I am building a new house and need design advice.
Linda Leonhart McCall, LLC
January 27, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I have heard that granite is going out of "favor" in new home and remodel designs. Is this true?
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Lezley Barclay
Gosh I hope not; I just put them in my house last month!
That said, it really depends on the style and location of your home. Any solid surface is an improvement over tile with grout. There are many solid surface brand names plus other products such as concrete, glass and metal; there are so many options in addition to granite. "Green" products, made from recycled materials are "hot" but you should go with what you prefer to look at every day.
You can enter "solid surface counters" into the Houzz search bar to get some ideas of what looks best in a home that has a style similar to yours.
January 27, 2013 at 4:29PM     
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nononanna
I've lived in France for 20 years, and here everyone has tile - can't quite figure out why americans have so much problem with it. Once every couple of months, you spary clorox on it. Done. But if everyone where you are hates it, there's no point in using it.

I've also heard that granite is kind of 90's, and it's not as easy to use as people think. It stains, it has to be sealed regularly, and all kinds of thngs mark it. But it is pretty. Concrete is tricky - can look great, but it's a lot of work to keep it looking good. Crushed glass is very color, and can be found in lots of cool colors.
January 27, 2013 at 4:45PM     
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Linda Leonhart McCall, LLC
The house is contemporary but being built in a traditional house neighborhood. Thanks for any feedback. I love it.
January 27, 2013 at 4:52PM   
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smusec
Quartz is very popular right now. It's nearly indestructible! It's pricier than granite though.
January 27, 2013 at 6:29PM   
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Susan Flowers
Unless you are very sure of your tastes, and/or this is not your first home, I would not beak the bank on any one item....I knew exactly what I wanted...ha, ha when we built 20 yrs ago and was disappointed I had to use cheaper selections in places.....what I have now couldn't be more different....go for the best on the mechanics...roof, structure, mechanicals, tub/shower....in other areas styles will probably change over time or needs change as your family changes.
January 27, 2013 at 6:48PM     
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Scott Design, Inc.
You can never go wrong with metal tops such as stainless steel or copper as well as thick glass. All used selectively can be very dramatic particularly in a contemporary home. glass from thinkglass.com metal from stainlesssteelliving.com
January 27, 2013 at 7:50PM     
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Norm Walters Construction Inc.
One comment about Quartz Countertops, they are not as indestructable as you would think. It is 93% quartz and 7% resin, but that is by weight, not volume. In other words there is alot of polyester resin in Quartz countertops. In all the of the major manufacturer's care and cleaning instruction they say to put hot pans on a trivet because it will burn and leave a white mark that is hard, if not impossible to repair. I'm not knocking Quartz, I use it alot. Just saying that there is no perfect counter top, each one has it's own pro's and con's.
January 27, 2013 at 10:13PM     
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architectrunnerguy
Granite is becoming passe simply because of it's over use. While once a luxury item, it's now used in even double wides.

And as with any item used everywhere, it can become a visual definition of a particuliar time like the shag rug is for the '70's.
January 28, 2013 at 2:38AM   
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Maison Pompeii Antiques and Interiors
Granite is still nice and when paired with other surfaces like tile and wood it will look great. glass and onyx will be passe as well. Use the surface you like best. Sainless steeltops are very nice and have been around a long time but have a surgical feel to me. Copper stains and needs constant wiping. I think that the reason granite is used everywhere now is that it really is easiest to use and has gotten cheaper over time and there are so many options in regards to color and pattern. It is also beautiful.
January 28, 2013 at 3:37AM     
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nononanna
We are probably remiss in not asking how and how much you use the kitchen, and how much of a neatnik you are. In two different kitchens I had stainless steel counters and a copper sink. I cook alot, and in both cases you could see the kitchen from the living area - I about lost my mind trying to keep the stainless actually stain-less and shiny. finally I let go and let it get spotted, and no one seemed to care but me. Same with the sink - I finally took the advice of the manufacturer and "grew to like the darkened aspect" of the sink that wasn't scrubbed with copper cleaner every 6 minutes. But if this is going to drive you crazy, go with a surface that isn't hard to keep looking perfect.
January 28, 2013 at 4:05AM     
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smusec
Good point Nononanna! I have honed marble tops in my kitchen. They are beautiful but high maintenance! I knew that when we installed them so I don't mind the extra work. Figuring out what is best for your lifestyle is #1 priority. I know resale is important also but so is the time you'll spend in the house.
January 28, 2013 at 5:06AM     
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Dytecture
Granite is one of those natural elements that is so versatile it will not go out of style. The key is picking the right granite color / pattern.


