Posts Tagged 'granite countertops'

Granite, Marble, Quartz or Laminate – Which countertop is right for you?

With our great nation’s holiday now behind us, did you take time to pay special attention to your cooking habits as we suggested in our last blog post? Cooking, at any time and for any occasion, is a necessity that is as simple or as extravagant as you wish to make it.

couple preparing a meal in their newly designed kitchenHaving a well-planned space, enough storage and decent work areas to prepare meals makes any cooking experience more efficient and enjoyable. Your countertops are also an important factor in how you use your kitchen for meal preparation. Do you slice and dice fruits and veggies right on the counter or do you use a cutting board? Using a cutting board will protect your countertop from scratches and stains, especially if your countertop is made from porous materials such as granite, marble or a laminate material that can be damaged from cutting.

Untidy kitchen table

Take extra care to prevent stains and scratches on your countertop

Do you tend to make big splashes when you’re cooking? Something to consider if you like making your own homemade tomato sauce, turkey dinner or roasting a delicious prime rib with an au jus sauce, is the possibility of splatter, drips and spills. This is where having a solid design plan for the specific needs of your future kitchen  will make a world of difference. Like cabinetry and decorative hardware, countertops also come in a wide variety of material, colors and textures, styles and capabilities.

Some of the most beautiful and decorative countertops are granite and marble. Both are natural resources and offer an abundant array of visual aesthetics with their color striations and patterns created by the environment over time. One caveat with these materials, however, is the fact that they are both porous and can absorb elements that will leave a stain on your counter. Be sure to take extra care during your kitchen activities to avoid damaging your countertop.

A great alternative to the natural beauties mentioned above is engineered stone known as quartz. The engineering process includes natural materials and man-made materials. The colors and patterns can be bold and vibrant for a fun and active kitchen, or more neutral for a space that is more traditional in caliber. Quartz countertops are becoming more widely known for durability against heat, stains and scratches. SileStone has just expanded their product line and now offer more vibrant colors and new collections that more closely resemble true granite. Speaking of scratches, solid surfaces, such as products made by Corian can be renewed if they are damaged.

silestone countertop sample tiles

Let our professionals here at Kitchen Views at National Lumber help you decide what type of countertop will work best for your home, your budget and your family!

Selecting Countertop Materials

A wide selection of countertop materials is available to choose from, each with its own benefits and limitations. The following is a summary of the countertop options available for your kitchen or bath.

Granite Countertop on Island

Granite – Created from nature and formed by man, granite has fast become a popular choice for kitchen and bathroom countertops with a timeless appeal. Granite is an elegant and beautiful material that has a wide range of colors, patterns and finishes to choose from. It is an extremely hard material that can withstand heat and scratches. A sealer must be applied to granite on an annual basis to protect it from staining, as it is porous and can stain without this protection. Also, the seams in a granite countertop are visible. Most granite is polished prior to fabrication, giving it a shiny finish. “Honed” granite is also available, providing a more subtle matte finish.

Corian Solid Surface Countertop

Solid Surfaces – Developed by DuPont over 40 years ago, Corian was one of the first solid surfaces created specifically for countertop applications. Today, a number of manufacturers make a comparable nonporous surface, which will not stain and is completely renewable. One of the best attributes of a solid surface countertop is the fact that there are no visible seams and integral sinks are also available. With over 100 colors to choose from, all solid surfaces are accompanied by a manufacturer’s warranty.

Cambria Quartz Kitchen Countertop

Quartz Surfaces – One of the newest countertop materials available, quartz surfaces have entered the market within the past decade. This surface is a blend of natural and man-made materials that, like granite, can be fabricated with either a polished or honed finish. Cambria, HanStone, and LG Viatera are a few quartz surface options.

Engineered Stone – Considered a “care-free surface,” Engineered Stone is an extremely  durable material that is resistant to scratches, chips and stains, as well as being heat-resistant and easy to maintain. With many colors to choose from, you can count on consistency of color throughout your project, though a visible seam will be required when bonding slabs together. Most offer a ten year warranty on the product.

Marble Countertop on Kitchen Island

Marble – A beautiful natural material with a wide range of colors to choose from, marble offers some unusual  patterns and veining. However, since marble tends to be significantly more porous that granite, it is more likely to stain.

Laminates – Laminates offer an extraordinarily wide range of colors and patterns to choose from. This affordable countertop choice is being made much stronger and more durable than years ago. It is recommended that you do not place hot objects directly on a laminate countertop or cut directly on the surface, as damage may occur. A laminate surface is non-porous and therefore resistant to bacteria and stains, requiring only soap and water for easy cleaning. Laminates today offer a wide range of design options, some of which don’t look like laminate at all. Wilsonart HD countertops are a great example of this.

