Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

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atlanta_dad
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Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by atlanta_dad » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:26 pm

We have Brazilian cherry hardwood floors on entire first level and maple cabinets in the kitchen. We are planning to upgrade our kitchen with granite counter tops and tile back splash.
It is becoming a nightmare to select the right granite (color) that goes well with the floor and cabinets. I am worried that I may make a mistake in choosing the right colors and that may result in an unpleasant kitchen.
Kitchen roughly needs 50sq ft of granite and 40 sq ft of backsplash tile, my budget is about $4k. I was thinking of a professional designer but it may be too expensive and our kitchen is simple and does not need a designer.
Could some one please suggest me how to overcome my problem.

Thanks in advance

island
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by island » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:43 pm

You're definitely in the wrong website for this inquiry.
Go to the kitchen forum of gardenweb.com and you'll get a ton of good advice.

Leemiller
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by Leemiller » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:50 pm

Go with something simple, nothing too busy. Consider what backsplash will go with your choice. Don't make it look too dark, especially if you don't get natural light. Gardenweb is now on the Houzz website. You can also check out Maria Killam's blog.

staythecourse
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by staythecourse » Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:26 pm

home remodeling/ interior decorating is my next passion after personal finance. I spent 6 months thing of replacing my granite countertops just because I didn't like them, but finally gave up as I was not "inspired" enough with anything I saw to justify the money.

In my experience, take one of the cabinets and some pictures of the floor with you to some of the big distributers of granite in your area (everybody basically gets their granite and marble supply from the same 3-5 places in the area). Go on a weekday when it is not busy and talk to the sale folks. Let them know you budget and square feet and they will tell you which group to choose from.

There you go that will narrow it down to like 5-6 then you choose from them.

Good luck.
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detroitbabu
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by detroitbabu » Fri Apr 10, 2015 5:48 am

We have the same exact combination - Brazilian Cherry flooring and Maple cabinets.
We have used Hawaiian Bordeaux for counter tops.

http://www.kitchen-design-ideas.org/haw ... anite.html

I agree with visiting the Gardenweb site for these type of questions.

Keep It Simple
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by Keep It Simple » Fri Apr 10, 2015 5:53 am

Have you looked into quartz counter tops? The more you learn about granite, the more you will realize how much upkeep there is. It can stain and you must apply sealants to it frequently. Quartz is non-porous and won't stain and there is no sealant needed. It only costs 5-10% more and is well worth it imho.

Good luck!

K.I.S.

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TheGreyingDuke
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by TheGreyingDuke » Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:04 am

Would you consider using the same granite for the backsplash, eliminating oe potential for a mismatch?

When we did our counters we went to a local fabricator (I live in a granite producing area, mostly headstones :( ) where they have "small" pieces of granite from all over the world. The materials was quite inexpensive and the fabricators were top drawer.
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J295
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by J295 » Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:13 am

You may wish to post this question on Houzz.

Colors of course are very important. I'm terrible with colors but my wife is outstanding. Typically she would choose all the colors for our upgrades, but when we purchased our current home and did a complete renovation we hired a designer so that my wife could have some support and guidance on her decisions. It worked out great. We paid hourly. You may wish to consider a designer -- but the rub here is you need someone you highly trust. We had some recommendations and visited with a couple designers, and landed on a great one recommended by our architect -- she was not a one trick pony, as she found out our tastes and helped us be successful with our desires rather than impose her personal preferences, yet at the same time she wasn't afraid to tell us if she thought we were going down the wrong path.

Good luck!

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atlanta_dad
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by atlanta_dad » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:18 am

TheGreyingDuke wrote:Would you consider using the same granite for the backsplash, eliminating oe potential for a mismatch?
Using the same granite for back splash seems to be not very common, also that will make my project very expensive beyond my budget as it adds 40 more sq ft of granite at $35 per sq ft.

retiredjg
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by retiredjg » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:58 am

Keep in mind that whatever you choose in a sample will appear lighter when there is a bunch of it.

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LiveSimple
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by LiveSimple » Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:03 am

Did you check with your better half ( Since you mentioned we)

Me and my wife were not able to agree on the color of granite to go on our kitchen, hence still looking for 3 years. :D
Last edited by LiveSimple on Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

ddurrett896
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by ddurrett896 » Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:09 am

$35/sqft isn't a bad price.

