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Kitchen countertops that don't look like rocks? No stainless, please.

xnyorkr Jul 9, 2007 12:32 PM


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  1. d
    Densible RE: xnyorkr Jul 9, 2007 12:34 PM


    5 Replies
    1. re: Densible
      xnyorkr RE: Densible Jul 9, 2007 12:35 PM

      But when concrete is installed, isn't it made to look like granite, etc?

      1. re: xnyorkr
        Densible RE: xnyorkr Jul 9, 2007 03:48 PM


        My concrete was stained a dark grey and then polished so it has a slight sheen-and very smooth surface-does not look like granite or anything else I can describe. I know it can be stamped to look like stone, etc. for driveways. Have not seen it that way as a countertop. I love mine-very durable solid surface. No seams/no grout. I hate grout-especially on a kitchen surface. Just my personal tic. The polish has worn off in some places and it has a pleasing mottled appearance.

        1. re: Densible
          chef chicklet RE: Densible Jul 14, 2007 11:15 PM

          do you have a picture? Really considering this product.

        2. re: xnyorkr
          Chilefire1 RE: xnyorkr Sep 27, 2007 12:53 PM

          I have to agree - Concrete countertops are stunning - incredibly tough, incredibly flexible and really attractive. Concrete allows a whole host of "looks" one of which is stone like (really this is terrazzo and not concrete) but the host of forms that the concrete can take are really nice. I saw a photo of a concrete counter that had a faucet on one end - with no sink - the counter was molded so the water would run down the length of the counter and spill into the sink on the other end - slightly raised work areas kept cutting boards and work areas from getting wet and a slightly raised and beveled edge along the coutner front kep the water from spilling to the floor. Tt was spectacular. Here is a nice gallery of some very nice - non-stone-looking concrete countertops. http://concreterevolution.com/designs...

        3. re: Densible
          rainey RE: Densible Dec 4, 2009 08:54 AM

          When we redid our kitchen 2 years ago I considered concrete. It's a lovely surface BUT it's very expensive. Everything about it is custom and building the molds is very labor intensive. AND there's a significant risk of cracks developing and it can take 2 years for all the cracks to develop.

          That was enough to intimidate me despite how much I love the look.

          We ended up with soapstone that has, pretty much, a flat matte black look. It's lovely to touch and lovely to work on. It is soft and it does collect dings. I consider that the patina I'm looking forward to. What it doesn't have -- even when you get stone that has grain and veins -- is the glitzy Las Vegas look of other stone or manufactured stone.

        4. d
          deldredge RE: xnyorkr Jul 9, 2007 01:08 PM

          Plastic Laminate countertops are the best. No one will believe that because they're cheap.

          27 Replies
          1. re: deldredge
            Candy RE: deldredge Jul 11, 2007 03:01 PM

            Yes and inexpensive enough to replace when it is time to redecorate. Mine are hunter green and I love them. When we sell this place in about 5 years if the buyer doesn't like green they can easily and inexpensively be changed. I think the hunter is a neutral anyway. My kitchen does not scream 1980's the way some I have seen (I've seen a lot as a Realtor) that went with the trendiest and newest hot material at the time.

            1. re: Candy
              brooksie99 RE: Candy Jul 14, 2007 10:08 PM

              Thank you for being a voice of reason! What, are most of us lemmings? I don't understand why people mindlessly flock to granite; they must be blinded by the over polished, over hyped counter material. It's really a bad sign when 20-somethings shopping for a "starter" home expect custom cabinets and granite; they call anything less dated. The irony is that they become proud owners of a sterile, cookie cutter kitchen. Why is it not okay to use laminate on our counters, yet we Pergo our floors with abandon, and use plastic veneered cabinets? It's all the same concept. Now, if we could just make a counter slab size, heat/stain resistant, iPod to use as a counter top. :-) I'm just skeptical of the granite craze, and I didn't intend to offend anyone. I just wonder... will the granite and behemoth stainless appliances that are now de rigeur be shunned as a period piece much like the avocado kitchen of the 70's, or will they become classic?

              My point is...think a little, research it a lot, and go with what really speaks to you. There are plenty of warmer, natural materials besides rock like wood, especially "green" bamboo. Lithistone (totally redundant word) is a composite of cement and magnesium; it's very earthenware looking. www.lithistone.net
              Icestone is another renewable counter source; it's a composite of recycled glass and concrete. Unfortunately, everyone now wants the look of stone, so they design it to look like Corian. The web site is www.icestone.biz

              Best to you in your search!

