matte vs glossy countertops

harleysbudJanuary 26, 2012

I've had formica or matte finished countertops in my past kitchens. While granite is lovely I am not a huge fan, so I'm looking at Eternia (a quartz product) or corian in a minky-brown shade. For budget reasons, I'm not looking at Silestone, Caesarstone etc.

Because it's a flat color opposed to specks of stone, I'm worried about the constant upkeep in a glossy finish.

I can't get the glossy Eternia honed so my next choice that carries the color I want is a matte finished Corian..which my KD has told me looks "cheap and plastic looking". That statement annoyed me to no end.

So to those of you that have a glossy "one color" countertop, how high maintenance is it? I'm a lazy neat freak and use my kitchen alot, so the thought of seeing fingerprints etc & having to windex it constantly isn't thrilling.

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I have had matte laminates in both of my homes. I just replaced my laminate with polished AB granite! (GASP!!)LOL!
I have not found fingerprints to be a problem unless you take your hands and try to leave them! I haven't found dust to be a problem either. I simply wipe them down with a wet cloth, then I follow with a microfiber cloth. That is the only additional thing that I do, and I do it simply because the counters look great when I do it. I enjoy it. I haven't found my polished AB to be as worrisome as some of the warnings that I have read. I love it!
I will add though that my island is not AB, I have a green granite on my island. I do the majority of my prep work on my island. Maybe if I had AB on all of my counter space, I might feel differently??? Not sure.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 12:37PM
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I don't think the gloss level is as much an issue from what you describe your concerns are as much as the one tone color. I would not even look at a solid monochromatic color, which doesn't mean you have to get the most multi-colored pattern. The big adavantage of laminates is that they can create any pattern-find a pattern, meaning specks/nuggets/elements with varying shades and the gloss level will be a back seat issue.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 12:48PM
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Great point herbflavor. I am going for a clean, contemporary look and the solid color seems to work best tho. Eternia does have a little bit of speck to it, although not enough to make a difference. Not sure about laminates..I don't know about resale value in my area. Although if I can achieve the look I want? Argggh.

I'm a chef and at home tend to saute more than use my oven. The Eternia/Corian will go around the perimeter of the kitchen with the island being butcher block. So most of my greasy mess will be around the cooktop area ie high gloss.

Thanks for your input mom2....I've worked in clients homes with AB high gloss and thought "how do they live like this?" One swipe of soapy water to clean; another with clear water to get off soapy streaks; then another swipe with windex to bring back the gloss. So apparently the microfiber cloth removes a step? I think your having your island something different also makes a big difference.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 1:31PM
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When we replaced our laminate countertop my wife was concerned about breaking glass things if dropped on granite or even the synthetics. Then I found the 180fx laminates by formica. They seemed just as beautiful as the real thing so we picked a pattern and went with it. We are elderly and the sales person at our local flooring and tile store said that we had chosen wisely. Not only did we save thousands in inital cost, but they are maintenence wonders. Ours has only one fault, you just can't see stuff spilled on it, so it is harder to be sure you are clean, ha, ha. Ours is Golden Mascarello. She wanted an undermount sink, so for that cabinet we used a quartz Cambria in a matching color to the backgroung color of the Formica.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 2:20PM
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We have glossy granite tile in the kitchen and slab granite in the master bath (previous owners put all this in).
I do not like the gloss. It isn't as bad in the bathroom, but the position of the windows, the blinding sunlight and the reflection = nightmare in the summer days (we are looking into solar shades for the kitchen so not sure how much that will help). Having said that, I have always leaned towards the suede, matte, non glossy surfaces.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 2:56PM
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I have a glossy Cambria countertop. The kitchen is a small U-shaped layout with windows on 3 sides and few uppers so I get daylight on them, well all day and the daylight is unforgiving. It is a patterned countertop so dirt and messes are hidden but dust/flour and streaking/mottling from wiping the counters show up. A lot. Fingerprints are not an issue, however.

I keep a 16" squeegee under the sink. Everytime I wipe down an expanse of counter I run the squeegee over it and finish with a swipe of micro cloth over any puddled water. It's much easier to do than it sounds but if I didn't do the squeegee I would either have to do a lot of micro cloth wiping or use a granite polish to keep the shine up. I have a piece of countertop across from a window so it doesn't get direct light and streaks and dust showing are not a problem.

