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Corian vs Marble vs Granite


Betts
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Vermont Soapstone is where Martha got hers. This is a site to drool over. Go to some of the pictures to really appreciate it. I am beginning to weaken. Countertops are $77 a sqft. But they have tiles for $12.10 a sqft. HMMMM...

Thanks for the link, fifi. Tiles are a great way to go if the budget doesn't allow for slab countertops. Granite, marble and slate come in 12 x 12 x 1/2" (and sometimes smaller) tiles also.

Sometimes When You Are Right, You Can Still Be Wrong. ~De La Vega

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Definitely Granite.

We purchased a new apartment last year and renovated all the rooms. Granite for the bedroom, dining and living room floors. Granite for the bathroom and kitchen counters. Beautiful stone. Easy to maintain. The stone feels cold and clean to touch, which is great in our tropical climate. I love walking barefoot at home. Our granite comes from China, which is cheaper than those from India and Indonesia. Price of granite has come down substantially over the past 5 years, which makes it very affordable now.

As for durability, most shopping malls have granite floors, they stand up extremely well to the rain and the constant shoe pounding, I have yet to see these buildings replace their flooring, and I am a dedicated shopper.

Edited by tonkichi (log)
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The problem is that I have all of these little spots all over my 3 X 4 island that are the result of laying out pralines and not cleaning up the oil immediatly after they were removed. I left it overnight (I was tired after making about a zillion batches) and the next day I could not get up the oil.

A friend told me a tip for getting oil out of limestone surfaces, which I presume would work on marble also, but I must stress I have not tried it (inherited a slab of marble in my kitchen so scarred I'm not even going to bother), so if you try it, do an inconspicuous patch test first.

Mix washing up liquid + talcum powder to a paste. Smear quite thickly onto the affected part, cover with clingfilm + leave overnight.

If this works, bags I the patent, of course.

Fi

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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basically, granite is fine for pastry, or next to your stove. apart from that, wood, preferably end grain, is a lot more gentle on your tools or china, which won't be ruined if you drop them. and you may not think that you often drop things on your counter, but you'll live to change your idea about that, once you've got your granite counters.

if you don't mistreat it, good quality wood will last for centuries.

christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

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I have hadblack granite countertops for nearly 15 years now. They are wonderful. And, what's this about sealing? I have never done anything to my tops and they look like the day they went in.

I laugh every time I think about the day I had "lent" my kitchen to a chef friend who was temporarily without. He was doing a dish for a charity event with 1,000 guests. I wasn't paying attention to exactly how he was doing things; but after about 10 hours in the kitchen, I pulled a hotel pan of rabbit confit out of the oven and set the pan directly on the countertop. He looked at me and said "you can put that directly on the top?" When I replied "sure," he told me how careful he had been all day not to put hot pans directly on the counters!

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I have to wonder about the sealing part with granite too. Our outside tiki bar is granite and it goes through countless winter weather beatings (being on the waterfront) for the last ten years and it has not once been sealed. It looks as gorgeous as it did when installed.

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I live in a new Craftsman home. It is a pretty faithful replica of one of those 1920's bungalows, although it does have a few modern touches like a good foundation and sufficent wiring. The cabinets are vertical grain Douglas fir, and they match the cabinetry, woodwork, and box beam ceilings in rest of the house. So they are staying. The counters are currently a very nice dark grey concrete w/ little flecks of colored stone in them; the same concrete was used for the fireplaces in my dining and living rooms. The sink is stainless steel overmount. Why do I want to replace them? I hate how I can never tell whether or not they are clean. I have white formica cabinets/ countertops at my beach house, and I like that the counters look CLEAN when they are. If I roll out pastry, I know I'm starting on a clean surface just by looking. The concrete is so patterned that I never feel like it looks clean. And I hate cleaning that sink seam.

So... I was thinking of replacing it with one of the off white plain Corian countertops and an integrated sink that is bullnosed. I saw it in a showroom and thought the idea of having a no seam at all into the sink was amazing. I don't want anything flecked, so granite, Silestone, et al are out. The house really does look old, so Formica just wouldn't look right. Black soapstone would work, too, and even if the sink couldn't be integrated as well, it could still be undermounted. Subway tiles or nice handcrafted tiles on the backslash would also fit.

Other suggestions for the look I want? You've made me think twice about Corian...

PS I have to seal the concrete every year or so, but it just takes a few minutes. I pour something on, spread it around, and let it dry for a half-hour.