              1. re: brooksie99
                xnyorkr RE: brooksie99 Jul 16, 2007 06:07 AM

                I'm with you, Brooksie. I went to a "green" home remodeling store this weekend, and, funny thing -- almost all of the green stuff is **not** competitively priced. Icestone - $90-$150 sf installed, Paperstone, up to $250 sf installed (!) , recycled glass tiles $32.50/sq ft!!! I want something that looks tomorrow, but hey, I have budget limits. And for those prices, you do not get something that is the most durable, stain/scratch/heat resistent, low maintenance product on the market. It's just, well, green. I hope I'm not looking into these products too soon. Maybe next decade they will be better.

                1. re: xnyorkr
                  Raedia RE: xnyorkr Jul 16, 2007 09:25 AM

                  Yup - we've been looking at green materials for our new home, and all the solid surface countertops are super-pricey! Icestone, Richlite, Paperstone were all totally out of reach - and who knows how big a different that little bit of recycled glass they put in will really make?

                  We've decided to use Marmoleum - the same as we're using on the floors- because it looks interesting, is durable, comes in great colors, and is very affordable. We already have it as the surface of our dining table and get loads of compliments.

                  1. re: Raedia
                    xnyorkr RE: Raedia Jul 16, 2007 10:57 AM

                    I liked the Marmoleum I saw too. I didn't know you could use it for tabletops...what a great idea! Countertops? Maybe not.

                    1. re: xnyorkr
                      xena RE: xnyorkr Jul 16, 2007 07:35 PM

                      I'm very interested in Marmoleum for our kitchen floor but never thought of it as a table or countertop surface. What is the finish like? Does it require occasional stripping and finishing like linoleum of old?

                      1. re: xena
                        Raedia RE: xena Jul 17, 2007 06:01 AM

                        As I understand it, Marmoleum is very easy-care, and may only require refinishing after decades of heavy use. As a table surface, I don't think that it would ever need to be re-done unless it was really abused. We've only had our dining table for a year, but it looks fantastic, and we do have some other Marmoleum-topped cabinets that look brand new after 10 years.

                        What's good about it as well is that if you do replace it years down the line, it's completely biodegradable!

                        1. re: Raedia
                          xena RE: Raedia Jul 17, 2007 02:07 PM

                          Thanks Raedia, this is what I was hoping to hear! Did you install it as a tabletop surface yourself or did you have it done? Very interesting application.

                          1. re: xena
                            Raedia RE: xena Jul 17, 2007 07:32 PM

                            The table was built by my boyfriend's woodworker father. He used a set of vintage legs, and then made the expandable top out of Marmoleum veneered on plywood, with ebonized walnut edging.

                            We're totally in love with it! Unfortunately our house it too small to keep it opened up all the time, but in our new house we want to expand it all the way.


                            1. re: Raedia
                              xena RE: Raedia Jul 17, 2007 07:54 PM

                              Wow, Raedia, fantastic! I love your table! I never would have thought of doing that but it really looks great.

                              1. re: xena
                                Raedia RE: xena Jul 18, 2007 04:55 AM

                                Thank you! If you go to Forbo's website, their photos of Marmoleum really don't do the product justice. We love it on our dining table, and are looking forward to using it on desks and floors, and the kitchen counters in our house. It has a unique look, too - definitely not cookie-cutter.

                                1. re: Raedia
                                  MakingSense RE: Raedia Jul 18, 2007 09:32 AM

                                  Is Marmoleum food-safe?
                                  On a table, that's not a problem because you're using plates but, on a countertop, you are likely to lay down raw meats and other food. Marlmoleum is made with linseed oil and some other things that you might not want in contact with food. I love the stuff but this could be a limitation.
                                  Check with the manufacturer to see if it is recommended for food preparation surfaces.

                                  1. re: MakingSense
                                    Raedia RE: MakingSense Jul 18, 2007 06:37 PM

                                    Thanks, that's a really good point. I understand there's a coating over the linseed oil surface that seals it, but I will definitely check with Forbo to make sure it's safe!

                        2. re: xena
                          MakingSense RE: xena Jul 17, 2007 08:25 AM

                          Marmoleum is the brand name for a manufacturer of great linoleum. Terrific product that's been used for over 100 years. Won't look good in every style kitchen but when it's right, it's dynamite!!! The color is through and through so scratches and wear don't show much but cuts and gouges do collect dirt and it can look beat-up.
                          The new stuff comes in fantastic colors but then you have the problem of having your kitchen look dated if you pick something trendy, so pick a color you love and don't care if it ever go "out of style."

                          1. re: MakingSense
                            xena RE: MakingSense Jul 17, 2007 02:06 PM

                            I think it can only be a style improvement here as our current kitchen style is, well, dreadful. It's definitely a problem room for me. I have had a hard time finding Marmoleum locally and am actually waiting to hear back from one store that is checking into it for me. I have been amazed that many stores aren't even aware of the product and insist on showing me vinyl while I try to explain that I really do mean linoleum. I have gotten 3 stores to at least look up Forbo online just for their own information but only one has offered to try to get it for me. Yikes. I'm not even sure we can afford it but there is the Click Marmoleum line that we could probably install ourselves so that might work out. Do you know of any Forbo competitors?
                            Thanks for the information, your post makes me want it even more.

