Sile stone or granite?


We will be installing new countertops and after doing some research regarding my options, I've found that different websites have different information so I was hoping someone who has had actual experience with these materials could help me.
Originally we wanted granite because I was under the impression it was low-maintenance but the more I read, the more I am finding out it stains easily. Is this true? I cook with olive oil a lot, and we have
kids who are constantly spilling juice etc.. Is granite not a good option for me? Doesnt the seal protect the granite from stains? How much does it cost to reseal and how often do you do this?
I'm also looking into silestone (there are other similar brands). I understand that while it resembles granite a lot, it does not have the same depth and gloss that granite would have. On the flip side, it doesnt require the same maintenance and it is nonporous and wont stain.
It has a lot of the same hardness qualities of granite but the heat resistance is less (I never put hot pans on the counter anyway).
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I like Corian myself although I've never had anything other than Formica. When I worked in a lab, we had granite lab benches and they got pretty well worn. Some of the imitation granites are mostly plastic and may not wear as well as granite or Corian which has a high, tough filler content.
Frank
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Silestone and the like are mainly quartz. Yes, the rock is bound together with plastics, but the good quality reengineered stones should prove a *lot* more durable than Corian. Corian is pure plastic, without the quartz.
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Malcolm Hoar wrote:

No, Corian, by weight is about 60% filler. They no longer disclose the nature of the filler but it is probably stronger than quartz. I doubt if filler content of other materials is any higher.
Corian uses polymethyl methacrylate as the binder and some of the others do also but some are polyesters. Polyesters, in my opinion, do not hold up as well to soapy/wet conditions such as you will see around your sinks.
Frank
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Frank wrote:

observation with some old solid surface vanity sinks and laundry tub in my house. I do not know the new materials enough to make a blanket statement. I do know that Corian has been around a long time and is readily repairable if there are problems.
Frank
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"Stronger" is a rather vague term. Quartz and granite are certainly harder than Corian. It's pretty easy to make a scratch on a Corian countertop with a sharp knife. On the upside, it's also pretty easy to repair that scratch. Quartz and granite will basically blunt the knife.
DuPont agree. According to them, Zodiaq (their brand of silestone) is more scratch resistant than Corian.
However, I will say that DuPont's claims of Corian's heat resistance (compared to granite and Zodiaq) are rubbish.
http://www2.dupont.com/Surfaces/en_US/products/countertops_at_a_glance.html
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Malcolm Hoar wrote:

products. I've been retired from DuPont for 14 years and had more than a passing familiarity with the Corian business but nothing since then. They tried to divest Corian but could not sell with the rest of the acrylics business that went to ICI. Now it appears they have expanded the product line for business purposes. Wonder how they're doing.
Frank
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When I had my granite done the installer said silestone is a pain to work with and is not as flat as they say. From the silestone I've seen it doesn't compare looks wise to granite some even reminds me of a bass boat. We have had granite in our kitchen for about 2 years, Have had no problems with stains ( I have an 11& 16 year old, I'm worse than them both) If you go out and look at granite you will notice there are deferent textures or some seem more pores. Some even have small fractures some people like that. So maybe some will stain, but the installer did say most stains could be removed. The only real maintenance is sealing it about every 9 months, over sealing can cause it to look foggy. I'm sure you have looked and seen the Varity available it can be over whelming, but you will have to agree there is no comparison to mother natures art. As for finding granite I would suggest find someone that sells it and installs it there's allot of hacks out there. You should also be able to help layout the templates on the slabs, especially if you chose something with a lot of movement. Cost can vary as you probably know. One thing to check see if you can put a hot pan on Silestone, It can be glowing red hot and put on granite.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Some granites are quite porous but others are not. Your choice of color will also determine the extent to which it stains (or rather, the extent to which the stains show).
Having said all of that, choose a sensible color (not white) and seal the stone from time to time and granite will stand up really well to all but extreme abuse. Our 3 kids haven't managed to make a mark yet. We buy our olive oil by the gallon! No problem there either. At least not to the countertop (dunno about our arteries!).
You can buy a large bottle of premium brand sealant for around $40 that will last you quite a few years. Just clear the countertop (completely), clean it, and wipe on the sealant. After 30 mins or so, wipe/polish off the excess. Repeat annually, or twice a year if you want to play safe. It's not a big deal.

These products are great and will stand up to almost anything. However, they don't look as nice as natural stone, in my view. But if you find one you really like, go for it.
If you go with the natural granite, there's no need to take a huge amount of care. Just avoid doing really stupid/abusive stuff and it will last for many, many years.
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On 11 Dec 2006 14:55:06 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

A few years ago we bought a house I went to work on. The single stain in granite ( immediate proximity of the sink/dishwasher) was from a dish detergent bottle sitting in the same spot...not being clean, etc..

Issue an Edict; kids clean.