Formica Laminate Countertop

Other countertop options offered at Kitchen Views include wood in a variety of species and a variety of recycled countertop materials.

Click here to see more about the countertops offered by Kitchen Views.

Granite vs. Quartz Countertops: Amy Mood

Amy Mood, Designer at Kitchen Views in Mansfield, MA

Granite vs. Quartz… What’s the Difference?
by Amy Mood, AKBD

Two examples of Granite countertops

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard this question… well, I’d probably still be designing kitchens… But my answer has actually changed over the years, especially recently. It used to be that if you wanted a beautiful one of a kind countertop with variation and movement, that natural granite was the right choice for you — as long as you didn’t mind the maintenance associated with it. For those who did not want to add to their “To Do” list and have to think about sealing their countertop periodically, then a Quartz countertop would be the likely choice; the tradeoff being that the patterns were very uniform in appearance because it is a man-made product.

Six samples of Cambria's latest colors

Six samples of Cambria’s latest colors

Well, the new evolution of Quartz countertops is actually offering consumers the best of both worlds: beautiful, super-durable countertops that most would be hard pressed to tell apart from a natural material. Plus, they need little more maintenance than soap and water cleanup. In fact, I recommend that you view some of these Quartz slabs much like you would with a Granite slab, because of the variation.

Some of my favorites are by Cambria, and Silestone has just released some great options, as well. Some of their countertops actually have the feel of Carrara Marble, which many would like to utilize in a kitchen, but are fearful of damaging. You can view these products through the Countertops section on the Kitchen Views website with links to the manufacturers’ websites, or better yet see them in person at your nearest Kitchen Views showroom.

Amy Mood, AKBD
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
71 Maple Street, Mansfield, MA 02048
Phone: 508-339-8020

Bob Russo: Planning Time for Your Countertops

Allowing time to get your countertop order in line can be as important as your cabinets. Once you order your cabinetry, you have a good idea as to when they are to arrive. All too often, customers wait too long to start looking or thinking about counters, assuming that they are in a warehouse, basically ready to go, or can be gotten very quickly. In some cases, this may be true; but for the most part, tops need selection, templating and installation.

Laminate tops (Formica is one trade name) can be ordered ahead of time in some cases and trimmed on site. As for the bulk of items used on countertops (Corian, granite or other stones, quartz, or tile), these materials need selection and maybe ordering time. You may not always see what you like on the first go-around. Once selections are made, locking them in is important (or you may lose them), either with a deposit or payment in full.

Now that you have selected your countertop type, you need to plan the install. To fit countertops correctly, you should have a template done (other than laminate tops, most will insist on this being done). All of the cabinets do not need to be installed, just the base cabinets of any items the countertops will be sitting on.

From the time the tops get templated, you will need about 7 to 10 working days before they come back to install. This is why it is important to keep everyone in the loop. If you do not keep your countertop fabricator up to date on job progress, they may not have a day open for you when you need or want  them. This could cost you time and money.

So keep in mind, the more prep you do ahead of time, the smoother your job will go.

Bob Russo, ACSD/PKBP
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
15 Needham St. Newton, MA 02461
Phone: 617-244-8020

Getting a Feel for Granite Countertops

When it comes to countertop selection for kitchens, the most popular choice is still, and will probably always be, granite. Granite stands up to heat, can be treated with new sealers that make it almost maintenance-free, and will essentially last a lifetime.

Let’s face it, when you think of countertops, the first thought is probably granite. However, most of our clients are looking for something a little more unique.

These days, there are literally thousands of stones available.  When a client is selecting their countertop, they’re typically looking only at color and pattern.  Nowadays, you have options for the surface texture and sheen of your stone, as well.

These are some of the more popular finishes you can see at your local fabricator or one of our showrooms.

Honed Granite:

Honed granite has a matte finish.  This surface is smooth and the stone is less vibrant than polished stone.  Stone enhancer can be used on honed to bring the color back out. Honed finish is probably second most popular to polished.

Honed Granite Countertop

Flamed Granite:

Flamed granite has a rougher surface created by the use of intense heat.  During fabrication, the stone is heated and the crystals begin to pop and form a rough surface. This is a less available option and the rough texture can make cleaning more difficult, so it’s not for everyone.

Flamed Granite Countertop

Leather Granite:

Second to honed, leather granite is probably the third most popular texture for granite countertops. The texture is created using a series of wire brushes on the stone. The softer the stone is, the deeper the texture will be.

Leather Granite Countertop

The experienced designers at Kitchen Views will help you to understand the pros and cons of whatever countertop materials you are considering.

Kitchen Views

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,813 other subscribers

%d bloggers like this: