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new kitchen counter tops!

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Just starting - so it probably will be about a year before it comes to fruition - but I am wondering about what you feel is the best kitchen counter top to go with. I am replacing the old formica. Will also be doing floors - can I ask about that here too? I love my new Samsung french door refrigerator - with the extra subdivider in the freezer to keep things organized! Also have the new GE double wall oven with convection - it's an oven. My fridge on the other hand is like my BMW in the kitchen!

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  1. How exciting! We did ours last year, and it was a long time coming. We went with quartz, rather than granite, for the countertops - that was more for the look than any cooking-related concerns. The floor is ceramic tile, and I haven't had any problems with knee/leg pain, even when I spend all day cooking (e.g., for big family dinners) - this is on a slab foundation and we don't have mats or rugs or anything on the tile.

    1 Reply
    1. re: truman

      Sounds just like the kitchen I remodeled a year ago. Quartz countertops in black to match the black glass top on my new stove. Ceramic tile floors - a logical choice on a poured slab foundation - I carried the flooring throughout the first floor and it looks spectacular. Ceramic tile backsplash which looks elegant. So far nothing has shattered on the counters or the floor.

    2. I don't have time to get the link right now, but there's a really long, thorough thread all about countertops. It'll give you a ton of perspectives.

      1. Quartz and granite are the best choices. Both are durable, easy to take care of, and best of all, you can take a cookie sheet out of the oven and put it right on the countertop.
        Quartz has a fine grain, and a consistent color, and comes in lighter tones than granite does. Granite has some amazingly beautiful colors, streaks and veins that can't be duplicated by factory made tops.
        My suggestion is to go to a stoneyard and look through the slabs of granite. See what colors and patterns you like. Look through kitchen magazines and note the countertops that you like the look of in each kitchen.
        If you look at brochures for manufactured tops, you will often see that they say granite is more work to care for than quartz. You can, if you choose, wipe a silicone sealer on the granite every couple of years, just to fill in the tiny 'divots' in the grain of the stone. It takes a few minutes to wipe on and wipe off, but it's no different than wiping them down with soapy water! I've had granite in my kitchen and master bath in a couple of homes, and never did a thing to them except keep them clean.
        Pricewise, you'll find that granite is less expensive than quartz - but it all boils down to the look you want. Quartz has beautiful colors as well, and there are several brands to choose from. One is no better than the other, they all just make different colors.
        Oh, and another consideration if this pertains to your lifestyle - granite is a totally natural and low- environmental- impact substance. Other than the equipment used to mine, cut and polish the stone, water is the only product used to make the countertops.
        Hope this helps. I am a kitchen designer and have had plenty of experience with all these products. Which is best is up to you!

        1. Our kitchen is next, but we have done two baths, one with Quartz the other with Granite. The wife likes the Quartz, I like the Granite. However, the plan for the kitchen is . . . drum roll please . . . granite. Compaired to quartz, grnaite has some knock your sox off colors and patterns and Mrs. Mikie wants a knock your sox off kitchen. The kitchen has a large penensula that protrudes and seperates the "working area" from the eating area and that is going to be the focal point of the counter top. Both the quartz and granite have performed admirably in the baths with no real issues, the granite gets the nod for pazaz in the kitchen.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mikie

            mikie what granite are you going to use?

          2. I've done some outdoor concrete form work and am thinking about redoing my aging kitchen countertops in polished concrete. My wife wants to contract out for granite or quartz. I'm trying to save a few bucks...lol...

            1 Reply
            1. re: roadfix

              I love polished concrete. It's so much cooler looking than granite.

            2. I have Pergo flooring in my kitchen, looks like mahogany wood floor. No problem with spills or anything like that - it's about 12 years old and doing fine.

              2 Replies
              1. re: sbp

                Do you have dogs? I've been wondering how it holds up to 60# Airedale toenails :)

                1. re: c oliver

                  Most companies that sell prefinished wood with 15 to 30 year warenties will not warrent pet damage. That should be your first clue.

              2. We remodeled last year with paperstone for the countertops and cork for the floor. Can highly recommend both for performance. Both are considered to be 'eco-friendly' options if that matters to you.

