Top Off Your Kitchen Design
When it comes to countertops, functionality is just as important as beauty. We offer a wide range of countertops from laminate and solid surface to engineered stone and granite. The choices and colors are practically endless.
Budget, many times, dictates what the final decision will be, but the good news is that prices of granite and other natural-stone materials continue to drop, while manufactured materials such as laminate and engineered stone look more and more like the real thing. According to consumer reports, there are significant pros and cons among material, but very few differences among brands. So basically, if you like the attributes of one material over another, the brand you choose in that material isn’t as important as the material itself. We try to provide you with the most economical options in each material.
Engineered stone can give you the look of granite or marble without the expense. Engineered stone, or quartz, is a blend of stone chips, resins, and colors. It holds up well when it comes to spills, hot pots, knives and such and it doesn’t have to be sealed to protect it from stains. It is naturally waterproof and works well with undermount sinks. It comes in many different patterns and colors.
Granite is still very desirable and considered upscale. You see it in magazines and ads, but other man-made materials are giving granite a run for its money. Granite holds up well against the normal kitchen abuse of spills, hot pots and sharp knives, but unlike engineered stone/quartz, it does require periodic sealing for stain resistance because it is more porous. Because it is made by Mother Nature herself, colors can vary widely from store to store.
Laminates are your most economical choice in countertops. They are generally made of layers of paper or fabric saturated with resin for strength and hardness on top of composition wood. They hold up well to everyday use, but don’t do as well with heavy abuse. They are available in hundreds of patterns and fun colors and can have detailed edges and textured finishes. Laminate countertops will have seams at the 45 degree miter joint if a post-form top is chosen, and where a counter top is wider than 5′ (the maximum width) and 12′ (the maximum length, if a bevel or flat outside edge is selected. The visibility of the seams depends on the pattern chosen. It should be noted that most engineered stone and granite installations require seams but are generally less visible due to the nature of the larger pattern. Care must be taken to make sure moisture doesn’t penetrate these seams. Laminate countertops are not as durable as quartz or granite countertops. A process called post-forming is available which makes them look like one continuous piece. WilsonArt and Formica both offer upgraded laminates that replicate the look of granite. They look great and cost about half what granite countertops cost.
Made of polyester or acrylic resins combined with mineral fillers, this material imitates concrete, marble, and other types of stone. It even imitates quartz (which is an imitation of granite and marble). Solid surface countertops comes in various thicknesses. Pieces can be joined almost invisibly to create a seamless look. It also works well for integrating the sink and backsplash into one solid piece. It resists heat and impact well, but scratches easily although small scratches and nicks can be buffed out and fixed. Prolonged exposure to heat can cause discoloring. Pricing is generally competitive with quartz and granite counter tops. One of the most popular brand names in solid surface countertops is Corian. We recommend Corian because of its 96% customer satisfaction rating. Solid Surface countertops have successfully been used in residential and commercial applications for decades.