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KennethT

The countertop topic

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Posted (edited)

I've searched and I've searched, but I haven't come across a topic where we can discuss countertop materials....

 

After renting for many years, my wife and I have finally decided to buy an apartment.  We found one at a great price, but it needs some work... the kitchen countertop as it stands now is tile.  TILE! Are you kidding me!?!  And not glossy tile either. It's tile that looks porous, with tons of grout lines....  How one is ever supposed to get that clean is beyond me...

 

Anyway, this affords us the opportunity to replace it - the question is, with what?  I was thinking some kind of stone - like lab benchtop stone... I want something heat proof, stain proof, sealed (easy to clean), looks decent, and (hopefully) doesn't cost a fortune....

 

I figure this would be a good place to discuss materials.  What do you have? What do you like/dislike about it? If you had your choice, what would you use?


Edited by KennethT (log)

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It has been a while since countertop materials were discussed, hasn't it? Almost all of these are old, and the newest is rather material--specific, but here are some pros and cons from some years back:

 

Laboratory Countertops discusses bombproof - or perhaps not so indestructible - materals for kitchen countertops

 

Krion Countertops discusses Krion, and Corian as a similar material

 

Kitchen countertops: marble vs. other stone is self-explanatory

 

Countertops and floors discusses materials for both surfaces

 

Corian vs. Silestone Countertops argues the merits of each material

 

Soapstone & Concrete Countertops was the first time I ever heard of a concrete countertop! I know at least one member went that way, and the last I heard she liked it

 

Quartz Counters and Stains discusses how to keep light-colored quartz looking pretty

 

The youngest of those topics is 3 years old, and most are more than a decade old, so they're probably more useful for background than anything else. Still, there's good discussion about the (non)durability of marble, and the comparative advantages of various synthetic materials.

 

My parents had a beautiful tile counter in their house, and their sole regret was that they didn't seal the grout so that stains could be cleaned up easily. After 30 years in the house, the grout around the kitchen sink had taken on a brownish cast. Aside from that, the counters stayed beautiful and in all that time never chipped or wore. I tend to be more of a mad scientist than my mother was, and was leery of tile because of the grout/staining issue. When we redid our kitchen, we chose a darkish granite pattern. We still love it. We are careful about not putting super-hot pots directly on the stone, for fear of inadvertently discovering a fault line.

 

Our travel trailers have had Corian countertops - more expensive that what we were willing to pay for! - and they seem very durable.

 

I'm sure others will start chiming in with their experiences, good or bad, new or old. Good luck deciding!

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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45 minutes ago, Smithy said:

My parents had a beautiful tile counter in their house, and their sole regret was that they didn't seal the grout so that stains could be cleaned up easily. After 30 years in the house, the grout around the kitchen sink had taken on a brownish cast. Aside from that, the counters stayed beautiful and in all that time never chipped or wore. 

Yep. Loved my tile countertop. Never had to look anywhere to find a spot to put down a hot pan. And like Smithy said above, never faded, never chipped, never looked worn. Never worried me in terms of cleanliness because you could wipe it down with a bleach soaked cloth without any issues. But I’m guessing that’s beside the point. It is not what @KennethTwants. 

 

My current countertops are Corian and although it has become quite passé they have been in place now for 15 years and still look good.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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In my previous home we replaced the old countertops with Caesarstone, loved it!

Current home, replaced the old tops with Granite, love it also.  For me, the best thing about granite is that I can plop down a screaming hot pan on it with no worries.  Besides, it's beautiful.

 

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19 minutes ago, lindag said:

In my previous home we replaced the old countertops with Caesarstone, loved it!

Current home, replaced the old tops with Granite, love it also.  For me, the best thing about granite is that I can plop down a screaming hot pan on it with no worries.  Besides, it's beautiful.

 

How forgiving is caesarstone if a glass tips over?

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you mean, will the glass break?

If so, yes, it is stone, the glass will break.

 

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Posted (edited)

Odd "man" out here.    When we wanted to replace our countertops, I asked DH if we were rich enough for me to have exactly what I wanted, not what was populart    He said yes, and I picked Formica.   Yup, good old-fashioned Formica.     We have a six burner stove plus a slab of distressed marble nearby where I plunk hot pans.    I have loved the simple clean up,    Worry free re spilled acids.    We have a marble top kitchen table that I use for doughs and pasta.  

 

Marble and stone put food on a relative's table for 20 years.   He was in the stone refinishing and rehabilitation business.    I'm sure that readers here are more savvy and careful than his clients.   


Edited by Margaret Pilgrim (log)
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Has anyone had slate countertops?  From my cursory reading and searching, it doesn't seem very common, but it seems almost ideal - non porous, won't scratch, doesn't need to be sealed/resealed, heatproof, won't crack, not as expensive as granite...

