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Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

Posted by dcward89 (My Page) on
Fri, Jan 3, 14 at 13:46

So I finally got a quote for soapstone for our kitchen remodel and it is over my budget by 50% (budget for countertops is $4,000, this quote was $6,000) so not even a possibility of stretching it a little. Now I'm wondering what else I should consider.

I really don't want granite...I am somewhat clumsy by nature and can honestly see me breaking every dish, glass and piece of stoneware I have by dropping it on the counter! My husband doesn't like the hardness of granite and doesn't want quartz either. He really likes Corian. I thought he was crazy and that it is a very dated, 80's look but I was looking at their website today and they have some really nice looking patterns.

So I'm wondering if anyone has used any of the newer Corian colors/patterns and what you think of them. Pics? Any pros or cons you can give me for Corian? Also any other surfaces we should consider?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

The newer Corians with pattern are almost as expensive as soapstone. In my area, $80-$85sf. I don't know how many square feet your kitchen may have, (Average is around 55) but 6K wouldn't be out of line for any counter material for a larger than average upscale kitchen (70 sf or so) with upgraded edges and several cutouts. If you have a smaller kitchen, then yes, 6K would be kinda pricy for 40 square feet of anything. But 4K is on the low side for an allowance by the time you add in all of the extras that you need for a counter. You'd want to be a group B or under granite here to meet that number with an average sized kitchen.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

I found corian expensive in my area, we ended up with butcher block from IKEA.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

We have Rain Cloud. It was in their most expensive category, but works for our look and red wine spills. Here's a photo.

 photo image_zps91e0391c.jpg

Edit: added photo

This post was edited by 1929Spanish on Fri, Jan 3, 14 at 16:11


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

A forum member in Texas used Ikea butcher block to produce a pretty good soapstone or honed black granite surrogate. She used india ink on the butcher block, then sealed it with Waterlox. It looks great.

I am not handy but I adapted that approach for counters in a kitchen I redid in a rental property. I was afraid the light oiling that comes with the butcher block might interfere with the water-based india ink, so we sanded the surface lightly, then routed the edges so that they were slightly rounded before applying the ink. I had reservations about Waterlox fumes, so I finished ours with pure tung oil thinned with a foodsafe citrus thinner, both from the Real Milk Paint Company.

I had figured that tenants would be hard on this surface and I would have to do some spot sanding/re-inking/re-oiling. I may yet have to do that when the current tenants leave, but as nearly as I can tell, after two years the counters are holding up great.

Here is a link that might be useful: Brickmanhouse's amazing kitchen


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

dcward89:

Dated, schmated.

Solid surface remains the most sanitary, repairable, and hard working surface in a kitchen with nearly unlimited design potential. Let's see the stoners do a cove backsplash cost effectively or seamlessly undermount a sink in stainless steel.

Livingstone brand solid surface is Corian, but without the brand name. Maybe you can find a fabricator who'll pass the material savings on to you.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

T, I understand why you might not be able to do a cove backsplash (not sure why you'd want to do one, but that's a different matter), but what's the problem with seamlessly undermounting a ss sink in stone?


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

BTW, I think Corian is awesome especially in the new colors and patterns. I couldn't convince my DH though.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

  • Posted by raee zone 5 OH (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 3, 14 at 17:07

I loved some of the new Corian patterns, especially Sea Salt, Burled Beach and RainCloud, and I like the feel of it, but as mentioned above, it was more expensive than the granites and even the quartz that I liked. The other downside, to me, was that we have it at work (solid white) and it does show many fine scratches after some 5 years even though these desks are generally only having clipboards, papers, phones,etc on them (but 24/7 usage). I suppose that in a home it might be maintained better--buffed out periodically to remove those scratches if they occur.

Did you get your soapstone quote locally, or from someone like M.Texiera online?

This post was edited by raee on Fri, Jan 3, 14 at 17:09


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

What about laminate?


