Countertops, Say Whaaaaaaaaaat?

Hey Guys, whaaaaat's happening? I have been trying to get this post written all day, and life has gotten in the way. Every. Single. Time. First it was a barrage of phone calls, both work and personal, to be made. Then it was errands to the wrong building downtown, all errouniously, so it was a waste anyway. THEN it was more phone calls. So here we are. A day late.

Today I want to break down countertop materials and address some of the pros and cons of several of the popular options on the market. On nearly every project I work on that involves counters, I am asked, "What is the difference between granite & quartz?" Etc. Of course, I am happy to help explain each time, but it also seems like a great topic to address in a blog post, so please feel free to share your thoughts.

Granite

First and generally most popular, is granite. A pretty wide majority of homes have had granite for the kitchen counters for a few years now and I don't think it is going anywhere soon.

Pros:

- It is a naturally occuring material, so it is never the same in appearance.

- Being a stone, granite is a porous material, which helps it to dissipate heat. This allows you to put hot pans directly on the surface.

- Granite is harder than many other options, making it very durable.

Cons:

- Due to the fact that granite is porous, it does need to be sealed regularly to protect it from taking on stains and odors.

- Though it is a durable material, granite is still susceptible to scratches and chips, though the scratches can be easily buffed out to repair.

- On average, granite is comprised of only 40-60% pure quartz, making it less dense a material than it's counterpart, quartz.

Quartz

Quartz, or engineered stone, has been around for a while and more recently, has been growing in popularity.

Pros:

- Quartz is made of 93% quartz (who saw that coming?) bonded with a resin. This makes it a very durable and nonporous option.

- Due to the fact that quartz is nonporous, it requires no sealing and it does not take on stain or odors.

- Being so durable also makes this product resist stains and damage.

Cons:

- Since quartz is so dense and nonporous, it cannot dissipate heat the way that granite can, so over time, there is slight possibilty of heat damage and discoloration

- Though there have been great advancements in the manufacturing process of quartz, it still rarely looks as natural as real stone.

Butcher Block

Butcher Block has been around for a while, but has ebbs and flows in popularity. Most currently it is seen as an accent countertop alongside another surface material.

Pros:

- Wood countertops work well as a complimentary surface when paired with a stone or engineered stone.

- If you chop a lot of fruits and veggies, you can use your wood countertop as a built in cutting board.

- Being wood, the material naturally ages well over time.

Cons:

- One downfall to using wood is the level of maintenance it requires to be kept in good shape.

- Since wood is a natural material, it is rather soft and porous, making it more susceptible to absorbing stains and moisture.

Laminate

Laminate countertops are made from a highquality paper printed and then applied to a thin layer and set on top of particle board.

Pros:

- One of the biggest pros of a laminate countertop is the cost. There are several high quality options available that can nearly capture the look of stone.

- Laminate is stain resistant and incredibly easy to clean and care for.

- Laminate is manufactured on paper, so there are many styles available.

Cons:

- Due to the fact that the paper is laminated on top of particle board or another similar material, you can only install top mount sinks with these countertops.

- This material can be easily scratched or chipped and if it is, it can be difficult to repair.

Concrete

Concrete countertops are poured into a frame built to fit the space they will be installed into and have spiked in popularity lately as a DIY option, which I caution if you have no previous experience.

Pros:

- The concrete used for countertops is very fine and therefore produces a dense and durable material.

- Since the frame is made to fit the space it will be installed in, concrete is a very fun and customizable option.

- It is resistant to heat.

Cons:

- Concrete is a very dense and heavy material, so if you are planning to DIY the surface, it can be difficult to install.

- Due to the nature of the material, it does still need to be sealed or it can stain and retain moisture.

Recycled Glass

Recycled glass countertops are made from post-commercial and industrial recycled glass that is bonded with a resin or cement to form the product.

Pros:

- Using recycled glass in lieu of quartz makes this product one of the most eco-friendly options on the market.

- The glass pieces in the slab make for a unique and different look compared to some of the other materials on the market.

Cons:

- Being manufactured with cement as the binder, it is highly recommended to seal glass countertops just as you would granite, concrete, or any other porous material

- Though the material uses recycled glass, there are arguments that the manufacturing of the cement binder produces a substantial amount of greenhouse gases, offsetting the eco-friendly values from using the glass.

- If not manufactured properly, the structural inegrity of the material can be compromised, leading to substantial perfomance failure.