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Kathy in Cambridge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-26-04 01:04 PM
Original message
Some advice about new countertops
I have been doing research about countertop finishes and stone. I was wondering if anyone has opinion about what they like best. I'm looking for the best combination of aesthetics and durability, as I love to cook.

Also, how much can I expect to pay for installation? I have a fairly small kitchen.
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-26-04 01:09 PM
Response to Original message
1. i installed yards and yards of Corian in a new kitchen in 1985
i loved it and from what I hear, it still looks great today

can't help you on installation costs, but that may be a good DIY project depending on what you decide on for a surface
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Kathy in Cambridge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-26-04 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I'm fairly handy, but I think I'll trust the installation to a professiona
l.

I heard good things about Corian, too, and it comes in more colors than 20 years ago. When I've ventured into local stone shops, I always like the most expensive colors. :-(

I'm trying to keep this project under $800.
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-26-04 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Corian you're better with professional installation as if I remember
correctly cutting the stuff is pretty tricky
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-26-04 08:24 PM
Response to Original message
4. i have corian ...
it was installed by a really good carpenter who didn't have any experience working with corian ... he did a pretty good job but not perfect ...

it was installed about 15 years ago and has held up very well ... but i'll tell you, if i had it to do all over again, i think i'd go with granite ... i've seen some really beautiful granite installations ...

not sure if resale value is a consideration, but granite has a "WoW" factor that i don't think corian can match ... just my 2 cents ...
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SW FL Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-04 07:42 PM
Response to Original message
5. I am also looking to replace my counters
We are looking at quartz or corian - most granite tops are too dark for my color scheme. The main advantages of corian is that you can repair it by buffing and you can have a seamless sink. The quartz is harder and more difficult to damage. Even though I am pretty handy, I will have them professionally installed.

The cost of most solid surface countertops generally runs from $40 - $60 sq foot installed. Solid color Corian is the cheapest, patterned Corian, quartz and granite are at the higher end.
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Nite Owl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-30-04 09:00 PM
Response to Original message
6. I redid the counters in granite
about two years ago and I love it. Very easy to clean and always looks just done. I like that you can put hot pots down and not worry about a burn and it really doesn't scratch. We did it 'on the cheap' and used granite tiles, 12x12. It came to about 3k for an average sized kitchen with a peninsula.
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patdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-02-05 10:27 AM
Response to Original message
7. Have you heard of the Concrete Counter Tops?
They can resemble granite, but are MUCH cheaper, and with practice and infomation gained off the internet you can do it yourself! We need to do so much, that that will probably be one of the last things we do, windows first, floors-kitchen & bath next then new cabinets and then the counter top.

Google Concrete Counter tops...you will be amazed!
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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-21-05 08:50 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. I am interested in concrete, too.
The problem with concrete in the kitchen is the epoxy that is used to finish it is not completely heat resistant and can scratch and stain. But it is very interesting, and can be do-it-yourself and therefore budget friendly.

I am going to attempt to cast concrete vanities for my bathrooms, first. If that goes well, I may attempt the kitchen at a later date.
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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-20-05 09:14 PM
Response to Original message
8. Have you considered ceramic tile?
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AlCzervik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-20-05 09:24 PM
Response to Original message
9. i've corian in 2 different houses now and it's held up well but---
i'm sick to death of it, next time i'm getting granite or concrete. Corian is very durable but you need to use a cutting board, my idiot neighbor cuts directly on hers and then wonders why it's gouged. You can sand out blemishes as well.
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-20-05 10:22 PM
Response to Original message
10. So, so, so many choices ........
Adding to the discussion thus far, here's a few more materials to consider.

Here's a detail on how to do a stainless counter on your own. This is very easy to do. The cost is whatever you can bargain with the metal supplier. All you need from him is the metal cut to size and the sink cutout made. You'll use a stainless drop-in sink available anywhere. A custom, built-in sink will probably double the cost of this cheap-o way to get a stainless counter.



Another material that is just wonderful, very unusual, and very durable is Richlite. It was formerly only for commercial cutting boards and work surfaces, but they have recently made it available in colors for home use, too. Personally, I like the old fashioned 'brown paper bag' color. Here's their website. There are three places to explore - architectural applications, home cutting surfaces, and commercial foodservice.

This is a material that any fairly adept home DIY-er can work with. Use ordinary carbide wood saws to cut it. You can also rout the edges if you wish.

http://www.richlite.com /

My (business) partner has concrete in her house and she loves it. Hers were professionally done, but this is something an ambitious homeowner can also do. As said in another reply here, there's a ton of info on the internet about concrete counters.

Consider also wood flooring. Oak is not a good idea because it is water sensitive (it blackens). But maple, birch, and bamboo are excellent choices. Or you can buy slabs of butcher block from companies like John Boos and Sons. Here's their web site. They absolutely sell their tops by the foot in most any size you want.

http://www.johnboos.com /

Someone mentioned granite tiles. This is also an excellent lower cost way to get a high end look. If you take 12x12 tiles and mount them on the diagonal, you will use one tile front to back on a counter with an overhang. A standard tile is 12x12. A counter is actually 2'-1" or even 2'-2", so that means a slice of tile at the back if you lay it in a grid. The diagonal of a 12x12 square is a nearly 1'-5". So you can lay tile with fewer small pieces to fit in. The grout lines can be almost imperceptible.

