Hi macs or other solid surfaces? Tell me about it.

chrissyb2411April 19, 2013

Hi all. We are in the process of a full remodel of a home we just bought. I have a kitchen design worked out, and I'm leaning towards solid surface countertops. We considered quartz, but it really would push the budget. Granite would work fine budget wise, but i really don't love the feel of granite. I'm looking for something a little softer and warmer feeling. I searched and didn't find any posts about some of the more budget friendly solid surface materials, specifically lg hi macs.
I am wondering about anyone's experience with hi macs. I know it can have a tendency to scratch easier, and needs to be protected from heat etc. I have had laminate countertops for the last 9 years and they look new still. No scratches or burns, so I'm not too worried.

If it helps, we are going with a full overlay shaker style door in a light to medium stain. Probably from kraftmaid.

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Sophie Wheeler

Plastic isn't popular much anymore, because it's, well, plastic, and natural materials of whatever variety are more popular at the moment. Most people would rather have laminate even than solid surface. I don't find it objectionable, but I don't find it attractive either. The sinks are downright horrid though.

You do see some interest in the upper end products like the Corian Private Label stuff with movement, but that isn't budget friendly. Most budget kitchens who don't choose laminate end up going granite because of the mass appeal and it's cheaper, shinier, and has a better "name" than any solid surface. Solid surface's realm of rule remains commercial bathroom installations.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 12:03AM
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The lighter colors are more user friendly as far as not showing and being able to scuff out scratches. That's what you see in commercial establishments. The dark colors are more beautiful and have more of a stone like look with the soft feel you like, however they show every little scratch and swirl mark.
IMO Formica wears a little better and the color and pattern choices these days are amazing.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 7:23AM
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How about soapstone? It has a softer, warmer feeling than granite, and it won't burn. Not sure if it fits your budget, or if you are okay with some scratches.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 12:08PM
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Sophie Wheeler

"Soapstone" and "budget" don't belong in the same sentence. Unless the word "buster" is also used.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 12:14PM
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Ha ha. Soapstone is a no budget wise and durability wise.

I went to HD again today to feel up the countertops. :) There was a dark colored corian and it was a mess. I ran a jagged fingernail across it and it scratched horribly. Maybe not solid surface. The Lowes quote I had done was with an entry level hg quartz product. At $53 a square foot plus a free sink, plus added sink cutting fees I can just squeeze it in. Though i dont know if lowes prices include install? everywhere else i have looked it is. My countertop and cabinet budget is $10,000 for a kitchen that is roughly 22 linear feet in an L shape plus a 36"x60" island. So budget is fairly tight.

Sorry I'm babbling a bit. DH keeps up a yes dear attitude so he's not much of a sounding board lol.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 5:09PM
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Or the term "DIY."

(I put mine in for about $20/sq. ft. about $40/sq. ft.)

Edited to correct the price. Explanation in a later post.

This post was edited by Angie_DIY on Sat, Apr 20, 13 at 23:05

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 6:12PM
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Please don't make me *hate* you! :-)

I don't ever want to mention to anyone how much I paid for mine as it would be something unheard of on this forum. (ETA: it was a total "buster") But the circumstances were sort of unusual and I couldn't bring myself to regret that decision. Till I saw your post, that is. LOL.

This post was edited by eleena on Sat, Apr 20, 13 at 18:54

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 6:53PM
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I am sorry, I seem to have been optimistic in my earlier report on the price. Let me explain.

I paid $15/sq. ft for the raw materials. (This was a 50% off sale from M. Teixeira's usual price of $30.) Shipping added another $10/sq. ft. to the price of the raw materials, so that comes to about $25/sq. ft.

However, that is for the raw slabs. Obviously, I had to buy more square footage than my actual countertop area. After factoring in the reduced area, my price was about $36/sq. ft. of installed countertop.

Finally, there was labor. I did almost all of the fabrication myself, but there is no way I could possibly carry the slabs to install them. I "hired" some friends and their young son to help carry them to the fabrication spot for the cost of a nice dinner. I also had to pay some other young'uns to carry the slabs into the kitchen after fabrication. So these labor costs bumped my total costs up to just over $40/sq. ft.

I apologize for misleading with my selective memory!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 11:16PM
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Lowes' price does include installation, but as you mention, some parts of the installation run extra (undermount sink, any edge other than pencil, for examples). At least for my Lowes. I wish mine had LG quartz at $53 sf! Here it is priced a bit higher!

On Homedepot.com, they have a pricing tool for countertops-- it shows the materials (with price) that they carry, so you enter in your measurements, choose your material, choose your installation options, and they give you the estimated price. Really helped me figure out my options!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 11:36PM
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Thanks raee! I think I'm more confused than when I started, sigh.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 9:51AM
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$10,000 is tight for cabinets plus counters. Have you looked at Ikea as well as Lowe's? When every penny counts, it's seems to be a good idea to consider them. They're having a sale at the moment, but it ends next weekend, so that timeline is probably too tight.

Have you considered doing another laminate counter? I know it's all the thing to do stone counter tops of one sort or another, but laminates have come a long way and are a viable alternative. As you said, your old ones are still looking good after 10 years. My old ones were looking good after 40 years - hard to beat.

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread on Ikea sale

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 10:22AM
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We have Corian that we love. It is lighter colored, with a pattern and does not show any scratches. Very easy maintenance and love the integrated sink - so easy to clean! I have always used a hot pad or trivet for pots, so heat resistance is not an issue.

When we bought the house, it had dark green formica that was horribly scratched and buckled behind the sink. With 3 boys in the house, I wanted durable and easy care. The kitchen designer at Lowe's suggested Corian as the most bullet proof, and we are still happy with it 12 years later.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 11:00AM
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