Monday, February 1, 2010

Kitchen Countertops

Today we had the countertop installer come to do the final measurements so our new kitchen countertops can be installed. I’m very excited for this phase to be completed - once this happens we just have flooring and a few other small pieces to finish before the project is complete!

We decided to go with Quartz for our countertop. There are MANY choices out there today when it comes to kitchen counter surfaces. Here are some highlights for some of the more popular high-end choices:


Engineered Stone – Quartz
This relatively new countertop material is a composite of rock aggregate (makes up 90% of its mass), resin and pigments. Engineered stone is sold under brand names called Silestone, for example and will commonly be referred to as quartz. Available in dozens of colors, it is non-porous and scratch-resistant. Because these stones do not contain fissures or veins, the strength of a slab may be more consistent throughout than that of natural stone. This consistency also makes seams easy to match.

quartz countertop

Pros - Easy to maintain; resistant to stains, heat, scratches, and acid. Sealing is generally not required. Color is consistent throughout so scratches are less noticeable than with other materials. The most durable of all countertop materials.

Cons - Expensive; less natural looking than marble or granite.

 

Granite
A popular countertop choice because of its appearance and durability, granite is siliceous stone made from an extremely hard volcanic rock. It is available in a range of colors and is often flecked with bits of minerals that produce a salt-and-pepper look. There are two types: consistent; which has the same pattern throughout, and variegated; which has veins.

granite countertop Pros - heat resistant, beautifully colored, each slab of granite is unique; good surface for working with pastry dough, since it doesn't conduct heat.

Cons - Expensive; requires regular maintenance, including periodic sealing, stains; can crack; can be tough on dishes and glassware; variegated granite pieces are hard to match.

 

Marble
Marble countertops are beautiful but because it is a calcareous stone, marble is softer and more porous than granite. Its permeability makes it susceptible to scratches, chips, and stains and its lustre can be dulled if not properly cared for. Many homeowners choose to confine it to an island or baking center.

Marble CountertopPros - holds up well to heat; beautiful and luxurious; ideal for rolling out dough since it doesn't conduct heat.

Cons - Expensive; must be sealed to protect it from stains; requires regular maintenance; very soft so it scratches easily; Can be tough on dishes and glassware.

 

Concrete
To create countertops, concrete is mixed with pigment, then poured into molds on-site, or pre-cast in a workshop. After it is troweled smooth, it takes several days to dry and harden. It must then be sealed to guard against stains. Concrete counters can be as thick as desired, although anything more than four inches could strain supporting cabinets and floors.

concrete-countertopsPros - heat and scratch resistant; can be tinted in a wide range of colors; can be molded into different shapes to accommodate integral sinks, drain boards, and decorative edging.

Cons - Expensive and very heavy; cracking is common so make sure you hire a professional to pour. Very porous so it stains unless not sealed very well. Tough on dishes and glassware.

1 comment:

Kenneth said...

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I realize that you are home decor-modern design connoisseur :) I'd like to hear your opinion/feedback on our products. Also,

it'd be swell if you can place our tulip table on your blog.

Thank you,

Nancy