Consider quartz - stronger, no need to seal, less busy than granite and most of the time cheaper. Check out the website Houzz. Look for a combo similar to your kitchen and most pictures includes the name of the countertop.

BTW tiling is easy - especially a backslash! Doing it yourself can free up some $ that you could put towards a more expensive granite, if there's one you end up loving, except the price.

Whatever you end up doing, don't watch the tile guy do your backsplash - you will be pissed you paid them what you did.
Last edited by ddurrett896 on Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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atlanta_dad
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by atlanta_dad » Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:56 am

Ruby wrote:Did you check with your other better half ( Since you mentioned we)

Me and my wife were not able to agree on the color of granite to go on our kitchen, hence still looking for 3 years. :D
Same here, but it is only 1 year :happy

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LiveSimple
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by LiveSimple » Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:57 am

atlanta_dad wrote:
Ruby wrote:Did you check with your other better half ( Since you mentioned we)

Me and my wife were not able to agree on the color of granite to go on our kitchen, hence still looking for 3 years. :D
Same here, but it is only 1 year :happy
:sharebeer

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whatusername?
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by whatusername? » Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:28 pm

Search google images for Brazilian cherry kitchen and then just browse until you see a picture both you and the spouse like.

FedGuy
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by FedGuy » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:12 pm

As others have suggested, go with quartz. I've been attending various open houses in my neighborhood over the last few months and have spoken to several realtors. The consensus is that granite has fallen out of favor and is now considered a negative among buyers because of its tendency to stain and the difficulty of its upkeep. I've been told that quartz is now the material to have.

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Watty
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by Watty » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:34 pm

Atlanta_dad ...my budget is about $4k.
Be sure to consider that cost as a percentage of the cost of your house. Housing is not very expensive in many parts of Atlanta. If you are looking at putting that into a house that is worth less than about half a million dollars then you may be over improving the house and you could consider something less expensive than granite without impacting the resale of your house.

Our house is worth about half that(near the average price in Atlanta) and we put Corian countertops in it about ten years ago and we have been very happy with it. They still look like new with no maintenance. In houses in our price range they are appropriate too so having newish Corian countertops would be a plus on the resale of the house.

Countertops are one of those things that people obsess about when they have to pick them out but a year later it will be very rare that you even notice them once you are used to them. Picking the right countertop is a often a no-win situation as far a resale. You risk turning off some future buyers if you go with something bold, but if you go with something bland then they just blend into the background.
Last edited by Watty on Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

retiredjg
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by retiredjg » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:36 pm

I had planned to get granite, but got quartz instead. All the granite I saw was too busy - would clash with a wall covering/backsplash I had. The quartz is more of a mono-pattern.

I like it quite a bit, but it has only been there for about 6 months so I can't comment on long term durability. But it seems like it should work very long term.

SamB
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by SamB » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:48 pm

Generally the tile places have designers that work with you on design and tile selection. They will draw up a sketch, and specify the tile. However, you will have to hit the rock yard to select the granite. The granite business may provide a sample, or allow you to take photographs for the tile person.

If this is the first time you have used granite be aware that it is a completely natural material. It is rarely perfect in composition, and it may chip on edges during the initial use, and there may be epoxy fill-ins on the polished surface. In fact, it might be good for you to examine both sides of whatever slab that you select. There is nothing unusual about this. If it comes out of the ground and you cut it and mill it, it is not going to be the same as a man-made composite in terms of surface regularity or even composition. The same goes for marble.

I don't know what design process you are buying, but generally the granite places require exact dimensions, preferably a CAD file that they use to feed their numerically controlled cutting machine. I also don't know how level your cabinets are, and what kind of leveling, shimming, whatever is going to be required to receive the granite. However, this is nothing I would skimp on. This stuff is not a job for your local handyman. Either do the design work or don't buy it.

ourbrooks
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by ourbrooks » Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:29 pm

Let me put in another good word in favor of tile. It costs about 1/4 of what granite costs installed.

