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October 2014

Day Six Of The Hottest Countertop Finishes, Good Bye Granite

Laminate:  Cost and Fine Appearance
 
Bottom Line: Cheap and installation less labor intense. Acceptable appearance.
 
The laminate countertop is a cousin of laminate flooring: layers of paper treated with resin and pressed together under high heat and pressure. Under this paper-and-resin layer is a base of composite chip wood. The thickest laminate is used for horizontal work surfaces; thinner laminate is used for vertical areas such as backsplashes. IKEA, Wilsonart, and Formica are the big names in laminate countertops.

Day Five Of The Hottest Countertop Finishes, Good Bye Granite

Wood
 
Wood is a solid standby,often contrasting with or overlaid on a stone or synthetic material. Everything from mahogany and ebony to light pine and bamboo may be used, and often paired with matching cabinetry to create a minimalist yet warm look. In some cases, wood was even paired with granite, though that was less common.
 
As shown in the photo, wood is a popular countertop offered by IKEA brand in both light and dark finishes.
 
 

Day Four Of The Hottest Countertop Finishes, Good Bye Granite

Ceramic Tile:  Less Expensive and Lots of Selection
Bottom Line: Less Expensive
 
Ceramic tile: an infinite range of designs are possible. You're limited only by your imagination. It's the only countertop project that could remotely be called a do-it-yourself project. Still, installing ceramic tile on a countertop is not for the faint of heart. This is a highly visible surface and any errors or mistakes will stand out like a sore thumb.  Even cheaper than laminate, ceramic tile is about as cheap as you want to make it based upon your tile choice.

Day Three Of The Hottest Countertop Finishes, Good Bye Granite

Solid Surface:  Comfortably Middle-of-the-Road
 
Solid Surface:  Comfortably Middle-of-the-Road
Bottom Line: Seamless and solid, but never a DIY option.
You know the names:Corian, Avonite, Gibraltar, and Earthstone. Solid surface is all man-made material, top to bottom. Unlike laminate, there are no layers. The surface you see on top is the same surface on bottom. Solid surfaces are not cheap, but they're not as expensive as stainless steel, concrete, or engineered stone. They're a very middle range choice both in terms on price and aesthetic value, and that's why you'll find solid surfaces in so many homes.

Day Three Of The Hottest Countertop Finishes, Good Bye Granite

Engineered Stone/Quartz:  Predictable Stone
 
Bottom Line:  Consistent stone quality, without the stone.
Engineered stone was invented only about 50 years agoby the Italian company Breton, but already it surfaces millions of kitchens worldwide.  It is a conglomerate of 10% binding resins and 90% stone-like materials, such as waste natural stone, glass, mirrors, and silica.  It has the solidity of real stone but the predictability of solid-surface (like Corian).
 
Top Reason You Might Want It

Day Two Of The 6 Hottest Countertop Finishes, Good Bye Granite

Stainless Steel:  Swanky and Professional
Bottom Line: Highly unique--a showstopper--but outrageously expensive.
 
Stainless has come out of professional kitchens and into the home.Sixteen-gauge stainless steelis used in home kitchens, whereas the thicker fourteen- and twelve-gauge steel is found in restaurant kitchens. Because it starts as raw material, it can be formed into practically any shape and dimension you desire.
 
Top Reason You Might Want It
Flair.  Like stone, it's all about appearances.

Day One Of The 6 Hottest Countertop Finishes, Good Bye Granite

Granite has been the go-to material for high-end countertops. But at EuroCucina 2014, from stainless steel to tempered glass, from ceramic to wood... we’ve seen the future of your kitchen, and it’s not granite.
 
 
Tempered Glass...
German design house Leicht showed off a lovely tempered glass countertop in a number of its model kitchens. The thick, translucent material is tough and has a pleasant tactility, while still remaining easy to clean. According to company reps, it’s also available in a huge variety of colors.