                            1. re: xena
                              MakingSense RE: xena Jul 17, 2007 02:56 PM

                              You may be looking for love in all the wrong places. Contact Marmoleum directly to see the closest dealer to you. It may be handled by special order through a contractor supply house, somewhere you might not even know about that doesn't ordinarily deal with homeowners. Perhaps you might have to drive an hour or so to a larger town. Maybe have it shipped. The company will probably send samples although you might have to pay a nominal charge.
                              I've had materials shipped before and gotten local contractors to install them so keep trying.
                              Linoleum lasts and lasts so it is a good value even though it appears expensive. It can look extremely classic or wild or trendy depending on how you use it. Great if anyone has allergies.

                      2. re: Raedia
                        xnyorkr RE: Raedia Jul 18, 2007 01:35 PM

                        When you use Marmoleum, does it look "classy?" The sample looked a little plastic-y to me. But I liked that it has a cork back and it seems **really** easy to install - just click the pieces together, no grout!

                        1. re: xnyorkr
                          Raedia RE: xnyorkr Sep 26, 2007 07:37 AM

                          We've just started assembling our Marmoleum counters, beginning with the bathroom vanities. It wasn't too tricky to work with, and I love the look. You definitely have to have some woodworking skills and equipment to do this kind of thing yourself, though. We cut it on the panel saw, or using a utility knife, attached it to the plywood cabinet frames with contact cement, and put maple edge banding around it to seal the raw edges. Marmoleum is food-safe as a countertop material, since there's a coating over the linseed surface (though I don't generally plan to slap raw meat straight onto the counter).

                          Here are some pics of the cabinetmaking process (Marmo shots towards the end):

                          1. re: Raedia
                            melissapdx RE: Raedia Nov 4, 2007 09:07 AM

                            Raedia, how did the counters work out? I'd love to see final pics if there are any. I have a 1920s house with a built-in vanity - the countertops had been covered in super-cheap plastic laminate. I decided to re-cover them in marmoleum but we're wondering how to edge them. I thought I'd see what worked for you.

                            Thanks for all of the wonderful info on marmoleum!

                            1. re: melissapdx
                              Raedia RE: melissapdx Nov 5, 2007 05:36 PM

                              What a coincidence - we were working on installing the kitchen counters yesterday! After gluing down the surface, we put a solid maple edge on, and carefully sanded it down right to the surface of the marmoleum. We then painted a clear finish (PolyWhey, from Vermont Natural Coatings) over the maple, and just a hair over the edge of the Marmoleum, to seal the gap. The kitchen counter surface was a remnant of "Bleecker Street" red - about $160 for a 12' x 6' sheet.

                              Finished bathroom counter surface:
                              Kitchen counter & range (work in progress):

                2. re: deldredge
                  MakingSense RE: deldredge Jul 11, 2007 04:02 PM

                  Laminate CAN be cheap but also heart-stoppingly expensive in custom applications. Some of the new stuff is incredible. A friend who is with a to-the-trade high-end custom kitchen company told me that designers are flocking back to it because they can achieve looks with it that they can't possibly do with granite and other natural stones. They're doing very few granite countertops any longer at the high end.

                  1. re: MakingSense
                    renov8r RE: MakingSense Jul 12, 2007 08:51 AM

                    How high is high?

                    There has been a dramatic shift in the amount of general new construction that is taking place -- in the category of "expensive but still owned by people who have normal jobs" there is a fall off of maybe 2/3 or greater in the total activity.

                    The fall off in remodeling is not quite so bad, but it is still there.

                    In what a consider "really really expensive" renovations, of >$500,000 the change is probably an increase of work. But this is still a tiny fraction of the total number of projects.
                    That said while the size of the "flock" can be small, it can be influential WHEN it translates into things that MAKE SENSE, but when it doesn't fit with people's lifestyles it does not carry down to the masses.

                    There are some things that start out "high end" and quickly become mass market, but more often "the leading edge of fashion" goes out with the next trend.

                    Granite and other stone counter tops are still very much in demand.