If you have a negative reaction to tile, based on 4 inch tiles and lots of dirt catching grout joints, you might want to go out and look at some modern tile. You can now get tile up to two feet by two feet. This means many fewer grout joints and epoxy grouts are much more stain resistant than older grouts. The glazed surface is more stain resistant than marble. Granite can crack if you put a hot pot directly on it; this is not a problem with the tile and even if you drop a cast iron frying pan from the top cupboard on it, you can replace just that one tile.

Granite definitely has more market appeal than tile, but if you're not moving soon, tile is worth a try. Worst case, you end up hating the tile and rip it out and replace it with granite. You haven't lost that much money.

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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by Lafder » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:13 am

With such a decision it helps me to remember whatever I pick will be better than what I am replacing.

Your budget sounds low for that much granite and tile. I spent 2k on granite for a tiny kitchen (one wall of counter), with no back splash.

Go to a granite place and look. Nothing beats seeing it in person.

lafder

Ron
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by Ron » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:20 am

Lafder wrote:<snip...>
Go to a granite place and look. Nothing beats seeing it in person.
Be sure to take a couple of cabinet doors along to match the slabs they have available, and compare them in bright/cloudy days (they will look different when compared to the slab, under different lighting conditions - as your kitchen will have throughout the day/night).

Also remember that the sample slabs may not be the one's that they will cut for your specific project. We were delayed (due to other kitchen upgrades) and our original choice was changed due to the slab we selected being sold out and replaced with another that was slightly different in color (it's a natural stone, remember). We wound up selecting a completely different style/color; in the end, we feel our "late choice" turned out better than our original selection.

- Ron

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ResearchMed
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:35 am

Ron wrote:
Lafder wrote:<snip...>
Go to a granite place and look. Nothing beats seeing it in person.
Be sure to take a couple of cabinet doors along to match the slabs they have available, and compare them in bright/cloudy days (they will look different when compared to the slab, under different lighting conditions - as your kitchen will have throughout the day/night).

Also remember that the sample slabs may not be the one's that they will cut for your specific project. We were delayed (due to other kitchen upgrades) and our original choice was changed due to the slab we selected being sold out and replaced with another that was slightly different in color (it's a natural stone, remember). We wound up selecting a completely different style/color; in the end, we feel our "late choice" turned out better than our original selection.

- Ron
We paid for the slab we wanted for the master bathroom, and also brought the outline for the sink cut-outs/etc.
We then selected exactly where the "sink counter" would be, and exactly where the cutout would be, and also where the long "curb" of the edge of the large shower would be (length of a full bathtub).

This made sure that the "beauty" of the coloration didn't end up left out or cut out.
We did the slab in glossy polished finish, and the floor and walls in two different shapes/styles of honed (1 ft sq for walls, small rectangles on floors, and 2" sq pieces in shower floor to minimize large slippery surfaces).

If we had just needed to counter top/backsplash areas in the bathrooms (as for a kitchen), without the walls/flooring, even "not inexpensive" stone wouldn't have been too expensive for a look we really liked.

On the other hand, when we moved in, the big kitchen had large areas of extra thick slap counters, and I'm not particularly fond of it.
But replacing it would make no sense unless we did a total rehab of the kitchen, which isn't planned in the near future.

Be careful that you don't choose something too idiosyncratic if there is even a chance you might sell within (however many?) years.

RM
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anonyvestor
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by anonyvestor » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:41 am

I my humble opinion, better to match the cabinets than the floor.

Go to the stone yard and make sure you pick the specific individual slab. Otherwise you might be surprised how different it looks.

If they grumble about showing you the specific slab, go elsewhere.

Bacchus01
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by Bacchus01 » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:12 pm

I don't know why people say that granite stains or needs to be sealed often. We've had 5 different granites in 3 different houses. Both in kitchen and bathrooms. Never once have we had a stain. We seal maybe every other year. It's just not a big deal.

Tile will look like it is - cheap.

Cash
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by Cash » Sun Apr 12, 2015 6:42 am

+1 for quartz. If you're upgrading, might as well upgrade to the latest trend, especially if resale is an issue. We are currently undertaking a housing search, and when we see granite, we think, "This is a kitchen that will need updating within the next few years."

