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    Thread: Kitchen Countertops other than granite...

    1. Member imallstressed's Avatar
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      01-11-2011 09:14 PM #1
      Hi. We are planning a new kitchen in the near future. I was exploring different options for countertops ie. recycled glass, concrete, llimestone, soapstone,and so forth. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of countertop? Price is also somewhat of a factor. I know of a local place where I can choose from a bunch of colors of granite for less than 50.00 per sq. ft. installed. We wanted something more different, though.

      Also, we are going with a more modern look in the kitchen. Cabinets will be similar to a slab or shaker style.
      Last edited by imallstressed; 01-11-2011 at 09:27 PM.
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    2. Member GeoffD's Avatar
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      01-12-2011 02:48 AM #2
      Personally, I don't like granite. It's cold. It breaks crystal if you knock over a glass. It screams the nuveau riche McMansion cliché. I prefer Corian.

    3. Senior Member Hostile's Avatar
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      01-12-2011 09:36 AM #3
      When we were building our house we originally planned on putting on Corian but the builder didn't have a color we liked and due to pricing they had from their granite supplier it turned out to be cheaper to have granite put in.

      As for the McMansion cliche- there are 100s of varieties of granites in all types of colors but you commonly see the same 10 or so colors. Just choose a more unique one.

      Recycled glass would be pretty cool.
      Last edited by Hostile; 01-12-2011 at 09:39 AM.

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      01-12-2011 09:46 AM #4
      We put Corian in our kitchen and love it. We were going to go with the granite and like the look of the Corian better because it gives great updated look, but not so cookie cutter.

    5. 01-12-2011 10:50 AM #5
      My Kitchen has soapstone, which is very dark gray.

    6. Member Grinder's Avatar
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      01-12-2011 11:19 AM #6
      Our Kitchen also has soapstone. Ours has lots of lighter tremolite in it making it easier to scratch but lots of veining. The scratches seem to disappear when oiled or sooner. A few chips from dropping things have stayed around but are easy to live with. I think that it would chip more if we had an undermount sink.

      Not sure that it has a modern look though.

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      01-12-2011 11:39 AM #7
      If you're thinking about recycled glass, look at Icestone. Some really nice stuff from what I've seen.

    8. Member imallstressed's Avatar
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      01-12-2011 04:08 PM #8
      Update... After hours of reading online last night and talking to people, I have decded to rule out concrete. I was quoted over 150 per square foot!!!!

      I read a lot about soapstone and talked to a company that sells, fabricates and installs it today. There are some things about soapstone that I really like. You can put a put directly from the stove on it. It is impervious to staining, therefore it doesnt have to be sealed. The oil is to only alter the color. I like the grey tones with the veins in them. Apparently there are black and green shades, also. I would deinitely want to go with an undermount sink. I like the look of the stainless undermounts. Apparently when you scratch it, you are only removing the oil from the surface and you can re-oil it to hide the scratch. From what I've read, deeper scratches can be sanded out.

      I am going to look at some soapstone within the next couple of weeks, and I will try to come up with some sort of decision then. I have yet to actually see it in a real live kitchen.
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      01-13-2011 09:13 AM #9
      we were looking at countertops and decided that we would do a 2-part countertop system.

      corian is great, but not heat resistant. however, it does not need ANY maintenance.
      we will use this for all countertops around the sink and prep areas.

      silestone is heat resistant, and while expensive, less so than granite. it too needs far less maintenance than granite. we will use this on either side of the cooking area.

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      01-13-2011 09:43 AM #10
      Corian does scratch, but they sell buffer pads at HD and other places and the scratches come out like nothing. About being heat resistant, unless you are sitting a pot right on the counter without a towel or something, it's going to be fine.

      just fyi

    11. Senior Member Hostile's Avatar
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      01-13-2011 10:18 AM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by sirswank View Post
      it too needs far less maintenance than granite
      Huh? You have to seal granite counter tops once, maybe twice a year. It takes 10-15 minutes.

    12. 01-13-2011 10:19 AM #12
      Not to dissuade you from other choices but in my opinion the best countertop material is the man made quartz products from a variety of manufacturers. If you are trying to get something that doesn't "look" like granite they have some pretty cool options that really have a nice style to them.