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

I found soapstone to be a mid to mid-high priced choice in material. If granite and quartz are out, you could also try the the new laminate or even check out the compressed paper products. (I am ruling out porcelain sheets as too expensive). Paperstone allegedly can be DIY but like Corian is not heat resistent. Price-wise, I don't know how it stacks up.

Material-wise, some Carrara marbles are also less expensive (I found) than soapstone. But it depends on how much you are paying for the soapstone.

You could also mix the soapstone with some butcherblock (or other lower cost material). Say, do a sink run in one and the island in another. Look at the edge details and cutouts that might be driving up the cost in one area and put the soapstone in the other areas.

I did find some prefab soapstone in my search, btw, at a much lower cost overall than buying full slabs. M Texeira even sells a DIY kit over the internet, based on prefab sections.

I did not like my Corian in an older home (disclaimer).

Here is a link that might be useful: DIY Soapstone at OldHouse


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

Have you looked at concrete? I would not even consider this option unless you had someone that really knew what he was doing. Also some of the different (less shiney) surface of black granite look great as well.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

Thank you all so much for your input. We have approximately 60sf of countertops and the quote was from someone local. I am waiting for a quote from another local place but I'm not holding out much hope. I live a little west of Cleveland, OH and apparently it is not so popular in our area as I have only been able to find these two suppliers. My heart is still set on soapstone so I have some more research to do before I change my mind but if all the estimates are as high as the first one then I will have to choose something else.

I appreciate all the positive and negative comments about Corian and all the knowledge available on this forum...you guys rock!!!


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

Keep in mind, that you would break anything that you dropped on soapstone that you would drop on granite.
Soapstone is Softer, but it is not more Resilient.

One of my client's did Absolute Black or Virginia Mist honed granite and it was much cheaper than soapstone locally.

And personally I love coved corners at the back of counters and if I could convince anyone to use Corian, I would want a cove fabricated at the back edge, even if it was only for a piece an inch tall for the rest of the backsplash to sit on. Completely cleansable, no grout line at the back edge.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

A coved backsplash turns a 6K Corian counter into an 8K Corian counter. It's $50 a foot. And not worth it, IMHO. There's nothing wrong or unhygienic about a bead of properly applied caulk between a counter and backsplash. If I preferred to not deal with that, then I'd do stainless and just have the integral back edge turned up.

4K IS a little low for 60 square feet of counter. That's $60 a square foot territory, and maybe an undermount sink install as the only add on. Doesn't include the sink, or anything but an eased edge, and no other cutouts (like a cooktop or prep sink). 5-6K would be more average for any material, and 6-8K would be about average for soapstone here. It's not common here, and choices are limited. Thus, it's a higher priced choice because of the transportation into the area and the learning curve for the fabricators is built in.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

I like my PaperStone a lot (perimeter counter):

 photo IMG_3397_zps51f2e6ad.jpg

It doesn't look like soapstone to me, but it fools a lot of people.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

So I just went and looked at Corian and brought home samples...you know, just in case the soapstone doesn't work out...and, well, I think I'm in love!! I brought home samples of Witch Hazel, Rain Cloud and Burled Beach. I have my samples of the floor, cabinet door and the Corian set up in a tiny, little mini-kitchen and I have to be honest...I love it...especially the Witch Hazel. It's definitely a different look than the soapstone would be, lighter, brighter...but I really like it. This may make me change my mind about the soapstone all together. It priced out at $4,200 installed for 60 sq ft so right in my budget too.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

If you went to Home Depot, you should know that they regularly put their counter materials on sale -- either 10% off, or a 1 level price drop (ie level D Corian for level C price). If they don't have a special now, it might be worth it to wait because they will in a week or three.

Burled Beach is an interesting color-- I saw a display of it at Lowes paired with green cabinets, and that really brought out the green tones. But, at home, with my cabinet paint, the warm beige seemed more prominent.

West of Cleveland -- are there any The Anderson's General Stores near you? They also handle Corian and had some good specials last time I checked.

Do check out M. Texiera if you still want soapstone -- there have been several folks on GW that have had very good experience with ordering from them. I would have, if I could have arranged someone to set it for me. I didn't have any lifting help.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

sjhockeyfan:

A cove backsplash has no 90* corner in which crud can hide; even the best caulk jobs need maintainance, coved solid surface backsplashes do not.

I'm linking to the Karran Edge sink series which shows a seamless installation in a plastic laminate and solid surface top. They recommend a lipped edge if the sink in mounted in stone or estone.

It won't be the first time and I doubt it will be the last, but Karran is wrong when they say the sink can't be mounted to solid surface tops with an existing cut-out. Not only have I done it, I wrote an article about it. But then fabricators invented inconspicuous seams in solid surface and thermoforming, not manufacturers.

A skilled stone fabricator could flush seam an Edge sink, but he's gonna hafta charge ya for it. You actually bite into the stainless a bit and have to refinish the stainless to match which isn't that difficult.

Here is a link that might be useful: Karran


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

Archie123:

This is a picture of a concrete countertop at a bar in the Atlanta airport. Yea, the imbedded wine glass looks cool, but see how clean the first third is? The middle is filthy with contamination. I can't imagine concrete has an NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) approval which of course all solid surface, estone, and some granites have. How the architect got this past the Health Department is beyond me. The rust stains are barely visible at the back; removing those are a crap shoot. Solid surface laughs at rust.

There are plenty of solid surfaces that look like concrete with none of the downsides and all of the performance of solid surface. I'll even inbed a "wine glass".

This post was edited by Trebruchet on Sat, Jan 4, 14 at 14:19


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

"A coved backsplash turns a 6K Corian counter into an 8K Corian counter. It's $50 a foot. And not worth it, IMHO."

I've sold hundreds of feet of cove backsplash over the last twenty years and I've yet to hear a single client say "Dang Treb, I sure wish you hadn't talked me into that." It has never happened.

Here's a little secret solid surface fabricators probably don't want you to know. Fabricating coved backsplash is as close to printing money as he's going to get. It takes little extra time and material to do but is incredibly profitable even at $40.00 a foot which is what Home Depot charges the last time I checked.

My point is your fabricator has lots of room for negotiation on this one. Use it to your advantage and like everyone else for the last twenty years, you won't be sorry.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

"...but like Corian is not heat resistant."

It is time to respectfully put this myth to bed.

Every single major countertop manufacturer recommends the use of trivets on countertops. Plastic laminate, solid surface, Paperstone, estone, and yes - granite - through their trade association, the Marble Institute of America.

When all countertops have to use trivets to protect from heat, that makes them all functionally the same.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

When researching countertops I took samples of laminate (different brands) and different granites. Along with stain and knife gouging tests I also did heat tests. I got water boiling and put the pot on each material. Nothing burned cracked or was damaged in any way.

We ended up with granite because even with my test results I thought there was the least chance of a burned countertop with granite. There were other reasons too.

I did not test corian. I encourage everyone to test any type of counter they are considering with the type of abuse that it would encounter in your house.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

One more note regarding our Rain Cloud. We got it in a honed finish. I like it much more than the polished surface I saw. I think it shows less "patina".


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

HI I'm just west of Cleveland too. I considered soapstone, but it was more expensive (and ended up not being what I wanted anyway) than some of the other options. I went with quartz and am very happy. I worked with sarah at Bradley Stone (on the east side).


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

We were considering solid surface. The coved backsplash was a huge draw, but insanely expensive! Even without a coved backsplash the only price friendly options were colors/ patterns that reminded me of public bathrooms. I absolutely love the feel of solid surface, and love some of the corian patterns (sea salt, sandalwood, and witch hazel) and sort of wish we had gotten one regardless of price. However, we ended up upping our countertop budget by about a thousand dollars to go from public bathroom solid surface to a lovely quarts (60sf for us too). If you really love soapstone I would stretch the budget too fit it. This is something you are going to live with a long time. And corian will likely be just as expensive. Formica is the most budget friendly, followed by granite, solid surface and quartz are pretty close. Good luck!


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

I was in the HD recently and saw some of the new Corians installed. They are interesting with some pretty color combinations and organic patterns. I don't care for the coved backsplashes at all in any material, as they have a commercial look and feel, imo. But what I did notice was the scratches on the counter, not deep ones but the color also didn't go all the way through. For that kind of money, I would want a natural stone and the natural patina that goes along with it, not a commercial looking product that gets all scuffed up.

I would consider the soapstone laminate though, if I could see a real life installation first. Someone else here went over budget so did that instead and is quite happy with it. They did a custom thickness so it would emulate the natural product better. Beautiful kitchen.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

I am leaning towards quartz, but have seen some very nice laminates. One major problem with laminates for me is it is almost impossible to have an undermount sink. But the patterns were great and the price is so good. I also love soapstone, but agree it is expensive. I used to like corian, but recently I have seen a few older corian counters and I wasn't impressed with the etching and general poor appearance around the sinks. I am not an authority on it though.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

I recommend against corian. initially the seams are invisible, but they age differently than the rest of the slab and will show and look horrid. it is make of acrylic, it scratches easily.

the reason that solid surfaces are considered "hygenic" is because it is a manufactured product that is standardized and can be tested.

stone is natural and is just as hygenic as the manufactured acrylic and "quartz" products. Note that "quartz" products are mostly made of epoxy resins, not quartz. The leed certified "green" countertops are all made with epoxy resins embedded with some recycled products - glass, paper, wood, etc. Please remind me what is "green" about stinky epoxy resins that you cannot even use indoors because they are so volatile.

with that, I have always used natural stone. different types of stone, but always real stone.

see if you can find some used soapstone or some remnants, call around. A few people here did DIY and saved quite a bit of money.

Another really inexpensive alternative is black pearl honed or leathered. this is in the group of the most durable stones and is not actually considered granite. it has a very nice look, is very easy to find, and I have spilled bleach on mine with no lasting issues. I have it on a vanity and wish I chose it for the kitchen too.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

"But what I did notice was the scratches on the counter, not deep ones but the color also didn't go all the way through."

snookums2:

The color in solid surface must go all the way through in order for the material to meet the definition of solid surface. If solid surface gets a deep scratch, the ATH filler will show as white until the scratch is removed. Sometimes solid surface will "bruise" or show a whiteish mark when struck. Depending on the depth of the "bruise" these marks can be sanded out. Deep ones can be insert repaired to nearly invisible.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

"One major problem with laminates for me is it is almost impossible to have an undermount sink."

renov8r:

Please click on my link to Karran above. Their sinks are designed to be easily undermounted in plastic laminate.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

"I recommend against corian. initially the seams are invisible, but they age differently than the rest of the slab and will show and look horrid. it is make of acrylic, it scratches easily."

dertoit burb:

The best adhesive for solid surface, granite, and estone is methelmethacrylate. It is not subject to ultraviolet light degradation as is polyester which some old school stoners tint and still use to make seams.

Chad from the Glue and Sink Warehouse has told me that the catalyst in white adhesive can cause slight yellowing, so I cut back on the catalyst. It takes a bit longer for the glue to set up, but the tradeoff in color match is worth it.

Properly done solid surface seams do not change color, even in sunlight.

Solid surface does scratch easily, but the scratches are easy to remove, even by a homeowner. It's not a matter of if you will you will scratch your stone or estone, it's a matter of when. When you do, you will live with it or pay someone well to refinish.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

"Stone is natural and just as hygienic as the manufactured acrylic and "quartz" products."

I am unaware of any architects specifying granite or estone for wall covering in surgical rooms in hospitals. Hundreds have specified solid surface.

"Note that most quartz products are made mostly of epoxy resins, not quartz."

