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mcathsmith

Help in choosing counter top material!!!!!!

M Sm
6 years ago

I've had the same Formica counter tops in my home since 1986 and they still look great: no chips, stains, cracks, discoloration, melted spots...nothing. Now, as I shop for count tops for my Kitchen renovation, I can't find any that don't have problems!!! I'm loosing sleep over this because I don't want to spend $6,000 and have my counter tops have problems. I want them to hold up like my old Formica counter tops have held up.

I would LOVE for y'all's opinions on your counter tops.

Can y'all help me with this. I thought I was settled on Silestone, but
I'm finding more and more complaints with cracking, chipping, pitting,
staining after only a few months to a few years. AND the WARRANTY is
WORTHLESS.

I've gone 'round and 'round in my mind on WHICH counter top choice is best for:

1) Durability; 2) Chip, Crack, Stain resistance; 3) Longevity and still look new; 4) Heat resistance; and 4) Won't give off radiation (like granite does)... 5) Good warranty that is actually honored!!


Thank you for any opinions and experiences!!!!









Comments (94)

  • sheloveslayouts
    6 years ago

    Joseph Corlett is a GW counter expert. He's very pro-corian. If I was planning my "forever kitchen" I'd look more seriously at it; even when it's damaged, it's repair-ability is amazing.

    if you consider corian, you could google "gardenweb kitchen joseph corlett corian" to get tons of threads to review.

    M Sm thanked sheloveslayouts
  • M Sm
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    lauraalarid2002 That's so good to know. Thanks for telling me of your experience!!!!


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  • M Sm
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    cpartist That's been the "rub" for anyone who has worked to get the most out of this small space. The space between refrigerator and stove is 9 1/2". The Stove had to be moved 4 inches to the right (closer to the sink) to get that space between the fridge and stove. Sadly, that will now crowd the stove for working space. We just don't know what else to do without major $$ to move gaslines. It's a tough one. The cabinet maker's contract has already been signed and 50% deposit made. 3 designers have looked at this kitchen and jokingly, most of them suggest bumping out the sink wall...or moving. :-) It is what it is and I just pray I won't get frustrated working around the stove and/or the sink. :/ thanks for your input!

  • M Sm
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    casandra383 Ooooooooh...thanks for telling me!!!! And I'm glad too that your installer did a horrible job...for your sake. :-)

    I hope you get your deposit back as well.

  • M Sm
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    benjesbride You've been sooooo helpful! Thank you!!! I will google Joseph Corlett! THANK YOU again!

  • ravencajun Zone 8b TX
    6 years ago

    Cassandra that's such a shame! I was first looking at the FX laminate Dolce Vita but the kitchen people at Lowe's talked me out of it because it really takes someone who has been well acquainted with it to do a good install job and it costs more than most granite. I am glad I moved on to other choices. I sure hope you get what you want!

  • ravencajun Zone 8b TX
    6 years ago

    Have you actually talked to someone about the cost of moving gas lines? Because I had to have it done and since the walls were bare of cabinets it was the perfect time to do it and the cost was not a concern. You will have a very short run for the change. It is a small space. If that's what is causing the majority of the problem definitely get some quotes. For example if you moved the stove to the end of the run the sink is on and moved the dishwasher where the stove was your countertop space between fridge and sink has grown and you still have counter space on the left side of the stove. I would not put it directly at the end but pretty close. I saw those drawers in the island and thought how in the world can that work? It seems very constricted does it have to be that shape? Make the changes now before cutting begins! I definitely suggest you post a new thread for layout review since you are new you may not be aware of the amazing help you can get from the people here for free!

    M Sm thanked ravencajun Zone 8b TX
  • practigal
    6 years ago

    I am not following you on why it is so expensive to move the gas line or are they buried in the foundation and have to be jackhammered out? It is a plumbing job and it can't possibly take more than a day under normal circumstances...it probably can't take more than two hours…

    M Sm thanked practigal
  • sheloveslayouts
    6 years ago

    Even if you've worked with three kitchen designers, I strongly encourage you to start a new thread and post a 2 dimensional drawing of your kitchen, please include dimensions and the rooms around it.

    Lots of sweet homeowners come here after struggling through KD plans and end up with much-improved kitchens through the brainstorming of the folks here. We help for free because it's very fun for us. Really. A kitchen challenge like yours makes my heart race a little. I'd love to see it.

