Sunday, November 2, 2014


   Something that I probably have done more research on and debated over more than anything else for our home has been counter-tops. The thing is I wasn't truly happy with any of the choices that I commonly see and then when I found one that I really liked every cabinet person I talked to looked at me with a blank look and then tried to talk me out of it.

  Our counter-tops are still a little up in the air. I think I am getting what I want but we don't have a price yet and it is not set in stone. So- we shall see.

I thought I would share some of the many options that we have considered and what my personal opinion is on them - then I would really love to hear about what you have, or have used and your opinions on them.

Granite Countertop
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Granite Counter-tops. Around here if you want a solid surface it seems that pretty much everyone goes with granite. It is a nice counter-top and doesn't require much maintenance but here is why I didn't really want it: It looks to elegant in my opinion. I wanted something that fit into a more rustic/farmhouse look. I also don't care for the way the color is all in little dots. It does also require sealing from time to time.

Tile Countertop Style 7
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Tile Counter-top. We did consider ceramic tile counter top for a bit as I think they are decently economical and we liked the way they looked fairly well. However when we thought about cleaning something that wasn't perfectly smooth and that had grout we decided that was not what we wanted in the kitchen.
Laminate Countertop Style 9
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Laminate Counter-top. This is a favorite of cabinet makers and what we have always had before. It clean easily, it is quite inexpensive and it is not so hard as solid stone so dishes don't always break if they fall on it. My problems with it though are that it stains, it can't have hot pans set on it without hotpads and little boys can make gouges in it when messing around with kitchen knives while working in the kitchen (speaking from first hand experience). Also I just would really like something that will last for the lifetime of the house - and this won't.

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Wood Counter-top. I think wood is very pretty but we decided it wasn't good for us because we planned on having wood cupboards (not painted) and wood floors and countertops too would probably be a bit to much. I also think that you have to be way more careful with moisture on wood counter-tops and I don't really want to deal with that.

Epoxy Counter-top. I had seen this idea for laying down pennies a pouring epoxy over them to make a counter-top and though I didn't want that I thought it would be neat to do it with river stones instead. I thought that sounded like a pretty fun project and fitting for a home on the river. Ken however was not convinced and I didn't know that I liked the real shininess of it anyway so that idea got rejected.

Concrete Countertop w/ apron sink by Rob Markus-2
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Concrete Counter-top. This is my second choice and still could be the one that I go with but my concerns with it are that it has to be sealed and is absorbent. I have also heard that it can sometimes crack and that doesn't sound so good. Concrete counter-tops can have a lot of different looks and some I don't care for but there are quite a few that I like.

Slate Countertop
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Slate counter-tops. This is the one that I want to get and here is why: They look really natural and timeless. They look good quality without having the fancy look to them that I think granite often has. Also- slate is a non-porous stone so it doesn't harbor bacteria in it nor does it absorb stains. You don't have to seal it. This is a unique quality that most solid stone counter-tops do not have. It is not damaged by heat and so we can set hot pots and pans on it. It feels really nice - rather soft and super smooth. I love the subtle graining in it. It can scratch but that can just add to the look of it or you can rub the scratch out with steel wool.

Do you have any thoughts on countertops? What do you or don't you like? I would love to hear about your experiences. Obviously I didn't talk about every option but these are the ones that I have mainly considered.


Sheila said...

What about a solid surface like Corian? You could get that in a solid color. Not all granite is going to have the dots like that, either. I have had granite in two houses, once basically a solid black and another house had brown. I loved it in both houses. I never did seal it, and I lived in the house with the black granite for 5 years. I am a huge fan, and not because I want to keep up with the Jones. :). I just loved the look and ease of use. Don't get me wrong, I am sure I should have sealed it, I just didn't know that at the time.

Sharmayne said...

Some great & not so great options there.... With the slate you also need to be aware that sometimes they can expel salt ( naturally occurring in the stone) which leaves white stains that don't come out because it's part of the stone.....I've had this happen in a bathroom we had & was later told it was due to the water and heat that did that.... Tiles are a definate NO having had that horror story in a rented the bench top was a major job! The laminated bench tops was what I ended up with as while they can get some damage with growing families they are relatively cheap to replace in a few years time, meaning the colour & look of them can also be easily changed......get a laminate that looks like slate. I have some home made jot pads that I have for use when I'm cooking to put hot pans down on.......good luck with whatever you end up with xo

Abbi said...

Sheila- our cabinet guy did show me some granite that was black and had the honed finish and I did think it was pretty - I just didn't like it as well as slate. That could still be an option though.

Sharmayne, thanks so much for sharing you experiences. That is interesting about the salt with the slate. I will have to look into that more.

Amelia said...

Abbi, Have you seen soapstone counters? They are soooo neat. But...I'm not sure about durability.

We did wood at first but it was very difficult to keep. I think marine varnish must be used on those...

We now have granite and it is pretty...I think it depends on the pattern you choose as the look you will get as you probably already know. ; )

It's tempting to go with old fashioned formica isn't it? They do have some very pretty patterns now that looks very much like real stone.

I can't wait to see what you settle on! I know how it is! : )

Nola said...

I've only ever had laminate, because that is either what the house came with or the one time we put in counter top, its what was cheapest but still okay quality. I just stressed using a cutting board a lot and it seemed to work okay but I am sure over time it might not be, although we had to move so I don't know after many years. The old one was cut a bit from previous owners and got moldy underneath from a tap leak (another problem with the underside of laminate which is unfortunately particle board) it just absorbs water and if not dried out right away, it can grow mold. I wanted to look into Corian however it wasn't in the budget. In the bathroom we had some sort of fake marble but it was just plain white and it scratched easily and left little marks on it from setting things on was just a standard bathroom counter top but it wasn't as great as it first looked once we got it in. It was just a lower end product so that is why I am sure. I also think that granite looks too upscale and fancy for me personally.

Nola said...

My friend has some stainless steel counter top that is on a long table but she uses it as counter...she got second hand from an old building, and its amazing but I think the cost of buying it now new would be a lot of money. However it is really nice and looks amazing...I thought it might look industrial but it doesn't in her kitchen.


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