countertop suggestions

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Ceramic for rentals are ok especially you could really dress it up on the back splashes. I'm beginning to put 3/4" solid granite sheets on my rentals as a follow landlord turn me on to it a few years ago. I didn't understand why she put new oak cabinets and solid granite tops for her rentals until she told me it only cost her $4,000 installed. That was about three years ago.

Concrete countertops are nice!
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Can you believe the post about how his wife doesn't like seams? What, Formica comes in endless sheets now with no seams?
Anyhoo, my point .........
Downsides to granite ...............
Yeah, you have to seal it every six to twelves months, amounts to wetting a rag and wiping down the whole thing. But some people don't like doing that just like they don't like taking a cleaner once a year and cleaning up all the Jello and mustard and gravy that builds up.
It stains. Well, you could barf on mine, and with that pattern, you would have to look for it. ;-) When we got it, I tested it with vinegar and ketchup and mustard, and all sorts of things, and couldn't get it to discolor. Now after two years old, we have yet to leave anything on it that ever left a mark.
Jealousy. People come in and rave and rave about how beautiful it is. I know they're just jealous. ;-)
Hey, people. Buy what you like. Buy junk and be doing the same job over in five years, or live with a crappy unhealthy countertop. I would do granite again in a second, and am looking forward to doing it in a remodel of a house we just bought in Utah.
If you don't like granite, you've just never had it.
Steve
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writes:

Corian can be installed with no seams. Granite cannot unless you have the right layout.
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What's the objection to seams? If they're done right, they're hardly noticeable, and if you get someone who knows what they're doing, you can get long runs with no seams.
Steve
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i've heard that and small cut marks can be fine sanded out w/ no noticable distortions. am i misinformed?? my mind is NOT set on Corian i'm just using it as an example of the type of surface i'm looking for.
mike............
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Point is, don't make any marks in your countertop in the first place. Whether Corian, granite, or laminates, yes, scratches can be sanded smooth. But you've seen old countertops where this was done. Dull in spots, and in some spots worn down to the next layer of color.
I don't cut on my granite that often. I respect it. And why cut on something you've spent thousands of dollars on? Get a cutting board! But every once in a while it happens on purpose by accident. I can't find any scratches in mine, and I know I'd have some by now on Corian or laminate.
Sure, you can sand, but you're just wearing away countertop and making it dull.
Steve
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The other problem with granite or the other stone materials is they are too hard. If you knock over a glass it is a goner. That may be OK in a house without kids but kids knock things over, drop things, run into things and generally do what you tell them not to.
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Light colors of corian do not show scratches but dark colors can. Visit Lowes or Home Depot and bring a key...
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For the DIYer you get a lot of bang from granite and concrete countertops. I've seen 3/4" granite slabs with prefabricated bullnose as low as $5/sf. Concrete is gorgeous when its done right but need more maintenance - you see this at very high end custom kitchens. Both are so cheap is you have some skills and a friend or two to provide the muscles.
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Large (12 inch) granite tiles can be used to create a really nice countertop -- all the benefits of granite at much lower cost than custom fabrication from slabs.
In terms of bang for the buck, it's hard to beat, IMO.
Use minimal grout lines and a sandless grout. You will need to decide how to finish the front edge -- options include such things as special tiles or a hardwood molding.
--
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| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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JerseyMike wrote:

Where you have 8 mos to a year and a half why dont you look into polished concrete. You have plenty of time to even do a mock up in your basement/garage and run some tests to see if you could do it yourself. There are plenty of resources on the net and at the bookstore/library about concrete countertops and with a modest investment in some fairly basic tools you could have some great countertops AND some tools to put in the garage when your done.
Just an idea, Mark
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this is why i posted this topic....i've been away from construction and the service end of home improvements for a while now and never heard of concrete counter tops. it could be an option if i liked the results.
mike...........
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Check the two books and the how to DVD video by Fu-Tung Cheng on concrete countertops:
http://amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/002-7958316-7956035?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=CONCRETE+COUNTERTOP&Go.x=7&Go.y 
He also have hands on classes in the Bay Area, but not sure its available in other parts of the country. You could go wild with the colors, forms and inlays.
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On Sun, 21 Jan 2007 00:35:44 GMT, "JerseyMike"