    M Sm thanked sheloveslayouts
  • PRO
    Anglophilia
    6 years ago

    You really need to go back to considering white Corian countertops. It is such a forgiving material - any scratches just form a lovely patina or if the bother you you, just have them sanded and "voila" brand new countertops. My sink has no stains, nor does my daughter's even with a husband who leaves coffee grounds in the sink all day. If you use a crockpot a lot, buy a nice square of butcher block and set it near where you would plug in the pot and always leave it OUT. Surely, your husband can master this. While not cheap, it's far less expensive than Quartz, especially in the basic colors. It has a lovely feel to it - great for rolling out pastry. And it's infinitely repairable - truly magically so. I think white is the best color - nothing phony about it.

    M Sm thanked Anglophilia
  • mayflowers
    6 years ago

    I put an acrylic cutting board under my crockpot.

    M Sm thanked mayflowers
  • mayflowers
    6 years ago

    Question about Corian....do you have to get an integrated sink? Can you get a big sink? My neighbor has a Corian-like product from Home Depot and she has a tiny double bowl sink with three kids!

    M Sm thanked mayflowers
  • sail_away
    6 years ago

    I understand your dilemma. The various pros and cons of each possible counter material is overwhelming. When we updated our kitchen some years ago I thought I just wanted more laminate, but then went on to consider all sorts of different materials. I ended up with a dark granite, and we've been really happy with it. At first, I always put a protective mat under my crockpot, but eventually stopped doing that when it became clear that our particular granite was fairly bullet proof.

    For a while I strongly considered soapstone. However, since I like dark countertops, it seemed that I would need to keep it oiled regularly to have the look I preferred. Also, I saw a number of examples of what a well used soapstone counter can look like. Some had multiple rings from glasses and cups sitting on the counter for a while, as well as other signs of wear. I don't know enough about soapstone to know whether that is typical of all soapstone or just some of it. I did get a sample of soapstone and tried putting various things on it. It wasn't as bad as some of the examples I saw, but I wasn't happy with it. It improved somewhat with oiling, but my kitchen gets a lot of use and I wasn't interested in having to maintain my countertop by regularly removing everything on the countertop and oiling it. Should add that I know some people consider the signs of wear on their soapstone as adding something to the character of the kitchen. I've never like distressed wood, so I guess I like things a little more pristine. So do your research, get a sample of the soapstone you decide you want, and see how you like it. There are a lot of people out there very, very happy with soapstone counters. Just have to see what is a good fit for you.

    We are actually building a new home and just had granite installed in our kitchen and quartz in the bathrooms. I've never had quartz before, so I'm a little nervous, but I love it right now!



    M Sm thanked sail_away
  • M Sm
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    ravencajun Zone 8b TX Thank you so much for your input. My husband and I had considered moving dishwasher to where the stove is now, but then I didn't like the idea of the dishwasher door open behind me as I stand at the sink and then have to turn almost all the way around to load the dishwasher. It just works better to the right of the sink for loading and unloading dishes.. Our other thought was have the stove in the island instead of an island that is simply a storage/work space...but, I didn't want to have a an exhaust hood over the island since our living room is only feet away from the island. It's only an 1100sq. ft. house. Also, the pic I posted of island is no longer in an "L" shape on the kitchen side. It's been turned into a 3 drawer bank on an angle to mirror the angle on the bar...so no worries anymore of drawers banging into each other. :-) And yes, we have a slab foundation, so moving water and gas lines is an issue. Also, we have to drill into the slab foundation just to get electrical to the island. It's just not easy and my husband is looking at every penny spent. When I talk to him about moving things while the cabinets are out, his blood pressure rises and he sees dollar signs in labor costs. :) Thanks again.!!!!

  • M Sm
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Anglophilia Thanks! After everyone's wonderful input today, I just may go back to looking at Corian again...but, instead of white, I'm leaning more toward "Burled Beach". I really like the warm yellow hints in it since my walls are a tuscan yellow. :-) thanks again!!!!!! Oh, I almost forgot to thank you for the "butcher block under the crock pot idea". GREAT IDEA...why didn't I think of that?! :)

