your home—what considerations should you keep in mind? Resin is applied to fill any pits, sealing the porous surface. However, any seams required for cutting and installing sections will be visible. As a naturally formed stone, the look of granite can vary wildly. Also avoid using products containing bleach and abrasive cleansers on any granite surface. The best solution is to clean up any spills or residue from food quickly (by blotting, rather than wiping) and to maintain a resealing schedule. You can have them sealed professional, or do it yourself. Your knives won’t scratch the granite, but the granite will dull your knives. Your countertops will probably outlast the house, and with proper care, will do so beautifully. If you hit the edge hard enough to chip it, you should save the piece(s) and see if it can be epoxied back in place by a professional. A small mistake in installation might mean tossing that section and starting over. If you are concerned about radon in your kitchen, however miniscule, you can test the slab you’ve selected, or have a professional test it for you. Granite’s natural veining is part of the beauty of the material. Going with a darker color will diminish the appearance of these installation seams, but natural granite will never “match up,” so the seams will always be an obvious part of the countertop. Photos of “similar” slabs won’t give you the true character, coloring, or the veining of your particular piece. What you select from a catalog or an online image, may not coincide with what is delivered. Usually, a dishcloth dampened with a simple combination of dish soap and water will be fine. Organic materials left on a granite surface for extended periods of time can seep into the granite and stain it. Selecting darker colors may help, but will not eliminate the problem. Since staining is the primary issue that causes granite countertops to need replacing, it’s imperative to maintain a regular resealing schedule. They won’t leave a mark on granite countertops unless there is grease or some other organic material on the pan that may seep into the granite. Knives won’t damage the surface either, which is harder than marble and won’t scratch as easily. One of the biggest “cons” of these super-tough surfaces is the ease with which you can break a special crystal bowl, china plate, or wine glass. It is possible to damage granite countertops, but you really have to abuse them in unusual ways. Any natural material that is harvested from the ground may contain these radioactive minerals. Because stone is a natural product, the level of radon in each slab will be different and can change as the material ages.

Remodeling Tips and Ideas By LA Remodeling Contractor by losangelesremodelingtips.blogspot.com

It is removed from the ground as one large chunk of stone, then smoothed and cut to shape. It is also extremely heavy, so will require strong, durable cabinetry beneath it. It never needs to be sealed, or polished and will look shiny and new, for many years, as it did the day it was installed. So if you have sunlight from a window beaming on part of the quartz for long periods of time, be aware that it may change color over time, in comparison to the part that isn’t exposed to direct light. Marble is also the least expensive of the solid natural hard surface materials such as granite or courts. Usually, the shades of slate are black, gray, blue or brown. Mostly they are shaped in a standard square edge, with the edges being softened up. By adding a window, recess lighting, you take a dark space and make it bright and airy. Exterior paint is a vital component to your building’s longevity, in addition to adding necessary aesthetics. Many individuals, however, wait considerably longer until the exterior paint is clearly, chipping and in disarray. Many of these residents prefer to renovate their existing home rather than move to an already remodeled house or build a new one. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case, and homeowners may not realize this until a lot of time and money has been spent. If you you would like to hire a contractor but don’t know how to find the right contractor, we suggest you start by looking online. We provide prompt and professional attention to the project from start to finish. From color choices to materials such as the type of counter top, flooring and cabinets. To make an informed decision, its important to know the differences between the two. Ready made cabinets also known as “stock cabinets” are usually made ahead of time and stocked by a distributer ready for sale. One downside of quartz to be aware of, is they may change color when exposed to light. Marble has no problem with heat where a lot of baking is done. Even when sealed properly, marble can stain, if acidic foods such as red wine or tomato sauce is spilled and left on for a period of time, even if it has been sealed properly. You may be used to seeing slate used in flooring, or roofing and other exterior areas. Slate actually does not soak up stains as marble does, nor does it chip or crack easily, is heat resistant and needs very little maintenance. There aren’t as many color choices as granite or quartzite though. It has the spacious yard to enjoy, the neighborhood you like, and its close to your work, family and friends! Although people know the attic to be a dark, and dungeon like place, this all changes with a complete attic conversion. The exterior of your home or business, is exposed, at all times; to a wide-range of weather! For optimal performance and look, it’s recommended that home’s undergo exterior paint jobs every 6-8 years depending on the quality of paint used. It would be imprudent to have your home or office exterior painted without a proper inspection. These homeowners may feel that by doing some of the renovations themselves, they will save money. Many people feel that after watching numerous do-it-yourself videos or a certain number of home improvement episodes that renovating should be easy. With the rising costs of materials that are needed for renovations, finding a reputable and experienced remodeling contractor can actually save you money. Plus, a licensed contractor is familiar with all of the city permits and safety codes, which allows the job to be done correctly the first time, avoiding any costly mistakes. Most of the time, water damage goes unnoticed due to not being seen, which is why many are noticed leading to more costly issues. Once you have decided to invest in your kitchen and have it remodeled, the first thing to choose and decide is whether you want to purchase ready made cabinets or have cabinets for your kitchen remodel custom built to suit your taste. These cabinets come in specified pre made sizes ranging from 9” to 48” in width, usually in 3” increments.