                    1. re: renov8r
                      MakingSense RE: renov8r Jul 12, 2007 10:10 AM

                      This is, as you say, "the leading edge of fashion" and a reaction to granite going mass market. When ordinary tract developments and condo projects touted SS appliances and granite, those who could afford it bolted. They shifted to other stones and materials just so they didn't have the off-the-rack version.
                      The glossy shelter 'zines for the past six months or so haven't had granite tops. All other materials. That is a "high end" and some of it will filter down as it always does but that is where trends START. We have to figure out which ones will last and which are the vanity materials that people used just because they could, because it was the "not granite." A few years ago all those "fashion forward" kitchens had granite countertops. Now that everyone has them, designers have gotten bored and moved on.
                      Granite is not going to fade because it is now very much a mass market item much like plastic laminate which remains popular. Consumers consider it a good value since the price is now competitive.

                      1. re: MakingSense
                        xnyorkr RE: MakingSense Jul 12, 2007 11:57 AM

                        The reason I asked the question to begin with, because of "fashion." Country kitchens with the butcher-block countertop look are "so 1980s," and with shiney laminate deco cabinets are "so 90s." My thinking (and it's just my opinion) is that the Roman or Greek ruin/rock countertop will be "so early 2000s." As soon as all the stores start selling it (and believe me, so many tile and flooring stores -- they're filled end to end with terra cotta ruins looking tiles and granite counter tops), I think it's about to become "old fashioned."

                        Since I probably can only update my kitchen once, I want something that is at least going to look "so 2010s."

                        1. re: xnyorkr
                          renov8r RE: xnyorkr Jul 12, 2007 01:02 PM

                          I mostly agree with your thinking -- anything TOO "fashiony" will be trendy/dated. But in most cases things that are attractive, tasteful and FUNCTIONAL become timeless. There are a lot of stone countertops that I believe will fit in to the "timeless" category. There are also some butcher block countertops that will fit into that category. Sometimes, if I have a customer that is "on the fence" about certain options I will direct them not to the most current magazine & books with designer kitchens but to the bigger public libraries. Go look in the back issues and older edition design books. Flip through them and decide which designs "hold up over time" and which elements scream "Miami Vice"...

                          1. re: xnyorkr
                            MakingSense RE: xnyorkr Jul 12, 2007 01:17 PM

                            Good design is timeless. People who have taste can spot good design and can fill their homes with good things that stand the test of time. They don't follow fads and the dictates of others.

                            Today, butcher block, laminate cabinets, lava rock, terra cotta, linoleum, turquoise and other colors, country style, hex tiles, and other materials which have been used forever and might seem dated if used in certain "tired, been-there, done-that" ways are being applied successfully in very personal interiors in new ways. The best way to use any of these materials is when they show who you are, not what the current trend is. You will never be "dated" so your kitchen won't be either. Julia Child's kitchen in the Smithsonian is hers and hers alone. It doesn't scream "1960," it says "Julia."

                            Design a good solid background canvas of quality materials and fill it with things you love. You can change the paint, the stuff on the walls and countertops as you change your life and style, but your kitchen will always be about you.

                    2. re: deldredge
                      financialdistrictresident RE: deldredge Dec 4, 2009 02:57 PM

                      We love our faux slate :)

                      Can't cut or put anything hot on it, otherwise no worries about stains (wine, vinegar, etc.). Porcelain is also great and we have that on our bar. Even our tile guy said porcelain is the way to go, and budget friendly too.

                    3. j
                      jmnewel RE: xnyorkr Jul 9, 2007 01:12 PM

                      Plastic laminate or Corian.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jmnewel
                        rainey RE: jmnewel Dec 4, 2009 08:59 AM

                        I looked at them and thought many of them were lovely.

                      2. n
                        Nyleve RE: xnyorkr Jul 9, 2007 02:51 PM

                        Ceramic tile.

                        1. s
                          Shazam RE: xnyorkr Jul 9, 2007 03:29 PM


                          1. m
                            MakingSense RE: xnyorkr Jul 9, 2007 06:46 PM

                            Galvanized. Zinc. Copper.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: MakingSense
                              boshtx RE: MakingSense Jul 9, 2007 06:50 PM

                              Poured concrete, IF you are ok with a very organic look, will stain sometimes easily and will chip in spots. Overall extremeley durable, heatproof and again, if you like an organic look its the way to go. Need to qualify your contractor and go see their prior installations. If you like a perfect Architectural Digest look, stay away.

                            2. c
                              CrazyOne RE: xnyorkr Jul 9, 2007 06:51 PM

                              Solid plastic doesn't look much like rocks, even though a lot of it is trying to do so. ;-) We have this stuff in our kitchen at work http://www.himacs.com/ In solid colors particularly it really wouldn't look like rocks. Hard to say whether it really has a huge advantage over today's laminates, although one thing that's definitely cool is the seamless integrated sink. Still more expensive than laminate. Hey, laminate is cheap and gets the job done, and comes in all kinds of patterns.

