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.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is well, stainless steel, you know what that is. Long popular in commercial kitchens it has been picking up in the residential market as well.

Pros:

- Being metal, this countertop is obviously durable and resistant to heat, water, stains, you name it, it can pretty much resist it.

- The finish lends itself well to clean, contemporary kitchens. It also creates the illusion of a larger space due to its reflective properties.

Cons:

- Many people have stainless steel in their homes in one way or another and if you do, you know it scratches and dents easily, so that's a bummer.

- Sound bounces off of metal more than other materials, so with the expanse of metal it takes to create a countertop, it can add a lot of noise to your space.

- Be prepared to clean up fingerprints and smudges. A tip here, oil, use baby or olive oil to clean and protect your counter, though go easy on it as it will make it slippery if you use too much.

Well that is finally it! I did it! It literally took me all day to write this dang post, but I did it you guys. Thanks for sticking with me. You're the super best.

I hope you found the post helpful and informative, and please let me know your thoughts or if you have any questions on the materials I covered, or some that I didn't.

Later Gaters!

- D

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