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What Material is YOUR counter top?

11 years ago

After talking to a few different kitchen pro's/installers, it is apparent that the top counter top material in our area (NW OHIO) is quickly becoming quartz! Just out of curiosity, what is common in your area?

Comments (58)

  • wizardnm
    11 years ago

    I'm in NW Lower Michigan and granite is the norm in the nicer homes, especially the 'up north' vacation homes.
    However, I am more contemporary and wanted something different. I choose quartz, love the look and the easy maintenance. It is more expensive than most granite here.

  • bahacca
    11 years ago

    Orange County, CA here. Granite reigns supreme here. As for what I have...WHITE TILE--please bow your heads and pray with me that my husband gets hired on full time in November so we have money to redo the counters. AMEN!LOL

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    Every choice has pluses and minuses, in the end you have to choose which plus and which minus matters the most to you and/or which have an easy fix (like using a cutting board under the crockpot; at work we have an extra piece under the big coffeemaker). budget mattered a lot to me (and I hated formica) so, I ended up with a lesser expensive granite and am very happy, no sealing or extra work for the stone I chose. I had formica previously which looked like h#*! from the day I moved in and didn't get better (except that I could use bleach to remove stains) so those of you whose formica looks like new after 30 years must be taking appropriate care -- using cutting boards (mine had little cuts all over) and so forth -- where my previous owners did not. But, I read that formica now is much better quality than what was installed 30 or 40 years ago. I looked at Burled Beach and liked it. It looked a warm sand-ish color on my samples in my house, but I saw a demo kitchen of it at a big box store and it was a warm greenish tone (I still liked it) under their fluorescent lights. You always have to ability to STOP and make changes unless the cabinets are all already made. If he is just now starting it might not be too late -- call him now! PS do you have an IKEA near to you? Most counter materials are less expensive there.
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  • Billl
    11 years ago

    We just picked out our countertops - soapstone. We went to several warehouses in raleigh and I'd say 80% of the stones were granite.

    BTW- what salespeople recommend first isn't necessarily what most people are buying. We also had people tell us that suchinsuch was gaining in popularity, but they must not have told the people importing the slabs about it because it was still almost all granite.

  • jscout
    11 years ago

    Up in the NE, granite [yawn] is still very popular. There are so many price points that there are some relatively inexpensive options. Everyone is putting it in and calling it "upscale." Personally I don't consider granite upscale anymore.

    Me? I have soapstone.

  • sas95
    11 years ago

    We're from the NY metro area. When we were looking at houses over the last few years, every house with an updated kitchen had quartz, whether it was an "upscale" kitchen or not. We put in quartz, because I like the modern, clean look. Our KD said that most of the higher end renos that he has been doing over the last year or so do not involve granite. But I'd say granite is still really popular here, and more popular than quartz.

  • sas95
    11 years ago

    Ooops. I meant to say that every house with an updated kitchen that we looked at last year had granite, not quartz.

  • plllog
    11 years ago

    My own counters are a combination of tile, soapstone and sunflower seed husk board. I suppose that's in concert with the general area. There was an article in the paper talking about how people were using alternative materials and tired of granite, though granite isn't about to disappear any time soon. Caesarstone is very popular for Modern looks and among certain cultural groups. A designer was on TV recently saying he has gone to Caesarstone because his clients would complain about maintenance and appearance issues with a lot of the natural stones he was using.

  • Circus Peanut
    11 years ago

    Mine are copper and I don't know anyone else who has it, barring 3 others here on GW. In northern New England, it's all about demographics: depending on income, there's lots of formica, corian, granite. We have more soapstone and slate than elsewhere, presumably because these are time-tested local materials around here, and our housing stock is so much older.

  • chocolatebunny
    11 years ago

    Chicago suburbs, where *all* remodeled kitchens have granite. I had one counter place told me I would never get my money back if I put quartz in, which is what I really want. While I can appreciate the natural beauty of granite, I don't care for it in my own home. I still have laminate, however, many of the new subdivisions offer granite as standard now.

    Believe it or not, Corian is probably second in popularity by me.

  • palimpsest
    11 years ago

    Almost every kitchen has granite here, NE-mid-Atlantic, from the least expensive flip to the 4000 sq foot brownstone. At the very upper end some marble starts to show up.

