Countertops - value and durability

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bungalow10
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Countertops - value and durability

Post by bungalow10 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:33 am

We are in the process of buying new counters for our home. We have ~20 year old cherry cabinets that are still in good shape, but more of a traditional style (not contemporary), and we are putting in wood-look porcelain plank tile (similar to http://ceramictec.com/wp-content/upload ... lorida.jpg).

Anyway, we started wanting a quartz product for the counter, but I didn't like the way the products felt, so I started shopping granite (which was cheaper). But then I found soapstone. I fell in love with the gray color, I think it would look gorgeous, but I'm concerned about durability over time. I picked out a granite slab yesterday and was ready to proceed with the process, but the soapstone is still on my mind. I think it would cost about $400 more than the granite we picked.

We have two young kids, I use our kitchen a LOT for cooking, not much for entertaining. It gets a lot of traffic, it's the main thoroughfare for the house.

I have a feeling the soapstone would be more timeless, but I want more opinions.

tl;dr - 100 year old house, Arts and Crafts style, traditional cherry cabinets. Busy family with two young kids - granite or soapstone better countertop value?
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by Auream » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:48 am

I could be wrong as I'm going from memory and not a google search, but I'm fairly certain that soapstone is one of those countertop materials that is high on the "looks" scale and low on practicality. Very soft and porous, making for an easily stained, damaged surface. Not to mention expensive.

edit: apparently not as porous as I thought, the say it is at least as stain resistant as granite. However they also say you need to rub it with miner oil once a week for the first year!? Maybe if you don't do that, which I'm sure few busy families keep up with after the first month or so, then your might risk staining and other issues.

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by bungalow10 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:15 am

Auream wrote:I could be wrong as I'm going from memory and not a google search, but I'm fairly certain that soapstone is one of those countertop materials that is high on the "looks" scale and low on practicality. Very soft and porous, making for an easily stained, damaged surface. Not to mention expensive.

edit: apparently not as porous as I thought, the say it is at least as stain resistant as granite. However they also say you need to rub it with miner oil once a week for the first year!? Maybe if you don't do that, which I'm sure few busy families keep up with after the first month or so, then your might risk staining and other issues.
I've been reading some threads that people have kept up after getting soapstone installed.

Apparently there are two schools of soapstone owners - one that oils, for the darker look, and one that doesn't oil, for the lighter look.

Both seem really happy with their counters. It has also been mentioned to me that soapstone is used in laboratory settings and it holds up well.

I can a lot of our food. I make all our marinara sauce, apple sauce, concord grape jelly, raspberry jam, etc. My kitchen gets a lot of use, and it isn't always pretty. Yesterday I happened to be making and canning grape jelly (after we picked out our granite slab) and started thinking soapstone might be the better option?

This is so difficult.
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by Rob5TCP » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:28 am


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rustymutt
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by rustymutt » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:33 am

I went with a highly polished porcelain industrial flooring for our counter tops, and we love it. That was installed 10 years ago, and it's holding up well. Wife loves it, cause she can remove hot pans from the oven, or stove top and sit them right down on it. We have 60 sq ft of counter top, and the cost was less than $800 for material. I provided the labor. It also is cool for making her pie crust. We had a home made sugar free blueberry pie yesterday.

http://www.crossvilleinc.com/
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by bungalow10 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:46 am

I've already googled the heck out of it, and am hoping for some real-life input. I feel the design sites skew towards recommending the most expensive materials.
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by Auream » Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:00 pm

rustymutt wrote:I went with a highly polished porcelain industrial flooring for our counter tops, and we love it. That was installed 10 years ago, and it's holding up well. Wife loves it, cause she can remove hot pans from the oven, or stove top and sit them right down on it. We have 60 sq ft of counter top, and the cost was less than $800 for material. I provided the labor. It also is cool for making her pie crust. We had a home made sugar free blueberry pie yesterday.

http://www.crossvilleinc.com/
Interesting. Do you have pictures by any chance (either of your countertops or something similar)? I always think of tiled countertops as looking "low-budget" but I imagine if you use large enough tiles and tight enough grout lines it might look nice.

