Thursday, May 17, 2012

What type of countertop is right for you?

I have put in a bit o' research trying decipher what is what in the world of countertops.  I feel like I know a lot about what to expect with granite being that it is pretty common now-a-days and that my parents have granite as well, however, I am not very familiar with most  other countertop options other than laminate. 
I was able to use my consumer reports membership to find ratings on countertops that was completed less than a year ago.  Of course I will share.  :)  They rated all the most common countertops by stains, cutting, heat, abrasion and impact.

Rankings are as follows:
  1.  quartz (engineered stone i.e silestone, caesarstone)
  2.  granite
  3. recycled glass
  4. laminate
  5. tile
  6. solid surfacing (i.e. corian)
  7. soapstone
  8. concrete
  9. stainless steel
  10. butcher block (varnished)
  11. paper composite
  12. limestone
  13. butcher block (oil finish)
  14. marble
  15. bamboo (beeswax finish)
*There was a big gap in scoring  between #s 2&3, 5&6, 13&14

Anyways, pretty much the only difference in scoring for granite & quartz was that granite needs to be sealed a couple times a year-a process that only takes a couple minutes.  Other than that, it's pretty much aesthetics and how the material is made. Every area for these two products was very highly rated with the exception of impact-well, it's a hard material, so things will break if they are dropped on it.  duh!
 Since solid surfacing was also in my runnings, I should discuss its score a bit.  It scored mediocre because (as I mentioned in a previous post), it scratches easily and gets damaged with cutting & abrasion but takes decently well to heat, stains and impact.

I also looked at several other websites that had some really good info prior to coming across these ratings.
  • The Family Handyman pros & cons of countertop materials
  • Chowhound granite vs. solid surfacing vs. engineered stone
  • Standard Kitchens a description of each different kind of countertop
  • Solid design a description of different counter materials as well as who they think has the advantage...I feel this is skewed being that they fabricate granite & marble but still some good info
 After all that research, I decided that quartz & granite were pretty much the only two safe options for my busy not so tidy family.  Also didn't want WWIII the first time my husband or I stained the counter by not wiping it down!  Since we decided a couple days ago that we want black or dark counters, and we had already chosen a black granite (absolute black honed) that we like-GRANITE WINS!!!!   This may not be the best choice for all, but for us, we don't want to be stressed over our counters getting destroyed and I like to have a house that can withstand kiddos and time.  Supposedly black honed counters show lots of finger prints, but oddly this does not bother me.  My parents have shiny black granite and the prints on theirs rarely bother me as well as the prints on my neighbor's honed black granite. 
If anyone in the area has found a steal of a deal on honed absolute granite in the Portland area, we would love to have the name.


  1. Cool! It feels good to make decisions. I don't know how big your slab will be, but you might find a good deal pop up on Craigslist. I was watching slabs for a while, on there, and saw a few good deals good by. Good luck!

    1. yes, it sure does. I hate all the decisions hanging over our heads. Oh well, all a process, right? Do it to our liking and right the first time.

  2. I work with Silestone and designs kitchens and other household appliances. I think silestone is definitely the best product of Mother Nature. All doctors will recommend silestone just because it is made from natural materials.

  3. I will always prefer to choose Silestone .... I love it, and it has many advantages, and is made of natural stone... :)