What are the best kitchen counter materials

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wrote:

Do you think the dealer can convince _all_ of his customers to subsidize the cost of the unnecessary polished side for the benefit of the few? I would tend to think that would be a tough sell.
I've probably been in 30 or 40 stone yards over the years and in different states and I never encountered a slab polished on both sides as standard. It's just not done. If someone wants both sides polished, they pay for the slab and the additional side polishing and the yard will polish the other side. It's the only thing that makes sense financially for the yard and the purchaser.
R
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wrote:

RDJ:
It's always a pleasure to air ideas and exchange observations.
Do you think the dealer can convince _all_ of his customers to subsidize the cost of the unnecessary polished side for the benefit of the few? I would tend to think that would be a tough sell.
I've probably been in 30 or 40 stone yards over the years and in different states and I never encountered a slab polished on both sides as standard. It's just not done. If someone wants both sides polished, they pay for the slab and the additional side polishing and the yard will polish the other side. It's the only thing that makes sense financially for the yard and the purchaser.
Somethings are arduous and expensive to cut and polish, some petrified woods for instance. Many yards with their own equipment won't touch it. The few dealers who do process it in the country will rarely finish both sides unless they come on a piece that really sings a statement prepared like that. For special orders, the buyer commands.
A bygone friend handled a lot of Moroccan dimensional fossil stone. He had success with plates polished on one side. Because that material is easily finished--plus shows different aspects across a slab width-- he ordered two slabs he had picked out as cuts to get the dual treatment. He ordered more after success with selling those. Then he ordered relief sculptures, then sculptures in the round. Why? He sold it. He sold it to clients who liked the results and could afford to serve their appreciations. I know what it cost him to have the sculptures executed in Morocco. He did well.
In response to your first paragraph, a dealer can stock one-sided slabs in disproportion to two sided. They can be priced differently. They would be. And looking at the pieces done on one side just might be an incentive for certain clients to go big for two. One customer doesn't have to subsidize another.
To your second paragraph, the world stone fabrication center is Italy. They are good, mechanized and able to deliver a product cheaper than it can be custom polished here for a lot less than a small U.S. yard can. Most of the African production gets shipped to Italy before it ever hits a port here.
Of course, if a customer wants a particular landed slab to get double treatment, it's not making a round trip to the boot. However, some real finicky customers have been known to work through a local dealer and choose blocks and slabs at the quarry face in faraway lands.
I fully agree with you that slabs that get the 360 degree work up aren't standard. To repeat, most rock doesn't have the intrinsic properties to specially warrant that. Some does. "Some" is a fulcral word.
In many applications, we further accord twin polishing would be practically superfluous and of dubious benefit for an admirer without an inspecion mirror. Yet there are always people who can be sold on the sizzle: white-walled tires, a Swiss-Army knife with 110 blades instead of 100....
In your tours of stone yards, you will have noticed the high attrition rate in the business. If you were in that game, you'd be thinking of innovative ways to selectively style and present your products and cultivate market niches. Maybe there's a single notion somewhere in what I observed successful friends do with unorthodox and susceptible product that works.
BTW, I think "Stone World" magazine has a web site. You'll enjoy that.
Later and regards,
Edward Hennessey
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Edward Hennessey wrote:

Actually - and technically - all granite has them. Some with mostly plagioclase feldspar, some with orthoclase. The other "granites" are "granitic" stone. ________________

IMO, quartzite would be better.
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dadiOH
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DO:
My emphasis was on avoiding a large amount of any feldspar or mica in any granite. Both are softies and some micas are renowned for delaminating if water catches them unprotected.
What they call stone in the store, as you note, often departs from how a petrographer would classify them and their properties. If you said "granitic stone" to a specialist, it might be akin to a hypnotist saying "faint" to a subject.