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damjam
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by damjam » Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:32 pm

I have soapstone countertops. We put them in with a kitchen remodel 3+ years ago.
I do not baby them in any way.
They look great, are period appropriate for my house and are easy to maintain. They don't stain.
The disadvantages are:
1. They do scratch, although you can sand any scratches out. I've have a ding, very small and unnoticeable. I have no idea what caused the ding since it happened during a party.
2. When you have "sweaty" glasses they leave a ring on the counter. You can wipe it away with water or oil, but for the entire time your sitting at the counter with a wet glass there is that ring.
3. Near the range the counter is a little darker where oil spatters from cooking. That's because I don't oil the counters regularly, if I did oil it would all blend.

Good luck and I hope you enjoy your choice.

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by bungalow10 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:39 pm

damjam wrote:I have soapstone countertops. We put them in with a kitchen remodel 3+ years ago.
I do not baby them in any way.
They look great, are period appropriate for my house and are easy to maintain. They don't stain.
The disadvantages are:
1. They do scratch, although you can sand any scratches out. I've have a ding, very small and unnoticeable. I have no idea what caused the ding since it happened during a party.
2. When you have "sweaty" glasses they leave a ring on the counter. You can wipe it away with water or oil, but for the entire time your sitting at the counter with a wet glass there is that ring.
3. Near the range the counter is a little darker where oil spatters from cooking. That's because I don't oil the counters regularly, if I did oil it would all blend.

Good luck and I hope you enjoy your choice.
Thank you for your input. What you wrote jives with what I've read elsewhere, so that is good.

Would you put them in again? Would you recommend them to a busy family with two little kids? Just curious, how old is your house, or what style is your kitchen?

What color (paint, stain) are your cabinets?
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damjam
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by damjam » Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:57 pm

bungalow10 wrote:Thank you for your input. What you wrote jives with what I've read elsewhere, so that is good.

Would you put them in again? Would you recommend them to a busy family with two little kids? Just curious, how old is your house, or what style is your kitchen?

What color (paint, stain) are your cabinets?
My kitchen is all white cabinets with a white subway tile backspash. The cabinets are full inset doors with polished nickel exposed hinges and handles. It's a very 1920s NYC looking kitchen. The house is from around 1900. It's a brownstone style house (although it's actually limestone).

I'm not sure if I would recommend them for a busy family with little kids. It took me a while to resign myself to those rings left by glasses, and like I said the soapstone absorbs oil so it can look splotchy until you properly oil the whole counter. So if you want a showroom look all the time this is not the countertop for you. If you don't mind an aged and lived in look for everyday you'll love them. They give a richer look for special occasions (when I properly oil them).
Last edited by damjam on Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by chaz » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:02 pm

We like our granite.
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by westie » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:41 pm

had soapstone for five years, very happy with it....

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by Saving$ » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:47 pm

rustymutt wrote:I went with a highly polished porcelain industrial flooring for our counter tops, and we love it. That was installed 10 years ago, and it's holding up well. Wife loves it, cause she can remove hot pans from the oven, or stove top and sit them right down on it. We have 60 sq ft of counter top, and the cost was less than $800 for material. I provided the labor. It also is cool for making her pie crust. We had a home made sugar free blueberry pie yesterday.

http://www.crossvilleinc.com/

How do you keep the grout lines looking clean?

Like the poster above, it might be possible with 24"x24" tiles and very narrow grout lines.

What did you do for the front edge?

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by bungalow10 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:01 pm

damjam wrote:
bungalow10 wrote:Thank you for your input. What you wrote jives with what I've read elsewhere, so that is good.

Would you put them in again? Would you recommend them to a busy family with two little kids? Just curious, how old is your house, or what style is your kitchen?

What color (paint, stain) are your cabinets?
My kitchen is all white cabinets with a white subway tile backspash. The cabinets are full inset doors with polished nickel exposed hinges and handles. It's a very 1920s NYC looking kitchen. The house is from around 1900. It's a brownstone style house (although it's actually limestone). The kitchen is here (the second to last picture). In the picture the counters are not oiled.

I'm not sure if I would recommend them for a busy family with little kids. It took me a while to resign myself to those rings left by glasses, and like I said the soapstone absorbs oil so it can look splotchy until you properly oil the whole counter. So if you want a showroom look all the time this is not the countertop for you. If you don't mind an aged and lived in look for everyday you'll love them. They give a richer look for special occasions (when I properly oil them).


EDIT: To clarify that the counters were not oiled in the pictures.
Absolutely stunning, thank you for sharing. I love your kitchen.

I don't have any desire for a showroom kitchen, it will never be that. I love character and lived-in. We have the original 100-year-old floors throughout the house (except kitchen and bathrooms), and the original plaster and woodwork just about everywhere.

