From Quartz to Corian to granite to laminates, there is no lack of materials to choose from when planning your kitchen countertops. And new materials are being developed every day, making your countertop selection a challenging task.
One of the exciting trends in kitchen countertop design is the amazing array of patterns and colors that make even the least expensive materials powerful enough to transform the old and dingy into something new and impressive.
Here is a brief look at the major materials and fabrications that are vying to provide that dazzling new look for your kitchen building or remodeling project.
The beauty and cost of Quartz
Quartz is a most popular choice for kitchen countertops because it combines the best of natural stone with modern manufacturing processes, resulting in a surface that is comparable to and sometimes superior in beauty to granite and marble while offering greater durability.
Quartz countertops are engineered stone surfaces produced from a combination of mineral, color, and resin. They provide the look of stone but require less maintenance. Quartz is scratch-resistant, but not scratch-proof, and should not be used as a cutting board. Edges and corners are susceptible to chipping, so rounded edges are recommended.
The price for quartz countertops can range from $100 to $200 per square foot for materials and professional installation. The range will vary with the grade of quartz used, the complexity of the job (a single slab as opposed to several seems, corner, or wraparounds), and the acumen of the installer.
The professionals at Advanced Trim & Kitchens have extensive experience with quartz and all other forms of kitchen countertops. Contact us for our service details.
The durability of Granite
Granite countertops are tough and durable, 100 percent natural, and mined from quarries around the world. Although there are a few states in the US that have quarries containing granite, most of the granite used for countertops is imported. On the sustainability front, a single quarry site can provide stone for thousands of commercial and residential projects over centuries of time.
Granite is very near complete as a countertop material in its natural state and does not have to go through an engineered or production process requiring chemicals or other additives.
Granite is considered to be a low maintenance countertop surface, with little likelihood of needing to be repaired or resurfaced. Because granite is a natural stone, there are not many solid patterns or bright colors. Rather, your choices are limited to the colors and patterns that mother nature produces.
If your countertop selection is granite, you could be looking at affordable options as low as $50-75 per square foot installed; however, unique or exotic granite could run as high as $400 per square foot.
Dekton by Cosentino – New Kid on the Block
One of the newer materials available for your kitchen countertop is Dekton, a proprietary blend of natural quartz stone, porcelain, and glass, which are fused and compressed under high pressure to create a very dense and compact slab material.
Dekton countertops are manufactured by Cosentino, a 40-year-old Spanish company that produces a range of surface-type products used for flooring and floor coverings, shower trays, and claddings. In fact, the material is so dense and compact that it is being used for the facades of buildings where it contributes to structural stability and also the energy efficiency of the building.
From a price standpoint, you are looking at costs similar to those for granite or quartz, possibly on the higher side of the range.
But their bigger claim to fame is their durability – they are heat-proof, stain-proof, and resistant to cracking. They are ideal for outdoor countertops, as they do not crack or fracture, even in the most frigid or hottest temperatures, and they are UV resistant, which means their colors will not fade even with constant exposure to the sun.
As both a newer product line in the United States, as well as a new material, you want to make sure you contract with an installer who is familiar with the Dekton product line. You will find that expertise in the installers at Advanced Trim & Kitchens.
Whatever happened to Corian countertops?
When Corian countertops were introduced by Dupont in the early 1970s, they quickly became a stronger and more versatile product for the kitchen countertop designer who was looking for an alternative to the laminates. And because Corian was the first of the solid surface materials marketed for use as a countertop, the name has often been used generically to refer to all solid surface materials, including brands made by other companies.
Corian remains a viable option for kitchen countertops, and is also used extensively for bathroom surfaces. To meet the constantly changing needs of kitchen designers, Dupont has added Corian Quartz and Corian Endura to its product line. Corian Endura is a solid surface product made of 100% natural minerals. It is heat, stain, and scratch resistant, as well as easy to disinfect.
Laminates are making a comeback
Just as Corian became a universal term for solid surface countertops, Formica and Wilsonart are the best-known trade names for laminates. And although solid surface products overtook laminates for a period of time, laminates are making a comeback as an option for your kitchen countertop.
Producers of laminates have introduced a wide range of patterns and finishes, just at a time when some homeowners are looking for a budget-conscious alternative to the pricier quartz and granite. So don’t rule out laminates completely, especially if your budget needs to be stretched.
Today’s laminates are called HPL’s, high pressure laminates. They are produced by saturating multiple layers of Kraft paper with resins, topped with a printed décor paper, and fused together under intense heat and pressure. The curing process in essence converts the paper sheets into a single, rigid laminated sheet, resulting in a new generation of laminates.
This countertop can be installed for about half the cost of either quartz or granite, but does have a more limited life span of about 15 years.
These laminates are also useful for such projects as replacing a kitchen in a camper or a secondary building on your property.
You can count on the professionals at Advance Trim & Kitchens for expert consultative advice for any of your countertop needs. Contact us today!