                              1. s
                                salsera RE: xnyorkr Jul 12, 2007 12:24 PM

                                Glass. Laminate sucks if you ever plan to put down something hot (or plan to accidentally need to do so...?) and no matter what anyone says, laminate looks cheap.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: salsera
                                  Shazam RE: salsera Jul 12, 2007 12:49 PM

                                  Eh? I put hot stuff down on my laminate counter all the time.

                                  1. re: Shazam
                                    Candy RE: Shazam Jul 12, 2007 01:25 PM

                                    I have plain glasss counter protectors on each side of my cooktop. The are mader of tempered glass and can take the heat. I also have an abundance of trivets all over the place. Where to put something hot down is never an issue.

                                2. a
                                  Arktik RE: xnyorkr Jul 12, 2007 01:11 PM

                                  We have wood countertops that are lovely. I like the look. They are pretty inexpensive. In the last kitchen we had nice tiles - also warm and whimsical.

                                  1. l
                                    LJS RE: xnyorkr Jul 12, 2007 01:20 PM

                                    Another vote for Corian-we had a wonderful kitchen countertop with a "self-sink" all in this amazing material-I put hot pots down on it, berry-stained it, rolled out pastry on it like marble, cut and chopped on it and never worried about it-it comes in all colours and it is not so breathtakingly expensive you have to have cardboard cupboards to economize!

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: LJS
                                      mlgb RE: LJS Jul 12, 2007 01:55 PM

                                      Is it better than it used to be? My friend's stained like crazy.

                                      1. re: mlgb
                                        flourgirl RE: mlgb Jul 16, 2007 06:53 AM

                                        There have been many threads here where Corian is discussed- usually with great disdain. We have almost 8 yr old arctic white Corian counters in our kitchen and love them. (They are not a solid color - they have swirls in them reminiscent of marble.) I have no problem with staining - there has not been anything I couldn't get out easily with Clorox Clean-up (and occasionally, Bar-Keepers friend.) We are now in the process of remodeling a bathroom that our young son will be using regularly and we are almost definitely going to use either Corian or another solid surface material like Silestone for it's easy maintenance. Many people have complained about scratches showing up white against darker colors of Corian - this has not been a problem with the white counter we have so I think I would stick with one of the lighter colors if choosing Corian - I'm not sure if this is an issue with the other solid surface materials - something I intend to find out.

                                        1. re: flourgirl
                                          LJS RE: flourgirl Jul 16, 2007 07:41 AM

                                          I am with Flourgirl 100%...our experience was with a Corian colour called Fiesta, (I think)...a white background with multi-coloured speckles running through it. We installed it 10 years ago and it is doing well enough that a photo of this kitchen was used by our condo company as an example for one of their ads for a new building. This despite renting the unit out for 4 of the past 10 years. No permanent stains and Javex (Canadian version of Chlorex) brings it back to its pristine condition every time.

                                          We are putting in a new kitchen in our home on the coast and I am doing a preliminary plan now and looking to see if Corian still makes Fiesta.

                                          1. re: LJS
                                            SusanB RE: LJS Jul 16, 2007 09:01 AM

                                            We're planning to renovate our kitchen and I've started doing some research. Won't be doing it probably for another year and 1/2, but it's a big endeavour, so want to plan it. We're thinking of Corian countertop with the integrated sink. Does anyone know Staron? Apparently it's similar?

                                            1. re: SusanB
                                              LJS RE: SusanB Jul 16, 2007 11:01 AM

                                              I don't know what you mean by Staron. We had an integrated sink (two, actually or two sided, one deep, one shallow-VERY handy).

                                              1. re: LJS
                                                SusanB RE: LJS Jul 16, 2007 07:22 PM

                                                It's a countertop product that Ikea sells. Seems very similar to Corian, but I'm not sure how it holds up.

                                    2. jfood RE: xnyorkr Jul 16, 2007 09:18 AM

                                      the important thing is to love what you choose and choose what will fit into your budget, your lifestyle and you use requirements.

                                      but jfood has to come to the aid of stone-lovers. the jfood kitchen has a "hard" marble center island and sandstone outers and jfood loves them. the trick to stone countertops is use your head. if you are fortunate to have a stone dealer near you you should go see the beauty of some of the stones currently available. if you want Ubatuba or Vermont Verdi, your kitchen will look cookie cutter. if you choose a slab that has beauty and warmth, then you will have a work of art in your kitchen. If you want a softer look, then marble or sandstone may be the best road.

                                      but the broad brushed "it will look like every other kitchen" if its granite is because most people choose the same type of granite as everyone else. Noone sees the jfood rosa marble with jerusalem gold together in may homes, and the warmth created by the combination is brilliant (thank you again to mrs jfood).

                                      personally jfood wouldn't give you a dime for laminate or tile countertops. just can't stand them, but that's a personal choice. if that's what fits the kitchen design for yours, then great, ain't happening at casa jfood though.