                1. We built a new kitchen from scratch about 3 years ago.
                  We have soapstone(honed) on the peripheral counter tops and a matte finish silestone on the island.

                  One comment I would make about any kind of stone counter top is to consider an apron sink with a thinner front wall. If the granite comes across the front, it is thicker than formica(front to back) and pushes the sink away from you. I think this is harder on your back, especially if you are shorter.

                  I love my soapstone but it is not for everyone. It is a softer stone and can chip or scratch. If anyone sets a pitcher or glass down on any stone it can easily break if you are not used to it.
                  We chose silestone for the island because we knew it would get a lot of use. It has been great. One of my neighbors put in a darker granite and they said they cannot tell if it is dirty.

                  We put quartersawn oak floors in and have been very happy with those.

                  Overall I would choose exactly the same things if I had it to do over.
                  Lots of choices!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: wekick

                    wekick - that's an interesting comment about the sink - it is strange - I can be on my feet all day in the kitchen with no issues - but after some time at the sink is when I feel my back start to spaz.

                    1. re: smilingal

                      Another factor is the depth of the sink. If the sink is too deep, then you have to lean over a little to reach the bottom.

                  2. Hi, I did mine a little over a year ago, and I went with DARK granite.
                    My choice had little to do with form, but all about function. I cook a lot. I am lazy. I have been alive long enough to know these things about myself. I will not look for a hot pad to place hings on. I will NOT be oiling any counter tops. I will clean up spills when I feel like it, and if that means "next week," so be it.
                    I told this to my counter top guy after we came to the realization that granite or quartz would be the only material indestructable enough to handle my kitchen skill set (or lack thereof depending on how you view things) he said the only choice for me is DARK granite. He said he would be happy to sell me any quratz or granite pattern that I wanted, but he politely insisted that DARK granite is the only logical choice for me. It doesn't stain, it doesn't show marks from heat, and no oiling or maint is necessary. He said lighter granite can stain. I could have gotten a similar quartz, but you'll notice that the quartz patterns that are comparable to dramatic (i.e. "busy") granites are pretty pricey. Most of the quartzes that we saw that were priced low, were really boring, one note kinda deals. Comparably priced granite was much more dramatic.

                    It was really refreshing to deal with that coutertop salesman. He had stuff ranging from 30/sq ft to over 120.00 sq/ ft. Each time we picked up a rock sample, he would say "I don't think you would be happy with that" even though we didn't know the prices. Some of the things we picked up were the super pricey stuff,and he kept saying, hey, "you were honest with me about how you cook, I'll be honest with you - that stuff will stain. I'll be happy to sell it to you, and I'll make a very good amount of money on it, but you're gonna be mad at me when it stains."

                    I guess my ramblings are basically pointing to this:
                    If you are like me, and don't give a rat's butt about taking that roast pan out of the oven and throwing it right on the counter, or taking that wok that's been stir frying stuff sitting on a 22k for 10 minutes right on the island counter top, or don't care about setting that olive oil bottle on the counter for the entire week even though you KNOW there's gonna be a ring around the bottom, or, you don't care about that coffee spill at 5am, then you might wnna look into dark granite.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: gordeaux

                      Although many people oil their soapstone, I never have. It is just an option.

                    2. I bought my house to renovate, and I replaced the kitchen Formica counter tops with black granite. Love it! SOME granites need to be sealed regularly. This black has not needed it at all. It's fantastic. Do try to find the thread about countertops. It's extremely detailed and you'll find it useful. Some say a Google search works better than a Chowhound search..

                      When I bought the house, it had Bruce oak floors in the entire downstairs (and still does), including the kitchen/breakfast room, laundry room, master bath and powder room. INSANITY! Do NOT put natural wood flooring in any room that has water in it! A very stupid guest overflowed the toilet in the powder room and wiped out those floors. Well, unless you like skateboard ramps in the bathroom. I had the laundry room re-plumbed and the washer and dryer are now on the other side of that wall in the garage, which left room for some very nice pantry shelves, thank you. *IF* you like the look of wood for your kitchen, go with a good grade of synthetic. I have been told, but have no actual first hand experience, that bamboo works well in kitchen/bathroom applications, but do consult someone extremely current and knowledgeable before you invest. Good luck with the project! Oh, and just for the record, kitchen remodels are never done! You always find "one more thing and THEN it will be done." Don't I wish! '-)

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Caroline1

                        Caroline - a google search bringing up google stuff and not chowhound right - that's what you were referring to?