  • M Sm
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    benjesbride hahahaha...you make me laugh/smile regarding your "heart races a little" comment. I WISH I had posted my ideas here FIRST, but unfortunately, I have already signed the contract with my cabinetmaker and he's building right now. The install is August 11/12th...so I'm stuck with the floor plan. We've gone round and round with this floor plan/small footprint issues for months with lots of folks and without a major, major bump out and even more moving of walls, it's just not going to happen (according to my husband). I laughed when my husband first gave me the budget to redo our kitchen ($15,000)...so, it's been a real "trial" to price everything and give him the numbers. Reality hit him really quickly, but he's so stubborn, he refuses to believe that he can't redo a kitchen for $15,000. I tell him, "Sure, you can renovate a kitchen for that...but, it won't be a kitchen I would want to cook/live in for the next 30 years...in fact it probably wouldn't hold up for the next 30 years if all it cost was $15,000." :) My custom cabinets are $9800; my paint/glaze (uppers and lowers) and stain/glaze (island) painting guy is charging $2800; the 2 appliances my husband HAS allowed me to replace in the new kitchen are the refrigerator (since we needed a counterdepth one since being moved to different location near new kitchen entrance) and a dishwasher. Combined they cost $2700. He's making me keep my old stove and over the stove microwave....so, maybe that will give you insight into what I'm dealing with in budget. :-) And that isn't adding in the cost of raising our ceiling to get rid of the 1980's light box soffett, adding canned lights, adding under cabinet lighting, a new sink, electrical, labor costs, etc. Back to the countertop, my favorite countertop is Cambriastone (Bradshaw), but at $6200 my husband says, "No.". :/ I just haven't been all that "moved" by the patterns/colors of Corian. I feel like I'm settling. If you see a Cambriastone "Bradshaw" sample, you'll understand why I find Corian boring. :-) Thanks for "listening" to my ramblings. :)

  • M Sm
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    mayflowers (z8) GREAT idea! Thanks!!!!

  • Jessica Fuller
    6 years ago

    Have you checked out Metroquartz? I put the calcatta in my new kitchen and it's gorgeous. Not the look you are going for, but they have lots of different quartz options that are more refined than your typical ceasarstone-type product.

    https://www.metroquartz.com/products/


    Also, word of warning on Silestone--there is "natural variation" in color that may leave you with a pink countertop. So make sure you check your slabs and the color is good, really no matter what you get. Silestone is a particularly unhelpful company which I think someone mentioned before.

    M Sm thanked Jessica Fuller
  • M Sm
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    mayflowers (z8) You do NOT have to get an integrated sink with Corian. I had already decided that IF I chose Corian that I wouldn't get their sink because of the whole "can't put boiling water in it"... So, it was suggested to me to get a composite granite sink. I know it too has its issues, but I felt more comfortable with it and chose this sink by Blanco: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Blanco-Precis-Undermount-Granite-Composite-32-in-Super-Single-Bowl-Kitchen-Sink-in-White-440150/202370095

  • M Sm
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Jessica Fuller I've never heard of metroquartz. I will check it out. Yes, you're right...I've NEVER heard any good things about trying to get Silestone to help customers with cracking issues...even if it was an installer's fault...and they always seem to blame the customer for any issue. Knowing myself, that would not go over well with me to have to deal with a company like that. Thanks for your suggestion.


  • sheloveslayouts
    6 years ago

    With $10,000 at stake I'd still post the floor plan and see what we can come up with tonight. Seriously. We've fixed many many kitchen designer's "best" plans. We've even worked to rearrange already purchased cabinets for a better layout.

  • mayflowers
    6 years ago

    You'll love Silgranite. I've heard of three cases of scratching in the five years I've been reading Kitchens, where I first learned about it. I love that it stays looking brand new, unlike stainless or porcelain sinks.

    M Sm thanked mayflowers
  • banana suit
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    M Sm You can see our kitchen here: Bungalow kitchen reveal - lots of pictures If you like I can try and take more detailed pictures of the counters. We've never oiled our counters and don't plan to, we picked a darker color to help reduce the need for this. We also love how cool (but not cold) and smooth/soft the counters are. Some varieties are on the soft side and can scratch or chip more easily but we haven't had any issues with ours. We're mind full not to drag really rough things across it but all in all I would say I'm rough on our kitchen, use it hard, and often. Finding a stone yard/fabricator that is familiar with it will be a huge resource for you if you go in this direction.

  • M Sm
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    mayflowers (z8) Thanks for that! That's the best news I've heard all day....that I don't have to worry about my Silgranite sink. :-D


  • M Sm
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    benjesbride May I ask how one would change their kitchen design if a deposit has been made, a contract signed and the cabinet maker already building them? I'm nervous about this. :) I don't have a 2d design handy...just what I posted. What is a 2d design with placement, anyways? :) I'm so naiive. hahahaha THANKS for your sweet enthusiasm!!!!!!!

  • sheloveslayouts
    6 years ago

    Sorry, I didn't explain very well. If I were you, I'd print out some graph paper -- try http://www.printfreegraphpaper.com/gp/c-i-14.pdf and draw out your kitchen including Windows and doors; one square = 6". Then if you can, draw in the surrounding rooms so we can see how the kitchen related to the rest of the house.