                                      so to the granite smashers, look a little deeper than "they're just a bunch of richy preppies" and see the beauty that nature can bring to the kitchen. when jfood is cutting vegetables and sees a fossil from thoudands of years ago in the sandstone, he smiles. That's a beautiful thing. Seeing the swirl of the colors that are in the marble i n the center island as he stirs the risotto, that's a Kodak moment.

                                      So look to the countertop as an expression of what you want in a kitchen. Not because others will commend or berate you for granite, wood, or paper mache. remember it's your kitchen.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: jfood
                                        phoebek RE: jfood Jul 17, 2007 06:14 AM

                                        That's exactly right, jfood! We got granite (neither Vermont Verde nor Ubatuba) and really love it because of the myriad shades and swirls of color. We had laminate for many years, and it did take a beating (and showed it). Interestingly enough, we kept our laminate cabinets because they're still in good shape and they look fine with the new countertop and wood floor we recently installed. I will admit that sometimes it is difficult to see dirt on the granite (especially fresh ground coffee), but mr k thinks that's a good thing!

                                        1. re: phoebek
                                          jfood RE: phoebek Jul 17, 2007 06:34 AM

                                          ah yes, the hidden scraps on the counter from the cook. as Mrs jfood says to jfood all the time, "please wipe the counter after your finished cooking." :-))

                                      2. GeekVanessa RE: xnyorkr Jul 17, 2007 07:20 AM

                                        I too am a fan of laminate...cheap, simple, wide range of colors. Mine is a mottled grey and almost looks like poured concrete. If I was incredibly wealthy I'd go with poured concrete...but alas I am not. Here's my kitchen:


                                        1. c
                                          cocktailhour RE: xnyorkr Jul 18, 2007 05:36 PM

                                          I love my ceramic tile counters. Beautiful and durable, and so much choice. We had it installed with wide grout lines, so easy to clean, but I understand the hesitation about grout. We have a 100 year old house, and I wanted something I could set a hot pot on.

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: cocktailhour
                                            xnyorkr RE: cocktailhour Jul 19, 2007 03:30 PM

                                            I love the way tile counters look. Everyone cautions about the grout, but maybe there is a way to seal it.

                                            1. re: cocktailhour
                                              QueenB RE: cocktailhour Jul 20, 2007 06:31 AM

                                              In a similar vein, we installed marble tile countertops. 12x12 green marble tiles with a tiny space in between that has grout. We sealed both the grout and the marble. Lots of choices here too, because any large marble tile you like can be transformed.

                                              I haven't had any issues at all with it. Hasn't scratched or dulled, wipes up easily, can take some heat and has been really durable. Also, if one tile chips or breaks, it's easily replaced.

                                              Here are the pictures, they are all from when the kitchen was under construction. Mr. B is way more handy than I will ever be and built the countertops themselves at a fraction of the cost of a marble slab. One of these days I'll upload a picture of the finished product.

                                              1. re: QueenB
                                                xnyorkr RE: QueenB Jul 20, 2007 11:58 AM

                                                They look really fantastic!

                                                1. re: xnyorkr
                                                  MakingSense RE: xnyorkr Jul 20, 2007 12:13 PM

                                                  They do, don't they? One of the nicest things is that marble tiles are surprisingly inexpensive although the color range might be limited. Very classy for the money. You can even lay them onto exterior grade plywood yourself. The edges aren't usually beveled so they butt very closely leaving little space for grout if that relieves some of your concern. I had a marble tile countertop years ago and found it virtually trouble-free. Use a grout color that is close to the marble and you barely notice it.
                                                  Xnyokr, you'll never find the "perfect" countertop material because there isn't one. Pick something you love and live with its limitations just like you live with your partner's or your kids' or your own. You'll get used to it and be happy.

                                                  1. re: MakingSense
                                                    baltimorejim RE: MakingSense Sep 17, 2007 07:41 PM

                                                    I've renovated a few houses. Have used granite in two because I thought the market called for it. The last two I used laminate with a granite pattern and texture. (much cheaper) They were rentals. After I noticed prospective tenants sidling up to the counters to touch them to see if they were real I realized the look was adequate and have always wondered on my frequent dump runs what those landfills full of granite counters will look like a few years down the road. BTW I've also used granite tiles with narrow grout lines successfully. I like the idea that laminates are durable (mine at home is 20 years old) and can be changed as quickly as fashions change inexpensively.