I was just doing some reading on Craftman-style houses and soapstone is was a common original countertop material. I wish my cabinets were more in keeping with the Craftsman-style, but I can't afford to replace them (and they are perfectly functional - totally against my nature to replace something functional). But maybe some day I will get new hardware for them.

The granite slab we picked would look good, but I think it would need an edge-treatment upgrade (a different finish to the edge, other than the more basic square edge). But I think the soapstone would look better with the more basic edge-style that is not an upgrade. So we may even be cost-neutral on the two options.
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by rustymutt » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:04 pm

Auream wrote:
rustymutt wrote:I went with a highly polished porcelain industrial flooring for our counter tops, and we love it. That was installed 10 years ago, and it's holding up well. Wife loves it, cause she can remove hot pans from the oven, or stove top and sit them right down on it. We have 60 sq ft of counter top, and the cost was less than $800 for material. I provided the labor. It also is cool for making her pie crust. We had a home made sugar free blueberry pie yesterday.

http://www.crossvilleinc.com/
Interesting. Do you have pictures by any chance (either of your countertops or something similar)? I always think of tiled countertops as looking "low-budget" but I imagine if you use large enough tiles and tight enough grout lines it might look nice.

I've got pics of them, but I don't know for sure how to get them on here. Let me work on that for you. They look like marble to guest that come over, and yes I used the largest squares I can find.
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by magellan » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:15 pm

We went with granite when we had our house built and are very happy with it in terms of both value and durability. No stains or marks at all, although that might be because it's a darker color.

We had Formica for 10 years in our last house (also bought new) vs granite for 15 years in our current house. IMO, the granite wins hands down for durability. After 10 years, the Formica looked well worn with many nicks, dings, and other miscellaneous marks. Also, in a few areas the luster seemed to have worn off.

OTOH, after 15 years in our current house, the granite looks as good as new. I think granite offers a pretty timeless look unless you do something unusual. We have cherry cabinets and stainless appliances and overall I'd say the look of our kitchen would be impossible to date from 15 years ago.

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by travellight » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:20 pm

beautiful home and kitchen, damjam.

I have granite and love the lack of care required. I would do a triple bullnose edge; the edging adds a lot.

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by stevewolfe » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:32 pm

Love our granite, verde butterfly. Easy to care for, no marks or stains. Looks as good as they day they put it in (6-7 years ago). We just went with the squared edge (it is actually slightly rounded). While the more decorative edges look quite nice, they add a lot to the cost and we chose not to spend that money. Instead we did a very nice custom tile back splash in a pattern with some specialty tiles mixed in.

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by AGR » Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:58 pm

We went with a black granite, but we had the granite "polished" to a matte finish. Looks very much like soapstone, but it was easier to find than soapstone.

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by jaxxmjd » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:17 pm

I've got nothing against soapstone, but we love our granite. Don't forget that granite is a staple item for kitchens. In terms of resale value, telling a potential buyer that the counters are granite will never get a negative reaction, whereas saying they're soapstone may (whether justified or not).

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:43 am

damjam wrote:
bungalow10 wrote:Thank you for your input. What you wrote jives with what I've read elsewhere, so that is good.

Would you put them in again? Would you recommend them to a busy family with two little kids? Just curious, how old is your house, or what style is your kitchen?

What color (paint, stain) are your cabinets?
My kitchen is all white cabinets with a white subway tile backspash. The cabinets are full inset doors with polished nickel exposed hinges and handles. It's a very 1920s NYC looking kitchen. The house is from around 1900. It's a brownstone style house (although it's actually limestone). The kitchen is here (the second to last picture). In the picture the counters are not oiled.

I'm not sure if I would recommend them for a busy family with little kids. It took me a while to resign myself to those rings left by glasses, and like I said the soapstone absorbs oil so it can look splotchy until you properly oil the whole counter. So if you want a showroom look all the time this is not the countertop for you. If you don't mind an aged and lived in look for everyday you'll love them. They give a richer look for special occasions (when I properly oil them).


EDIT: To clarify that the counters were not oiled in the pictures.
What a beautiful house and restoration-- you should be proud. Mine is 1890s Victorian (London) but is not in anything like such good nick (and we've modernized).

