concrete counter tops vs. granite counter tops?
My husband and I are debating on concrete counter tops or granite for the kitchen? He is really pushing concrete for the counter tops as well as a custom sink. I, on the other, don't know anything about concrete. So, my delema- Concrete vs. granite?
Been there, just done that. Hands down we went with Granite.
Concrete is more porous, less refined and just seems to be a fading fad
in our area. Works better as a desplay counter than akitchen counter.
We found a custom stoneworks that did 1-1/2" Granite for $40 a sq ft
while concrete was about $65.
I have concrete in both the kitchen and the master bath... for 3 years. I don't know if mine wasn't sealed correctly, but it stains, particularly in the kitchen. Oil goes right in. Water makes it darker in areas that get wet often. If you're what I'd call particular, for lack of a better word, you'd better go with granite. I think for resale we're going to have to replace with granite. Hope this helps. On the plus side of concrete...it's very organic and natural looking.
We're about to put in granite and from everything I've read and heard, your concrete experience is not unique. I just don't think you can keep it adiquatly sealed for kitchen use. Also because concrete tops are made "custom" there is a lot of variation in the quality of what you get. Made properly, they are hard and durable, although stain prone. If cast without proper reinforcement and the correct mix of materials, they are prone to severe cracks. So if I were to go that way, I'd be very picky about who made my top.
Depending on what you read and what you like, Quartz composite is supposed to be the very best counter top material around. It's less pours than granite, doesn't need to be sealed, and is very durable. There are a number of colors available. We have it in our master bath, but to me, I don't like the look as much as real stone (granite).
I've had granite for 12 years and it's definitely porous. It's also not food-rated. If money was no object, I'd replace it with Caesarstone. You have to be careful about the areas around the stove and wipe them up promptly. Also watch out if you have a dish soap container--use a coaster or other container that has feet so water doesn't collect underneath. Soap is oil-based and also stains, and standing water will eventually darken that area. Also, any type of acid (vinegar, fruit) can etch the granite. Hint: use a microfiber cloth to wipe granite and you won't get smears.
I think how careful you have to be with granite also depends upon the color and pattern. I had heard horror stories about black and white, so we purposely chose a grey, black, white, beige speckle which hides a multitude of sins. We sealed our granite when it was new 4 years ago but haven't done anything else to it since except wash with soapy water and scrape off "crud" with a bench scraper. If there are stains, they are invisible. (Our last house had limestone which I loved the look of in theory but it was a bear to deal with because any acid left a white spot/circle.) Granite to me is fuss free.
The only kitchens that look "right" with concrete are the "supermodel" layouts in the magazines. The stuff is just too prone to wear and staining. Worse, even when it is "properly sealed" the basic nature of concrete is that it will wear unevenly.
It can look quite unique, and the ability to custom cast various forms is appealing, but there are an awful lot of downsides -- the sinks & bathtubs that I've seen can get really beat up, this might make for a "patina" but to my mind suggests crumbly potholed roads...
If you do want to get natural stone, you ought to be aware that besides granite there are other options too. Soapstone and slate are growing in popularity, and sinks can be crafted to match them as well. Much better wear characteristics. I think that while granite will not lend itself to being glued into a sink with the sorts of tools that most installers, you can seek out firms that have the tools to work granite into a sink too.
In the end, our choices came down to concrete vs. granite too, and we chose granite. Friends have concrete kitchen countertops which really are cool, but as others have said, wear unevenly, look beat up fast, and stain badly. Also, if you ever want to replace your countertop, with all that rebar in there, you risk destroying the lower cabinets to get it out.
I'm afraid the granite will look dated in about 5 minutes - I really wanted stainless steel countertops like grandma had in the 1930s - but I do like being able to roll dough out right on it. My only complaint is the uneven color of the granite makes it hard to tell if there are crumbs or other junk on it, so it always looks clean even if it isn't. I guess some would consider that an upside.
We opted for granite. Like the way concrete looks but not it's durability. I also saw a kitchen that had a crack on the edge of the concrete where something had dropped on it. Incidentally we didn't want granite in the beginning and we tried a limestone sample. It stained easily between lemons, razzberries, and coffee so we went with granite. We basically only found one color of granite that we liked after looking at lots of different slabs. We didn't get an edge on the granite because we like the simple effect. Oddly enough, that saved us a lot of money because we were able to get everything that we needed out of one slab--that was just luck.