    There are a number of purely contemporary hi-rises and townhouses being built, lotsa quartz in those.

    I don't know that many people around here would be against quartz vs granite.

    There are particular neighborhoods where Corian-type counters are very popular.

    Laminate is off the map in the city currently--I still think its a great surface but it currently gets little usage except in rental properties.

  • GreenDesigns
    11 years ago

    The responses here are skewed by the higher income and higher TKO consciousness of the GW community. In Real Life, most kitchen renos are not as expensive as the ones here, and the majority choice for counters is still laminate. It's beautiful, with lots of choices, and it's still affordable unless you get into exotic edges and premium finishes. Then, you are in the price range of a budget granite. And that's why granite has made such an inroad into American design. It's become more affordable. When the difference in dollars between the two is only $300, most people "move up" and choose the granite.

  • jgopp
    11 years ago


  • txsuszq
    11 years ago

    I'm in N Texas & we just put in quartz. I chose quartz because even sealing once a year is too much maintenance for me (I know my limits!). I also liked the modern look of the quartz I chose. Just like granite, the price of quartz has really come down in my area. I paid $20/SF less for quartz in 2011 than I did when I put it in my master bathroom in 2008.

    Since I am a real estate agent, I see tons of houses. Most of the homes in the area where I live & work are about 20-25 years old. Some have been updated, some have not. The majority of those that have been updated have granite. I can think of only 1 house in the past year that I have sold that had quartz.

  • Mercymygft
    11 years ago

    "The responses here are skewed by the higher income and higher TKO consciousness of the GW community."

    Even though I would not consider myself higher income (pretty middle class here), I do agree that here on GW we are exposed to so much in the way of high end choices for our kitchen remodels. I know when I first found this forum it was just for general information. Then I started seeing remodels with granite counters, fancy faucets, high end appliances, etc., and suddenly my taste seemed to change (even if my budget didn't).

    But when we did our last remodel and it was not anything high end by any means, I did manage to get my granite counters even if that was not considered the norm for my neighborhood.

    We are getting ready to remodel again (different house) and I find my wants are getting more and more high end. I've been researching soapstone, higher end ranges, etc, and trying to figure out a way to get them.

    I mean after all, all the other kids have them... ;-)

  • laxsupermom
    11 years ago

    I have soapstone and cherry butcherblock. The neighborhood is a mix of laminate and granite.

  • kaismom
    11 years ago

    I am in Seattle, WA
    I have quartz. Casesarstone, eggshell.

    Most of the houses that I go into have stone or quartz.
    Some soapstone and marble as well as granite.

    In the higher end homes, the newer remodels (last 2 to 3 years) tend to have marble/soapstone or quartz. Marble and soapstone, quartzite are popular. The lower grade granite is not as popular in the higher end homes. I have seen some houses with limestone. They accept the etching as the part of the charm, I guess.

    Quartz in more common in homes that have modern esthetic.

    Lower end granite has become rather middle of the road in Seattle, WA. Rental homes in the central higher rent area of Seattle with recently updated kitchen will have granite.

    Many of the newer apartment buildings (mid to high rise) in the city have granite in the kitchen. These are on the high end of rent. All the newer town homes and condos (read:starter homes for buyers) built in the past 5 years have granite.

    For a new build starter home in Seattle, granite is the norm.

  • rosesstink
    11 years ago

    Central New York here. I have laminate. 30 YO harvest gold laminate. lol When I redo the kitchen I'll probably go with laminate again. Easy to care for. The new homes I've seen in the 'burbs have granite.

  • dianalo
    11 years ago

    Long Island NY here. Almost any house redone in the past 20 years has granite and a few have quartz. As a real estate agent, I'd say that most non-grandma houses have granite and anything else is an exception. Laminate is only in kitchens redone over 25 years ago. Tile is almost non-existent at any age.

    We ended up with Corian, and I can count on one hand how many houses I have seen with Corian in the past few years.

    I have seen soapstone once or twice and I don't think I have seen anyone use marble.

    As for the granite, it used to be a lot of Luna Pearl in the 80's to early 90s. Now, approx half have St Cecilia or very similar.

  • palimpsest
    11 years ago

    I think there are other things that are related to what kind of house gets granite where.