January 28, 2013 at 6:35AM     
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Linda Leonhart McCall, LLC
Great feedback! I REALLY appreciate it.
January 28, 2013 at 6:35AM   
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Linda Leonhart McCall, LLC
Excellent. Thank you.
January 28, 2013 at 6:57AM   
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Linda Leonhart McCall, LLC
That is what I was concerned about.
January 28, 2013 at 1:28PM   
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Linda Leonhart McCall, LLC
Good to know. Thank you.
January 28, 2013 at 1:29PM   
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Twisted Minds Custom Designs
As a concrete artisan allow me to chime in on concretes virtues. As with any material there are pros and cons and there is no perfect one, but with concrete, your choices of color, shape, size, and style are virtually endless. Concrete is also a green choice and can be made even "greener" with the addition of additives that would otherwise go to a landfill. Use the find local pros selection to locate a concrete artisan near you, and I'm sure they would love to meet with and discuss all of concretes beauty and benefits with you. If you would like, feel free to visit my profile page and view some of the projects I've used concrete on to enhance my client's homes. And if you have any questions, I'd be more than happy to answer.
January 29, 2013 at 8:53PM     
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Linda Leonhart McCall, LLC
Thank you Twisted Mind! I have admired some of the concrete project I found on Houzz and appreciate the input. Also didn't know about the "find local pros selection". I WILL check out your projects. Thanks, again.
January 30, 2013 at 5:22AM   
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Create Good
Hi linmc1993! Maybe you will need a new Kitchen Sink, I invite you to visit our Houzz profile. Thanks.

January 30, 2013 at 7:13AM     
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Jayme H.
AND if you by any chance, are considering using travertine for a backsplash...be careful. Several people on here have put it in to find it doesn't match up well at all to their expensive countertops!!! Either by not getting the correct dye lot and/or not having a direct comparison to all of the elements upon which it is being introduced to Ie: paint, cabinets, etc
January 30, 2013 at 7:24AM     
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feeny
There are lots of good options, including granite. Personally, I love my soapstone.
January 30, 2013 at 7:32AM   
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0825sam
We just did a contemporary kitchen and used white quartz. For me, without researching whether it was "out" or not, my gut feeling towards granite was that it's kind of common and everywhere and not quite current. My ideal would have been marble but I have two little kids and didn't want to worry about the maintenance - but we still wonder if we should have gone for it anyway. In terms of personal preference, I don't like the sparkly-ness (a word I just coined) of granite and wanted something more matte, so I think part of it is the look you're going for as well.
January 30, 2013 at 7:34AM     
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Linda Leonhart McCall, LLC
How is the soapstone holding up? Changes in color occuring; ie. a hazy appearance? I love the way it looks just wondering about changes and maintenance. I've seen some matte finish black granite called Absolute Black that looks great.
January 30, 2013 at 10:39AM   
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feeny
My soapstone is three years old and looks like new. Of course, I do use soapstone wax on it about once every 3-6 months at this point, which brings out its full lustre. No color changes. Soapstone only gets a hazy appearance when it needs waxing. It is never permanent. It happens when the last layer of wax or oil has worn off from either time or lots of water splashing around the sink. You can also do spot waxing around the sink as some areas around the faucets lose the finish more quickly than others. But when I wax the whole countertop it is only a ten minute job, and spot waxing around the sink (when I bother with it) takes about 5 seconds, so it is not burdensome to keep it looking beautiful.
January 30, 2013 at 10:54AM     
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Ironwood Builders
I want to live at Feeny's house.
January 30, 2013 at 11:00AM     
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feeny
You are so sweet, Ironwood! You can come visit any time.
January 30, 2013 at 11:01AM   
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Island Soapstone
People have been saying granite is passe since forever. Note that most people that tell you that are either paid or sponsored by a solid surface manufacturer!