My mention of fine-grained sandstone failed to address the fact that quartzite is metmamorphosed sandstone. Good catch.
One question is whether the use environment is likely to be one where sufficient forces are at play where one hard sandstone variety wouldn't survive where a harder one would. That calls for metrics I don't have.
Quartzite has a lot of superior properties going for it. One thing that would not be among them would be repairability in some circumstances. It tends to split across the grains where the unmetamorphosed precursors will split around a grain. If someone does break both, the fault line in a precursor material can be more easily fudged.
Check me on this. Do you know which of the two stones offers more color variations? If the hard unmetamorphosed material was more suitable in color than the quartzite, that might call the nod for some people.
Speaking individually--and trying to get the OP to help us with the trade deficit by buying American--he might want to look at this page showing Kanab Wonderstone (silicified Rhyolite) which would make a real impressive backsplash statement: http://www.google.com/search?um=1&hl=en&biw 39&bih`8&tbm=isch&aq=f&aqi=&oq=&q=kanab%20wonderstone
Luigi, you need this stuff. And DO, thanks for talking rocks.
Regards,
Edward Hennessey

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wrote:

Rocks are cool. I have a number of slabs from our local rock firm, Sidrock owned by Sid McKeown (http://www.sidrock.com /). Three jade slabs about 2 feet by 4 feet quasi ovals (Nephrite, I think, but obviously not jade quality), a 2 foot by 16 inch slab of skarn from the Whitehorse copper mine, showing all kinds of minerals including chalcopyrite, garnets, feldspar, etc., My marble slab entrance which is white marble with black streaks and some yellow spots. finally an oval slab of greenstone or some such green metamorphic rocks. When Sid was starting his now very successful business, he would occasionally call us and ask if we wanted any rock slabs whenever he was having cash flow problems. We usually were happy to oblige.
What do you think of nephrite countertops?
Luigi
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On Thu, 5 May 2011 20:18:13 -0700 (PDT), Luigi Zanasi

I wonder if Wilsonart makes an Uba Tuba laminate...
-- I dislike arguments of any kind. They are always vulgar and often convincing. -- Oscar Wilde
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Edward Hennessey wrote:

In sandstone, the color(s) depend upon what the sand was derived from and the type/source of the cementing agent. I don't think it likely that the color of the sand would change in a particular sandsone after metamorphication but I suppose that of the cementing material could. ________

http://www.google.com/search?um=1&hl=en&biw 39&bih`8&tbm=isch&aq=f&aqi=&oq=&q=kanab%20wonderstone
"Silicified rhyolite" sounds a bit like advertising hype. Rhyolite is the volcanic equivalent of granite (real granite), same chemical and mineral composition. The difference is that the igneous granite cools slowly, the volcanic rhyolite quickly. Slow cooling allows the mineral crystals to get larger.
I did look at the link, pretty rock. The most remarkable thing about it is the intricate folding. Offhand, I can think of only two ways for that to come about: a) tectonic (physical) folding of the strata and b) multiple depositions over much time and after erosion has altered the previous surface. Of course, both could be true and in some of the photos it looks like that is what happened. _____________

My pleasure. I finally got some good out of my petrology classes :)
--

dadiOH
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Edward Hennessey wrote:

http://www.google.com/search?um=1&hl=en&biw 39&bih`8&tbm=isch&aq=f&aqi=&oq=&q=kanab%20wonderstone
i have some of this. you'd never keep it sealed or clean if used i a kitchen.
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CA:
As a counter top material, no. As a backsplash element, some among the differing grades from as many deposits lumped under this and other names would work with attentive sealing.
I have an installation with large trilobite cephalons cut into featured tiles which has done well in a humid environment not dissimilar to one spaced off a kitchen countertop.
Regards,
Edward Hennessey
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Edward Hennessey wrote:

sure, for humid or even water splashed areas. but soapy or greasy environments, like a kitchen backsplash?
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Edward Hennessey wrote:

dark granite.
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Many granites are grained and have fissures. They are not glassy. So if you get one - make sure the top is like glass. No indents. Even if glassed over with a sealer - food will grow bad stuff there.
The best is the man made quartz. It is a strong and can be beautiful to pure white.
We have a center of the kitchen table - rolling - small slab of granite on it - pink granite. It has pores all over it. It is sealed but there are still holes everywhere.
We protect it from direct food. Sad, we would have preferred a glassy top. Such is life.
Martin
On 5/10/2011 12:26 AM, F Murtz wrote:

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On Thu, 5 May 2011 07:56:21 -0700 (PDT), Luigi Zanasi

Dig out that burned or chipped area and inlay a nice pattern to replace it. In 40 years with Formica, I've never caused more than a 1/4" chip in a countertop, and I work with tools on them all the time.

