What you need to know about countertops

Countertops for Kitchens and baths can be a real mystery for the most of us. Yeah that’s right!

Granite has been the mainstay for quite some time. First used by the wealthy in their homes, it gained in popularity across the spectrum of homeowners during the early 1990’s.

What’s the deal with Granite countertops anyway?

  1. Granite is a natural stone and comes in many colors and variations.
  2. It comes in gloss or honed (matte) finishes. Gloss is the most popular.
  3. Can be scratch and heat resistant, and used as counters in kitchen, baths and bars.
  4. Pots and pans chip an edge near the sink? That can be repaired.
  5. Choose an edge, such as the Bullnose or Double Ogee which won’t chip as easily.
 Blue Pearl Royal Granite – great for a Beach House kitchen

Blue Pearl Royal Granite – great for a Beach House kitchen

Problems with Granite:

  1. Those pesky chips.
  2. Don’t slap a hot casserole dish on the countertop if the design is very large with big quartz crystals. Called “High Movement,” The larger the design, the less heat resistant.
  3. High maintenance! You can use a granite spray to clean your countertops, but to maintain the glossy finish you should polish them every 6 months to a year, to seal the stone. High Movement granite needs polishing at 6 months as it has more porosity.
  4. You must chose from one lot. As the miners get closer to the end of the run, the color darkens.
  5. It can be quite costly, depending on what you choose. Prices can vary on demand and stock available. See #4
 Granite with High Movement

Granite with High Movement

Quartz Countertops, the not so new kid on the block:

  1. Cambria and Silestone are the top manufacturers
  2. Made of 95% quartz 5% resin, making them just about impermeable – even to food acids!
  3. Resistant to heat, impact and scratches, and doesn’t need sealing. Comes in smooth, suede and volcano (low pebble) finishes.
  4. Available in many colors, and available as shower trays, built-in sink bowls, kitchen, bath and bar countertops.
  5. Greenguard certified and many are hygienic (Bacteriostatic). Clean up is with soap and water.

Problems with Quartz Countertops?

  1. Strong sunlight can possibly discolor them.
  2. Though high heat resistant, still be safe and use a trivet or potholder underneath a hot pot.

Newest entry to the countertop category? DEKTON

  1. What is this? A mixture of raw materials including glass, the latest generation of porcelain tiles, and quartz surfaces.
  2. These Miraculous counters of the future came out about three years ago. Max heat resistance to Fire and Heat, High UV resistance makes it suitable for outdoor use. Max resistance to scratching and stains! What more can I say? Still, you’ll want to use a cutting board to keep the knife blades safe.
  3. Can be used for counters, flooring (yep!) facades and walls.
  4. Made in a few hours, what naturally would take nature thousands of years to do, using a process called PST..learn about this by watching the video. Covers the build of Cosentino’s new facility in Spain, as well as the Particle Sintering Technology (PST) process. Fascinating to watch!

Problems with DEKTON?

  1. For some reason, the residential market has yet to warm up to Dekton.
  2. Consumer reports tested it, and came to the conclusion that it can crack when you drop a pot from on high….yeah, like that happens! Response:Cosentino conducted extensive test on the materials in its facilities and when subjected to impacts from regular kitchen items and utensils, such as a knife, can of food and a pot, the material did not crack- validating its high performance to withstand normal levels of wear and tear. Dekton was designed to durably withstand everyday wear & tear- whether it’s scratching, staining, heat or cutting.  It scored well in all of those categories in the Consumer Report Testing. As Consumer Reports’ testing conditions didn’t comply with our own installation guidelines, we can’t validate their results.Now if you take a 2-4lb weight and drop it on any surface that is not installed and just clamped between two vices, I am sure just about anything will dent/ or crack.

So that was a walk in the park. My hope is you are now better informed on the use and performance of different types of countertops. Concrete is not that great, Zinc is pricey, reacts to all sorts of food, so won’t stay shiny, and can warp. I didn’t cover butcher block, as you can get very large Boos Boards now, that takes the place of inserting butcher block into your countertops – though they do make nice islands – if you’re not into stone.

We like to see what differences our clients prefer when choosing stone for their projects.

Heather Bates