Monday, July 6, 2009

Countertop Conundrum

(This Old House)

Time for a new discussion--or debate: Countertops.
Marble, granite, butcher block, teak, walnut, soapstone...

(Southern Accents)

I have made pro/con list. I've done my research.
Granite seems to be the most indestructible.
(I've got honed granite now. I couldn't hurt it if I tried.)
Marble seems to be the most luxurious, but it scratches, stains and pits--boo.
Soapstone has to be oiled, wood has to be oiled.

(Cottage Living)


(Austin, TX)

(unsure of source)

If you could have the countertop of your dreams, what would it be?

43 comments:

  1. I've had a granite counter top for 17 years. To this day I want to kiss it every morning:).

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  2. concrete countertops are the way to go! sleek, modern, and indestructable!!

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  3. We are just about to redo our counter tops and I think we have decided to go with granite. Simply put, we have teenagers and granite can stand up to them!

    Jo

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  4. I know this will sound strange but after living with dark colored granite for the last 5 years I am going to say I would go back to Corian. A soft, light creamy colored Corian would be my choice. It is so much warmer than granite. When you drop something on it you have a chance that it will not shatter into pieces. It dries beautifully with just a swipe of the cloth. My granite has to be washed, dried and buffed back to a shine which is way more work than I am up to just to make a sandwich.
    Just my oppinion. I'm sure what ever you choose will be perfect. I love everything you do.
    Hugs,
    Sue

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  5. I am happy to say I have it ... granite countertops in my kitchen - love.

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  6. Good Morning Glory!

    Hope that all is going well at your house! :)
    You know what I would put in my dream kitchen, the marble sugar. The marble. :) However, in the new house the counter tops are all silestone. And they are absolutely beautiful. You might want to take a peek at it before you make your final decision. Just a thought!

    Miss you!!

    Sibi

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  7. My dream countertop would be marble but when I put my kitchen in I used granite(madura gold). I just chickened out on the marble because of wear and tear from my family. But that old patina on marble in old homes still looks good to me so maybe it would have worked.
    I do like my granite but if I were you I'd stay away from the dark stuff--too much maintenance.

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  8. Soapstone! Just love the dull (relatively) dark finish.

    I do have dark granite, which is beautiful, but I've somehow managed to chip it in several places.

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  9. Everyone I know who has granite loves it...I think first it depends the style of house. We had a 1940's style kitchen that granite would have looked silly. I think concrete is ideal for a modern house. I personally would go with a combo of marble and wood. I think if I loved my countertops I wouldn't mind a little maintenance. But this is coming from someone who like to use real wax to polish furniture and finds it rewarding to polish silver.

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  10. I love granite and soapstone. Right now, I have stainless steel counters. At first, I didn't like them, but they have really grown on me.

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  11. While the look of White Marble is my absolute favorite, I know it would have stains galore in no time. I don't mind "wearing" but I feel like white marble in a cooking kitchen like mine would look dirty rather than patina'd! In my one-day Kitchen remodel I'm planning on a neutral colored Limestone... not very durable either, but the stains won't be as evident. Beautiful images!

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  12. I have used quartz for a couple of clients and I liked it very much. I suppose I would like marble for myself, as I love to do pastries, and marble is really wonderful for that. I'm not a fan of a lot of the granite choices. It seems to dominate a kitchen far to much for my liking.

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  13. I would love concrete countertops!

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  14. call me crazy, but I would love walnut. I'd oil and polish that baby like it was a Ferrari.

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  15. When I redid my kitchen, I was determined to have white marble countertops. Unfortunately, I allowed myself to be talked out of it, and I have been sorry ever since. I know there is upkeep involved, but I think it's worth it.

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  16. I love the idea of black soapstone countertops in kitchen with a larger center island topped with white marble, providing an interesting contrast. Of course, this would be in my absolute dream kitchen. We recently had a kitchen designer come to our house and he said granite is surprisingly affordable these days. He mentioned a beautiful Chinese granite that's now available.

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  17. I have never liked the pattern of granite, only honed absolute black. I love the white marble, but I love red wine. I can be a bit clumsy since I talk with my hands and stemware and I have a running battle. I like a mix according to function. In my new kitchen I plan to use stainless, maple and the honed absolute granite. But what I sense from those above, go with your heart and prepared to accept what ills that heart love brings your way. Easier to overlook mistakes with love in the eyes. Enjoy!

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  18. I love my soapstone countertops! They are so easy to care for and actually do not need to be oiled. It's one of those "you can if you want", but once they are seasoned, they maintain a pretty standard black finish. Sometimes I oil them lightly before company comes. I love how you can put hot pots and cookie sheets right on them and red wine (a staple around here) just wipes up.

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  19. Consumer Reports just did a study and the best rated countertops was Quartz

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  20. We're going to do soapstone, I think. I think Quartz is the number one - only because it's used the most!

    Great post. You got me thinking!

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  21. I am overwhelmed by this subject...I look forward to seeing what you choose.

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  22. Quartz...I'm so over granite & yes I know that sounds snobby but its everywhere. I love white Carrera marble but heck the is real life.