Granite and Stone by granitecountertops.co.za

Varying amounts of minerals present in the limestone during re-crystallization affect the mineral composition of each marble that forms, contributing to the interesting array of colours and patterns. These slabs are polished and distributed to stone suppliers. Generally the darker marbles, like serpentine marble, are harder and less porous, making them more scratch and stain resistant. To prevent scratching, use cutting boards and avoid scraping heavy object across the top. If you intend using chemicals on the surface, we recommend that you confirm with your stone fabricator that the surface type is resistant to the chemicals. This makes marble unpractical for use in the kitchen, unless ultra care is taken with the use of cutting boards to protect the surface from scratching. Stone fabricators should apply a quality sealant before and after the installation of your marble countertops. Marble elegance is has a small crystalline structure with veins of colour running through it. Marble that has limonite is yellow, and marble with serpentine is green. The veining patterns in marble are caused from silt, sand, clay and other impurities that were in the original limestone before it transformed into marble. Unfortunately, due to the soft nature of the stone, marble can scratch. If you are determined to have the smooth luxurious look of marble in your home, then rather consider installing marble in the bathroom and granite or eng ineered stone in the kitchen. With a wide variety of colours and beautiful soft patterns, marble give a bathroom a warm elegant ambiance. Marble is mined from quarries around the world in large blocks that are then cut into slabs. After you have made a list of your favourite colours the next step will be to visit the stone show rooms to see the stone slabs in person. Seeing the marble slabs in person is a very important, exciting, step in the process and will ensure that you make the right colour choice for your project before getting quotes from the stone fabricators. Prices have reduced due to technological advances, improved methods of quarrying, and widespread popularity. The stone is also porous and will stain if spills are not wiped up quickly. This will create a harmonious interesting balance in your home.

Butcher Block Countertops Pros and Cons by bobvila.com

To find out if this material right for your kitchen, read through this comprehensive list of butcher block countertop pros and cons before committing to an installation. For context, let’s compare that to another trendy countertop material like quartz. Wood can gather germs, grow mold, stain, or even warp in shape when exposed to moisture. These non-toxic sealants create barriers that keep spills collected on the surface and thus prevent water damage. While soap can streak or spot shiny glass or stainless countertops and acid-based cleaners can erode quartz countertops, both are safe to use on a butcher block. For everyday cleaning of butcher block countertops, scrape off food debris with a plastic spatula, then use a dish sponge saturated in a solution of two cups warm water and one teaspoon dish soap to wipe away the residue. Plus, it’s capable of both cleaning and disinfecting the countertop. One way that homeowners prematurely wear their butcher block countertops is by using them as cutting boards. Knife blades can cause uneven wear on certain regions of your countertop, so use a dedicated cutting board for cooking prep work, instead. You can use this same solution to remove burn marks on the countertop left by a hot pot. Unlike uniform countertops of glass or stainless steel, butcher block allows you to customize the hue and pattern of your countertop through your choice of wood and wood grain. Teak and cherry wood confer a dark and dramatic effect; oak evokes a classic, colonial feel; and blonde bamboo is an excellent option for a modern sustainable home. The two primary types of grains are edge grain and end grain. If these butcher block countertop pros and cons leave you thinking that wood isn’t the best fit for your future kitchen, consider installing one of these other countertop materials. Weigh these key considerations before updating your entire kitchen with butcher block countertops so you can feel confident in your decision. But its warm tones and “country kitchen” vibes aside, there is a lot about the surface that homeowners don’t know—including real estimates on its cost and required maintenance. You can save even more money by choosing a do-it-yourself installation over hiring contractors to do the job. You’ve likely been warned to keep wood out of the bathroom because of how it reacts to water. Being softer and more yielding than glass, granite, and stone, butcher block countertops are more vulnerable to scratches and dents. Despite the name “butcher block,” you’d do well to resist the urge to chop directly on its surface. If a wayward knife stroke dents the countertop, sand down the dent with a fine-grit sandpaper (220-grit or greater) and then apply mineral oil to the spot. You can choose from a variety of hardwoods, each lending a distinct color and character to the countertops and your kitchen’s overall scheme. You can further define the look of the space through your choice of wood grain, or the pattern visible on the surface of your butcher block countertop. The surface of end grain butcher blocks looks like a checkerboard comprising the short ends of a 2×4. This gives it a major advantage over laminate countertops (which typically last for only 10 to 15 years before an inevitable replacement) and puts it on par with the ever-durable granite countertops (which also last at least 20 years).

Sources:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *