countertop durability: quartz, granite, laminate, corian
Way back when I posted asking questions about countertops - light colored, but not superwhite or marble. Thank you to those who contributed pictures and information. We're getting closer to making final decisions for our kitchen remodel, but still have to decide on the countertop material. The cabinets will be shaker inset, birch (honey with a brown glaze), which has sort of a warm, older look that works well with our vintage collections and furniture. We prefer countertops that are not shiny - light colored to gray but not really dark. The kitchen is small and in the center of the house, opening into a large dining room (large by split-level standards, not by GW standards, smile).
While the DR does have a good deal of natural light, the kitchen is smaller and darker, so we're keeping the countertops light. I love the look of marble or SW granite with brushed nickel pulls, but neither is making the cut for durability issues - the kitchen is a little workhorse, where I cook everything from scratch (food issues) and the five kids still at home do a good deal of cooking and clean-up duties as well.
Can anyone speak to the durability of granite and quartz? I have a small sink (21") because that's all we have room for, and there will be a lot of action going on there with heavy stainless pans and the multiple young cooks and cleaners. A friend has many chips around the sink in her granite countertop, and I wonder how the granite and quartz have held up for all of you. I've considered trying to do a top-mount sink with a granite or quartz to avoid this issue, but have been told this isn't desirable. Does anyone use a top mount sink with these materials?
I have to say, one of the real draws of laminate or corian is that chipping is not an issue (and neither is breaking any dish that drops on it). On the other hand, laminate would need a seam, and I'd need to locate it away from the sink, which could put it mid-cabinet run. Ugh. I know from the condition of our current seam, that this is an area where moisture gets in and can end up looking awful. I also cook with a lot of spices - curry, chili powder, etc, and am concerned about staining.
Thanks for any information you can share. You all are a wealth of information and have helped me with this remodel immeasurably just from the many posts I've read.