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countertop durability: quartz, granite, laminate, corian

Posted by aimskitchen (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 1, 12 at 13:59

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.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: countertop durability: quartz, granite, laminate, corian

Noramally I don't quote Consumer Reports because I think they are wrong as often as they are right. But on countertops I think they are right on. Quartz is tops for durability with granite slightly behind. And the rest significantly behind.

On GW kitchens it seems to be when then there is a problem with quartz a bad batch is not blamed but quartz in general or at minimum that particular quartz company.

When there is a problem with granite a bad install is blamed or a problem with that particular piece of rock. Hmmmm?

Corian will definetly get scratched over time but can be refinished.But that is money and hastle. And it still looks plasticky to me,especially if I wanted a matte finish.

You have experience with laminate and todays stuff is much better than the old stuff.Still I would never get it. Seems and durabilty not as good as either quartz or granite.

Good luck!


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RE: countertop durability: quartz, granite, laminate, corian

If the counter run is less than 12' or doesn't contain any bumpouts or non 90� corners, laminate won't need a seam. You can use postformed that wraps the edge and goes under it in a bullnose look. Yeah, if you have a 90� corner, it will be a seam, but as long as that isn't close to the sink, or you seal it before it's joined together, there shouldn't be any problem with moisture infiltration of seams.


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RE: countertop durability: quartz, granite, laminate, corian

Interesting thoughts on how problems with quartz and granite are perceived, thanks - and I hadn't seen Consumer Reports' take on it, that's good to hear. Hollysprings, I do have a 90 degree corner, with the sink very close by, which is why I'm having trouble thinking of where a seam could go if I did laminate. Thanks for the input. Looking forward to hearing more experiences and thoughts.


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RE: countertop durability: quartz, granite, laminate, corian

Interesting thoughts on how problems with quartz and granite are perceived, thanks - and I hadn't seen Consumer Reports' take on it, that's good to hear. Hollysprings, I do have a 90 degree corner, with the sink very close by, which is why I'm having trouble thinking of where a seam could go if I did laminate. Thanks for the input. Looking forward to hearing more experiences and thoughts.


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RE: countertop durability: quartz, granite, laminate, corian

When I was looking, it seemed that this very much depends on what you want. I am so frustrated with my over mount sink having ick at the lip that I nearly went with Corian just to go seamless. It was a huge factor. Ultimately I decided the scratches would eventually bother me, since the scratches in the SS sink bother me a bit.

Quartz vs granite was harder. I'm accustomed to using trivets and cutting boards, so either surface would have suited my needs. But for some reason quartz here is very expensive. They were both in the same ballpark, and I liked the movement in some granites more than the uniform quartz, so granite it is! Just put my deposit down today.


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RE: countertop durability: quartz, granite, laminate, corian

Corian is nearly indestructible. No seams, doesn't chip, can be refinished. Yes it does scratch, but they really don't show if you have one of the pebbly patterns. I have put pots and pans up to 350 degrees on it without any problem. It does stain on occasion, but I can put bleach on it to get the stains out without harming the surface or the color. And Corian is great for rolling out pastry. Just my experience after 20 years.


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RE: countertop durability: quartz, granite, laminate, corian

Noting that we put in granite counters when we reno'd the kitchen, I still have to plug laminate.

Our laminate was installed in 1971 and I'm pretty sure it was never actual Formica. It was white. Not only did we do lots of cooking and baking on it, we also used the peninsula for a myriad of arts and crafts projects. All the little dresses and shorts and quilts were made there. I clamped my wood carving project to the counter and chiseled away right there in the kitchen! After 40 years I had exactly 2 tiny chips in 47 sq. ft. of counter and no stains. A little 409 or whatever and a sponge took everything right out: red paint, cranberry juice, tumeric, anything. Right at the end we had a bit of de-lamination on the vertical piece right next to the stove. We also had a couple of edge chips from DW installation (the floor got higher over the years). On the day we ripped it out it was as pristinely white as it was when we moved in in 1974. Talk about a workhorse!

We did put in granite and I love it, but I would have no problem installing laminate again. In your case because you have an entire tribe of kiddos who might not be as careful as your are, I would give it real consideration. Granite is good, quartz is good, but it's possible that laminate might be best in your case.


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