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Countertop material - you decide!

Madflyer

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Looks like we have all been there and done that, as in cost compared to use or resale or looks. Add one more top new house down the block CEMENT counter top. Not to be over stated but what does the wife want! I have a rental and they got laminate when I remodeled the kitchen.
I was asked what my hobby's were, I said HOMEOWNER.
I have tile but center island is Butcher block. 4' x 6 1/2' x 1 3/4 so cost #1 warm in winter and easy to keep no grout lines, every month or so bees wax over night Food grade. The 30 / 5 good idea trends are 5 to 7 years. Now add Backsplash we went to 5 stores many samples and $500.00 dollars later.
 

Boink

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Almost looks like polished concrete! Nice!
It sort of does.
One thing that is really unique about ours (not my idea but that of our artsy-fartsy designer) is that there are no visible electrical outlets. We used commercial-grade "PlugMold" strips up under the cabinets (which are stainless)... that you can't see unless you look under the uppers. A very clean look. Many electrical switches are similarly hidden.
island.JPG
 

Popeye

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My two cents... as always, this is my opinion and by no means correct!

We went with granite for two kitchen installs.

1. Does not stain; cleanup is a breeze.
2. Hot pots and pans can be put on it without damage. Take a pan/casserole out of the oven and plunk it down on the counter; same for moving pots off the stove. If you are more organized than me, this might not be an issue :smile:.

My parents' home had a steel counter, which I loved. Assume c. 1950, but not sure. However: Old-fashioned steel is thick; there were no dents in the counter after 50 years of not-too-friendly use. I believe "modern" steel counters are thinner, and can be dented. (This seems like an easy fix... pay a bit more and get thicker material.) A bigger problem: a nice counter is fully custom, with the backsplash and edging welded to the counter, and drain slots adjacent to the sink. This can become expensive - especially in old houses like yours and ours where nothing is "straight". As JP mentioned, it takes a while for steel to look "good" - new steel is shiny and shows every speck. Old steel has a nice patina of random scratches.

Wood might be a nice option as well. I suspect it requires a regular feeding of mineral oil to keep clean and prevent splitting.

I am not a fan of tile. We had it in our Charlotte house. Grout holds every stain you can throw at it. The grout eventually cracks and stuff gets in there. Yuck.

However: I like to cook, we have active kids and our kitchen is far from spotless. Everyone has a different situation. For example, quartz looks amazing - my brother put it in his new kitchen. But I've seen him scramble for a potholder to put under a hot pan - two hands holding the pot... the third putting the potholder down.
 

gonzo

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Quartz for the win! We chose Silestone for our kitchen refresh and looked fantastic. We now plan to replace the granite countertops in the bathrooms. And yes, there's an ROI for any sensible upgrade to a home.
 

John Turney

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Our kitchen came with 50's Formica with stainless steel edge trim when we moved in 33 years ago. We could tell it was the original counter top because it was yellow with little boomerang shapes in it. We replaced it with Corian, and a tile backsplash. A couple of years ago we refaced the cabinets, and the Corian/tile still looks great.

We redid the bathroom in 2019/2020. The original "harvest gold" bathtub finally had to go. The counter top and cabinets had been replaced 33 years ago with an acrylic counter top. Acrylic doesn't hold up against nail polish remover, so we went with quartz. Easy maintenance, looks great and chemically resistant.
 

DrEntropy

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Acrylic doesn't hold up against nail polish remover, so we went with quartz. Easy maintenance, looks great and chemically resistant.
Yep. About the only 'ding' I can give acrylic is it is susceptible to acids and solvents. Our counterfeit Corian has been fine, the tile backsplash as well. Only regret is I used HD's "Euro-style" hinges on the cabinetry and they are failing. cabinet doors are sagging on them and now need to be replaced. Looks as if I will have to remake the doors too. Unhappy about it! Have yet to do the bathroom sink/vanity, have some of the acrylic material earmarked for that. Took out the tub a few years ago and replaced it with a shower, all tile. Some of that adventure is documented here on the forum.
 

equiprx

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There was a trend a few years ago using concrete.
Poured into a mold upside down with reinforcement.
Very inexpensive and can be polished.
We have granite throughout, never maintain it, but cutting on it is death to knives.
I would never do it again.


Kitchen Countertop Materials – Granite vs Marble vs Soapstone vs Quartz vs Laminate vs Formica vs Wood vs Stainless Steel …


Good grief - back in the Ancient Days when I was young and worked for president Washington, you had the choice of wood or Formica (laminate)!

With all the pro's and con's of the many materials available today, I wondered what materials you guys would choose, especially if you're like me and cost is the most important factor. Some of the materials (granite, marble, etc.) look great, but is the extra cost really worth the flashy look and extra maintenance? Most are 3 to 5 times the cost of laminate, including materials and installation.

Making progress on the 1730 house restoration.

Thanks.
Tom M.
 
OP
NutmegCT

NutmegCT

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hmm - I can't find a way to create a poll, so let's try this.

If you had to put in new countertop tomorrow, would you use:
  1. ceramic tile
  2. laminate/Formica
  3. concrete
  4. acrylic
  5. corian
  6. quartz
  7. granite
  8. marble
  9. soapstone
  10. stainless steel
NOTE (From Basil): You need to start a new thread for a Poll (It's an obvious Tab in the editor)

Here is a Poll for this question:
> If you had to put in new countertop tomorrow, would you use: <

Please reply with the one you'd choose.
Thanks.
Tom M.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Boink

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QUARTZ all the way... no need to seal (like should be done with many granites, but many don't do - same problem with marble). Ceramic tile (with grout) would be very last. You forgot butcher-block. :smile:
 

John Turney

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....
We have granite throughout, never maintain it, but cutting on it is death to knives.
I would never do it again.
Cutting on any counter top, except butcher block, is going to be death to the knife or counter top. I'm having to train my wife to scrape the cut bits off the cutting board with the back of the blade, instead of the edge.
 

Boink

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Cutting on any counter top, except butcher block, is going to be death to the knife or counter top. I'm having to train my wife to scrape the cut bits off the cutting board with the back of the blade, instead of the edge.
Very true. We always use sacrificial cutting boards (and despite all the "you can put a hot pot on granite or even quartz" - we don't). Also, in the case of butcher-blocks, there is a sanitation issue.
 

Popeye

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QUARTZ all the way... no need to seal (like should be done with many granites, but many don't do - same problem with marble). Ceramic tile (with grout) would be very last. You forgot butcher-block. :smile:
Actually you do not need to seal _all_ granite. Some yes, but the dense stuff does not need sealer (it won't soak in anyways, and you end up wiping most of it off).

Suggest with any sample material, except quartz or stainless which do not stain, you do a stain test. Put a little bit of red wine on it (or any bright acidic liquid), let it sit overnight, and see if it washes off. If not, it needs to be sealed / treated with care.
 

DNK

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Suggest with any sample material, except quartz or stainless which do not stain, you do a stain test. Put a little bit of red wine on it (or any bright acidic liquid), let it sit overnight, and see if it washes off. If not, it needs to be sealed / treated with care.
Great did this in the middle of our countertop
Now I have a red stain that won't come out
One thing that did
SWMBO's ire!
 

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I kept a small slab of our quartz just for testing (though so-far nothing has stained it, but we are generally careful).
 
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