  • Nothing Left to Say
    6 years ago

    If you want indestructible counters, you should consider stainless steel. It scratches easily, but it's otherwise just about impossible to damage with normal kitchen use. All the stone counters, Quartz, Corian, you are supposed to use trivets under hot things. I have marble and it hasn't been a big deal to put a cutting board under my crockpot and rice cooker when I use them.

    M Sm thanked Nothing Left to Say
  • practigal
    6 years ago

    I put in a blanco sink Into my Corian counter instead of the Corian integrated sink. The silgranit can handle higher temperatures and I couldn't just presume that other people wouldn't pour something too hot into the sink. I picked a Corian with a pattern similar to the burled beach. I really like it. With solid color Corian you can cut it change it around add and subtract it doesn't matter it will all end up being seamless and match perfectly. When you use a patterned Corian it definitely has directions and will have seems that your fabricator should try to match nicely. I was fine with mine other people are very unhappy with having a visible seam. When you touch the seam you cannot tell that it is there, but you can see it.

    M Sm thanked practigal
  • ravencajun Zone 8b TX
    6 years ago

    I noticed you said counter depth fridge. Just be sure that's what you want, there's been many threads here where counter depth was not the correct fridge! Others more knowledgeable about the proper type and terminology can fill you in on the difference. Do you want it flush, integrated? To move a gas line from one wall to another as in the example I mentioned doesn't involve any of the slab at all. They just junction off the existing gas pipe where the stove is and either run it straight up into the attic and over then drop it down the wall to the other wall location or they may be able to open the wall at below cabinet height and run it through the wall. Much easier process than doing any jackhammering. I just had to have a gas line run from my hot water heater in the laundry room to where my stove will be in the kitchen one room away. It took a couple of hours. He went straight up into the attic across inside the attic to the wall where the stove goes, dropped pipe straight down, popped it out of the wall and capped it. Ready to go when the stove goes in. I had been dreading it thinking it was a huge job.

    M Sm thanked ravencajun Zone 8b TX
  • jkm6712
    6 years ago

    About Silestone: I've been using my crockpots on top of my Silestone counters for 13 years without a single problem. There are some tiny chips on the lower edge of the counter over the dishwasher, probably from years of banging pots into it, and one tiny chip on the surface from a bottle falling out of the wall cabinet. Other than that, they're perfect. I plan to use engineered quartz in my next kitchen, too.

  • artemis_ma
    6 years ago

    I'm going with quartz because my brother has used it extensively in his kitchen for about 10 years, and they love it. Both of them (husband and wife) cook early and often. They are careful about hot things, but they use trivets or a couple layers of towels.

    About laminate: I have laminate counters in my current home, and they were probably installed in 1970. There are one or two permanent stains but I think they've held up remarkably well -- they are ugly because they're the old style with seams but both Formica and Wilson Arts make ones that are seamless these days. They do hold up to just about everything and you CAN get attractive countertops now, with a variety of edging styles. I have put hot things directly down on the laminate I currently have, to no ill effect.

    Still, I'm moving to quartz, which is probably mainly for the reason I associate laminate with seams (that can buckle up), even though I KNOW you no longer have to have them seamed!

    M Sm thanked artemis_ma
  • PRO
    Kitchen Magic
    6 years ago

    Cambria and Zodiaq quartz are being asked for by name when we visit the home for a free consultation. They are already educated by the great information here on Houzz. With over 140 colors and Collections like Waterstone, Coastal and Jewel, what girl wouldn't fall in love! The patterns and shades are unique to their respective collection.

    Five years ago homeowners wanted granite and nothing else. Not anymore! Now they have their color of Cambria or Zodiaq(r) quartz picked out before we arrive. They are all hanging out on Houzz looking at that one special color--swatch after swatch. Quartz is actually harder than granite and won't ever crack or chip. The patterns are similar to granite but more swirly, where granite in more random. Quartz comes in hundreds of colors and design patterns. You have to find the one that works with your new design. It's not the most economical component in your new kitchen to say the least but will last a lifetime.

    Once a homeowners finds what the love, they just know it. We try and find other cost efficiency so they won't have to sacrifice their dream kitchen! For instance, cabinet refacing is a great way to save over half the cost of new cabinets. If the cabinets are in good shape, you really can't tell the difference. Reface the cabinets, add new doors and a countertop, and voila! a new kitchen. Top it with quartz countertops and your kitchen is transformed.