Norm Walters mentioned "quartz" surfaces being mostly resin by volume: that resin is a petrochemical plastic and could be subject to wear, burns and discolouration. Read the fine print in the limited lifetime warrantee :)

As for natural stone being everywhere - "even in doublewides" (gasp!) The constant drive for lower prices has made the stone industry a mess. Loads of unqualified hacks have opened shop because they perceived a growth market - read "making a quick buck off uninformed customers". Yes - there is cheap stone out there, with lots of willing rip-off artists clamouring to put it in for you. As an informed customer, however, you should be aware of this pitfall.

A decent, quality-minded stone shop will help you pick a material that is not just user friendly, but extremely durable and unique too. Plus! They will fabricate and install a product that was made with care and attention to detail. Do your research and ask for references. Most great stone shops are willing to arrange for viewings of work in the field. Do not go just by what you read on Houzz, Angie's List or Yelp! Most of all - feel comfortable with whomever you pick to make your countertops. You will be spending a considerable amount of time and money with them.

Natural stone comes in all kinds of colors and designs. There are stones out there that do not need sealer, waxes or pampering and a lot of stone surfaces require only a "wipe-and-go" type of maintenance regime.

All counter surfaces have their pros and cons. I am biased to natural stone because, as a fabricator, I know that it is, in most cases, superior to any man made product - not just in looks, but in performance and maintenance too. I make it a habit to inform my clients too and help them pick materials that are suited to their particular circumstances.
January 31, 2013 at 7:20AM     
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Twisted Minds Custom Designs
Well put Island Soapstone, each of us as professionals are typically biased to the product we offer, a true professional will not pressure you to buy their product or badmouth other choices just for a sale, there is no perfect material, and each home and homeowner have individual taste and styles that will lend themselves to the materials being a suitable choice. As with most areas of home-improvement there are the good guys, and the make money quick guys. Any project you undertake, be sure to check references, licensing, actual jobs performed and customer satisfaction, never sign an agreement or contract you are not comfortable with due to high pressure sales techniques. Compare quotes from multiple sources, the cheapest one is not always best choice, whereas the highest one does not automatically assure best quality. As far as your original question of is granite going out of favor, don't let society dictate what you do, if you find a granite you love, or soapstone, or quartz, or concrete ;), go ahead and make yourself happy, you are the one liiving in your home.
January 31, 2013 at 7:53AM     
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Linda Leonhart McCall, LLC
Island Soapstone - Thank you for your time and input. Great information and loved looking at your web site.
January 31, 2013 at 8:07AM     
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Create Good
Thank you
January 31, 2013 at 8:09AM   
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Linda Leonhart McCall, LLC
How I wish that several of you were closer to Fort Worth, TX!
January 31, 2013 at 8:19AM   
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Stoneshop
Suggesting that granite is going out of style is like saying wood is going out of style. Maybe the color of wood floors or the width of the boards is dependent on the era, but ANY natural product will always be "in style" and preferred over synthetic. Natural stone, whether granite, marble ,limestone or exotic is always used in high end deisgn and as quarries discover new colors every day products are always the "latest". Durability and longevity are the hallmarks of natural stone and the wonder of nature will never be outdated.
January 31, 2013 at 8:28AM     
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