Counter tops what material?

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We considered tiles for about 3.2 seconds. But my wife bakes. Can't roll out a 3' x 1.5' slab of dough on grouted tiles.
steve

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And I am just the opposite. I have and love granite. I ripped out a tiled kitchen and put laminate. Whatever floats your boat, and suits your uses. One size does not fit all, and there is no BEST of anything. Each person is the one who will have to look at it every day for the next twenty years.
Steve
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wrote:

I've had three homes with ceramic tile counter tops. My residence was never a problem. It looked as good after 10 years as the day we bought the house. Always cleaned and cared for.
Not the same story for two rental properties. They both had tile counter tops.
I worked once on another tile counter top. The real problem was that the bull nose tile for the edge could not be matched in one case by the side profile. All over town, couldn't find the few tiles I needed. Out of this mess, a person in the same building was replacing his tile counter top in the bath. We paid him a dollar a piece for the bull nose when needed. :))
Often tile types are discontinued and sold at auction to smaller tile companies.
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Granite is durable, takes hot pots, knives, and looks great especialy with ceiling can lights shining down. I have a dark brown granite and it shows no stains even with coffee sitting on it all week. Corian is plastic and looks like plastic compared to the natural beauty of granite.
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The answer is yes, no, definitely, and maybe.
I have done two house remodels and one new residence in the last five years. In one, we put granite, and you can only damage it with a hammer. In the others, we put a laminate, but can't tell you the name of it. Looks like granite, and looks good.
Point is, whatever you use has negatives. It depends on what you want to spend, and how you use it. I like granite, but that's because I got a very good piece of rock for the one kitchen we did in granite, and had I gotten something that stained easily, I might not think this way. I got a guy that knew what he was doing, and we had a 10' long section without a seam where three others said it couldn't be done. As for the laminates and others burning a hole in them from hot pots, please go sign up for a cooking school if you are having this problem. Do not use the kitchen again until you have completed the course. ;-)
I cook a lot. I love to cook. A good cook can use any equipment. A gas stove, an electric. Good pots, bad pots. Whatever you have to work with defines what you will cook that day. Men cooked on open fires for thousands of years, so it must have worked. We're here as proof. Point is, that you have your style, so design around that. If you have a bunch of doofuses in your kitchen, you obviously need something nuclear proof. If people are willing to use hot pads, or set aside an area and put a moveable heatproof pad such as butcher block, or whatever fits your motif. Think ahead and plan for your own uses. What I like and use might not fit your style.
If I had to pick a kitchen that had to last in hard use for twenty years, I'd go granite, and hope that I got a good slab. Go with "busy" patterns so that if it's dirty or stained, you can't find it. Ours is mixed greys, rust, reddish hues, etc. It matches with just about anything.
YMMV
HTH
Steve
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clipped

I always thought that something that doesn't show dirt is ideal, until we got our new kitchen. We have laminate that is a pebbly brown-beige-cream-rust design, and it is impossible to tell if there are crumbs or spaghetti sauce on it :o)
My ideal kitchen would have an island with butcher block for chopping stuff and with a hole to drop scraps into the trash - I might even want a small sink and faucet there for cleaning and chopping veggies. A marble slab for rolling out cookies and pastry. Formica on the rest. I drop too much stuff to want to worry about chipping granite. Corian too soft for me. Get a cooktop large enough to park hot pots without having to shift them to a counter or find a pad. What kind of cooktop are you planning?
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Testing tends to rank quartz (like Silestone) contertops on top, and I tend to agree.
Quartz does not stain. Test it yourself, as they let you take home samples for free. Granite can stain especially if you leave a drop of oil or peanut butter in spot unnoticed for a great length of time. We've had a number of "help, my granite is stained" posts here. Once granite is stained, there's not a lot you can do.
Quartz, like granite can take an accidently placed hot pan. Again, test it yourself. You can build small matchstick fires or leave a smoking hot cast iron pan on quartz with no damage. Both quartz and granite have a slight possibility of cracking from thermal shock, but it's not a big risk (but don't get in the habit of misplacing a 700 degree pan). Only a metal countertop will perform better here, but metal scratches easily, and is spendy.
Quartz is very hard. It's like granite without granite's softer components that make it porous and cause it to require periodic sealing. Both will have great longevity against scratches.
Quartz has a higher bending strength for bigger overhangs, and quartz has no microcracks or chips that might be a source for breakage either during fab or use, like granite does. Quartz' lack of pores makes it virtually impervious to molds, mildew, bacteria, fungus.
The only advantage granite has over quartz is natural grain flow beauty, but then again, that can be a liability when trying to make seams disappear.
Other random thoughts: Concrete is WAY too prone to cracks and chips for countertop use. Marble is too prone to acids and stains. Tile tops are cheap but a joke. Everyone I've known that had them loathed them (grout, mildew, not smooth, hard to clean). No matter what countertop you get, you have to use cutting boards to save your knives from being dulled from hard materials and from possibly damaging counters just from high force divided by small area of the knife edge.
One test you may want to do that I never got around to is taking equal sized samples of quartz and granite, and just bang them with a hammer a few dozen times with increasing force to see what happens (with eye protection, of course)
Anyway, don't take my word for it. Get samples of quartz and put it thought the wringer. Right now, Silestone has the nicest looking patterns, but then you're stuck with Home Despot and 100% payment in full before work begins.
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Thanks Mike for a very informative reply.
steve
wrote:

Testing tends to rank quartz (like Silestone) contertops on top, and I tend to agree.
Quartz does not stain. Test it yourself, as they let you take home samples for free. Granite can stain especially if you leave a drop of oil or peanut butter in spot unnoticed for a great length of time. We've had a number of "help, my granite is stained" posts here. Once granite is stained, there's not a lot you can do.
Quartz, like granite can take an accidently placed hot pan. Again, test it yourself. You can build small matchstick fires or leave a smoking hot cast iron pan on quartz with no damage. Both quartz and granite have a slight possibility of cracking from thermal shock, but it's not a big risk (but don't get in the habit of misplacing a 700 degree pan). Only a metal countertop will perform better here, but metal scratches easily, and is spendy.
Quartz is very hard. It's like granite without granite's softer components that make it porous and cause it to require periodic sealing. Both will have great longevity against scratches.
Quartz has a higher bending strength for bigger overhangs, and quartz has no microcracks or chips that might be a source for breakage either during fab or use, like granite does. Quartz' lack of pores makes it virtually impervious to molds, mildew, bacteria, fungus.
The only advantage granite has over quartz is natural grain flow beauty, but then again, that can be a liability when trying to make seams disappear.
Other random thoughts: Concrete is WAY too prone to cracks and chips for countertop use. Marble is too prone to acids and stains. Tile tops are cheap but a joke. Everyone I've known that had them loathed them (grout, mildew, not smooth, hard to clean). No matter what countertop you get, you have to use cutting boards to save your knives from being dulled from hard materials and from possibly damaging counters just from high force divided by small area of the knife edge.
One test you may want to do that I never got around to is taking equal sized samples of quartz and granite, and just bang them with a hammer a few dozen times with increasing force to see what happens (with eye protection, of course)
Anyway, don't take my word for it. Get samples of quartz and put it thought the wringer. Right now, Silestone has the nicest looking patterns, but then you're stuck with Home Despot and 100% payment in full before work begins.
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We remodeled our kitchen three years ago. The builder had installed cabinets made of fiberboard. I had new tile put down on the floor, counter top and back splash after we moved in. Many things to like about tile. Unfortunately, the grout started leaking into the fiberboard cabinets and they swelled up.....that was why we had the remodel job. Now I have one half inch plywood cabinets - but the counter top is laminate. I chose Wilsonart...it is a dark blue speckled. I am careful - I have some left over tile which I use for hot pans. The re-modeler was able to save the tile back splash so all my tiles match. Laminates may be out of vogue but they cost less and they don't leak.
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Quartz is ground stone (lots of quartz ;-) with a 10% or thereabouts volume made up with a resin (phenolic usually I think) binding everything together. It's a solidified slurry. I'm surprised you could get that to thermal-crack. While phenolic will take considerably higher heat than other plastics, I wouldn't want to place any bets on a smoking cast iron frypan being left to cool off.
[I still agree tho, if cost is no object, quartz seems the best overall.]
--
Chris Lewis,

Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
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A round-up of various counter top surfaces that includes some unusual ones:
http://www.scrapbookscrapbook.com/DAC-ART/kitchen-countertops.html
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On Mon, 24 Mar 2008 11:07:18 -0500, "S. Barker"

I bet Formica comes back when all the yuppies actually start using their kitchen. Bear in mind, if you drop something on your stone countertop, something breaks, usually the glass, dish or mug. Plastics burn and both scratch. Sure you can have it filled and buffed out but that ain't free. Mica can still burn if you dropped a red hot skillet on it and you can scratch it but it is cheap enough to throw away.
With all this in mind I went with wood. Maple workbench tops with a bunch of coats of poly shot on them. I have stainless around the sink and cooktop area with a lift out cutting board section..
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You can't pour boiling-hot water into a Corian sink. You can if it's a stainless sink.
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Funny, I can. Have been for years now.
I do run cold water into the sink at the same time.
Another poster said Corian scratches. I can't imagine what you'd have to do to it to scratch it.
Can't stain it either.
I cracked ours by getting a microwave very hot with it sitting directly on the counter in a corner.
The lifetime warranty meant free repair. The repair is invisible.
All and all, I think it's the perfect material.
Someone was recently complaining about a dark color. Ours is light colored.
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Use it as a cutting board, and then you'll see. It doesn't cut up nearly as much as a polyethylene cutting board, but it certainly does get chewed up. It seems more prone to scratching than laminate is.
--
Chris Lewis,

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snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) writes:

I have a corian cutting board. It does get scratches, but not real bad.
But, that's not normal use. I don't think anything but butcher block is going to hold up to that kind of treatment.
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that must do wonders for your knive edges....
--
Jim Yanik
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Corian says
"They are less damaging to knives..."
Yes, I believe them.
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than concrete.... 8-)

wood is far more benign to knife edges,IMO.
and I've read that plastic cutting boards retain bacteria much longer than wood cutting boards. wood wicks away moisture while the plastic traps it in the grooves.
Plus,I just like wood....so I guess I'm biased. :-)
YMMV and all that.
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Jim Yanik
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clipped

I can't imagine that plastic would harbor bacteria longer than wood. With fine scratches from knives, either would harbor bacteria unless cleaned properly. Any time that I cut meat on a cutting board, I use a 3M scrubber and soapy water for a quick scrub. Rinse quickly with cold water, wipe dry. Salmonella and e-coli are a little scary.
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