Are you stuck while trying to choose the right materials for your countertop? Understanding the differences can enable you to choose countertop materials that will best meet your specific needs. If you need further guidance, our team at Out of the Woods Custom Cabinetry is happy to provide assistance. Here are a few things that you need to know about countertop materials and their differences.
Before we talk about laminate countertops, it is important to note that we do not offer this option. Many homes have laminate countertops, because it tends to be the cheapest option for countertop use. However, remember that you get what you pay for when it comes to countertop materials. Laminate countertops are generally the least durable material, despite how common they are. They can be chipped, scratched, dented, discolored, or burnt incredibly easy. It is usually attached with screws, staples, or adhesive, which makes it fairly easily to remove when you need to replace it. Laminate countertops tend to be taller than most stone materials. This can lead to design issues during remodels, which is why it is essential to work with a professional countertop installer. Laminate countertops often look thicker than they actually are which can cause problems with the appearance. We are able to provide both removal and disposal services for laminate countertops.
Solid surface materials are a great upgrade to make from laminate countertops. It is often referred to as Corian. Solid surface countertops are common, but they may still be surprisingly expensive. While solid surface countertops are an engineered “stone”, they can still chip, scratch, burn, and discolor. Though it is harder and more resilient than laminate, it is a less durable option than granite or quartz countertops. Solid surface countertops are available in a large array of colors and patterns. They will often be molded together with the sink in one piece, which may make it necessary to replace the top when you replace the sink.
Granite materials are a natural stone. Granite is mined from mountain quarries around the world. Since granite is a natural stone, it is porous and will require periodic maintenance in the form of re-sealing. Our granite countertops are sealed in the shop prior to delivery and installation. Some dealers may offer a kind of “permanent” sealing, but it is not recommended. These processes can make repairs difficult and is costly to have performed. Sealing granite for regular maintenance, contrary to popular belief, is a fairly easy process. Sealers won’t make the stone completely impervious to liquids, but will make it more resistant to stains from oils. It is normal for granite surfaces to soak up water and become darker. The water will eventually evaporate.
Granite countertops are available in many different finishes. A textured finish is often referred to as “antiqued” or “leathered.” Another finish is often referred to as a “matte” or “honed” finish. Finally, you may also choose to have the finish completely smooth and polished. Many people think that polished granite has a varnish applied. While epoxy is sometimes used to fill pits or fissures, this generally isn’t true. Rather than coming from varnish, the high-shine finish of granite tends to come from the many iterations of polishing using diamond polishing pads. This helps to provide the mirror-like finish from the stone itself.
When you are deciding on maintenance, a polished stone surface tends to be the easiest to clean. The polishing process helps to minimize the impact of the natural pores. This makes the granite less susceptible to staining. Alternatively, textured surfaces are much more difficult to wipe clean. Duller finishes also tend to show oils or fingerprints more easily than more polished varieties.
There are many advantages to choosing granite as your countertop material. Granite is extremely hard, durable, and heat resistant. In fact, granite countertops are often used as cutting boards, because they are resistant to scratching. However, these granite countertops will dull knives rather quickly, so you may want to use a designated cutting board. Granite countertops will vary in price based on their type. Factors that will impact the price include the size of the slabs, as well as the expense and location of the quarries and mining.
It is important to note that each slab of granite is completely unique, due to the way that the natural stone is sourced. Due to this, it is important to note that our team at Out of the Woods has no control over the appearance of the stone or the naturally occurring fissures or pits that the countertop may have. Samples may help you to get an idea of the color or aesthetics, but there can still be a great deal of variation from bundle to bundle. Final selections should often be made in person if possible.
Quartz is a countertop material that is engineered, which means it is man-made. Though quartz tends to be less hard than granite, it does have its own unique benefits. Quartz is comprised of both ground stone and epoxy resin, usually 80% or 90% stone with resin and dye comprising the difference. This ultimately means it is not as heat resistant as granite countertops. The resin of quartz countertops can scorch or discolor when it is exposed to extreme or prolonged heat. UV rays can cause the epoxy in the stone to discolor when in disproportionately sunny areas.
The resin does provide some advantages for the quartz countertop, however. It allows the quartz to be less brittle than other materials, as well as enables it to be used in situations that require flexural strength. Quartz is non-porous, due to the resin. While this increases its stain resistance, it does not make it completely impervious to staining. You should ensure that you take care with colorful or acidic foods. Spills should be wiped away quickly to minimize damage and staining. Chips in the material may prevent a consistent aesthetic throughout the depth of the slab. These countertops are often consistent in size and style, because they are engineered. However, it can still be beneficial to select the material in person.
These are a few countertop materials that you should know about. Granite countertops can be an incredibly beneficial choice for your home. To learn more about countertop materials and how to make the best decision for your property, contact us at Out of the Woods Custom Cabinetry today!