questionsremodeling! we are completely re-doing theā€¦

vote-for17vote-against
vote-for8vote-against

Have you seen concrete counter tops? They can be made in any color and are virtually indestructable - pretty much takes a sledge to hurt them. Plus the side benefit that they are less expensive than some other surfaces.

vote-for7vote-against

I'm going to gut my kitchen, trying to keep costs down & have been researching for several months. It is really a matter of taste & budget. Most retailers have been trying to talk me into granite but I have decided to go with an HD laminate (wilsonart or formica). When done right they are as eye catching as granite. I am a bit heavy handed in the kitchen & I need to go with something I can't easily burn, crack or chip & I want something low maintenance. I am also considering using other surfaces to compliment the laminate e.g. granite or tile on the island, wood by the stove, etc.

I did find a lot of useful ideas in this link:
http://starcraftcustombuilders.com/kitchen.countertops.htm
and probably would have gotten an estimate from them except I don't live near Nebraska.

vote-for1vote-against

Is surface referring to countertops or floors? I favor ceramic for the floors because of the low maintenance and standard laminate(preformed tops) for the counters/island. YMMV.

vote-for6vote-against

i got quartz countertops and i'm happy with them vs granite. one brand name of quartz is Silestone but there are others. a concrete counter would be awesome! but i'm not sure about the resale-ability. i've seen some concrete floors which are beautiful but a lot of people only want the hot surface of the month. a friend of mine was going to redo her kitchen and all she kept repeating was "granite granite granite"

vote-for5vote-against

We remodeled our kitchen last summer. We don't plan to be in this house forever, so we were considering cutting costs on the counter tops by just doing laminate/formica. However, we ended up going with an acrylic (LG HI-MACS). We got a small grain pattern and when they install them and joints get smoothed out until they are completely invisible so it looks like a continuous surface. You may be able to locate the joint with a larger pattern, but you still wouldn't be able to feel the seam. I am completely satisfied with them so far. They look great and are easy to clean. We kept an eye out at Lowes until they had a sale so we still got a very reasonable price. I am SO happy we paid a little more and avoided laminate!!

vote-for6vote-against

My condo came with granite countertops, tile back splash, cherry wood cabinets, ceramic floor tile and stainless steel appliances with black trim (the stove top is black, the sink is stainless).

If I had to redo it now, I think I'd go with black appliances and stainless steel trim, keeping the stainless sink (the stainless appliances just scratch way too easily). I'm not sure I'd go with granite, though it looks fantastic and really ties together the tile (floor and backsplash) and cabinets.

I tend to be (overly?) protective of the granite, using hot pads, and left over pieces of shelf liner (a fairly heavy, ridged, semi-transparent plastic), so I have a feeling I'd go with something a bit harder to scratch and less expensive too boot.

vote-for2vote-against

@jsimsace: I did mean countertop. The floor is done (bamboo hardwood), and replaced all the appliances to high-end stainless. The main home is all granite, but this second home came with crappy laminate, which is not good...

vote-for5vote-against

When I remodeled 4 years ago, I went with granite. It is tougher than nails and looks great. You can sit hot stuff on it and even cut on it. I had them make a cutting board with the section they cut out for the sink but I've never used it. They put a 10 year sealer on it and it still looks brand new. Just make sure your cabinets are strong enough to hold it. I have one section that weighs over 650 pounds!

vote-for2vote-against

@alpayton: That's a great suggestion, I didn't think of acrylic.

How is the scratch resistance on the fine pattern? Does it mark easily?

And if I might ask, how large was your kitchen and how much did you end up paying for the countertop? This is not the main home, so I wouldn't mind spending less! :)

vote-for4vote-against

@missellienc: Yes, I would also tend to prefer granite since that's what I am used to. But this second home's cabinetry isn't the best and honestly I just want to replace the laminate without paying for a new custom cabinet. We are not there all the time, so anything prettier than laminate would do. :) Also, we do cook a lot so some scratch resistance would be great.

I would never cut on a granite chopping board, though. It damages the knives too much.

vote-for4vote-against

@lll0228: Next to laminate, I would think ceramic or porcelain tiles would be the most affordable and durable countertop for your 2nd home. I also know someone who put down granite tiles.

I found a list where Quartz, Granite, Recycled Glass, Laminate and Tile were the top 5 ranking countertop materials.