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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by rustymutt » Sun Apr 12, 2015 7:10 am

Don't go black, as it's harder than heck to keep looking nice.
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by sleepysurf » Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:48 am

I agree with searching on Houzz for color matching ideas.

Another option, which hasn't been mentioned, is to use a matte or "leather" finish granite, which is unpolished. It's a completely different look than the typical polished granite, with more muted tones. We discovered that option when looking at granite slabs at a local fabricator, and fell in love with it. It's just a durable as standard granite. Also, resealing granite (every 1-2 years) is a simple process, so I wouldn't make a decision based on that.
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by EMDW » Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:54 am


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ResearchMed
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by ResearchMed » Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:56 am

sleepysurf wrote:I agree with searching on Houzz for color matching ideas.

Another option, which hasn't been mentioned, is to use a matte or "leather" finish granite, which is unpolished. It's a completely different look than the typical polished granite, with more muted tones. We discovered that option when looking at granite slabs at a local fabricator, and fell in love with it. It's just a durable as standard granite. Also, resealing granite (every 1-2 years) is a simple process, so I wouldn't make a decision based on that.
I think the term you are looking for (in our area, anyway) is "honed" finish.

However, once one starts looking at alternative "finishes", there are a few, but I think "glossy/polished" and "honed" are most common.

Mixing the same stone in polished and honed can look very nice... some "differences" without getting too noisy/busy.

Consider something like polished (slab) countertop, and smaller squares or rectangles in a honed finish for backsplash.
It's easier to clean a slab countertop, with no seams/grout.

RM
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tomander
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by tomander » Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:59 am

+1 for quartz counter tops

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loves2read
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by loves2read » Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:00 am

If you are still trying to make a choice--
I second the poster who said not to get a granite that is too unique--
mainly because those are often ones with most veining/active patterns which can be very dramatic and eye-catching and also tiresome...like loud wallpaper from the 80s quickly became outdated...

my recommendations would be NOT to do a granite backsplash but something more classic like subway tile
but you can also find nice kitchens w/painted glass backsplash--very durable and safe

just go to the yard and pick out your slabs and know what colors you are dealing with-
some stones look very different in some lights...ask them to move the stone outside if it is stored inside in warehouse w/tall ceilings and flourescent lighting...

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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by TradingPlaces » Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:09 am

I think granite is fast running out of style.

Quartz is the new thing.

Might want to consider.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by BolderBoy » Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:29 am

atlanta_dad wrote:Kitchen roughly needs 50sq ft of granite and 40 sq ft of backsplash tile, my budget is about $4k.
Is it even possible to do at that price?

Anyway, I'd go with lighter granite if your kitchen is "dark" and the reverse if your kitchen is bright. Personal experience with using Blue Pearl in a dark kitchen. :(

renter
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by renter » Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:31 am

Try Taj Mahal. More pricy but classy and goes with lots of colors.

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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by kolea » Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:03 pm

Everyone I know is going with concrete countertops. It looks really good; this is not your ordinary concrete, it is cast, stained, and polished. In fact, some friends of ours have Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry) floors with the concrete countertop. Very sharp looking.
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by Carefreeap » Sun Apr 12, 2015 7:23 pm

TradingPlaces wrote:I think granite is fast running out of style.

Quartz is the new thing.

Might want to consider.
LOL, our quartz countertop in our AZ house is 11 years old. Who knew we'd be trendsetters! :wink: It still looks good and the house has been rented out for six years.

We did buy quartz because our granite in our SF Bay Area house stained from carrot cake frosting crumbs left on the countertop after a New Year's Eve party. Also our tenants stained around the bar sink. Keep in mind this was not a primary workspace area but a secondary counter top that separates the breakfast room and a formal dining room.

When we moved back to the SF Bay Area house after being away for nine years we replaced the laminate countertops and the corian countertop with quartz. It's been over two years and it still looks good!

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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by gatorman » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:48 pm

We had granite in our last house, no problems whatsoever with stains. We got granite in our new house, a slightly lighter shade, stains like crazy. Both were sealed. If I had it to do over, I'd probably buy quartz.
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wilked
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by wilked » Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:12 pm

Just wanted to chime in with a rec to use quartz instead, we have had issues with granite in our last apartment

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HardKnocker
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by HardKnocker » Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:34 pm

I don't know if anyone mentioned this but some granite countertops are quite radioactive.

