My home was built in the late 1970's by an eccentric woman who designed it. When my family and I moved to Canada 6 years ago, from the U.S. we looked at many homes for over 9 months and found this one that had 28 feet ceilings, with a very steep hip roof and a 52" square diameter skylight in the middle of the home, above the stairway of our home.
I live in the middle of Granite City, in fact my home is on Granite/Slate Rock in the middle of Grand Bay-Westfield, a bedroom neighborhood of Saint John, New Brunswick (NB), Canada! I could literally take it from my old land, but then my house would probably be unstable!
As you can probably tell, I'm getting ready to redo my kitchen, with Natural Cherry Cabinets in a shaker style to go with my relatively modern open-concept home!
This week, I hit every kitchen renovation place, including the standard; Home Depot and Kent's Building Supplies. The problem I've had so far is "WHAT COUNTERTOP SURFACE DO I WANT?"
My previous background (before becoming a Realtor) was in; Math, Sciences & Education, so the educator in me decided to do some research on the durability, wearability and overall best deal for my bucks! I looked at: Granite, Cultured Marble, Engineered Stone, Solid Surfaces, Laminates & Tile.
Just some info on the terminilogy:
ENGINEERED STONE - all are made of natural quartz (which is one of the hardest substances and a combination of various materials).
Another name for them are; Silestone, Technistone, Formica Stone, CaesarStone, Hanstone.
Silestone - made of natural quartz, resin for binding & pigment.
Technistone - made of 93% natural quartz, quartz silica, granite or recycled mirror4, combined with 7% resin,
colors & binders.
Formica Stone - made of 93% natural quartz crystals, & 7% high-performance polymers.
CaesarStone - made of 93% natural quartz & 7% polyresins.
Hanstone - made of 93% natural quartz crystals, combined with high-quality polyester resins & pigment.
SOLID SURFACES - includes; Meganite or Avonite.
Meganite - made of Acrylic Resin & Aluminum Tri-Hydrate.
Avonite - made of Polyester & Aluminum Tri-Hydrate.
Here's the information I discovered in my research on the desired attributes of countertop materials:
1) Uniformity in Appearance:
Granite is Inconsistent.
Cultured Marble is Fair.
Engineered Stone is Good.
** Solid Surfaces, Laminate & Tile are Excellent.
2) Custom Colors & Color Matching:
Granite & Engineering Stone are not available!
Laminate & Tile are Limited.
** Solid Surfaces & Cultured Marble have the Best Colors & Matching available.
3) Resistant to Water:
Granite, Laminate & Tile's Grout are Not Resistant.
** Engineered Stone, Solid Surfaces & Cultured Marble are Resistant.
4) Sealer-Free Surface:
Granite & Tile's Grout are Not Sealer-Free Surfaces.
** Engineered Stone, Solid Surfaces, Cultured Marble & Laminate are Sealer-Free Surfaces.
5) Virtually Invisible Seams:
Granite, Engineering Stone, Cultured Marble, Laminate & Tile are Not Virtually Invisible Seams.
** Solid Surfaces are the only ones that are Virtually Invisible Seams.
6) Appealing to the Touch:
Granite, Engineered Stone & Tile are Cold.
** Solid Surfaces, Cultured Marble & Laminate are Warm.
7) Ability to Resist Heat:
Cultured Marble & Laminate are Not resist to heat.
** Engineered Stone, Granite, Solid Surfaces & Tile are resist to heat.
8) Ability to Resist Bacteria & Mold:
Granite, Laminate & Tile are Not resist to bacteria & mold, mostly from their joints & grout.
** Engineered Stone, Solid Surfaces & Cultured Marble are resist to bacteria & mold.
9) Reparability (To Original Appearance):
Granite, Engineered Stone, Cultured Marble, Laminate & Tile Grout are Not Reparable.
** Solid Surfaces are the only ones that are Reparable.
Granite & Tile Grout are Not Porous.
** Engineered Stone, Solid Surfaces, Cultured Marble & Laminate are Porous.
11) Easy to Maintain:
Granite & Tile are Not Easy to Maintain.
** Engineered Stone, Solid Surfaces, Cultured Marble & Laminate are Easy to Maintain.
12) Renewable Surfaces:
Granite, Engineered Stone, Cultured Marble, Laminate & Tile are Not Renewable Surfaces.
** Solid Surfaces are the only Renewable Surfaces.
13) Ease of Installation:
Granite is very heavy.
Engineered Stone & Tile are Not Easy to Install.
** Solid Surfaces, Cultured Marble & Laminate are Easy to Install.
14) Overall Cost of Installed Product:
Engineered Stone is the most expensive or $$$$$
Granite & Solid Surfaces are the next expensive or $$$$
Cultured Marble & Tile are the 3rd expensive or $$$
** Laminate is the cheapest or $
Granite & Tile have No Warranty.
Cultured Marble & Laminate have a 1 year Warranty.
** Engineered Stone & Solid Surfaces have a 10 year Warranty.
Based on our needs for our family, we have decided to go with either; Engineered Stone or Solid Surfaces! We do love Granite, but it has too many issues with durability, wearability, feel and overall maintenance. Now off to my Countertop Specialists I go...
What's your preference of countertops???