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by bungalow10 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:55 am

stevewolfe wrote:While the more decorative edges look quite nice, they add a lot to the cost and we chose not to spend that money.
The edges are outrageous! Just a simple rounded edge adds $20/linear foot.
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by jaxxmjd » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:56 am

Have you tried asking the granite dealer to throw in the edges for free? A lot of granite yards are hurting for business right now and willing to deal a little to secure your order. People tend to spend less on things like granite and housing updates when the economy is down.

We built a full kitchen in our basement with granite counters and decided to switch our bathroom vanity tops to granite at the same time. My wife is a fantastic negotiator and our supplier threw in a bunch of freebies to lock the job including free edging and making us some custom cheese platters out of scraps that they can't use for much else anyway. Paying nothing for the usually expensive Ogee edging was very nice and it looks great.

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by bungalow10 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:59 am

jaxxmjd wrote:Have you tried asking the granite dealer to throw in the edges for free? A lot of granite yards are hurting for business right now and willing to deal a little to secure your order. People tend to spend less on things like granite and housing updates when the economy is down.
You read my mind. I was going to talk to another showroom today and then call the guy we have been working with an ask for the edges for free.
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by Midpack » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:30 am

We went for quartz so I can't help. I also love the look of soapstone, we put slate in one of our bathrooms, a somewhat similar look. Don't like granite, looks much like quartz but less durable. But soapstone would be too maintenance intense for a kitchen in our view. OP needs to choose a priority between maintenance/practicality and appearance, as with most things in life there are trade offs. Wish I could be more helpful...
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by magellan » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:44 am

bungalow10 wrote: The edges are outrageous! Just a simple rounded edge adds $20/linear foot.
I believe it's related to the cost of wear on the diamond tipped tools they use.

I once rented a concrete saw and they charged per day and per millimeter of blade wear. I cut about 3 linear feet in an 8 inch think cement wall and IIRC, the blade wear charge was around $20.

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by bungalow10 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:18 am

Midpack wrote:We went for quartz so I can't help. I also love the look of soapstone, we put slate in one of our bathrooms, a somewhat similar look. Don't like granite, looks much like quartz but less durable. But soapstone would be too maintenance intense for a kitchen in our view. OP needs to choose a priority between maintenance/practicality and appearance, as with most things in life there are trade offs. Wish I could be more helpful...
I find the granite and quartz look very different. We were initially looking at quartz, but the lack of heat resistance and the pattern repeats were a turn-off. I do think it matters who you are talking to, we get different answers regarding the durability of quartz. But the cheapest quartz pattern that I like is still more than the tier-4 granite we picked out, so I chose the granite.

But the tier-4 granite is just slightly cheaper than the soapstone... so here I am :)

After seeing damjam's kitchen I just want to gut the whole thing and start fresh.
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by Midpack » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:31 am

bungalow10 wrote:I find the granite and quartz look very different. We were initially looking at quartz, but the lack of heat resistance and the pattern repeats were a turn-off. I do think it matters who you are talking to, we get different answers regarding the durability of quartz. But the cheapest quartz pattern that I like is still more than the tier-4 granite we picked out, so I chose the granite.
Looks are a personal choice, no debate there. But the heat resistance of quartz is comparable to granite, both are pretty high from everything I've read. I just Googled a chart that considered both excellent, stated 400F for quartz and 500F for granite. What would anyone set on a countertop that was even 400F (something from the oven or stovetop would cool to a surface temperature well below in a matter of seconds)? And quartz does not require sealing like more porous granite, and quartz will not chip, break or scratch as easily as granite. But in the end I'm just defending my choice, as you are (and should). Both are great, comes down to appearance preferences for the most part.
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by swaption » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:40 am

damjam wrote:
bungalow10 wrote:Thank you for your input. What you wrote jives with what I've read elsewhere, so that is good.

Would you put them in again? Would you recommend them to a busy family with two little kids? Just curious, how old is your house, or what style is your kitchen?

What color (paint, stain) are your cabinets?
My kitchen is all white cabinets with a white subway tile backspash. The cabinets are full inset doors with polished nickel exposed hinges and handles. It's a very 1920s NYC looking kitchen. The house is from around 1900. It's a brownstone style house (although it's actually limestone). The kitchen is here (the second to last picture). In the picture the counters are not oiled.

I'm not sure if I would recommend them for a busy family with little kids. It took me a while to resign myself to those rings left by glasses, and like I said the soapstone absorbs oil so it can look splotchy until you properly oil the whole counter. So if you want a showroom look all the time this is not the countertop for you. If you don't mind an aged and lived in look for everyday you'll love them. They give a richer look for special occasions (when I properly oil them).


