Counter Tops: so many choices from today’s manufacturers

By Amy McGeachy, DID

With so many new products continually flooding the market, it’s hard to know what the best option is for your counter top material and how much money should be allocated for them. Your decision should be base on a couple of things: the amount of activity and traffic that area will receive, and the money you want to spend. Design and style can take over after those two important subjects have been addressed. I am just going to quickly touch on a few products for the counter tops, as I may write a whole article about each of these products at a later date. So, here we go…

Laminate has progressed considerably over the years and now has many desirable patterns to choose from. You may recognize this produce under brand names such as Arborite or Formica. Unfortunately, the product may burn, scratch, melt or stain, but the cost of the product is far less than stone. I have had great experiences with the durability of laminate, but it just isn’t the show stopper that a stone product is. (And you know what? Sometimes that’s OK!)

Granite is a natural stone product that is cut directly from the rock and sold in slabs. The pattern and colors of the granite are very unique from piece to piece. They will be close, but never exactly the same as any other one piece. The granite is a porous material and therefore, could stain. It needs to be sealed with a liquid, which you can buy at any stone supplier, a few times a year. Think of granite as an art feature in your home.

Quartz is a product in which they take the natural stone, crush it and mix it with a resin to produce slabs in various colors and patterns. You may know it by such brand names as Silestone, Caeserstone, Cambria or Pental to name a few. This product is taking over the market place due to its low to no maintenance properties.  It will have a much more consistent pattern than granite, as it is manufactured. I love the fact that you never have to re-seal quartz. It is not inexpensive, usually starting around the same price as granite or more depending on the pattern of each.

Amy’s Tips:

-If it makes sense financially, spend the money to switch laminate to stone countertops, as it is something that home buyers will notice and see as a great selling feature

-Do your homework on the quality of the stone product that you are purchasing. There are many different grades of granite on the market, and you want to make sure that the price of your slab reflects this accordingly

-Choose a material that fits with the lifestyle of your household. High maintenance materials such as marble or butcher block may not be good for a busy family.

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