our old countertops with the fake wood grain look have started to chip/peal and you’re losing friends because of it…….maybe a bit over the top but either way, it is time for a change. You want to replace your countertops but you don’t know where to start. As a homeowner, trying to sift through all of the available products can sometimes be overwhelming and seem like an impossible task. Breaking down the elements can help simplify the process and a few factors should be considered while making the decision including material, durability, color, pattern, and budget.
There are plenty of countertop options. From glass to concrete, soapstone to marble, or even wood and stainless steel can add design interest and a contrasting texture to achieve an amazing look. Keeping things simple, we are going to focus on the four major products that most AZ consumers are looking for: Laminate, Solid Surface, Granite, and Engineered Quartz.
You have Formica (laminate)…..so by process of elimination, you don’t want laminate. Not so fast. Laminate countertop have jumped leaps and bounds within the past 15 years introducing unique textures, variances in colors and patterns, depth, etc. Advantage of laminate countertop include affordability and relativity low maintenance. Drawbacks typically focus on performance including the possibility of scratching, burns, peeling, and joint separation. Plain and simple, the laminate option is going to be a great way to get a new countertop with breaking the bank. Popular manufactures include WilsonArt, Formica, and Pionite.
Solid Surface: $$
Most well know solid surface is Corian…..the ‘Kleenex’ of solid surface. A very popular countertop choice in the 90’s has seen a decline in residential projects over the years. Primarily comprised of polyester and acrylic, the solid surface products offer integrated sinks, seamless corners, and lack maintenance. However, disadvantages include scratches, stains, burns (to the countertops not to the user), and overall has an artificial look. From experiencing solid surface in my Gilbert, AZ residence for the past 10 years, the solid surface countertops offer minimal appeal and would be my least recommended out the of bunch. Well known makers include DuPont Corian, LG Hi-Mac, and Samsung Staron.
Granite: $$ – $$$$
Let’s get ready to rock!…..granite that is. A natural stone can transform a bland kitchen/bath into a thing of beauty with unique characteristics and one of a kind appeal. Each slab of granite is going to vary by size, thickness, depth, color, pattern, veining, movement, etc. Because of this, customer involvement is typically preferred through the slab selection process where viewing the material is recommended (hard hat, a-frame, cranes, etc). You may select an entry level material that keeps budget similar to a solid surface, or you may select a piece from the Jurassic period that you would have to re-mortgage your home….depends on your taste. Since granite is a natural stone, it will have pits/voids/fissures and maintenance is required through the occasional sealer. For the Arizona market, generally speaking, granite will interest most home owners, retain its resale value, and provide above average performance.
Engineered for it durability, quartz countertops is leading the charge with its superior performance. Predominately composed of natural quartz (also combined with resins and magic so I have heard), the quartz offers the look and feel of granite without the maintenance. Throughout the past few years, quartz manufactures have begun to offer a multitude of colors and patterns that are now appealing to those looking for that WOW factor. Although usually starting at a high price point, the benefits of a quartz surface makes it worth the investment. Manufactures include Cambria, Silestone, LG Viatera, Caesarstone, DuPont Zodiac, Hanstone, and many more.
For more information about any of the products discussed above, please visit our showroom location and speak to our trained team members about your questions.