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  23. I would choose granite. I have it in my bathroom and love it. It's on my list of 'must-haves'...

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  24. I never regret my choice of granite during our remodel last year.

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  25. I think granite is a bit overdone. Everyone has granite. Even less expensive new houses in the Austin area have granite counters.

    For our kitchen remodel, the bar will have a solid walnut countertop. I'd love to do marble for the rest of the kitchen, but with small children, the stain factor is something we have to consider. We will likely end up doing concrete counters in the rest of the kitchen. We found a local vendor for the walnut whose work is both gorgeous and reasonably priced, and we can DIY the concrete, which is a huge plus.

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  26. Hi Granny:
    Cara marble, of course! But like you, I have done the homework & I know what can happen. The hubby & I drink alot of red wine! In our new house there is granite- not my choice but it's staying for a good long while! I do have a bathroom that I'm eyeing for the marble though.

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  27. I love my granite, but have thought I would like to at least investigate the concrete!

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  28. Next house I would love to have wood counter tops. A dark wood and painted cabinets! Thanks for asking!

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  29. each image you have selected to post are super.
    we must like the same things...at least in kitchens.
    xx

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  30. Next time I'd like to opt for a "green" choice. I like the idea of using Vetrazzo or EnviroGlas using recycled glass. I like the look of the ole' terrazzo floors. Happy Weekend to you!

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  31. I'm a wood girl all the way. If you want to be environmental as per Dumbwit's suggestion you could find a "recycled" one, although I think there is a question of hygiene there.

    What did you choose?

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  32. I used to dream of a huge wood topped island and contrasting granite for the rest, although I am really liking the sleek, modern look of concrete these days.

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  33. I really love concrete countertops. I've never done them in one of my projects, but have seen some friends use them in their homes and I am crazy about how they look--natural, none of that pigmented jazz, just plain honest concrete. It's a beautiful as any natural stone (it is natural afterall, made up from water and rocks and such!).

    Personally, I love Cararra Marble. I know it's a pain, but I'm doing it in my new kitchen anyway. I just think it's completely classic. 9 times out of 10, it's what we use when we design a kitchen.

    I am TOTALLY over granite. I know it's indestructible and easy to clean but it's more done than leopard print and factory carts...just sick of seeing it.

    There's my two cents worth...

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  34. If I knew, I would already have it. I have considered stained concrete.

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  35. hi granny!

    may i take the combo platter...for countertops?
    marble & a huge wood butcher block island with fruit & veggies to cut on the side! ;) - if only...

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  36. My new dream kitchen has yards of creamy antiqued granite. The antiqued finish (honed and brushed) looks and feels fabulous. Wonderfully easy care!

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  37. Ooo, love that you posed this question! LOL! I have wanted mahogany counters since Scott and I moved into the old house, but he's stuck on soapstone, and says we might as well forget about that too because of the maintenance. We both want seriously high maintenance countertops. Still, I love the richness and patina that a hardwood like mahogany can achieve after a few years of good use as a countertop. So dream kitchen = mahogany, but that means no Scott, real kitchen = granite.

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  38. Sandy-colored quartz for the perimeter, walnut-stained pine for the island... about to do the island ourselves but will probably have to keep the existing counters for a while yet.

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  39. For some reason, I've always been partial to soapstone - despite the upkeep. If I were seriously planning a kitchen, though, I think I would do more than one surface - one for countertop, another for island. I'm horribly indecisive, though!

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  40. First of all, love your blog! Great question and lots of interesting choices. My choice is marble. I work at a Natural Stone shop as a designer and we do fabrication. So I'll give you a few tips about several choices you guys have listed. Granite is definitely overdone! I think only because it is the most familiar and is sold everywhere from the local home store to specialty stone shops. We are doing mostly marble and limestone on counter tops about 90% of our jobs are those two materials. Quartz is great material but since it is man made, it is usually more costly and has to be replaced if damaged. Natural stone can be repaired and stains can be polished out, yes, even on white marble.Marble does have a beautiful patina and should be honed for kitchen use, acidic foods(lemons, tomatoes, etc.) will etch the polish. If you love the look of soapstone, but not the maintenance, look at a sample of Black Absolute antiqued or Virginia Mist honed granite, they look like soapstone. For Marble check out these: White Carrara, Venetino, Statuary, Alabama White, Imperial Danby (getting hard to find), Calcutta Gold and one of my favorites French Vanilla. Some great limestones are Fossil, Azul Medea, Lagos Azul and Pietra Serena (looks like concrete). With natural materials the care is easy if sealed properly and stains are wiped up immediately and the use of a super product called Revitalizer made by Dupont. Only clean with mild soap and water and spray on the revitalizer, it contains a sealer. Use it once a week and you can enjoy many natural stones other than just granite.

    Sorry so long, Just a few tips to help you have the countertop you've always wanted. You can e-mail me with specific questions (not trying to be a salesperson) and I'll be happy to give you tips on making the right selection.

    kimberlysmoody@hotmail.com

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  41. Granite tile does not come with finished edges. That's because each installation is custom and that requires custom edging. Get Granite Counters for kitchens and bathrooms. While granite may be more expensive than some other materials, its longevity adds immeasurable value.

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