                        1. re: smilingal

                          What I meant (and wasn't too clear about) is that I have a lot more luck finding things on Chowhound when I use a Google search than I do when I do an "in-site" search. Sometimes it at least brings up threads with posts referring to OTHER Chowhound threads... Which is how I got this one: http://tinyurl.com/25qmkp5

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            Caroline - thank you so much for sending this link. I just started reading it - so much to absorb! I still don't understand what you were trying to explain about the search - you mean - do a google search outside of Chowhound and it will bring up all pertinent info as well as chowhound boards? I didn't realise chowhound boards come up in google searches.

                            1. re: smilingal

                              CHs search function leaves alot to be desired. So if you do a google search for,say,

                              chowhound kitchen counter top

                              you'll get a better result

                              1. re: c oliver

                                ok thanks! now I understand!

                        2. re: Caroline1

                          We have had spills on our oak floors with no problems. Water will buckle any subflooring that is not water proof and we lost 2 floors in a previous home due to plumbing leaks.

                          1. re: wekick

                            I'm happy for you, but I wouldn't count on your luck holding for all time. The problem is NOT that the sub-flooring buckles. MOST sub-flooring is made of heavy plywood, and is far less likely to buckle when flooded than individual strips of wood set on top of it. How the wood flooring is installed -- nailed or glued -- is a critical factor, as well as professionally installed vs do-it-yourself. And then there is the additional complication of who makes the wood flooring, how it is made, how thick it is and a huge number of other variables. There are MANY types of "natural wood flooring" that range from bonded veneers of the finished wood surface applied to other materials under it that may or may not be actual wood. There are wide wood planks, narrow woods, some wood flooring is cut in planks running the length of the tree while other wood floors (such as my Bruce oak floors which I did NOT choose, but were already installed when I bought my house) that are "peeled" from a rotating log, a method that leaves the finished flooring prone to cupping. Then there is pre-finished wood flooring vs unfinished wood flooring, there is "furniture" finish wood flooring (very expensive) and there is factory sealed wood flooring. Wood is a VERY complex subject and all wood floors are NOT created equal. But as a former interior designer and interior design teacher, I can tell you from years of experience that if you are looking for years of easy maintenance that will be free of problems, DO NOT put wood flooring in areas where there is a probability of water spills or overflows. You're leaving an open pathway to trouble.

                            1. re: Caroline1

                              This is actually the second wood floor in the same kitchen. We had wood parquet before that. t
                              That floor was 24 years old when it was replaced. I really love the resilience of the wood and it always looks good. If your floor buckles for any reason, insurance covers it anyway. I can only relate my experience and I had 2 sub floors buckle. Our current floor is quartersawn so much more resistant to cupping.

                        3. thank you all so very much! I will look for that other thread - I actually did look prior to posting this one but guess I overlooked it. Thanks for your suggestions and your sharing of your personal experiences.

                          1. My budget is tight...which countertops would be economical, useful and attractive?

                            16 Replies
                            1. re: Discerning1

                              Polished concrete I would say, define economical ;-)

                              1. re: cannibal

                                Excuse me, but WHEN did they start making economical polished concrete counter-tops? '-)

                                1. re: cannibal

                                  A Chow-friend of mine said she looked into it and it was surprisingly quite expensive. I've always liked the idea of it.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    An added problem with concrete countertops is that allergy to concrete isn't all that unusual. It's an inherited allergy in my family, and if I want to be in terrible joint pain, all I have to do is walk barefoot on the concrete floor in the garage or on the patio! I cannot imagine living with concrete counters in my kitchen, sealed or not. If I was looking at a house that was for sale and had concrete countertops, I would have to really really really love the floor plan because I would know going in I would have to have them torn out and replaced BEFORE I moved in, and the place totally cleared of concrete dust. It's not a fun allergy to have, but I'm not alone... <sigh>

                                    But yes, it is expensive. Forms to hold it have to be made, underlaying for the concrete to rest on while it cures. All sorts of things. It is NOT cheap! A crafty shopper can get granite cheaper. But if you're a really accomplished do-it-yourselfer.... '-)

                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                      money aside, if it was reasonable to have, I'd have chosen that as my first choice, colored/stained concrete countertops and lots of it

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        Yes, neither floors (hard on the joints!) .... or other body parts!
                                        Stained, however it might be, I still think it is hard and unpleasant.