    Another benefit of Cambria and Zodiaq produce quartz surfaces, primarily for use as kitchen countertops. It is used in a similar manner as granite, except that it is not porous, and thus requires no periodic sealing. The look of any quartz countertop compares to granite in that the colors are deep and consistent.

    The process of creating the countertops is different than granite, in that it is an engineered product, consisting of a minimum of 93% quartz and 7% epoxy binder and dyes. An engineered product that requires no sealer has the advantage in that it requires no harsh chemicals to seal, nor does it emit harmful chemicals into the air, making it potentially more environmentally friendly.

    Happy Remodeling!

    M Sm thanked Kitchen Magic
  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    "Question about Corian....do you have to get an integrated sink? Can you get a big sink? My neighbor has a Corian-like product from Home Depot and she has a tiny double bowl sink with three kids!"

    You don't have to get an integrated sink, but if you could, why wouldn't you? Nowhere for crud to hide. I just installed this E-540 Karran Edge series sink that measures 30" x 17" x 9". That's a "big sink".

  • PRO
    Anglophilia
    6 years ago

    In the 13 yrs I've had my Corian integrated sink, I've never worried about pouring out hot water into the sink. Just turn on the water to warm when doing so. I never give it a thought!

    M Sm thanked Anglophilia
  • M Sm
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Joseph Corlett, LLC You do great work! I wish you were in my state for my countertop install. :-)

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    6 years ago

    M Sm: I drove 15 hours one way to get an architect out of trouble once. It was less expensive to pay me than to pay the liquidated damages of opening the store late.

  • cevamal
    6 years ago

    This is blowing my mind. Doesn't the fact that you turn the water on to warm mean you DO worry about pouring hot water into the sink?

    I've had stainless steel sinks my whole life. I've never thought twice about pouring boiling water in. I can't imagine having to take special precautions.

    M Sm thanked cevamal
  • sheloveslayouts
    6 years ago

    I believe it's called Thermal shock.

  • pamghatten
    6 years ago

    I had solid surface formica in my last kitchen and will look at that again whenever I re-do the outdated kitchen in my new house.

    M Sm thanked pamghatten
  • Lavender Lass
    6 years ago

    We have laminate countertops and they have held up very well. We still have them in over half the kitchen, but we replaced the counter area on the sink side with granite. It was free granite from my SIL's remodel, along with the base cabinets.

    This is a free kitchen remodel remember....so the granite didn't match the cabinets we used. And it broke on one part, when they took the sink out. We reused the stainless steel sink (which we LOVE) and the granite, with our contractor friend putting everything back together.

    Now, each side of the sink has a granite countertop (nothing fancy, the white with gray and black speckles) and I like it. I really like it.

    If you want to see a picture of me eating crow, please go to my blog (LOL) but I have to admit, I would use this granite again, if I ever redo our farmhouse. Maybe on each side of the range. I still use potholders everywhere (habit and to be careful) but so far, it's been very nice : )

    M Sm thanked Lavender Lass
  • M Sm
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Joseph Corlett, LLC Wow. Well, you'd have to drive waaayyyy more than 15 hours to help me, as I'm in California :-)

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    6 years ago

    If you pour hot pasta water right down the disposal, nothing bad happens with solid surface ever; no water accompaniment. But don't tell them I told you that.

  • Oaktown
    6 years ago

    ditto crl_. I love the soapstone counters we have now but if I had it to do over the main work area would be stainless.

  • Loretta Seeker
    6 years ago

    I've had Corian countertops for 18 years...didn't know I wasn't supposed to put a crockpot on it…oops! Never had a problem with it. I've been very happy with my Corian.

  • cevamal
    6 years ago

    But who pours hot pasta water right down the disposal? I pour it into a colander so it goes everywhere.

  • mayflowers
    6 years ago

    Joseph, I meant that if you could only get an integrated sink, is your only choice the small divided one like my neighbor's.


  • oasisowner
    6 years ago

    My Corian integrated sink was a huge, deep divided sink. I think it was a 70/30 split, One side was big enough to hold my huge canning stock pot, the small side had the disposer and was great for prep. They also have huge single bowl integrated sinks.


    Corian sinks

  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    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.

    M Sm thanked raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    6 years ago

    Re moving gas/water lines -- since they are above the slab at the point they connect to the fixtures, I have always wondered why they can't be redirected and run in the wasted space under the cabinets (toe-kick) or in the wall to a new location. Now, if they have to be brought across empty space that is different.

  • stldreamhouse
    last year

    @Jessica Fuller do you still love your MetroQuartz? I am looking at that same one. It is so beautiful but can’t find out much about it or many reviews.