We looked at all the different surfaces. Each has it's good points and bad points. While we were making up our mind I bought a maple work bench top from Grainger so we could use the kitchen. I put several coats of poly on it and we are still using it 4 years later. I laid up one of my own for the other side after I saw it in place. We do look a little commercial since the sink top, cooktop surround and backsplash up to the uppers is stainless but we cook here. It is not a "walk through" kitchen. I haven't been able to hurt the maple. I did have some left over to make a couple decent cutting boards tho.
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I spec'd on in a custom house a couple of years ago, and depending on the level of finish expected, it can require a very experienced artisan, like the guy who did this one:
http://www.michaelbulatovich.ca/Preston-interiors/Preston-powder.PDF
I haven't gotten around to taking some pix but it's quite pretty.
If rough, blotchy and stained is ok, then a DIY project it could be.
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MichaelB
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Michael Bulatovich wrote:

God made Granite... (pretty much) everything else is man-made. That says it all for me... we chose Verde Peacock granite (see pic I found on a web page)... http://www.askthebuilder.com/N8_Granite_Countertop_Stains.shtml
That looks just like mine, and my wife and I just love it. Had it now for about 15 months, and the only reactions we get from everyone is raw envy. I don't ususlly cut on it, but I have, and I sure don't baby it. I don't see any stains or cuts or scratches anywhere. At 3 cm, it sure would take a heavy pot to crack it. We have the typical 15 year old 10ft by 10ft "U" shaped kitchen, and we found a slab at the granite distributor that was able to be cut so that there were no seams in either (long) side where it goes in an "L" shape with a diagonal corner to accommodate the corner cabinets. Just a tiny little seam where the built in range goes (behind the range near the blackspash. We also got full backsplashes out of that single granite slab... Yes, it's a dark color, but with built-in under-counter halogen lights, it's beautiful. I'd do exactly the same thing again in a heartbeat...
One tip... BEFORE you go to Home Depot and request a quote, find out who THEIR supplier is, and go directly to them. If you wait until after the HD quote, they won't be able to help you because of their partnership with HD... the HD markup adds a lot. Our supplier was in the same (big) shopping area near St. Louis.. just a little shop, but they run a big warehouse about 15 miles away where a zillion big granite slabs are stored with overhead crane arrangement so they can move them around. We went out and picked out the exact slab that we wanted. They came out and measured after we had the new cabinets in, and then went back and cut everything. Only the faucet hole was cut on site. One backsplash had to be polished on the end to make it fit, but other than being a dusty operation out in the garage, it was fine. It took three BIG husky guys to carry in the largest "L" side. We used black hair-line grout on the little seams behind the range, and a couple of vetical seams in the backsplash. Can't see them unless you know where to look. And they are THIN. Another advantage... it's so dense that the maytag diswasher is VERY quiet. yes, we got one with sound in mind, but it was the only appliance we kept from our old kitchen since it was only a couple of years old, and it's much quieter now than it was under our old builder's grade formica countertop.
We got a black sink make out of ground granite (can't remember the name of it), and had it mounted UNDER the granite, so you don't see any seam. I'll tell you, I LOVE that black sink. Nothing scratches it, and unlike white or other light colors, scraping a utensil or pot against it does absolutely nothing to it. We just clean it ever once in a while because we know it HAS to get dirty, but it sure never looks that way.
In case you haven't guessed by now, I recommend granite. <grin>
Steve Henderson
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Big understatement.
Good advice all around Steve.
I'd skip HD all together, actually. Just go to a home show in the area. Ask everyone selling granite "Who does your fabricating? Where do you get your slabs?" At a home show I went to recently, there were 12 folks selling granite, 2 were fabricators. The other 10 companies contracted to those 2 fabricators for thier fab work!
Also ask if they do their cuts in a fabrication facility, or on-site. Go with the folks working at the fab.
-- Todd H. http://toddh.net /
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Better yet just check the yellow pages. There are lots of small fabricators around.
We've had granite for over five years and we absolutely love it.
I did find out the hard way that it is not impervious to citric acid. Somehow a piece of lime ended up behind the toaster oven and probably sat there for a week before it was discovered during routine cleaning. It actually etched the surface of the granite. Other than that, we've spilled all kinds of things on the counters, placed hot pots and pans on them, and abused them in many other ways. They still look as good as the day they were installed. There are no scratch marks, pitting, dulling or any other defects. And they're very easy to clean.
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i just wanted to say thanks for all the tips and info on this topic.....i appreciate all the time people put into their responses.
mike.............
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