Good luck with your upgrade!

vote-for6vote-against

My wife and I went through this last month.

Granite is pretty, but expensive. It has to be sealed about every 30 days to prevent staining. It stands up to hot temps from pots. It also resists knife marks

Corian is nice. It runs about the same price as granite, but doesn't withstand heat from a hot pot and is prone to marking from such. The good news is that having it resurfaced isn't expensive. It also requires no monthly treatment to keep it from staining. It IS prone to marking if cut on with a knife.

Poured concrete is cheap. However, it looks nice. It holds up well to heat, does not mark from knives and if done correctly, looks just as good as granite. It DOES require you to seal it often to prevent staining.

Quartz. This is the one we settled on. It comes in just about any color imaginable, it's durable (about twice the density of granite - and has the look too), it holds up to heat. It does not damage under a knife and it requires zero maintenance.

Good luck!

vote-for5vote-against

If you're also considering resale value, go for a hard surface.

I went with granite for my last two homes. For this last one, I found a good sale at Home Depot with 6 months no interest.

vote-for3vote-against

I have granite and love it - gorgeous, easy care, and takes a beating. My parents have had granite for 20+ years, and it's still in great condition. No monthly sealing, just cleaning with granite cleaner periodically. Super easy, no worries about putting hot pans down on it, and it's fabulous as a pastry rolling-out surface. We both have a dark granite, so even if there were stains (which I've never seen at either house), you wouldn't notice it.

I've heard great things about quartz, but I've heard mixed reviews about concrete and the amount of cleaning/sealing care. I wouldn't do laminate if you are thinking at all about resale - most home buyers are looking for granite or quartz and will turn down houses with laminate.

I have had ceramic tile flooring in my past 2 houses and would NEVER do that again. It's far too easy to crack, and far too easy for my kids to break glasses, bowls, plates. I'd love to redo with bamboo or wood flooring.

vote-for5vote-against

@sassymango: Thanks for the link. It really helped me realize the differences between counter-top materials. Since I am in the process of moving, it will help make my choice of surfaces in a new home easier.
I like the idea of soapstone, now that I understand it.

vote-for2vote-against

I'm kinda curious - and genuinely not trolling - but I'm wondering about the objections to laminate. There are some decent-looking laminates out there and I confess that I love the easy care of my current countertop. (I'd previously had granite, but the house I bought I had this lovely blue laminate counter and I really don't mind it.)

I confess that if the world were my oyster and I planned to live in my current house forever, I'd love to put in a butcher block wood countertop. [I have no affiliation with that site, but the cabinets look like mine, except my counter features an enameled cast-iron sink, Bon Home Disk Rack, and dog kibble instead of decorative items. :) ]

vote-for2vote-against

If it's just a second home and you won't be there often, there's always granite tiles. MUCH cheaper than a slab of granite, and you still get to have what you're used to and like.

Personally I'm not a huge fan of granite just because I'm tired of hearing about it. Sometimes it looks nice, sometimes it doesn't. There are plenty of other durable options out there. Maybe make a trip to Home Depot or some other home improvement store and look at samples?

vote-for2vote-against

@olperfesser: you're welcome, glad it was useful. Good luck with your move!

vote-for1vote-against

@lll0228 - Well geez, I never happened to come back and look at this thread again so I completely missed your follow-up question! I'm answering even though it could be way too late!!

-- How is the scratch resistance on the fine pattern? Does it mark easily?
It doesn't mark easily at all. We have had ours in for over a year now and it doesn't have a single scratch - and we have 4 kids in our home!

-- And if I might ask, how large was your kitchen and how much did you end up paying for the countertop? This is not the main home, so I wouldn't mind spending less! :)
We have a standard L-shaped kitchen with an island. The island counter is about 4' x 3' and the L shape linear length must be 9 or 10 feet (it has been quite a while since I measured and we lost a bit of counter length in the remodel). The price at Lowe's included installation and I believe it was about $1250. When we were looking at laminate it was closer to $700 for the countertop, but that didn't include installation.

vote-for0vote-against

A friend of mine just installed granite countertops in Poulsbo WA (http://www.kitsapkitchenandbath.com/services/) and it looks absolutely fantastic. Personally, granite is my favorite. But you just have to go with whatever you think will look best and be easiest for you to keep nice.