EDIT: To clarify that the counters were not oiled in the pictures.
Had to take a look as your description sounded very much like what we did a few years ago, and in fact it is. In our case, full inset white cabinets, polished nickel (but we used nobs), with subway tile backsplash. Similar vent hood, although our cooktop is caddy corner (don't get me started on the hood/corner logistics). Some industrial looking pendants over the island. We went with a grayish Caserstone (Raven to be exact), but the overall look is quite similar. It's a ranch and the kitchen is in a section added on the back, so we could get some vaulted ceilings as well. It's a great look, and I like it in your kitchen as well.

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by G12 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:43 pm

The granite slab we picked would look good, but I think it would need an edge-treatment upgrade (a different finish to the edge, other than the more basic square edge). But I think the soapstone would look better with the more basic edge-style that is not an upgrade. So we may even be cost-neutral on the two options.
We did a whole house remodel two years ago. No kids, two adults and we cook a lot, ~ 5 days/nights a week. Plenty of acidic food and liquid has been on the counter tops with zero staining or etching. We did reseal the surface after 1-YR, that only took 20-30 minutes max, find the counter very easy to keep clean and maintain. I do not have any experience with soapstone nor no anyone with it to ask.

The contractor put an ornate beveled triple edge on the master bath counter tops, neither my wife nor I like it all that much. The kitchen is more rustic with slightly rounded plain edge, we like it much better. To me, the beveled or ornate edging is unnecessary in most settings. These were from a day or two post-install of backsplash and the white switchplate replaced with tin:

Image

Image

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by mainiac » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:06 pm

We have a granite countertop with browns and blacks and khaki colors. It is about 6 years old and looks great. I cook and bake often and use the bare counter for scones and piecrust - works great. Three kids, oblivious husband and dog that is tall enough to reach the counter - wears well and still looks great!

However, I love the kitchen photos - both of those rooms look fantastic.

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by NOLA » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:39 am

Don't really know anything about Soapstone, but we plan on installing a white quartz (samsung) in our kitchen within the next few days. I wouldn't mind using granite, however we are very limited when it comes to options since we want a very white color. The question for us is do we want it white, or super white that shines.

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by tibbitts » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:44 am

I"ve only had Formica countertops. Never had an issue with them, except it seems to be very difficult to find anyone who sells them now. Obviously you can't cut on them, or put hot plates or utensils on it, but the one here is white, and has seemed to be very stain resistant after over more than twenty years now. No damage that I can see - still looks like new on the rare occasions when it's clean.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned stainless steel, since it seems to be the commercial preference.

Paul

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by bungalow10 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:49 am

tibbitts wrote:I"ve only had Formica countertops. Never had an issue with them, except it seems to be very difficult to find anyone who sells them now. Obviously you can't cut on them, or put hot plates or utensils on it, but the one here is white, and has seemed to be very stain resistant after over more than twenty years now. No damage that I can see - still looks like new on the rare occasions when it's clean.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned stainless steel, since it seems to be the commercial preference.

Paul
I've seen Formica at a few different showrooms. It seems they are still used a lot in business and educational settings, as well as in laundry rooms and basement bars.
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by birdy » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:04 am

I have a home we had built 15 years ago. I decided to update my kitchen counters and backsplash. I looked into all the different types of counter tops and decided to go with Granite Transformations. It is granite but made in a similar way as quartz countertops. Also it is put on OVER your existing countertops/backsplash. You don't have to do any special maintance, can cut on it , if you chip off a piece of it on an edge it can be repaired, you can sit pans on it (up to 600 degrees) without problems and I really like the look of what I have picked out. It hasn't been installed yet but it is only supposed to take 6 hours when they do it. The company has estimated 55 square feet to do my kitchen (they come in a week to do the template) and the total cost for backsplash/counters/and to extend my eat on bar is $5638 + and extra $400 for the plummer and electrician work. I wasn't sure about doing this at first when I found out about them installing over existing products (I was afraid it would look "cheap") but I went to their showroom and liked what I saw. I priced out quartz at Home Depot and Lowes but when they $xx per square foot installed, what they really mean is that is oh by the way, you also have an additional tear out cost/tile cutting costs (per cut)/extra costs to cut out for plug and light switches and a three day construction time. I was afraid of granite because I wanted to make sure it was stain free and more heat resistant.