    It is Not the norm 5O miles from here, where laminate is still probably number one, but Every bathroom I have ever seen here, even in the lowliest rental is full ceramic tile on the floor and walls. Again, 50 miles from here the master may be ceramic, but there is a lot of vinyl in the baths for flooring and prefab surrounds in showers and tubs. So, I think the availability (here, ubiquitous--lots of dicount granite places) and the number of fabricators used to working in stone; and tile setters (plentiful) have something to do with it. I think the NE is chock full of stoneyards and workers and tile setters.

    My parents couldn't Find a tile setter (or a brick pointer) to do some repair work where they live

  • prospect711
    11 years ago

    As of today, our counters are soapstone(which replaced 30 year old laminate). We are in SW Ohio and it appears that higher end homes have granite with quartz becoming more popular.

  • earthpal
    11 years ago

    We're in the SF Bay Area and we have recycled glass countertops from Vetrazzo! We have had them installed for 18 months now with no issues once we switched fabricators. We just had the counters resealed and buffed. Our countertop guy was impressed at how great they looked since it had been a year since that had been done and we do cook!

    Granite has been done for years here now and is standard unless you are very high end which means marble or soapstone or environmentally conscious which means recycled glass or paperstone among others.

  • plllog
    11 years ago

    Earth_Pal, I think your area is very similar to mine (and I know a number of designers who work both places).

    I think we're seeing the saturation effect. Laminate has never been very popular here (Coastal So. Cal.). It used to always be tile, then started shifting to granite on the high end about 40-50 years ago. Now that there are prefab granite counters, and granite is in all the new developments, and all the kids on HGTV want granite in their starter homes, granite's just not the big thing here any more. It's a standard surface here, now, not a luxury one.

  • rosysunnygirl
    11 years ago

    plllog, that's such an interesting point you bring up about granite being a standard surface now. I think most of its appeal lies in the fact that people perceive it as a luxury item and they want to project that or somehow get a little feeling of status from it. I wonder how long it'll be before the HGTV crowd is all: "Um, no. These granite counters are outdated. We've got to redo the WHOLE KITCHEN now!"

    mercymygft, got a kick out of what you shared about your tastes changing the more you visit gardenweb forums, but especially liked hearing about your quest for soapstone. Me, too! But the forums have the opposite effect on me, oddly: The more I see something is popular, the less appeal it has for me. Not because I'm trying to be "different," but because it starts to bore me, seeing the same thing or variations on the same thing, everywhere. But after a visit to a cabin in the mountains, I'm all about re-creating that feeling of simple, natural, slightly rustic grace. And soapstone has that association for me.

    Also interested in your recycled countertops, earth_pal: Saw them at an out-of-the-way tile warehouse a few weeks ago, but it had only green. What color did you find and did you have to jump through hoops to get it?

  • plllog
    11 years ago


    I'm sure it'll happen eventually, though granite is a fairly practical and functional surface so will always have its adherents.

    I knew it was a goner here about five years ago when people started talking about how they didn't want granite because it looked like a public restroom. Ten years before that it was almost never in a public restroom here, though there are quite a number of buildings clad in it and lobbies made of it.

  • dalmadarling
    11 years ago

    Granite used to be it - but I've heard a lot about ceaserstone lately. I'm personally going with Corian since everyone I've talked with loves it years later.

  • angie_diy
    11 years ago

    I just bought soapstone, but don't know of anyone else in the area (upper midwest) with it. Most renos in my neighborhood are granite now, and laminate in less well-to-do neighborhoods. Ironically, I went with soapstone, mostly because I love its feel and properties, but largely because I could install it myself so it is relatively cheap. (And, if I am being honest, because it was not granite. The contrarian in me.) This should work out to $26/sq. ft. installed once I am finished.

    If I had my choice, money no object, I think I would choose traditional terrazzo or recycled glass (Vetrazzo). I guess I fit in earth_pal's orbit.

  • Mercymygft
    11 years ago

    plllog....Hehe!! I had to laugh at your post, when I re-did my kitchen and was choosing my granite I purposely did not choose anything like Giallo Veneziano because it looks like what we have in our rest rooms where I work!!

  • MIssyV
    Original Author
    11 years ago

    HOLY COW !!!! That is an awesome concrete overlay! Wow, you will be getting a ton of questions on that one. Looks great, you did a fabulous job!