      BRENT

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      01-13-2011 01:06 PM #13
      With soapstone, the darker, the more scratch resistant. You do scratch more than the oil, but oil hides it well. A chip could also be repaired by mixing epoxy and stone dust, then sanding out. We are happy with ours, especially that warm and soft look that it has without a high gloss and lots of veining and things going on.

    14. Member titleist1976's Avatar
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      01-13-2011 01:21 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by sirswank View Post
      silestone is heat resistant, and while expensive, less so than granite. it too needs far less maintenance than granite. we will use this on either side of the cooking area.
      We love our silestone.

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      01-13-2011 01:32 PM #15
      We just went to Granite on a new island and redo our formica counter tops. we bought a real unique slab. Thing looks awesome.

      We looked at recycled materials for tops and they wanted like 90 bucks a sq ft for ground up tires and what not. We passed

      Our Granite was like 95 bucks a sq but it was well worth it. Definatley added value to the house

    16. Member audicoupej's Avatar
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      01-13-2011 01:58 PM #16
      There are several options to recycled glass.

      As was mentioned above, Icestone makes a cement based recycled glass counter top.

      It is basically terrazzo (poured marble), which has been around for thousands of years. It was originally used as floors (and still is).

      Terrazzo is either cement based (as Icestone) or epoxy based.

      The cement based can scratch (use a cutting board) and is slightly porus so it does require some maintenance like granite. However it should handle hot items with ease although I'd still recommend a heat trivet regardless of what material you decide to use since the sealers can be affected by heat.

      My family has a commercial Tile and Terrazzo business so when I bought my house I decided to make an epoxy terrazzo countertop. The epoxy is anti microbial and can be had in any color you want. The aggregrate in typical terrazzo is marble chips. Sometimes mother of pearl (crushed seashells) and recycled glass is used as well. There are many various materials that can be used for the aggregate (marble, glass, porcelain, granite, quartz, metals, even some glow in the dark aggregates).

      I chose to used mother of pearl and mirror in mine. The mother of pearl has various white, blue and green shades of pearlescents. The mirror just looks good since it reflects indirect lighting well and gives it a sparkle.

      Here is my crude example:







      If you have any questions PM me. I think no matter what you get it will change your kitchen dramatically and you will enjoy it.
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      01-13-2011 02:21 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by audicoupej View Post
      Here is my crude example:
      That looks real nice.

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      01-13-2011 06:19 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by Hostile View Post
      Huh? You have to seal granite counter tops once, maybe twice a year. It takes 10-15 minutes.
      prolly, but thats still more than i care to do. also, doesn't the frequency of sealing depend on how much you use and wash it? with kids, that can be a lot.

    19. Member audicoupej's Avatar
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      01-13-2011 08:15 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by Hostile View Post
      That looks real nice.
      Thanks.

      I like it but I'm not satisfied. I plan on refinishing them this year to improve the overall appearance. The good thing is I've had it installed for 2+ years and so far so good.

      I made them out of extra materials sitting around the shop and finished them with grits normally used on floors. The final grit was 120. I plan on refinishing up to somewhere in the 1000-3000 grit range.
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    20. Member GeoffD's Avatar
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      01-14-2011 01:03 AM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by Hostile View Post
      As for the McMansion cliche- there are 100s of varieties of granites in all types of colors but you commonly see the same 10 or so colors. Just choose a more unique one.
      That's entirely personal taste. I don't care how unique it is, I just don't like the look of granite and I don't like working on the surface. If I were expecting to sell my house, I'd use granite because that is what people expect in a high end kitchen. I have white corian. It's the look and feel I like. I also like butcher block but that's a lot more care & feeding than corian.

      My range has cast iron enamel grates on the whole cooking surface. I really have no need to ever put a glowing-red pot on the counter.

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      01-14-2011 07:42 AM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by sirswank View Post
      silestone is heat resistant, and while expensive, less so than granite. it too needs far less maintenance than granite. we will use this on either side of the cooking area.
      Huh? We've had granite in our kitchen for at least 10, maybe 15 years. We've never done anything to it other than normal cleaning. It still looks as good as the day it was installed.