                                                  2. re: xnyorkr
                                                    QueenB RE: xnyorkr Jul 20, 2007 12:46 PM

                                                    Thank you. I absolutely love them. Easy to maintain and really look great.
                                                    As Making Sense states, the tiles are inexpensive. I didn't find the color range limited, but that may be just the area we live in. We went to a tile/granite/rock store and bought them there, although you can also purchase at the big stores as well...they'll have less of a selection. We built the countertops for under a thousand bucks total (tile, grout, plywood, etc) for seventeen feet plus a seven foot island. Of course, factor in some labor too. Much cheaper than buying a slab. We kept the grout dark too, so we don't have any issues with staining. If you seal the marble right, as we did, you won't have staining issues with it either.

                                                2. re: cocktailhour
                                                  Ruth Lafler RE: cocktailhour Sep 27, 2007 12:36 PM

                                                  I have an old house, and love the way tile looks, too. I put up with the grout. I really don't like the plastic-y quality of Corian, or the cold, sterile quality of most granite. No kidding that in a few years all those "2000" kitchens with the dark granite and stainless steel appliances are going to look dated (they really already do, IMHO -- they look like cookie-cutter McMansion "luxury," the safe "good taste" choice).

                                                  The other option I would seriously consider is wood. Not butcher block, just a wood slab like a table top.

                                                3. c
                                                  childofthestorm RE: xnyorkr Jul 20, 2007 12:22 PM

                                                  I did "butcher's block on a budget"...Ikea sells these big pieces of wood, cut them to fit. My kitchen doesn't look country at all, mainly because I mixed things up - stainless steel appliances and white cupboards. It's the nicest room in the house.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: childofthestorm
                                                    stellamystar RE: childofthestorm Sep 27, 2007 02:29 PM

                                                    I want those butcher block counters, too! How do you like them? Did you install yourself? Sounds lilke we have the same kitchen (i have white cabinets, too) and am having a hard time matching the counter. We also have a light wooden ceiling....

                                                  2. d
                                                    dickey45 RE: xnyorkr Sep 21, 2007 12:12 PM

                                                    We used a darkish gray granite that I don't think looks like rock. It was actually the cheapest they had. We used 18x26 inch tiles so that the tiles don't look like, well, tile. You cut off an inch or so of the back to use as the front. The cost of our U shaped kitchen was $700 or so in tile, but we ended up with 4 extra $30 tiles. The gray looks good with other light colored flooring and cabinetry and works wonderful with the composite sink and stainless appliances (at least I think so). Since the budget for the entire house remodel was $20k (we did our own work), I think the tile was worth the expense over just plain or even upgraded formica. I've got some pics of the installation and somewhat finished product. Sadly I'm still staining and polyurethaning the upper cabinets:

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: dickey45
                                                      Eujeanie RE: dickey45 Sep 25, 2007 02:41 PM

                                                      Went to look at your pictures dickey45 and it said Access Denied. Can you fix that?

                                                      I'm still trying to decide whether to get granite or not. I was almost pulling the trigger on quartz but really didn't like the homogenous pattern. And I've got a double problem with granite - not only are we slobs, but I tend to like the lighter colored granite (Oro Brazil, Santa Cecelia) - are those very common colors (beige, gold, etc)?

                                                      I even went today to look at stainless and copper. I had hoped they would be indestructible (well the stainless anyway) and the guy was scratching it up to show me it isn't. Didn't really like it anyway.

                                                      I just keep wandering from granite place to granite place to Home Depot to another granite place.

                                                      You know what I found in one that knocked my socks off? Onyx. Had always thought in was just black jewelry. This huge slab was green and gold and rust and honey and oh my goodness it had so much more movement than even the most rivery granite I've ever seen. It was just gorgeous. Woman said I couldn't use it for a countertop but I forgot why - does anyone know?

                                                      1. re: Eujeanie
                                                        jfood RE: Eujeanie Sep 25, 2007 06:25 PM

                                                        onyx - very porous and can shatter if not handled properly. not a good idea. consider for a bathroom but iffy there as well. all according tomrs jfood.

                                                        1. re: Eujeanie
                                                          MakingSense RE: Eujeanie Sep 26, 2007 10:17 AM

                                                          Even granite's not indestructible but if you're having doubts go look at some more materials. Limestone has the interest and movement that granite lacks and although it requires a little more caution, it's beautiful. My daughter installed limestone in her kitchen and it looks like a million. She's far from tidy so she used a chunk of butcher block on the island where she does her prep. Even with that, she slopped lemon juice on the limestone within a month of the installation but there wasn't any harm done.

                                                          Jerusalem limestone has the same color range as those beige/gold granites you are attracted to. When we were looking at the raw slabs, we carried a wet sponge because it changes color when it's sealed so remember that if you go hunting.

                                                          1. re: MakingSense
                                                            financialdistrictresident RE: MakingSense Dec 4, 2009 03:00 PM

                                                            In my last place I had a granite counter top and did not like it. You have to be very careful with vinegars, wine, acids (tomato, lemons, etc.) and staining. Not good for a cook, IMHO. I'd rather be careful about hot pans/dishes than staining . . .