  • rafor
    11 years ago

    That is awesome!!!! Love competent talented DIYers :) They are such an inspiration for the rest of us schmucks LOL!! In my kitchen re-do my counters will be copper for the island and the rest will be thick slate slabs that I got for free on craigslist. Wooden counters in the butler's pantry. But it will be a while since I can't decide on cabinets yet. Used to love Corian and put it in 3 previous kitchens, but now I'm bored with it. Never liked the granite craze.

  • jgold529
    11 years ago

    While searching around for appliances I came across this useful article on kitchen counter-tops.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Top 10 kitchen counter-tops materials

  • francoise47
    11 years ago

    Granite still seems to be the norm for the mid to upper-range kitchen renos here in Central NJ. I am seeing lots of honed granite, including the ever-popular Absolute Black. Wood island tops are also becoming quite popular. I've seen a few other counters -- slate, quartz, concrete, soapstone and even zinc. But most people right now are still selecting honed or polished granite.

    I have never liked granite (too shiny, too speckly, too showy) and looked into nearly every other option. I strongly considering soapstone, Corian, and Caesarstone/quartz. Fired up by GW enthusiasts, I was pretty much set on soapstone for much of the past six months. At the last minute I chickened out on the soapstone (after I'd even tagged slabs) because it started to feel too black (when oiled) and too rustic for my white 1920s/polished nickel, Deco-ish kitchen, especially since the fabricator wouldn't finish the soapstone above 80 or 120 grit.)

    I ended up getting honed black pearl granite for the perimeter of my kitchen, pretty much the cheapest granite in the granite yard. Aesthetically, the perimeter granite counters are probably the one thing in my new kitchen I don't love. But I'm not sure I need to love my granite counters aesthetically (although they aren't bad) because the real attention grabber is the edge grain walnut top on the island. What I can say is that I love the function of the black pearl granite. It is rock solid, has a nice cool "hand" with the honed finish, and seems impervious to scratches, stains, etching, and abuse. In the past month since the counters were installed, every time I splash lemon juice and vinegar on the counters or drag the expresso machine across the counter I thank myself for not selecting counters that I have to baby. Yes, I still pine for soapstone. But I knew that even the hardest varieties (like P.A.) probably were still not right for me.

    In the end, as much as I thought I didn't like granite, I now sort of get it about why granite has been so popular for the past twenty or so years and remains a popular choice for counters: maybe for some it is about conspicuous consumption and keeping up with the Joneses, but it also has a lot of functionality.

  • chiefy
    11 years ago

    @frmsdghtr - that's concrete?!? It's gorgeous.

  • flwrs_n_co
    11 years ago

    Here in Denver, granite seems to be king. Our home is about 20 years old, mid-range in size, and boarders a golf course. I've been told by friends that we MUST put in granite when we renovate (after all, that's what they did). Our friends aren't TKO and look at me like I have a second head when I mention quartz, soapstone, quartzite, or marble. Friends who have rental properties are also putting in granite.

    I love the looks of all kinds of surfaces, but I'll probably go with quartz both for looks and ease of maintenance. (Maybe I need to put a second kitchen in the basement just so I can use some of my other favorite kitchen stuff, lol!)

  • kellied
    11 years ago

    Granite, granite, granite. I am happy for the people who truly love it, sad for the ones that are following a trend.

    I am also in the Seattle area and it is naive to say that everyone is going with granite. Nope. Just isn't so.

    I have chosen to go with laminate in my own kitchen (will be plywood for a while, I'm afraid) for a couple of really good reasons. One, it is an affordable option for us. Two, if I am tired of it in ten years I can replace it without fretting about the cost.

  • hsw_sc
    11 years ago

    Granite is still king here as well, though you see just about everything.

    Our neighborhood is made up of houses built in the late 20's to the 50's that are between 800 SF to over 5000 SF. You may see granite in a tiny house's kitchen and laminate in the mansion on the water. Down the street in the more expensive golf course community you will find tile, laminate and granite. Downtown you're going to see lots of granite and marble and a few homes with soapstone (which has gained popularity her over the last year or so). Other islands will give you kitchens with granite, some local wood and soapstone.
    We chose marble and soapstone and had our realtor (a friend) come over to see them. She is a HUGE backer of granite, but loved our stones.

