Kitchen countertop materials?
June 18, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We are shopping kitchen countertop materials. The cabinetry will be ivory. We are partial to crema marble, but worry about the durability of marble. We visited a countertop showroom today and were being steered toward granite (river white).
I really don't care for the "movement" in granite and am not educated as to the comparable durability of countertop materials...i.e. the differences between granite, quartz, quartzite...the sealers and their true impact...can someone educate me???
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Marble. Beautiful and varied but stains quickly and must be resealed every year or so and that is NOT cheap to do.

Granite - A lot of variety and very, very hard. Will hold up well and can stain but you'd really have to work at staining it. Does not need resealing in most instances but can look beautiful with a professional buffing.

Quartz, Quartzite, porcelain, are a mixture of man-made and man-forced in to natural elements. Hard as hell and easy to maintain. I never thought there was a lot of variety but the technology has come a ways.

Cesarstone - Very durable and offers a wide variety. Needs maintenance and can stain. Trending toward being as (if not more) expensive than some natural stones but I hear that fabricators can cut them any way you choose.

If you don't want the hassle or expense of resealing then Granite but if you don't mind that then look are Marble or Cesarstone.

Soapstone is the WORST. You have to love it and MUST LOVE THE ATTENTION IT NEEDS EVERY FEW MONTHS. Pain in the rear.

I have Giallo Reale marble in my kitch. Absolutely love it but every 3-4 years I stroke a check for about $400 to $600 to get it polished and resealed. I could leave it honed and be done but it so pretty when it has that new shine.

Avoid tiles as counter-tops. Nothing will date your counters fasters and the upkeep for the groutlines is re-dic.

Have fun & Happy hunting.
June 18, 2013 at 7:22pm   
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Caeserstone is quartz, no?
June 18, 2013 at 7:24pm     
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Other possible materials to consider would be butcher block or other wood, cork, copper, zinc, pewter, stainless steel, recycled paper, concrete, glass (either glass slab or recycled glass chips), resin, laminate, or linoleum. I won't go into the details of each because if you are interested you can do a quick google search to educate yourself, but there are many many more options besides granite or stone / faux stone options to consider. When making a final decision, take into account affordability, maintenance, sustainability, and appropriateness with respect to the style of your house and kitchen. Good for you for wanting to move past the granite trend instead of just accepting it as the default choice!
June 18, 2013 at 7:44pm   
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PLC Interiors
Yes, Caesarstone is quartz. All quartz are virtually the same - 93% quartz. Cambria, Zodiac, Silestone. Cambria is made in the USA. Caesarstone is from Israel. I've used quartz slab tops for the last 7 or more years. Rarely use granite these days. A couple of times have used marble or limestone but only when clients are agreeable to the patina, wear and tear, and stains that Europeans have lived with for centuries.
June 18, 2013 at 7:56pm     
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EOS Surfaces LLC
Have you ever considered a recycled glass countertop? Our GEOS product line is created with a poly-resin base and is therefore non-porous, meaning no stains! It is extremely durable, stain resistant, scratch resistant, maintenance free, and NEVER has to be sealed or waxed. Recycled glass tends to be more sustainable and less expensive than quartz. Granite scratches easily, stains easily, and has to be sealed! We have a beautiful white color too!
June 19, 2013 at 9:17am   
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There are ideabooks on houzz on each type of counter if you want more info.
If you want marble but not the maintenance, I would look at marble look quartz (I am not sure what the consensus is at the moment on the most lifelike but Cambria Torquay is supposed to be a good one) and quartzite which is more durable than marble but has that look.
June 19, 2013 at 9:23am   
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Granite Tops
I am a stone fabricator and thought I would add a few additional thoughts.
Quartz is a general term that is used to describe man-made or engineered stone. Like PLC Interiors stated Caesarstone, Cambria, Zodiaq, Silestone and Hanstone are all examples of quartz manufacturers. It is also true that they are very durable and don't need sealing. As far as soapstone is concerned, understand that there are a lot of misconceptions about it in the marketplace. It is important to note that it is non-porous and will not stain, however, it is likely that it will scratch. Soapstone is a good choice if you are looking for more of a distressed look and don't mind a natural patina. One thing I did want to mention is that "Quartz" and quartzite are two totally different things. Quartzite is a natural stone.

If you get a second, take a look at our website. We detail all of the different stone products on the market and talk about care and maintenance and general characteristics of each.
June 20, 2013 at 1:36pm     
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If you like the look of marble but do not want the maintenance, I would look into quartzite (natural stone) or manmade quartz. Quartzite tends to have the look of marble with the upkeep of granite. Quartzite and granite, as a general rule, should still be sealed every year or so depending on the color that you get. Sealing is a simple process that you can do yourself. Just pour some sealer on your counter, wipe it in with a rag, then clean it off with your stone cleaner in a few hours.

If you do not want to have to re-seal your countertops, then look into quartz (Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, etc.) You are not going to get the natural beauty or variation that you will with stone, but it is still a decent option.
June 20, 2013 at 1:56pm   
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I wonder why Christine thinks soapstone is the worst? It's impervious to chemicals, stains, bacteria, heat. A coat of beeswax/mineral oil can be applied to darken the stone. I haven't had to repeat the process in 8 months. It took about 20 minutes.

Soapstone can scratch, depending on its hardness but most scratches disappear with oil. Deeper scratches can be lightly sanded.

I love my low maintenance soapstone.
June 21, 2013 at 3:37am   
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