You might want to check out selection if you can.
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by angelescrest » Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:39 pm

You are stressed...and you probably don't have much experience with colors. Please, go talk to a designer and have them walk you through it. Colors aren't easy, as just a slight variation in tone can make a significant difference. What kind of lighting you have also matters--for example the lighting at the granite shop is going to be significantly different than what's in your home. If light itself has color, then you better believe it is going to look different. Hire a professional, unless you don't care. But you do.

On a side note, we have granite, and what I hate about them is how busy the pattern is. Granite specialists will tell you how good that is--all the veins and "movement" in the rock, and it is true if you are just considering the stone itself. However, I've found that it makes for a very impractical working surface as its hard to see how dirty the surface is. If I did it again, I would prefer something much more uniform.

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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by njuser » Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:01 am


Topic Author
atlanta_dad
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by atlanta_dad » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:29 pm

Thanks all so much for the great advice. Seems like the latest trend is quartz. I would like to enquire the prices before jumping on to quartz.
Should I be shopping in the same granite counter top stores for quartz too? The store where I shopped for Granite said Quartz is almost 3 times expensive than granite!!

Any chain stores on east coast where prices are reasonable? I think Home Depot and Lowes are ruled out as they are too expensive.
Please advice. Thanks so much in advance!!

wilked
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by wilked » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:30 pm

Are you in Atlanta?

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atlanta_dad
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by atlanta_dad » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:32 pm

wilked wrote:Are you in Atlanta?
Recently moved to Maryland

Globalviewer58
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by Globalviewer58 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:46 pm

Search for Maryland granite fabricators or quartz fabricators to get a list of companies in the business of designing, fabricating and installing countertops in your area. Once you select a fabricator they can tell you which stone wholesalers they use. You can visit the wholesale warehouse to select slabs but they typically will not sell to you or quote prices. Your fabricator will have a small showroom and a range of prices based on material type, amount of cutting, etc.

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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by bungalow10 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:57 pm

We wanted granite a few years back but found it was all WAY too busy and a lot already looked dated. We went with soapstone, which I love the look of, but it hasn't held up well (chips, scratches). It goes with my personal tendency towards things looking natural and having character, but I'm sure if we were to sell our house that potential buyers would see the worn spots as a negative.
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Professor Emeritus
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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by Professor Emeritus » Tue Apr 14, 2015 2:52 pm

Wow
I just replaced our 28 year old high pressure laminate (AKA Formica) with new high pressure laminate.
Looks lovely.
and we have "sheet flooring" too!!!
And my lovely wife loves my cooking.

I do own and use both hot pads and cutting boards.

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Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by Carefreeap » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:24 pm

Professor Emeritus wrote:Wow
I just replaced our 28 year old high pressure laminate (AKA Formica) with new high pressure laminate.
Looks lovely.
and we have "sheet flooring" too!!!
And my lovely wife loves my cooking.

I do own and use both hot pads and cutting boards.
I suspect that our kitchen laminate countertops were pushing about 30 years old when we replaced them with the quartz countertop. The kiss of death was my tenant was using soft scrub on them. :( What cracked me up were the great shape the laminate countertops in the two bathrooms. Original to the house so about 50 years old. Still looked great. I suspect they were the real Formica brand. We redesigned/remodeled both baths and the old countertops weren't going to work. The cheap side of me would have liked to re-use something because it was clear they were indestructible! :D

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Location: NY

Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Post by edge » Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:35 pm

I might consider Quartz in a kitchen but the natural beauty of some of the more rare granites puts the man made patterns and colors of Quartz to shame. I like to put a flowing granite on the island with a more regular patterned around the cabinetry.

As an aside, what kind of granite is 35/sqft? I am guessing that is the kind of granite that is going out of style...

Typically high end natural products don't 'go out of style'. It is almost silly to type it.

Concrete can look good but typically works in a contemporary setup only. It requires as much or more maintenance than granite (and looks terrible if not maintained).

Someone mentioned soapstone which is beautiful but not durable and is a maintenance headache. Same with limestone.

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