Another material to think about is linoleum with a metal edge. It will give a real vintage/retro look or an ultra modern funky look. The downside is the metal edge. Ya like or ya don't.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-21-05 12:40 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. Even if I hit Powerball tomorrow, I'd stick with the old standby
laminate countertops. Here's why: they're cheap, easy to clean, easy to replace, and don't offer a hard enough surface to be hard on dishes and glassware, and that's important to an arthritic. If I ever get sick of the color (sort of a granite patterned multicolor green), replacing it is extremely affordable and a one day job by a pro. The major disadvantage is that I can't set hot pots directly onto it, but I've been trained away from doing that by 30 years of living with everything from linoleum to contact paper on plywood for countertops, so it's no big deal to me.

I'm all for kitchen fashions until they get heavy and/or hideously expensive. I'll sit this fascination with real or fake stone out.
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-22-05 10:32 PM
Response to Reply #11
16. Our stainless counters are pretty damned forgiving ...........
The metal is installed over plywood and fastened with a liquid nails-like adhesive. The adhesive was put down in beads about a foot apart. This resulted in voids between the adhesive beads - in essence, the metal is free to flex. And whan a glass or dish has hit it, so far, no breakage. This is also true in restaurants. The stainless actually flexes quite a bit and that allows lots of china to survive the occasional fall.

This is surely not the case with concrete, quartz or granite. That stuff is very hard. In fact, a laminate counter is less forgiving than the metal.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-22-05 10:45 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. Right, that would be the other surface I'd consider
I did live for a few months in a place that had butcher block countertops (the same place that sported the dishwasher I never opened). They were already scorched and scarred when I got there, so I've discarded that particular kitchen fantasy.

Installing several hundred pounds of hideously expensive stone for the pleasure of conforming to a fad while shattering dishes and glassware? No thanks, I'll pass.
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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-21-05 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. What is the approximate cost on the Richlite?
How does it compare to laminate price wise?

They make a hemp counter top!
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-22-05 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Richlite used to be pretty cheap
But nowadays, since they added the colors, it has gone up in price. And now that Home Depot's Home Expo chain carries it, the price may go up further.

For my money, I actually like the two original colors (brown paper bag or charcoal gray) much more than the 'decorator' colors. These original colors are in the commercial restaurant line, not the residential line.

The price is in that same general range as Corian .... and maybe a bit lower. It depens on what you buy. You can get in large sheets (up to 5 x 12 feet, I think) and in thicknesses from 1/8" to 3". One way to use it and save money is to use a thin layer of it glued down on plywood. I wouldn't use anything less than 1/4". The cost to do it this way is probably down to near-laminate territory.
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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-21-05 09:00 AM
Response to Original message
14. It seems like the quartz surfaces are the most durable.
Also somewhat less expensive than granite. If I had the $$$ that is likely what I would choose. For what it is worth, they have some great looking laminates available these days. As someone else pointed out, you can't put hot stuff on it, but the price is right, and it is easy to replace if you get tired of it later.
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SW FL Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-24-05 09:34 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. I put in Silestone counters last summer and I love them
The don't show anything (unlike my former forest green formica). They are very easy to clean and always look great.
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Lugnut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-23-05 01:28 AM
Response to Original message
18. I tiled mine
I had ugly old formica countertops. I wanted to prove to myself, and my doubting husband, that I could tile the countertop and backsplash myself. It takes a little more work to clean with the grout lines but at least I used a dark grout which does make a difference. It was relatively inexpensive which was the best part.


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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-24-05 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. did you tile right over the formica? what about the edges were
they straight of bullnosed?

I'd LOVE to tile over my formica. I've also heard you can peel up the formica from the base and then tile over that.

I saw a "Design on a dime" where they just grouted the whole formica surface. yup just grout..... it ended up looking like a concrete type surface, but you have to wonder how prone it would be to chipping.

i'm in Louisiana so i may not get back to see a reply right away, but Merry Freaking Christmas Lug!! :hug:
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Lugnut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-25-05 01:39 AM
Response to Reply #19
21. Merry Freakin Christmas back atcha AZ
:rofl:

The nice helpful fellows at Lowe's told me I could tile right over the formica. They were right. I just roughed up the surface with my mouse sander and those babies are stuck fast. No bullnose tiles. We used oak countertop edging.

After seeing the great job you did on the carousel horse I think you could easily handle tiling. It's more labor intensive than difficult.
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bleedingheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-29-05 09:09 PM
Response to Original message
22. I recommend laminate...durable, cheap and easily replaced
6 years ago I put in a greenish countertop...with installation and the cost...$700 ..now I am tiring of it and thinking of getting a black countertop (something that looks like granite but not)...and for about the same price I can replace it and change the look of my kitchen....

While granite and stone are nice...they are SOOOOO expensive that you can never afford to grow bored with it unless you are rich.
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