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
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?
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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
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