My husband and I plan to live in this house until we physically can't. I like a good value but I also care about how it looks. I don't have a large or fancy home (we would rather spend our money to travel the world) but I really think it will look great and be a worry free surface. The website for the product is http://www.granitetransformations.com

birdy

bungalow10
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by bungalow10 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:41 am

birdy wrote:I have a home we had built 15 years ago. I decided to update my kitchen counters and backsplash. I looked into all the different types of counter tops and decided to go with Granite Transformations. It is granite but made in a similar way as quartz countertops. Also it is put on OVER your existing countertops/backsplash. You don't have to do any special maintance, can cut on it , if you chip off a piece of it on an edge it can be repaired, you can sit pans on it (up to 600 degrees) without problems and I really like the look of what I have picked out. It hasn't been installed yet but it is only supposed to take 6 hours when they do it. The company has estimated 55 square feet to do my kitchen (they come in a week to do the template) and the total cost for backsplash/counters/and to extend my eat on bar is $5638 + and extra $400 for the plummer and electrician work. I wasn't sure about doing this at first when I found out about them installing over existing products (I was afraid it would look "cheap") but I went to their showroom and liked what I saw. I priced out quartz at Home Depot and Lowes but when they $xx per square foot installed, what they really mean is that is oh by the way, you also have an additional tear out cost/tile cutting costs (per cut)/extra costs to cut out for plug and light switches and a three day construction time. I was afraid of granite because I wanted to make sure it was stain free and more heat resistant.

My husband and I plan to live in this house until we physically can't. I like a good value but I also care about how it looks. I don't have a large or fancy home (we would rather spend our money to travel the world) but I really think it will look great and be a worry free surface. The website for the product is http://www.granitetransformations.com

birdy
Birdy - that seems really expensive. You paid over $100 square foot for those counters. I just bought soapstone, which is priced with tier 4-5 granite (which is fairly high-end on price) and had 56 square feet done with sink, tear out, faucet, etc for less than $5k. I shopped around and $5-$5.5k was typical for the granite and soapstone. A stock granite would have been $3-4k for our kitchen.

My total tear-out counters took about a week to fabricate and less than four hours to remove the old ones and get the new ones in. Our kitchen is not square at all, lots of angle cuts and a more custom look to it.
An elephant for a dime is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a dime.

bungalow10
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by bungalow10 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:54 am

Hey, all!

We went with soapstone after a lot of indecision - and almost having the granite slabs cut! It is installed, but we are still doing backsplash, floor, and paint, so no pictures just yet.

I LOVE the soapstone, I'm so glad I got it. It suits me and my house.
An elephant for a dime is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a dime.

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GregLee
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by GregLee » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:39 pm

Mine are Formica, or something similar, quite old, and don't look nice. However, they look lots nicer when they're shiny, which brings me to my question. What's a good wax or other polishing product that is resistant to water marking? I've tried several kinds of floor wax and shopped locally and on Amazon. The floor wax looks okay until it starts showing rings.
Greg, retired 8/10.

NOLA
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by NOLA » Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:24 pm

Bungalow - Glad you are happy with your decision, even if its not completely finished yet. Look forward to some pictures soon. We installed or white quartz countertops a few weeks ago and are very happy.

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ClevrChico
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by ClevrChico » Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:37 pm

Solid surfacing is another good option too.

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by neo09 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:37 pm

I made my own, concrete countertop, which has a similar feel to a soapstone, may be not quite as dense.

The materials are indeed earthy and it integrates very nicely (I dyed the concrete to give it a color we wanted). We have a very new, updated kitchen and the countertops are wearing very nicely, holding their own so far. It's almost time to refinish it. You apply a sealant every 2-3 years.

The market rate of concrete countertops was about $89/ SQFT, but labor cost doesn't really apply in my case. We have an island about 2.5ft deep, in L shape and the regular countertop. Both surfaces are stunning. Highly recommended.

HTH
bungalow10 wrote:We are in the process of buying new counters for our home. We have ~20 year old cherry cabinets that are still in good shape, but more of a traditional style (not contemporary), and we are putting in wood-look porcelain plank tile (similar to http://ceramictec.com/wp-content/upload ... lorida.jpg).