Can you get a larger size sample of the countertop you are considering and look at it in your house with your lighting situation? Also can you get a sample of Corian to see how it looks inside too? There's pros and cons to all countertop material so I wouldn't let your KD influency you too much. Everyone I know with Corian loves it.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 3:04PM
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My dark gray shiny quartz counters just went in. Like 20 minutes ago. They look much better than I feared (last-minute second guessing). I'd imagined reflections from lights, but had completely not taken into account the light and reflection coming in the large window on one wall. It's not bad (in my book, light is never bad), but it was a total surprise.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 3:23PM
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My current kitchen has solid white Corian counters. Gotta say I really dislike it. Looks dirty all the time as it shows every single crummb and streak. The only time it looks good is right after I've cleaned with 409. Anything else streaks. I'd always heard it was easy to remove stains from Corian. I haven't found that to be the case. I've got lots of stains in my Corian and I long ago gave up trying to get rid of them. My new kitchen is going to have a leather granite.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 4:43PM
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I like matte better for an older house (more period appropriate) and I might also like it better for a modern house just cause it's more simple and these days that's the look (simple and less flashy) however I think glossy can be beautiful, and is perhaps more appropriate in a modern house. And if you don't feel restricted to "period appropriateness" then go with what makes your heart sing a little song! :)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 4:59PM
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I agree with herbflavor, too. A multicolored glossy granite with show nothing, not even crumbs but a less varied tone with streak. At our old beach house we had a black kind of granite, maybe it's called blue pearl, not sure; it had lots of flecks and stuff in it but it was mostly dark and I hated it. I am in the habit of simply cleaning my counters with a soapy dishcloth but these had to be dried afterward or they streaked and hazed. Too much work for me. (We never had a problem with dust or fingerprints though).

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 5:57PM
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We did Jet Mist granite with a "Leathered" finish, could not be happier. It is beautiful, doesn't show fingerprints and easy to care for.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 6:05PM
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I'll check out the 180fx laminates. I know that there are some incredible looking laminates out now..I just don't want anything that approximates granite as that's just what I tore out!

skydog...that's my concern as well. I have a 7' window over my sink. My kitchen is "L" shaped with an lots of light on my perimeter counters. Like I said I'm a lazy neat freak which is why I've always preferred the matte look :)

linelle..are you saying that you like the look, but the light/reflection is an issue because it shows dirt/dust/whatever???

I am looking at a dark taupe...I'd love the name of your quartz?

Poohpup..I'm surprised that you don't like your parents have had Corian for 30+ years and while my mom cracked (heat issue maybe?) it at 5 years out (my dad replaced the damaged piece with an inlaid butcher block cutting board)they love their countertop and say it's really user friendly..very little upkeep. My mom cooks alot and she has no stains on her streaky white design. Leather granite sounds very cool BTW.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 8:15PM
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harleysbud, the light/reflection isn't an issue. Of course, they're only a few hours old and there's nothing much else in the kitchen. I don't think dust or dirt or smudges will be a problem due to 1) their color and non-mirror finish, and 2) I'm fairly anal about keeping my counters clean and crumb-free.

What I meant was I wasn't used to a horizontal surface that reflects light, so everything looks a little different to me. And suddenly the under-cabinet lights that I can't see head-on are visible by their reflection. Not bad, just not expected.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 9:08PM
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If you hate granite, then chances are that you will also hate 180fx. It is made from 9 ft. photos of granite slabs with no pattern repeats in that area.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 9:09PM
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harleysbud, My Corian would be a lot better if it wasn't stark white. It shows EVERYTHING and never looks cleans unless it has just been cleaned with 409. I find it to stain very easily. True I can sand out most of the stains and I have sanded out some of them, but it stains so easily that I've pretty much given up. It does have one huge stain that I'd have to have done professionally. True that I'm replacing it so I'm not motivated to keep it up. Also don't like that it can't handle heat.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 9:50PM
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We are going to get glossy in our perimeter countertops - either Antique Brown or Silestone's Ebony Pearl - because in a matte/honed version, the colors brown and black don't really appear as such. They appear a much lighter gray. FWIW.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 10:48PM
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I found a new Corian line called Metallix. I'm going to look at the Bronzite color and finish tomorrow.

Thanks so much for all your input. It's probably the most challenging decision I'll make in this kitchen reno.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 11:48PM
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Harleysbud, just make sure you try to scratch a sample and see how it looks. The darker Corians show white when scratched.

We have Swanstone which like Corian is matte, but in a beige granite-look. Our kitchen gets strong daylight from sunrise to sunset and even just a chrome faucet was unpleasant in summer!

One thing I really like about Corian/Swanstone type materials is the lack of visible seams. I have a U-shaped kitchen with two big corner seams, and they are completely invisible. Several GCs who hate the 'plastic stuff' even stuck their noses down to the surface to try to see the seams, and couldn't find them.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 2:48PM
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