I'm no mathematician, but I'm fairly sure 93% is much larger than 7% which are the respective percentages of quartz to resin in estone. I've provided a link.

"Please remind me what is "green" about stinky epoxy resins that you cannot even use indoors because they are so volatile."

I will remind you that virtually all "natural" granite installed as countertops is treated with resin at the factory. Granite as we know it could not perform as it does without plastic.

Here is a link that might be useful: Percentages


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

If anyone has seen a quarry, particularly an abandoned quarry, they would realize that there isn't too much "green" about many natural products, either.

There is environmental impact caused by virtually any product.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

"The leed certified "green" countertops are all made with epoxy resins embedded with some recycled products - glass, paper, wood, etc. Please remind me what is "green" about stinky epoxy resins that you cannot even use indoors because they are so volatile. "


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

Trebuchet...are there any issues I should be aware of related to under mounting a 36" stainless single bowl apron front sink in Corian? I have already purchased the sink and it's not a Karran as you had linked to. I guess first is it possible and then if so, anything I should be aware of to request from the fabricator or any questions I should ask to feel confident they know what they are doing?

This post was edited by dcward89 on Sun, Jan 5, 14 at 13:44


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

There is no perfect counter. All have their positives and negatives. You have to find the product that---for you---the positives outweigh the negatives.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

if you love soapstone then figure out how to afford it - don't settle for Corian! By the way, I have yet to break anything on my granite countertops and I've had them for over 11 years and have occasionally dropped glasses on them.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

Didn't someone get black countertops (soapstone or marble) from a chemistry lab in a school? Was that Mama Goose? Seems someone got a great deal on the price, did a lot of work refinishing them and ended up with beautiful, durable counter tops :)


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

dcward89:

Simply ask how they are affixing the sink into the cabinet and attaching the sink to counter. This should all be done mechanically, but there are many acceptable methods. Silicone is for sealing only, not attachment, except for tops to cabinets where mechanical fastening isn't permitted.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

Thank you Trebuchet for all the technical information about Corian and everyone else who has contributed. I would still really love to have soapstone and haven't given it up completely but I think I can be just as in love with the Corian Witch Hazel if it doesn't work out. We'll see and I'll post again to let everyone know what I decide.


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RE: Soapstone too expensive...now what? Corian?

I too am looking for new countertops and I like the new Corian designs; I think some of them are beautiful. And I like solid surface material for many other reasons.

All countertops, including "natural" stone countertops, go through some kind of treatment and fabrication process as others have noted here. And the quarrying process is hardly natural.

We all know that quartz countertops are marketed as containing 93% quartz, but I've heard that this percentage is by weight, not volume. (Quartz weighs more than resin). However, when most people ask, HOW MUCH quartz (or whatever material) does that product contain? they are usually asking a question about VOLUME, QUANTITY or AMOUNT, not weight. Solid surface material, depending on the design, can contain approximately the same quantity/amount of natural material (often bauxite ore) as quartz countertops.

Sometimes I get tired of people calling solid surface "plastic" when quartz and other materials can be just as "plastic." Yes, granite, marble, and other natural stones don't contain plastic but is the quarried, fabricated product purely natural or purely green? And, let's not forget that the more natural stone there is, the more likely the product is to contain radon (a natural by-product) - yes, it's true that most stone countertops are within VERY safe limits, some even approaching zero. But, although this issue is no longer in the forefront, the radon didn't disappear from these products. The amount depends on many factors including the geological region the product came from. But this alone wouldn't keep me from installing granite countertops if I liked them because I think most are safe.

For my taste, most granite designs look too busy indoors, but I'm sure they are gorgeous in nature where they are unpolished and surrounded by dirt/the earth. But, ultimately, no countertop material is "pure" or "purely green." I think there are trade-offs with each type of material as far as its "greeness," its design features, and its functionality go. So, go with what you like! I hope you enjoy your new countertop whatever you choose!

Sorry for the long post.


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