  • mastiffmom_85
    11 years ago

    Oklahoma here...

    We are building new construction and just placed leathered granite (perimeter) and calacatta (island - so excited) on hold.

    Granite is king here, though our stone yard lady asked us if we'd heard of soapstone. ;) Soapstone and marble are rarely seen.

    Laminate is still common, but granite is catching up, and now some granites are priced comparably to the nicer laminates, so I agree it will probably be considered more "normal" and less high end as time passes.

    ~ MM

  • bigjim24
    11 years ago

    Here in RI it's:
    #1 Granite
    #2 Corian
    #2 Laminate

    Not a typo but a tie.

    I went with soapstone in the kitchen but quartz in the upstairs bath. I'm the only one I know who has soapstone. Not popular at all but I LOVE it!

    OK the secrets and details. I have friends with laminate who want to update but can't afford to. They would love to know how you accomplished that!!!

  • frmrsdghtr
    11 years ago

    celtinNE - check the post with the title "ATTN Farmers daughter :D"

  • anenemity
    11 years ago

    I just checked some local real estate listings to confirm what I thought - laminate all the way. I looked at about 50 listings, and all but ONE had laminate counters. The most expensive listing, at $869k, had LAMINATE. Even the newly renovated kitchens have laminate, though sometimes "granite-look". In the apartment I lived in before I bought my house, there were the 1950s style tops with the chrome edge banding. What is that - formica?

    In our own renovation, we'll be (hopefully) installing soapstone. Around here it would probably be a liability in terms of resale, but we're young and don't plan on ever moving.

  • dianalo
    11 years ago

    frmrsdghtr - Holy Cow! Gorgeous!

    I just want to note that I love and appreciate many granites. The sad thing is if you walk into 100 houses here, you will see 80 granite counters and approx 65 of them will be pretty interchangeable (beige, peach/gold or black). I love the other 15 of them that are special and have movement or unique coloring.
    When we were deciding on counters we walked through many yards and saw some beautiful granite. We just didn't see any that fit our kitchen's look. I want to go back and get some for our family bathroom vanity and some dresser tops in the near future. Of course, the ones I usually drool over are the exotic costly ones, but if we only need a small piece, a remnant will do ;)

  • kawh707
    11 years ago

    we are in the extreme minority here with corian countertops. almost finished (will we ever be?) and really happy with them so far. fit our extreme budget. as in tiny.
    ok-- anything is better than a topmount sink with tile-- but am just loving cleaning this baby! ok-- truth be told-- they aren't even actually corian-- they are an imitation corian by yee olde formica. will post later on how they are holding up over time.

  • MIssyV
    Original Author
    11 years ago

    Thanks everyone for participating....this was fun! I was just simply curious what people are using, and what part of the country they are from. It was just for fun! Here's the results so far (if I tallied correctly):

    Soapstone - 10
    Quartz - 6
    Granite - 4
    Laminate -4
    Marble-3, with another 1 for marble tile :)
    Ceramic Tile-2
    Copper - 2
    Epoxy Resin Lab Tops -1
    Sunflower Seed Husk board -1
    Quartzite -1
    Recycled Glass-1

  • earthpal
    11 years ago

    Pllog, Well, we are in both in CA, as some would say! ;) I do agree with your comment about granite being the standard because of its perception as being a luxury item.

    FrmrsDghtr, WOW!!! Love what you were able to do!!!

    RosySunnyGal, Our counters are Floating Blue which is a mostly turquoise in white cement matrix color. We were able to pick our slabs at the factory when it was still here in the Bay Area years ago. We have several KDs in our area that had samples of Vetrazzo, Icestone and Fuez to look over. IF you are looking for the wow factor, these will do it. With that in mind, I do recommend that you really like your countertop color because it is a very prominent part of your kitchen. They also aren't cheap and I highly recommend that your installer be someone who knows how to work with this material. Our installation fabricators claimed they did and we had multiple problems with them that we finally had to hire a second company to fix.

    We looked at all of the green countertop materials, and this was the one that my DH and I were able to agree on despite the price. BTW, I don't include quartz or C-stone in this category.

