Counter-tops: What's next after granite?

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Are you guys seeing alternatives to granite these days as something "in"? My eyes are starting to gloss over when I see brand new kitchens put in with this and other stone that just seems somehow (maybe?) ready for retirement only because it's been done and done and done.
The reason I ask this is that already in home improvement shows they are removing Corian to update to stone. And Corian seems to have been big not even 15 years ago. But somehow stone tops are all starting to look the same. At least getting there.
Are you guys seeing stainless steel? Or concrete? Something else starting to get a foothold? I'm updating my kitchen (hopefully) soon.
Or is granite here for a much longer time than I'm pondering?
THANKS!
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Corian is on the outs partly because it looks too plasticky. It's also too easy to scratch, despite it's alleged renewability.
Granite has to be sealed, so that has opened up a market for engineered stone like quartz composites. They don't stain, and many varieties look very much like natural stone. The more natural it looks, the less likely it's going to look faddish in the future, in my opinion.
Stainless is an expensive workhorse that shows scratches. Some complain that it looks too sterile or industrial. Concrete seems too prone to cracking to be ready for prime time. It also needs to be sealed to prevent stains.
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mike wrote:

Sunday papers the last couple of months (since the financial implosion) have been reporting a resurgence in sales of Formica for new construction and remodels. Cheap compared to about anything else, reasonably durable (at least compared to the average time between kitchen remodels for those with excess money), and as long as you avoid the tacky butcher block patterns, can be attractive enough for a real working kitchen (versus a never-used and seldom-seen-by-company show-off room.) And if you do tire of the color, but don't want to change layouts, and the cabinets are in good shape, it is cheap to change out.
-- aem sends...
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I have to wonder about things like slate or even blue-stone. I know of no such installations, but am just thinking out loud. Sorry. ;)
Does the concrete crack from heat applied to it or from curing over time and drying out? Or something else?
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Thomas G. Marshall wrote:

Formica forever for me :o)
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wrote:

While it may get dated quicker, formica isn't a bad option. It's surprisingly scratch resistant, and it's cheap enough to replace when it gets scorched, delaminated, or gets water-swelled joints.
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Granite and silly useless little islands in the middle have just started to work their way into house trailers. Meanwhile, some new trends are appearing in laminates. I look for the best designers to start using the unlimited laminate palette in attractive classical ways, with designs that are pleasant to look at rather than the current clash of metal and stone. Some of the current offerings in plumbing fixtures (kitchen faucets) are outrageous examples of taking the worst Victorian designs and making them even uglier. Checking designs from the major manufactures (Kohler, American Standard) should offer clues to where the design trends are heading. Lean economic times will quickly obsolete the over the top offerings we have now and good taste may prevail. Me? I'm doing laminate, possibly a deep gloss color If SWMBO likes it.
Joe
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Joe wrote:

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Joe wrote:

Don't laugh. I had some laminate left over from a FLOORING project. I was able to transform random planks into a countertop that bears a fair resemblance to butcher-block! Works swell.
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I have had Corian for about 18 months. Wanted it for 20 years. LOVE it. Huge bonus-sink is integrated, no place for crude and not an over mount.
Amy
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I have had Corian for 20 years and still love it. Mine is the light gray granite patterned (Sierra Dusk, I think). I used to worry about the scratches, but they blend right into the stone look.
--
Dennis


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Thomas G. Marshall wrote:

Granite last forever. Why would anybody want anything that permanent? You might want to remodel sometime.
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Van Chocstraw wrote:

What's to stop you?
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Thomas G. Marshall wrote:

Think talc.
--

dadiOH
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Thomas G. Marshall wrote:

Are you doing it for yourself, or to please someone else? Put in what YOU like.
s
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Thomas G. Marshall wrote:

Hi, After granite? Crystal glass. For me laminate. Lasts long easy to replace.
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I have seen some concrete counter tops and they were very interesting because of the various coloured aggregates that were used.
Personally, I'm not at all sold on stainless steel as the surface seems to be a magnet for finger prints and seems to be a real bugger to keep looking nice.
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Soapstone - thousands of chemistry labs can't be wrong. Nothing stains or attacks it even acids, hot pans right from stove to counter, scratches sand out. We just did our new house kitchen with it and after a month, can find no downside...
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It depends on your situation/family. If looking for affordability you cant beat laminates like Formica. If you are a young family with several kids then I would say use Formica until they are grown up, then update your sure-to-be-dilapidated kitchen with granite later. Three kids will do in a kitchen in about 12 years time. If you are about to prep a house for sale then go with granite. etc. etc. etc. I agree that Corian is out of fashion, stainless looks too industrial, concrete will have you looking hard for truly qulified installers. But granite is timeless, Formica is practical and cheap to replace when it goes in/out of fashion, sythetic stone commonly called "quartz" is expensive if you want granite thicknesses and probably more subject to fashion trends than granite. In my area (Chicago- land) a nicely finished granite install with fancy edges is still the gold standard.
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windcrest wrote:

Excellent summary!
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