As much as I like white Corian (I've used it for about 25 years in 3 different kitchens) - I don't think it would go with your cabinets. And tan is just kind of a really pukey color. Corian has textured looks/colors - but then you're back where you started (you can't see if the counter is really really clean).

By the way - the gist of everything I'm reading here is that people who like to put hot pots on counters don't like Corian. That isn't something I've ever tried with any counter - so I will take their word for it that Corian is bad in that regard. As for the one message about cigar and cigarette burns - I smoke - and I suspect most people who smoke have heard of ashtrays. I can't imagine the kind of person who would come over for a meal and put his butt out on your kitchen counter.

Other than the burn issue - I'm not aware of any other problems. Robyn

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The disadvantages of Corian are 1) susceptible to burns; 2) susceptible to scratching; 3) expensive (hardly any savings over natural stone); 4) artificial in appearance; and 5) difficult to get repaired.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The disadvantages of Corian are 1) susceptible to burns; 2) susceptible to scratching; 3) expensive (hardly any savings over natural stone); 4) artificial in appearance; and 5) difficult to get repaired.

I haven't had problems with scratching or repairs (and I use trivets and don't put cigars on it - so I haven't had problems with burns). Yes - it's expensive - particularly since I had a Corian fabricator working in my house for about 3 weeks and had him put full bullnoses on every piece in the house. Note that I am a pretty neat careful person - I don't have kids - and I don't give big parties where my house is full of strangers who don't care about my stuff as much as I do. Your mileage may vary. Depends how you (or anyone else reading this thread) likes to work in a kitchen - and what your lifestyle is like.

As for "artificial in appearance" - it goes great with my Saarinen table and chairs in the dining room (open kitchen/dining room) - and my white Poggenpohl cabinets with stainless steel handles (also went great with another set of German cabinets I used in my last kitchen). Like I said in an earlier message - it's a particular "look". I don't think it would go well with Douglas fir cabinets. And I'm not about ready to tell anyone what they like or don't like in terms of design. But for someone who wants "white on white" - a very retro mid-century modern look - it works fine in my opinion.

There are all kinds of compromises in life - and kitchen design. E.g., stainless steel appliances drive me nuts because of the "fingerprint factor". Perhaps that doesn't bother someone else nearly as much as it bothers me. Likewise - there are probably people who like not worrying about putting hot pans on kitchen counters. That's something I'm willing to live with. In Varmint's thread about his kitchen renovation - he wants sexy appliances - but is willing to live with an undone floor and repainted cabinets. That wouldn't be my personal choice - but it's his kitchen and his money. One size doesn't fit all in these things. The point of these discussions is to educate people - they know what *they* can live with - what kind of design they want - and what their budget is. An informed consumer is the best consumer.

By the way - I was trying to upload a picture of my kitchen in another thread (to show someone how "white on white" looks). Couldn't figure out to how do it. Is it possible? Robyn

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I have worked with granite counters for the last 3 years.

I put hot pans on the counters all the time, not a problem.

I use the counters for pastry work, not a problem.

I have dropped things on the counter, not a problem.

I have not sealed the counters, not a problem.

it is amazing how quickly they clean up with a damp towel, and the

shine is always there.

The under counter mounting of the sinks is not a problem, very easy to clean.

The biggest problem is the german silver sinks, it is amazing how much brasso we go through.

Otherwise, i love the counters. They will look good for many years. The design is English Country Cottage, not a problem.

I got over white on white years ago. how unexciting.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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There are all kinds of compromises in life - and kitchen design. E.g., stainless steel appliances drive me nuts because of the "fingerprint factor". Perhaps that doesn't bother someone else nearly as much as it bothers me.

Nothing a quick squirt from can of Painless Stainless couldn't fix.

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Granite has been with us for like a billion years. There's granite from ancient fucking Rome that has been sitting outside exposed to the elements every damn day for millenia and it still looks fine. Nobody sealed it every year and I refuse to believe the Coliseum would fracture if you put a hot pot on it. These are the same bullshit objections to granite that the lying scum who sold me Corian raised -- I was stupid enough to believe this once, but never again. My next kitchen is going to have tons and tons of granite in it and in the year 4000 they're going to find it and say, "Hey, this stuff is great -- we need to get it in our kitchen!"

I don't know about granite first hand - because I've never used it. I can say that natural marble sometimes has natural faults - and that it can fracture (based on personal experience).