    I do recommend that you do an online search for recycled glass companies because there are several others besides the three I mention above. The ones that I have ran across are: Gilasi in the Chicago area, Urbanslabs in SoCal, Vetrazzo is now in the Atlanta area, and more that I have seen around the US. I do recommend if you can using one that is near you because of the weight and shipping cost of the slabs. If you are interested in knowing more or seeing some pictures of my counters, please, PM me.

  • jadeite
    11 years ago

    The tally above amazes me! We put in soapstone when we redid our kitchen in greater Boston about 2 years ago. At the time, everyone told us we were crazy, the stone would scratch and gouge and it would be an expensive mistake. We persisted and loved the outcome. My husband cut and fitted the stone around the big white enamel front sink. Our cabinets were white beadboard which were flush with the 9' ceilings (we were in a 1917 Victorian). We sold earlier this year, and our realtor said the kitchen was a major selling point.

    Now we're in New Mexico with a countertop of blue tile, beautifully done, but a bit dated. Our budget won't stretch to any major kitchen remodel yet, but I was thinking of recycled glass to keep that pop of blue. Granite is big here in most of the houses we looked at, but I dislike the look and it wouldn't suit our present kitchen.

  • cooksnsews
    11 years ago

    Laminate dominates the market here, except for really high end builds/renos. Starter homes have nothing else, regardless of the pretensions of buyers. But our real estate market is still relatively active, with values going nowhere but up. I've seen several (I don't get out much) nice kitchens, even recent renos, in higher end neighbourhoods with laminiate, and I'm sure it is no hindrance to resale, all else being equal (is it ever?). Granite is getting popular with those who can afford it, and quartz is definitely available (I chose it) although I don't know if everyone knows what it is. Soapstone, SS, etc, are for the uber-TKO with deep pockets.

  • lavender_lass
    11 years ago

    I don't know what's popular here (probably laminates and some granite) but I can tell you what I have on my countertop...laminate. In the new kitchen, I'll probably have mainly laminate, too. I just can't find anything as forgiving, with living on a farm, lots of kids visiting, sloppy friends (LOL) and yes, dare I admit it, occasionally leaving dishes on the counters and doing them the next day :)

    In the new kitchen, I'd like to get marble or marble/wood combo for the island, but for the main countertops will be a laminate. I'd rather use potholders (or the top of the range) for hot things and cut on cutting boards (which are easy to clean) than worry about sealing, staining, etching, rings, etc. I do NOT want to be the kind of person who has to police people, while they're in the kitchen, making sure they don't set anything inappropriate on a counter, in the sink or spill something on the floor.

    Full disclosure, I also plan to have vinyl 'wood' floors, painted cabinets (easy to touch up) and a sink you can scrub with Comet. Easier to clean up later than worry about everything, during the party. The kitchen is for cooking/baking and honestly, making a mess...and having a good time, at least in our house :)

  • dejongdreamhouse
    11 years ago

    I'm in NE Ohio as well. We have white Corian counters in our current house, which I have loved. So easy to care for and keep clean. Even turmeric comes out with a little elbow grease. I speak from frequent experience!

    In our new house, we're putting in white quartz, most likely Specchio White from Hanstone because we love the recycled glass and it's the closest quartz manufacturer (Ontario). Our original choice was vetrazzo, but all green points go away when you ship from California, so the easy maintenance of quartz + recycled glass in our Hanstone sealed the deal.

  • kaysd
    11 years ago

    Granite is pretty ubiquitous in SoCal. While house hunting, we saw so many kitchens with earth-toned speckly granite. We only saw a few really unusual granites. Some older kitchens, especially in Spanish-style houses, have tile counters.

    The counters in the yet-to-be-remodeled kitchen in our "new" house are ugly, wavey-textured, off-white tile with brown grout. I hate trying to keep them clean -- I miss solid stone that can be cleaned with a quick swipe. We put green granite counters with movement in our last house and we loved those counters.

    I am struggling with what type of counters to use in our new kitchen. We are going for a "soft" modern look with slab front Sapele cabinets. Quartz would be a natural choice for its modern looks and low maintenance. There are a few quartz counters I find interesting, but every time I look at quartz I start thinking about the marble/quartzite/granite slabs I have looked at and how I like the natural stone more and it costs the same or less. I wish I could make myself like quartz more.

  • HU-362490065
    2 years ago

    formica tops removed cost and delivery time! PLEASE

    THANKS TOM BATES 310-739-4886

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