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I'll be very interested to see everyone's input. My GF and I are in the very early stages of planning for what we sincerely hope will be our "forever" home (ie, live there until we die or no longer know/care where we *are* living) so I'm keen to see what everyone likes/dislikes about the main countertop options.

 

My personal preferences run to end-grain butcher block and commercial stainless steel. I abominate tile in the kitchen, having spent far too many hours of my life scrubbing grout. I'm all about seamless surfaces...

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32 minutes ago, KennethT said:

Has anyone had slate countertops?  From my cursory reading and searching, it doesn't seem very common, but it seems almost ideal - non porous, won't scratch, doesn't need to be sealed/resealed, heatproof, won't crack, not as expensive as granite...

My brother-in-law in Denmark had a slate counter top next to the range and he and his wife swore by it but I did not really get an opportunity to make use of it myself. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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Slate is pretty soft compared to other stone. I have granite counter tops in my master bath, quartz in my kitchen. Quartz, when I did my research, was more resistant to thermal shock than natural stone, and it is stain resistant. You don't have to treat it/reseal it like you do with natural stone. I've had the quartz counters for about 5 years and no complaints.

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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I selected quartzite/Cesarstone when I remodeled my kitchen 2.5 years ago.  I wanted the lowest maintenance product available and quartz is what the planner recommended.  I’m very happy with it.  It really is low maintenance.

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When we did our kitchen reno, we could not afford quartz for the immense number of linear feet of countertop we'd be installing. We put butcher block in a few select locations, and did the rest with cheap laminate. The laminate held up fine for several years while we saved our pennies. About 4 years ago, we replaced the laminate with the quartz we wanted, and have been quite happy with it since.

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MelissaH

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First, I don't think that putting a hot pot directly on stone is a great idea. If your's hasn't cracked, you're just lucky, because it's always a possibility.

 

Our fairly new Caesarstone is nice, but I've already nicked an edge or two by the sink, by knocking pans or whatever into the side, which pisses me off, but it's my fault. And the concrete matte finish on ours can sometimes be annoying to clean, but everything comes out eventually.

 

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Remember, you pick the stone/wood whatever, but the person fabricating and installing it can be more important than the product. We wanted a little wood as well, to go with the wood floor.

 

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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My apartment countertops are some material akin to an amazon box, but without the smile.

 

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Posted (edited)

You know, for about 15 years I had IKEA wooden countertops (back when they were made better, I think)...671938046_2017_09_0303258.thumb.JPG.bd1fc4354450b4ca114982f87c7edf7e.JPG

 

As a matter of fact, I had almost IKEA everything!

 

Point being, those wooden countertops served me really well. They held up just fine - I really babied them when I first installed it, but as the years went on, they took on a lovely patina with very little care.  It's not always about the most expensive, or the best countertop (as if there really is one best).

 

ETA: It's really about whatever works best within one's budget. Hence, IKEA for 14 years!

 


Edited by weinoo (log)
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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Friends have butcher block on some of their counter areas.  Well oiled/bees waxed.  They are beautiful and holding up well.

We have mostly granite with some areas of butcher block also....at the eating bar.  I love the granite...but I don’t think I would get a black granite because I think it would harder to keep streak free...maybe those with such counter tops can enlighten me.

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That's the major complaint about the Caesarstone we installed. Raw concrete and certain other finishes evidently show stains, streaks, fingerprints, etc. much more readily than polished stuff. Personally, I don't hyper examine the countertop too frequently, and my kitchen is a pretty busy, small, working kitchen, so that stuff doesn't bother me too much.

 

Chips on the edges, on the other hand, are annoying.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I have one section of granite for pastry, fondant, etc. The rest of my countertops are butcher block, now exactly 30 years old. They have taken a beating at times and been bleached and sanded, "boned," oiled and ironed and etc.  And in my opinion they still look good.  Perhaps it is because I grew up in a house with a HUGE kitchen work table in a very large kitchen run by my grandparent's cook and her helpers.

In fact, if you saw Downton Abbey, that was the kind of table and just about the same size.  

Then I worked in my mom's bakery and loved the feel of working on the "bench" and in the late '60s I bought a free-standing butcher block for that kitchen and I still have it, though it now lives in my studio.  

A couple of days ago one of my good crystal water goblets tipped over as I set it down after drying it (washed only by hand) and it didn't break. If it had been on a ceramic tile, granite, quartz or any stone-like surface, it would have shattered.  

And I like the warmth. I keep my kitchen quite cool in the winter and I can actually feel the cold when I stand near the granite piece. The rest of the counters feel warmer.  