Don't be too ready. HINT: Do you wear gloves in your home in the winter?

You and I have similar tastes in laminates and wood for chopping block areas. I plan on building a rolling wooden cart instead of an insert. I prefer laminate because it's inexpensive, durable, and attractive. It's also much safer to work on and comfortable to lean against. It's cheap enough to change every few years if you get a wild hare, too. My 12' section was under $200 and I spent about $30 to build the other two 2x2' sections myself, with baltic birch ply, laminate, and solvent based contact cement. Wilsonart Western Suede color. I still like it 9 years later. http://goo.gl/xWW75
Stone can look cool, even beautiful, but I really dislike the stuff as a countertop. I've been in people's houses who have solid surface and tile, and I have hated being in those kitchens. They're physically COLD. You can't lean your butt or hands on them without freezing them off (unless it's August in moderate climes and the windows are open). If you even let a -tiny- slip happen with glass casseroles, kiss them goodbye. Don't EVEN bump your head on one after picking up a dropped piece of paper. DAMHIKT.
The solid plastics aren't quite as bad, but laminate tops warm to the touch in seconds. I truly love that.
My choice was easy: synergistic vs. antagonistic materials.
-- An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. -- Sir Winston Churchill
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Soapstone and hard maple go together well, and have complementary features. They don't have a lot of the less desirable qualities of other stones, and the only upkeep (which is optional) is a periodic wipe down with mineral oil, same as the butcher block maple. Easy peasy, and you can work the stone yourself without 'real' stone tools.
http://www.soapstones.com/diy_soapstone.html
R
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On Thu, 05 May 2011 07:56:21 -0700, Luigi Zanasi wrote:

Since the average American moves frequently, and the average house is not built to last for very long, I wouldn't worry too much about longevity. I like the looks of stone (or brick?) but claims that it will last forever don't do much for me. The cabinets holding it up will disintegrate a long time before the stone does :-).
And then there's cost, which you don't mention. Hard to beat laminate there and it lasts long enough for me.
But based *only* on looks I'd go for tile or face brick.
--
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw

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On Thu, 5 May 2011 07:56:21 -0700 (PDT), Luigi Zanasi

Perhaps soapstone, I have been lead to believe wood working tools can be used to work it.
Mark
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On 5/5/2011 9:56 AM, Luigi Zanasi wrote: ...

...
Depends on how much budget is the controlling factor (as always)
If cost is a consideration, laminate is cheaper and for the general purpose counterttop works fine.
For solid material, my personal recommendation is the solid manmades a la Corian, etc. We used a less expensive one that hadn't heard of before but available at local distributor at about half the cost of Corian. After several years (going on 4 or 5 now???), it's just fine.
For specialty areas such as chopping surfaces, bread/dough areas, wood is good; end block for chopping, not for rolling. As for the latter other than maple, any of the common non-open grain are fine--cherry, birch, etc., ...
Some like the granite for the purpose, no direct experience there; I'm not that keen on the stone in general as require more maintenance and are often susceptible to damage from things like lemon juice, etc., that the manmades aren't so much. Plus, of course, they tend to be pricey so we're back to that again...
All in all, it's a personal preference thing; I think the deal w/ stone now is mostly just a current fad that "this, too, will pass" as for the big popularity.
--
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We put in Silestone some 10-12 years ago. It has held up remarkably well. No problems with hot pans. We (actually she) use it as a cutting board as well. No problem for knives or counter. Other than wiping with soap and water there is no maintenance. Bleach should be fine too. In contrast to granite there is no sealing required.
I was informed that it was much more expensive than granite now, but don't know whether that is indeed so. Come and see it whenever you're near Newark, NJ <grin>.
--
Best regards
Han
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On 5/05/11 3:10 PM, Han wrote:

Granite depending upon type and colour may not need as much sealing as you suggest, ours is a dark green/black it may be different with lighter colours. Over ten years old, still look great, seal it once every three years or so, one is due soon.
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Froz...


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On 5/5/11 9:56 AM, Luigi Zanasi wrote:

We're considering polished concrete. It can be tinted and have any aggregate you like.
--

-MIKE-

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