One thing I would suggest for people contemplating any type of expensive purchase like this is to look at the contract the supplier or contractor makes you sign. In my case - the marble supplier contract had a "cop out" clause (natural marble can have faults and it can crack when it's being transported or installed and we're not responsible for anything once it leaves our warehouse). So our contractor had to eat the loss. Which wasn't so terrific because that ate up a fair amount of his profit on the job - and he kind of lost his enthusiasm for finishing.

I later found out that the marble (which had been spec'd by our architect) was a relatively soft marble - and more prone to fractures than other types of marble. It was very beautiful - but probably not the right material for the job. So I guess another suggestion is review material specifications - try to learn about materials you're not familiar with before you buy them (which I guess is what everyone is doing here).

Sounds like you've had some personal bad experiences with Corian. What were they? Robyn

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There are all kinds of compromises in life - and kitchen design.  E.g., stainless steel appliances drive me nuts because of the "fingerprint factor".  Perhaps that doesn't bother someone else nearly as much as it bothers me.

Nothing a quick squirt from can of Painless Stainless couldn't fix.

Well - just about everything in the world can be cleaned (except stains on marble :smile: ). Doesn't mean I want to spend most of my life cleaning. I also dislike polishing silver - so I don't own much of it. We went to the Bulthaup showroom last time we were in Atlanta and I spent some time chatting with the sales staff about new trends in kitchen design. They told me there's a reasonable backlash these days against all of that stainless because it is a pretty high maintenance "look".

This reminds me of part of a book I read - about kitchen storage. You know those arrangements where everything is out in the open - and the pots and pans are hanging on the wall or from the ceiling? Well they work fine for restaurants - and home kitchens where people are using everything all the time. But for someone who doesn't use all of their "stuff" pretty regularly - they're just dust magnets. And those cabinets with the glass fronts? Great for people who have tons of great looking stuff that they always arrange very carefully. Not so great otherwise.

Still - the important thing is that the customer picks what he/she likes with as much information as possible about the advantages and disadvantages of his/her choices. Designing a kitchen (or any other room in the house for that matter) simply isn't a "one-size fits all" endeavor. Robyn

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I have worked with granite counters for the last 3 years. 

I put hot pans on the counters all the time,  not a problem.

I use the counters for pastry work, not a problem.

I have dropped things on the counter,  not a problem.

I have not sealed the counters,  not a problem.

it is amazing how quickly they clean up with a damp towel, and the

shine is always there.

The under counter mounting of the sinks is not a problem, very easy to clean.

The biggest problem is the german silver sinks,  it is amazing how much brasso we go through.

Otherwise, i love the counters.  They will look good for many years.  The design is English Country Cottage,  not a problem. 

I got over white on white years ago.  how unexciting.

A silver sink? Did you have Dennis Kozlowski's decorator :smile: ? Tell me about silver sinks (I saw there's a web site on German silver sinks but I had a lot of dental work today - am loaded with drugs - and couldn't slog through the technical specifications).

By the way - I don't think a person with an English Country Cottage kitchen and a person with a mid-century modern kitchen should try to have a discussion about aesthetics. No matter where we start - we will wind up in a dead end. I think we will have more fun discussing fixtures and materials - like silver sinks. Do we have a deal? Robyn

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After careful consideration of all the opinions, I decided to do a granite island with Golden Flower granite ( but I wished I had thought to ask where it comes from), possibly a honed surface and sealed to prevent oil staining.

The perimeter countertops will be a light tan Corian with a tiny gray fleck and an undermount SS sink -large, single bowl serviced by a Chicago high arc faucet with wrist blades.

Back splash is 4x4' ceramic plain tile and will be as unobtrusive as possible since I want a utensil rail running the length of the counter near the cooktop.

There will be a floor to ceiling open grid style pot rack at the end of the counter, just to the left of the cooktop.

I haven't put my signature to any of this yet but D- Day is next week. D for doubt decision, demolition.

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Lose the Corian. Its only for looking at.

Hmmm... perhaps I can live with my conrete counters hiding the dirt and never looking clean. I enjoy them in every other way except for that, it would be stupid to replace them with something that isn't low-maintenence. (Another consumer hood-winked by a good ad campaign.)

I'll post some pictures of my kitchen so y'all can give me some advice about what you think would work, but won't be able to do it until the weekend. Meanwhile, perhaps I should get a copper sink with the money I "saved" by not redoing my countertops? Or, perhaps spend even more money having them make me a whole copper countertop w/ an integral sink?

Edited by marie-louise (log)
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Lose the Corian. Its only for looking at.