Really, speak to a local company
-- Oren
"My doctor says I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Keep in mind that granite is an imperfect countertop material that happens to be currently fashionable. If history is any indication, something else will be more fashionable a few years from now, and landfills will be awash in discarded granite conuntertops (and those silly pedestal lavatories). Common sense would dictate that if you like the look of granite (it can be fairly pleasant) by all means get the Formica tops with a granite pattern. Some of these look really sharp and cost way less than the $50-70 per square foot that granite costs. With the money you save, plus freedom from maintainance and damage you can book a cruise for you and your main squeeze and still upgrade your appliance budget. Years from now she'll appreciate a decent kitchen range more than a grungy granite countertop. Good luck.
Joe
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You may be right. However, I think it's equally likely that granite will become a "timeless classic". It's certainly fashionable at the moment, in part because granite has only recently become available for residential applications at affordable prices. In other words, now it's an option, lots of people are making that choice.

Formica is a wonderful material. But aesthetically it doesn't hold a candle to natural stone, in my opinion. It is also much easier to damage Formica -- scratches or heat. The stain resistance is probably comparable to sealed granite.
Another interesting compromise is to use large (12 by 12) granite tiles. The cost savings compared to granite slab are considerable. Repairs are also possible although that's not a trivial job.
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We chose Silestone for the kitchen a few years ago and are very happy with it. We have darker cabinets wanted to brighten up the kitchen a bit, so we chose a 'Diana Pearl' color. Silestone gives lots of options for color. We chose a patterned look instead of a solid color because it doesn't show dirt, stains or imperfections. The only issue we have had is a rust stain from a cheap old cookie tray left in wet spot while we were away for a long weekend. I'm sure we can get that stain out, I just haven't bought the right cleaner yet, and it's not too visible.
We also have an ocean rental property that was purchased new a couple years ago. The builder included solid white corian, but it didn't cost much to upgrade to granite, so we went for it. The condo was already bright and had white cabinets, so the darker blue/grey granite was a good contrast. Haven't had any issues with that counter at all after dozens of renters (and my kids off season). I guess I better put the sealer on it soon - thanks for the reminder. :)
On 11 Dec 2006 14:55:06 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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I have Silestone (Rosa Grey), and I am very happy with it. If you watch this board for a while, you will occasionally see people with stain problems with granite, and that makes me even more sure I made the right choice.
It's nice peace of mind to know that I can leave a drop of oil or peanut butter unnoticed for weeks in some corner of the counter, and I don't have to worry about staining or discoloration. The uniformity of Silestone also makes for a more invisible seam than what granite could offer, although the flow of granite is certainly attractive. Quartz surfaces have no pores, no hidden cracks, no pitting.
My Silestone seems plenty glossy to me. Contrary to another poster's comment, I've heard tha fabricators have an easier time with Silestone because there are no hidden cracks or "craze lines" to watch for. Although this is second-hand info. The higher quartz content of Silestone might cause fabricators to go through cutters more frequently. I dunno, and really I don't care, since the end product is what matters.
Silestone is stronger than granite and can sustain a greater overhang, if you need an overhang. Rosa Grey is a great pattern because it looks very natural and amazingly is still in the second cheapest price category of the 4 categories (for now).
The one thing I didn't like was the Home Despot required full payment before they started work. Outrageous. It was almost a deal-breaker. Unfortunately, I thought some competing companies (Zodiaq) patterns were kinda blah.
Search this group for Silestone, and you'll get lots of info.
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Yes it is. The "per sq ft installed" pricing model is also a rip-off.
Much better to negotiate a price for the material and a seperate price for fabrication/installation.
My granite countertop cost half of what HD wanted for the exact same granite.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

lots of flow is way more interesting than an ES (OTOH, if you like the look of the fine-grained granites, then maybe ES would be OK for you esthetically).
IMHO, the stain thing with granites is seriously overblown. Just don't get some cheap-o "granite" that is so porous it might as well be a sponge (do the lemon juice test on a sample before you commit to a slab). As far as impregnating the stone goes, the majority of granites (80%, I think the number is) imported these days are resined slabs, which is already a damn good seal.
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I agree. However, choice of color really matters. A large proportion of the folks with stain problems have selected hopelessly impractical colors. Choose a stone that's as close to white as you can find and you're sure to end up dissappointed. Select a practical color that's not going to highlight every tiny imperfection and you'll be fine.
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Well put.
I considered Silestone - like the looks. I went for granite for a look with more flow and because, dammit, it's my house and I have some knowledge of minerology - I wanted STONE because I like STONE! :) Sealing once in a great while takes care of the staining concerns. So, I have a nice (I mean - gneiss - which is what this really is...) kitchen countertop I'll really enjoy pretty much forever.
But, aside from that, I'd go according to what I want to see in the kitchen, and where I find an installer who comes well recommended and gives a decent price. Silestone gives a nice uniform fine-grained look and comes in more colors - if that's what you like, go with that.
Heck, there's something to be said, like the person upthread pointed out, even for Formica. For some looks like mid-century modern, it's the way to go. For price for a lot of situations. You can change up the look down the road a time or two for the price of putting in granite *or* Silestone one time. But a granite-look Formica would not have sat well with me, and I plan to be here a long time.
There's no really wrong answer.
Banty
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