CCSRtip Tuesday: Countertops

Granite in CCSR Powder Bath Below

Plastic Laminate in CCSR Powder Bath BelowGranite in CCSR Kitchen BelowButcher Block in Kitchen Below

When it comes to countertops for your bathrooms, kitchens, or utility rooms – the choices are endless. In this post I thought I would break down the choices out there and give you some examples of what they look like – and then photos of places we have used these surfaces in our projects. Right now, we are quite partial to using Quartz in our projects – but any stone product seems to really increase value when remodelling a home.

QUARTZ

Best For: Busy kitchens and baths. It is stain and heat resistant and low maintenance. It doesn’t need sealing and is available in vibrant colours and styles that mimic natural stone.

But: edges and corners can chip. Rounded edges help. Stone finishes can appear more uniform then natural.

Price: $40 to $100 per sq. ft.

GRANITE

Best For: a natural stone look. It can withstand heavy use and resists stains when it’s properly sealed. It also resists heat and scratches.

But: it can chip and typically needs resealing to resist stains. Appearance can differ from samples, so it’s best to choose a slab at the stone yard.

Price: $40 to $100 per sq. ft.

RECYCLED GLASS

Best For: a contemporary look when made with large shards, or to resemble solid surfacing when finely ground. Resistant to heat, cuts and scratches.

But: chips and stains can be a problem.

Price: $60 to $120 per sq. ft.

LAMINATE

Best For: a wide variety of colours and patterns at a budget-friendly price. It’s excellent at resisting stains and heat damage and is simple to install.

But: it’s easy scratched by knives and isn’t repairable. Most laminate have visible seams, though post-formed options are available.

Price: $10 to $40 per sq. ft.

TILE (ceramic or porcelain)

Best For: use near stoves because it’s heat resistant. Tiles comes in a wide variety of colours and patterns.

But: it chips. The grout between tiles stains, even when it’s sealed, and can mildew. Poor installation can increase those problems. Thinner grout lines and darker grout may help.

Price: $5 t0 $30 per sq. ft.

SOLID SURFACE

Best For: seamless installations. Many colours and styles are available, including those that mimic concrete, stone, and quartz. Solid surfacing is also stain resistant, and small nicks and scratches can be repaired.

But: it’s easily scratched. Stone finishes can look more uniform than natural.

Price: $35 to $100 per sq. ft.

SOAPSTONE

Best For: adding the beauty of stone to a low-traffic kitchen. It withstands heat very well, and small scratches can be repaired. Slabs vary, so go to a stone yard.

But: it’s easily sliced, scratched, and nicked. Stain resistance is only mediocre, and the surface needs to be periodically rubbed with mineral oil.

Price: $50 to $100 per sq. ft.

CONCRETE

Best For: customizing. It can be dyed or textured.

But: it can develop cracks. Its durability depends on the fabricator’s skill and the sealers used. Topical sealers, which resist stains but not heat, are best for bathrooms. Penetrating sealers resist heat but not stains and must be reapplied.

Price: $60 to $120 per sq. ft.

STAINLESS STEEL

Best For: a modern-looking kitchen. It repels stains and heat and doesn’t rust or discolor. The countertop can be made with an integral sink for an even sleeker seamless look.

But: it show fingerprints and it dents and scratches easily. Matte or grain finishes hide damage better. It can look cold.

Price: $50 to $150 per sq. ft.

BUTCHER BLOCK

Best For: a country kitchen and for cutting produce. This natural material is also easy to install and repair.

But: it might need periodic sealing or even refinishing to remove surface cuts, dings and scratches. Its finish affects performance. Varnish improves stain resistance and penetrating oils decrease it.

Price: $40 to $100 per sq. ft.

LIMESTONE

Best for: a natural stone look without heavy veining or graining in a low-traffic kitchen, guest bathroom, or powder room. It withstands heat very well.

But: it’s a very soft stone that is easily sliced, nicked, and scratched. It’s also porous, so it stains easily even when it’s properly sealed.

Price: $50 to $100 per sq. ft.

MARBLE

Best For: a classic stone look in low-traffic areas, such as baking zone or a quest bathroom. It’s available in a wide range of natural colours.

But: it’s more porous than granite, so it’s not as stain resistant. It also scratches easily, isn’t very heat resistant, and needs periodic sealing.

BAMBOO

Best For: show rather than daily use. It’s available in several different styles, including a parquet pattern.

But: it’s easily stained, scorched, sliced and nicked. The manufacturer may warn against using around sink, as moisture can warp the material. Bamboo may darken over time.

Price: $40 to $100 per sq. ft.

On a test that takes resisting: Stains, Cutting, Heat, Abrasion and Impact (out of 100) – Quartz (84), Granite (81) and Recycled glass (69) rated the highest. Butcher block – oil finish (24), Marble (14) and Bamboo (10) rated the worst. Laminate countertops rated 68 – which is why this inexpensive alternative still remains relatively popular.

Note: Prices include installation. A typical kitchen needs 56 sq. ft.

Taken from Kitchen Planning & Buying Guide | Consumer Reports 2012

Granite in Kitchen Below

Granite in Kitchen BelowQuartz in Ensuite Bathroom BelowMarble in Ensuite Bathroom Below

If you need any help determining what kind of countertop to use for your upcoming project or if you need help with pricing – please contact us at info@ccsrdesign and we would be happy to point you in the direction that best suits your needs.

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