Hmmm... perhaps I can live with my conrete counters hiding the dirt and never looking clean. I enjoy them in every other way except for that, it would be stupid to replace them with something that isn't low-maintenence. (Another consumer hood-winked by a good ad campaign.)

I'll post some pictures of my kitchen so y'all can give me some advice about what you think would work, but won't be able to do it until the weekend. Meanwhile, perhaps I should get a copper sink with the money I "saved" by not redoing my countertops? Or, perhaps spend even more money having them make me a whole copper countertop w/ an integral sink?

Take a look at the soapstone site fifi posted. If you want to do something interesting and dramatic, you might like their custom soapstone sinks.

Sometimes When You Are Right, You Can Still Be Wrong. ~De La Vega

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There are all kinds of compromises in life - and kitchen design.  E.g., stainless steel appliances drive me nuts because of the "fingerprint factor".  Perhaps that doesn't bother someone else nearly as much as it bothers me.

Nothing a quick squirt from can of Painless Stainless couldn't fix.

Well - just about everything in the world can be cleaned (except stains on marble :smile: ). Doesn't mean I want to spend most of my life cleaning. I also dislike polishing silver - so I don't own much of it. We went to the Bulthaup showroom last time we were in Atlanta and I spent some time chatting with the sales staff about new trends in kitchen design. They told me there's a reasonable backlash these days against all of that stainless because it is a pretty high maintenance "look".

This reminds me of part of a book I read - about kitchen storage. You know those arrangements where everything is out in the open - and the pots and pans are hanging on the wall or from the ceiling? Well they work fine for restaurants - and home kitchens where people are using everything all the time. But for someone who doesn't use all of their "stuff" pretty regularly - they're just dust magnets. And those cabinets with the glass fronts? Great for people who have tons of great looking stuff that they always arrange very carefully. Not so great otherwise.

Still - the important thing is that the customer picks what he/she likes with as much information as possible about the advantages and disadvantages of his/her choices. Designing a kitchen (or any other room in the house for that matter) simply isn't a "one-size fits all" endeavor. Robyn

:unsure: I'm not sure, but where in my post about Painless Stainless I stated anything about a one size fits all, or about pots and pans hanging around everywhere....

I can assure you I am not spending each day of my life cleaning my kitchen. :wink:

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Nothing a quick squirt from can of Painless Stainless couldn't fix.

Could you elaborate on "painless stainless"? Something easier, better than Barkeepers Friend?

It's a water-based spray: all about Painless Stainless. You can usually find it at restaurant supply stores, and sometimes at well-equipped hardware stores.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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My personal experience with Corian has been fair to middling. I had it installed maybe 4-5 years ago, at roughly the same cost as granite -- I saved very little money; I bought it because I believed all the lies about why it was going to be better. My Corian is blue with white specks. Aesthetically, I'm not pleased with the artificial look -- of course that's my fault for buying plastic that looks like granite in a color that doesn't exist in the natural world. But the fake-factor has become more and more of an eyesore to me with each passing year. In terms of utility, I'm a heavy user of the kitchen and sometimes have professional chefs over to cook, so there's quite a bit of banging and whacking and clanging. The Corian just can't take it. It was heavily scratched before my first dinner party was over, and it gets duller and duller with age. A couple of years ago I decided maybe I'd have it sanded and repolished. Haha. That turned out to be a humorous proposition to everyone I called, even though one of the main selling propositions was that this would be a simple process. I've put some moderately hot pots on the countertop and there hasn't been any terrible damage -- I also never work directly on the counters (nor would I work directly on any counter except for chocolate work on marble or other low-impact pastry-type applications). Most everything in my kitchen is probably going to last for 20+ years, but I'll be damned if I let those ugly-ass piece-of-crap overpriced Corian countertops survive that long. They'll have to be replaced, probably with granite, whenever I can afford to do so. At that point I'll also switch to an undermount sink.

My previous kitchen, by the way, had marble countertops. I only ever had two problems with them: first, during installation, a piece of the backsplash cracked -- it was glued back together but I always could see the barely detectable crack and it annoyed me; second, it took a lot of wear and tear on the front edge, but the edge was square not rounded. I could probably be happy with the right specimen of marble, but next time I do countertops I'm not settling: it will be as much granite as I can afford, and if I run out of money I'll put a marble slab (I still have the old countertop, so this would be a low cost process) in a pastry area and I'll put some butcher block in the lower-traffic space away from the sink and stove. If I can't afford any of that and my Corian continues to crap out on me, I'm going to learn to do DIY concrete countertops.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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