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Posted (edited)

I went through a similar process a year or two ago, trying to whittle down choices and find the best material to use. 

 

In the end end we went for a sintered stone product called Neolith. It’s a man made stone fabricated in a similar way to Dekton and has the same properties. 

 

Its been in for around six six months so far and I’m delighted with it. The main things I like about it are:

 

- total heat resistance, as it’s such a regular structure there are none of the tiny fault lines you get in natural stone or manmade quartz. You can put anything hot on it and not worry. I had a silestone quartz countertop previously and managed to crack that with a pan of just boiled water. 

 

- utterly impossible to scratch or stain. We destruction tested scores of samples before picking the material (which was great fun!), I tried a screwdriver tip, keys, even an electric drill and could not make a mark on it. 

 

- so far it’s held up very well to being banged with pans. I’ve not managed to chip an edge yet which is in stark contrast to the quartz tops we had before. 

 

Its not a cheap cheap product but we found a great fabricator who supplied and installed it for less than the corian quote we’d received. 

CF11D4D8-3E72-4159-9235-305FCA8882FA.jpeg

906F18DB-388F-415F-99A0-6931C5783DB6.jpeg


Edited by &roid (log)
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5 hours ago, &roid said:

In the end end we went for a sintered stone product called Neolith. It’s a man made stone fabricated in a similar way to Dekton and has the same properties. 

 

- total heat resistance, as it’s such a regular structure there are none of the tiny fault lines you get in natural stone or manmade quartz. You can put anything hot on it and not worry. I had a silestone quartz countertop previously and managed to crack that with a pan of just boiled water.  As I mentioned above.

 

- so far it’s held up very well to being banged with pans. I’ve not managed to chip an edge yet which is in stark contrast to the quartz tops we had before. I think it's also important to figure out what type of edge is best suited to not being chipped.

 

Its not a cheap cheap product but we found a great fabricator who supplied and installed it for less than the corian quote we’d received. 

 

Certainly not cheap - I actually had looked at Dekton during my search, and it's expensive!

 

People who installed Corian countertops 15 or more years ago say they hold up amazingly well.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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We are in the preliminary stages of building a new home and have made a few decisions on finishes.  Countertop material is one of those and we have decided on Soapstone.  While it isn't cheap, it looks good, is resistant to heat, and it does not need to be sealed.  My wife was sold on it when she read that soapstone has been used in laboratories because of its antimicrobial qualities.  The only disadvantage is that the material is relatively soft, but I don't see either of us as particularly violent cooks so we aren't too worried about it.

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7 hours ago, &roid said:

I went through a similar process a year or two ago, trying to whittle down choices and find the best material to use. 

 

In the end end we went for a sintered stone product called Neolith. It’s a man made stone fabricated in a similar way to Dekton and has the same properties. 

 

Its been in for around six six months so far and I’m delighted with it. The main things I like about it are:

 

- total heat resistance, as it’s such a regular structure there are none of the tiny fault lines you get in natural stone or manmade quartz. You can put anything hot on it and not worry. I had a silestone quartz countertop previously and managed to crack that with a pan of just boiled water. 

 

- utterly impossible to scratch or stain. We destruction tested scores of samples before picking the material (which was great fun!), I tried a screwdriver tip, keys, even an electric drill and could not make a mark on it. 

 

- so far it’s held up very well to being banged with pans. I’ve not managed to chip an edge yet which is in stark contrast to the quartz tops we had before. 

 

Its not a cheap cheap product but we found a great fabricator who supplied and installed it for less than the corian quote we’d received. 

CF11D4D8-3E72-4159-9235-305FCA8882FA.jpeg

906F18DB-388F-415F-99A0-6931C5783DB6.jpeg

 

I looked this up - this looks amazing!!!! It seems like the Goldilocks material....  I'm almost afraid to start getting prices!

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Posted (edited)

Qualities of stone kitchen counter top may not all cracked up to be. 

 

I like the look,  the friendly feel of wood, and of course lower cost . There is also bamboo to consider. Very durable.

 

dcarch


Edited by dcarch (log)
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Always read the fine print, no matter what you install. From Neolith:

 

Quote

 

Yes. Neolith is made of natural materials and manufactured at very high temperatures and pressures, which gives it a resistance to scratching and very high impact. However, like any other surface, sudden impacts, excessive pressures or improper use can damage the surface of the material.

The vitreous surface of the polished finish requires greater attention since it has a lower surface hardness. For more information, we recommend that you consult the Cleaning and Maintenance Guide for the Polished Finish

 

* Special consideration with ceramic knives: Ceramic knives can scratch the surface of Neolith in all finishes, in the same way as other brands of the same product category and other categories.

 

 

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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