    22. 01-14-2011 11:08 AM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by imallstressed View Post
      Update... After hours of reading online last night and talking to people, I have decded to rule out concrete. I was quoted over 150 per square foot!!!!
      I'm shocked, we got our concrete counters for $65 sq/ft installed with all plumbing hook ups done. Granted we did find a guy that had only had his business for about a year but I would suggest shopping around a bit more if you like concrete.
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    23. 01-14-2011 07:52 PM #23
      I have no idea how durable this is but I like the look a lot


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      01-14-2011 09:48 PM #24
      A buddy of mine just redid his kitchen and used a product called Paperstone that is manufactured in the town that he lives in.

      He bought his as factory seconds and saved a bunch and was able to parts of the kitchen that he wasn't going to. He also got enough material to make counter tops for his workbenches in his garage.

      I really liked the look and feel of it and I took a sample piece back to my wife and she really liked it also!
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      01-15-2011 05:23 PM #25
      poured concrete looks dope.

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      01-16-2011 12:33 AM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by spockcat View Post
      Huh? We've had granite in our kitchen for at least 10, maybe 15 years. We've never done anything to it other than normal cleaning. It still looks as good as the day it was installed.
      I like Silestone, because of the homogeneous look, but yeah... it is no more maintenance free than granite. Afterall... it is granite (i.e. Silestone is quartz, which is 10% binder and the rest is leftover granite from MFG processes. Or at least that is what I read.).

      I much prefer quartz over Corian-like products, which are seriously $$$... more so it seems than quartz and it is far more binder material than filler. It damages easier than quartz.

      But it is all about what you like aesthetically for the most part. That usually is the #1 priority and given that... the difference in anything you choose isn't that much in terms of care IMHO. Well... maybe except butcherblock and concrete.

      BTW... look for the store's REMNANTS, which are leftover pieces. They price them cheaper and if the housing industry is taking a hit in your neck of the woods like mine, you may find SF prices as low as $20.

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      01-16-2011 12:36 AM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by BlackGTiTurbo View Post
      I have no idea how durable this is but I like the look a lot

      Holy ****! Is that glass??? If so that must weigh a TON!!!

    28. Senior Member dunhamjr's Avatar
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      01-16-2011 03:16 AM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by uncleho View Post
      Holy ****! Is that glass??? If so that must weigh a TON!!!
      probably heavy yes.

      but is glass really any more heavy then granite, limestone or concrete? i wouldn't have thought so.
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    29. 01-16-2011 10:25 AM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by uncleho View Post
      Holy ****! Is that glass??? If so that must weigh a TON!!!
      My exact thoughts when I first saw Glass in a home design mag. I have yet to see something like this in person so who really knows, but in photos the Glass is stunning.

      That Paperstone actually looks really nice.


      We will probably be doing countertops in the the next 12 months too. I love that their are so many options these days for upgrades.

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      01-17-2011 12:02 PM #30
      mine:

    31. 01-17-2011 12:26 PM #31
      ^ What exactly is that and what's the upkeep like?

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      01-17-2011 03:55 PM #32
      We used Caesarstone quartz. Don't have a close-up pic, but the pattern is a lot like terrazo. We love it and would use it again in our next kitchen.


      DSC_0678 by robcrawford, on Flickr

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      01-20-2011 10:26 AM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by BlackGTiTurbo View Post
      ^ What exactly is that and what's the upkeep like?
      its tigerwood. upkeep is basically a furniture cream once a month after cleaning, which makes it shiny and keeps it oiled.

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      01-23-2011 08:36 PM #34
      If you are much of a diy'er and like it.
      http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load...184131743.html
      I'm doing a combo of copper and concrete in the kitchen.

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      01-23-2011 10:04 PM #35
      Quote Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
      Personally, I don't like granite. It's cold. It breaks crystal if you knock over a glass. It screams the nuveau riche McMansion cliché. I prefer Corian.
      ^^

      Agreed. I keep telling people from experience that granite is over-rated. It's made for people that don't cook, durable for showrooms.

      Corian is man made, it is durable and antibacterial. A lot more designs and colors available and won't break the chinaware.

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