Anyway, we started wanting a quartz product for the counter, but I didn't like the way the products felt, so I started shopping granite (which was cheaper). But then I found soapstone. I fell in love with the gray color, I think it would look gorgeous, but I'm concerned about durability over time. I picked out a granite slab yesterday and was ready to proceed with the process, but the soapstone is still on my mind. I think it would cost about $400 more than the granite we picked.

We have two young kids, I use our kitchen a LOT for cooking, not much for entertaining. It gets a lot of traffic, it's the main thoroughfare for the house.

I have a feeling the soapstone would be more timeless, but I want more opinions.

tl;dr - 100 year old house, Arts and Crafts style, traditional cherry cabinets. Busy family with two young kids - granite or soapstone better countertop value?

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by bungalow10 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:42 pm

neo09 wrote:I made my own, concrete countertop, which has a similar feel to a soapstone, may be not quite as dense.

The materials are indeed earthy and it integrates very nicely (I dyed the concrete to give it a color we wanted). We have a very new, updated kitchen and the countertops are wearing very nicely, holding their own so far. It's almost time to refinish it. You apply a sealant every 2-3 years.

The market rate of concrete countertops was about $89/ SQFT, but labor cost doesn't really apply in my case. We have an island about 2.5ft deep, in L shape and the regular countertop. Both surfaces are stunning. Highly recommended.

HTH
bungalow10 wrote:We are in the process of buying new counters for our home. We have ~20 year old cherry cabinets that are still in good shape, but more of a traditional style (not contemporary), and we are putting in wood-look porcelain plank tile (similar to http://ceramictec.com/wp-content/upload ... lorida.jpg).

Anyway, we started wanting a quartz product for the counter, but I didn't like the way the products felt, so I started shopping granite (which was cheaper). But then I found soapstone. I fell in love with the gray color, I think it would look gorgeous, but I'm concerned about durability over time. I picked out a granite slab yesterday and was ready to proceed with the process, but the soapstone is still on my mind. I think it would cost about $400 more than the granite we picked.

We have two young kids, I use our kitchen a LOT for cooking, not much for entertaining. It gets a lot of traffic, it's the main thoroughfare for the house.

I have a feeling the soapstone would be more timeless, but I want more opinions.

tl;dr - 100 year old house, Arts and Crafts style, traditional cherry cabinets. Busy family with two young kids - granite or soapstone better countertop value?
I would LOVE to see pictures. I wanted concrete, but found them cost-prohibitive. DIY wasn't really an option because of the many odd angles of our kitchen (and our lack of handy skills).
An elephant for a dime is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a dime.

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by Rodc » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:56 am

GregLee wrote:Mine are Formica, or something similar, quite old, and don't look nice. However, they look lots nicer when they're shiny, which brings me to my question. What's a good wax or other polishing product that is resistant to water marking? I've tried several kinds of floor wax and shopped locally and on Amazon. The floor wax looks okay until it starts showing rings.
Have you tried automotive buffing compounds?

Works great on cars and on furniture. (clear coats on both being chemically very similar).

Depending on wear you could try something that buffs out scratches and finish with swirl remover for some other very fine compound.

Warning, I have not tried this on Formica, so might want to get a test scrap or try in a back corner.

One advantage of Formica is you can swap out for a new look every 5 years and likely still come up cheaper than stone (though I have not shopped price in a few years). Nothing like paying big bucks and 8 years later have a very dated looking kitchen because "nobody would use that garish color today..."
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by GregLee » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:18 am

Rodc wrote:
GregLee wrote:... a good wax or other polishing product that is resistant to water marking? ...
Have you tried automotive buffing compounds?
No, I haven't. I'll try that, or other car finish stuff.
Greg, retired 8/10.

Martindo
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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by Martindo » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:00 pm

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned solid acrylic (Corian is one of the original brands). We have acrylic countertops that people take for some kind of matte granite or one of the "quartz" products. Solid acrylic was cost effective, very good clean-up properties, no staining, no watermarks. Coved backsplash is very effective. The material does get fine surface scratches, but it have worked these out once or twice with 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper and finishing with a "Scotchbrite."

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Re: Countertops - value and durability

Post by pfeiffer74 » Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:43 pm

For what it's worth we have honed carerra marble and love it. We have had it for 3 years and love it. We seal it periodically but we are not super anal about maintaining. Our kitchen is a lived in and used kitchen plus we have two girls under 5.

Marble will etch if exposed to an acid and it can stain but so far no issues.

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