                                                          2. re: Eujeanie
                                                            phoebek RE: Eujeanie Sep 26, 2007 04:37 PM

                                                            We put in a lighter-colored granite counter top about 6 months ago, and haven't had any problems with staining or such. One night we dripped some red wine on it and didn't see it till after it had dried, but it came right out. So if your alleged "slobbiness" just involves spilling things, I don't really see a problem, so long as you wipe it up!

                                                            1. re: Eujeanie
                                                              rtmonty RE: Eujeanie Sep 27, 2007 08:40 AM

                                                              If you are slobs (as am I) you might want to check out Sensa Granite. It is real granite, not a composite but is sealed with a special process that is guaranteed for 15 years. We used Santa Cecelia in our new kitchen and it is lovely. We also found it to be very price competitive if not cheaper than many others.

                                                              1. re: Eujeanie
                                                                stellamystar RE: Eujeanie Sep 29, 2007 12:13 PM

                                                                Does anyone know what kind of countertops Ina Garten has on Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network? They are black, with very small white flecks. I really lilke them, but don't know if they are marble? Granite? Slate?

                                                            2. bworp RE: xnyorkr Sep 28, 2007 12:58 PM

                                                              Paperstone and Pyrolave:

                                                              We did our Kitchen a couple years ago with Granite and it's been incredible, easy to clean, durable, and you can prep food directly on the counter.

                                                              Surprisingly the granite was cheaper than the high-end laminates at the Depot. Like anything, granite comes in a ton of options and costs. We bought ours directly from a distributor who also cut it, avoiding the middleman mark-up.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: bworp
                                                                Ruth Lafler RE: bworp Sep 28, 2007 01:23 PM

                                                                Wow! That paperstone is gorgeous! I'd love to have that in my kitchen!

                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                  rainey RE: Ruth Lafler Dec 4, 2009 09:05 AM

                                                                  I looked into it. I couldn't find a distributor in a city the size of Los Angeles.

                                                              2. t
                                                                thomas evertsen RE: xnyorkr Sep 5, 2008 06:44 PM

                                                                Wood countertops are the way to go. You have a limitless choice of color, wood type, grain orientation, and no size restictions. No matter what decor some type of wood will complement it beautifully. Plus it is the most durable product out there to date. And it is different than what your neighbor has in there house. Worth a look at the very least.
                                                                any questions : thomas@evertsenbros.com

                                                                1. l
                                                                  livstone RE: xnyorkr Nov 2, 2009 12:03 AM

                                                                  Check this material http://www.livingstonesurfaces.com/
                                                                  Great countertops material, interesting colors palette and comprehensive prices.

                                                                  1. t
                                                                    The_Yakima_Kid RE: xnyorkr Dec 1, 2009 02:31 AM

                                                                    OK, here's a scary suggestion from someone with a degree in Foods & Nutrition. Good old laminate or lab top. Inexpensive, durable, is less likely to damage dropped dishes, easy to clean, requires no sealing, doesn't chip, and when you're sick of it you can always have another layer put over the same counter top.

                                                                    It isn't glamorous, but it works. The standard in commercial kitchens is stainless steel, with occasional slabs of marble or granite for specialties such as chocolate and pastry.

                                                                    1. t
                                                                      The_Yakima_Kid RE: xnyorkr Dec 1, 2009 02:43 AM

                                                                      Solid surfacing is also durable and low maintenance. As for the folks who worry about counters looking cheap, or having transcendental beauty, or whatever, my ideal countertop is still commercial stainless steel, dings, scratches, and all. My kitchen is for cooking; if I want to impress the neighbors I whip out a buffet for fifty without breaking a sweat. B^) Currently I have laminate in the city house because we intend to move in a few years to live full time in our cabin - where I will replace the laminate with stainless steel.

                                                                      I recommend trivets on every counter, especially with certain types of casseroles of the high technology glass type - if the counter is wet and the hot casserole lands on it the results have been known to be dramatic.

                                                                      1. j
                                                                        Jack_ RE: xnyorkr Dec 3, 2009 07:51 AM

                                                                        Another vote for laminate. I particularly like the Nevamar brand


                                                                        1. e
                                                                          eliz553 RE: xnyorkr Dec 4, 2009 05:19 AM

                                                                          I finally (after years of waiting) re-did my kitchen 2-1/2 years ago. I chose what I loved. My countertops are Zodiaq (engineered quartz) in their Capuccino color.

                                                                          I love them, and I have had no regrets, nor second thoughts about the choice.

                                                                          The person who said to love what you choose, and choose what fits your budget and your lifestyle is absolutely correct.

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