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What countertop is best for your lifestyle?

There are so many choices beyond granite!

Quartz Counter

Contemporary kitchen island

This week on Instagram’s Martini Monday I give a quick overview of countertops.  There is soooo much more to know.  Let’s take a look…

 

Granite Countertops

Contemporary kitchen with granite counters.

Granite is the most popular.  I myself am partial to granite because it’s nature’s creation and, like a snowflake, every slab is different.  It’s a durable (because it’s stone) countertop material available in infinite colors, patterns and finishes.  Some slabs are subtle and neutral and other’s have a lot of movement and color.  It can be used in multiple locations including countertops, backsplashes, tabletops, wall cladding and more.  It’s also heat and scratch resistant.  I love using a full height granite backsplash in a kitchen – so elegant.  Anything other than subway tile at this point works for me!

 

Onxy bath countertop

Onyx Countertop

Other types of natural stone countertops are available but are not quite as popular.  A few options are soapstone, marble and onyx.

Soapstone is a very durable counter material but it does need to be sealed (very easily) once in awhile so many people opt out of using it.  Soapstone gives a more rustic or casual look.  You really only need to seal it once or twice a year so it’s really not a big deal.  The material is stunning.

Onyx is a stone that actually can be lit from behind.  When you see those lighted countertops in restaurants it’s probably onyx.  This stone is really gorgeous, however, it’s a lot more delicate than granite. It can be scratched or chipped fairly easily.  The best uses for onyx is in lightly used spaces such as bathrooms or wet bars.

Coinciding with onyx would be marble.  Great material for a bathroom or furniture but it does stain so kitchen or bar use may not be ideal.  If I really want to bring marble into the main living space of a home I’ll use it as a backsplash, tabletop or shelving.

 

Quartz counters are manmade granite.  Quartz created by basically taking granite shavings and mixing them with a heavy duty resin to create a super durable and nonporous surface.  They are cared for the same way you might care for granite.  They are a bit denser than granite and have no fissures that bacteria might grow in.  Quartz has more of a man made look which makes it a bit more subtle overall.  It’s available in a large range of colors so you’d be able to find something that would work for you.  My formula to using a quartz is that I usually use it when I’m attempting to downplay the counters in a space.  If I want to create focus on something else in the space like decorative cabinets, a special backsplash or some type of artwork I’ll pick a subtle quartz to help me get the reaction I’m looking for.  That’s not right or wrong but that’s now I have come to use quartz.  The contemporary kitchen shown as this blogs post main image is a mix of quartz counters and slab porcelain upper counters.  I was trying to highlight the cabinets and the actual design of the space in this particular project as the client’s are artsy and wanted to focus on the physical design of the home.

That brings us to slab porcelain that I mentioned above.  It is what it says it is, which is basically a very large scale floor tile.  The great thing about porcelain is that it’s a lot lighter weight than stone and it’s thinner.  It can easily be used on walls.  You’ll see it a in many bathrooms as a shower wall.  It has no grout lines so it’s VERY easy to clean.  I’m all about easy to clean in my life.  It also can be used as countertops.  In the post image I used it because it was light weight which allowed me to create the cantilevering countertop shown.

 

Glass countertop

Lighted glass countertop in a wet bar.

Glass countertops are sort of forgotten about I think.  Everyone just thinks 1980’s when they think glass but that’s so untrue.  Glass is very durable and easy to care for.  Multiple patterns can be created in the glass and multiple colors are also available.  Glass can be created in any shape and can also be lit from behind.  Glass design has come a long way and can give a one of a kind look to any interior space.  I use it a lot as full height glass backsplashes in whatever color my client picks.  It’s easy to clean and gives a very streamlined look.

 

Concrete counters are another way to go.  It’s a more industrial look.  I have not had a chance to install one yet but hopefully I’ll find a project that is just right and I’ll be able to give some personal input.  What I do know is that fabricating a counter like this is highly labor intensive.  A form needs to be created (your countertop shape) for the concrete to be poured into.  Much like a driveway, the concrete needs to set then dry.  It can be colored and textured.  It does have the possibility of getting small crack but they can be filled so that it looks perfect.  The concrete does get a sealer but I’ve been told that it still can stain.  It does make a great countertop material but keep in mind that the red wine or olive oil might be there to stay.

There are indeed many other countertop products on the market but this is just a few of the most popular to get your brain thinking.  Listed here is what I get asked most about from my clients.

If you have questions or comments regarding these or anything else that you’d like to see added please leave a comment and let me know.  I’d be glad to answer.

Quartz Counter

- Laura

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