                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                          C1, as usual, you brought up a very good point. The eventual kitchen remodel is for a second home and resale could figure in. We had a real estate agent tell us once that 87% of home buyers have NO imagination and another one thought that number was low. Ixnay on concrete counters. Thanks.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            Well, I tried real estate as a career move once and gave it up because A. too many others in the business were crazy, B. prospective clients were even crazier! I have seen people buy a house in a location they hated with airplanes flying over their heads on final approach to the runway and extremely high voltage power lines running across the backyard, but.... THEY LIKED THE FREAKING WALL PAPER! There is no accounting for taste," said Mrs. Murphy as she kissed the cow.

                                    2. re: Discerning1

                                      You could big stone tiles with almost no grout line. I'm not sure of the technique but my contractor did a counter top like that and it was beautiful. I had a regular tile counter top when we moved in our present home with a grout line. It collected dirt and was bumpy.
                                      I like formica too. There are almost endless patterns.
                                      Depending on the size of your countertops, you may be able to find a deal on something else. Think about how you use your counter top and this will help you decide what type.

                                      1. re: Discerning1

                                        Discerning1, "economical" is a relative term. Economical to install or economical over the life of the house? Same problem with words like "useful" and "attractive." Useful in what way? Attractive to whom? *IF* you are willing to take extra care and precautions to preserve your counter-tops, you cannot beat Formica for price, ease of installation, and looks. BUT.... You cannot put straight-from-the-oven containers on it, you must only and exclusively cut things using a cutting board, and it won't do a hell of a lot to increase the resale value of your home. You are the ONLY one who can make decisions involving the qualities you ask about. Good luck!

                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                          I think Caroline1 offers good advice. No doubt, Formica is the price chopper when it comes to counter tops. It will give a kitchen a fresh new look for very little cash outlay and is maintance free, although as stated, it has limitations. If you are not in a ritzy area where all the other houses have stone counter tops, you don't need to splurge to maintain resale value.

                                          Another option is to use 12 inch tiles, granite, marble, etc. with a special epoxy based grout that is very small. This is common and far less expensive than a solid slab. It's put on similar to a tile floor and can in some cases be a DYI project.

                                          1. re: mikie

                                            Appreciate the advice.

                                            1. re: Discerning1

                                              laminate flowform countertops are very tough, come in a variety of colors. Some even mimic certain types of granite etc. Also are reasonably cheap compared to quartz, granite etc. You can also get varios types of edges. The ones in my kitchen are still holding up great and look as good as when i moved in 8 years ago. We do have a pretty busy kitchen. Also I work making granite and quartz countertops but havent gotten around to switching them out yet as I havent had any major issues with them.

                                              1. re: somekindacook

                                                now that's a vote for laminate if I ever heard one!

                                                1. re: somekindacook

                                                  We've had a granite-look laminate for five years and I have zero complaints about it. And I cook ALOT! My kitchen is a set of tools for me. I have some high or higher end things if that's what my style of cooking would be helped with. I never felt that I needed anything other than laminate for counters and still feel that way.

                                          2. re: Discerning1

                                            Five years ago we did a whole house remodel, upgrade and addition. I'm still in sticker shock! When it came to the kitchen counters, I got a laminate that looks like granite and I'm very, very pleased with it. I've never been tempted to put a hot pot on any counter so that's a nonissue for me.

                                          3. Another one for granite here. We redid our kitchen 9 years ago and used granite. I have never resealed it and it is still perfect! Go with a darker color and clean it regularly with white vinegar and water (the installer recommended windex, but I hate the smell). No need to buy any fancy products to maintain it. Our floor is maple. (It's an antique house, so we just kept the existing floor.) It needs refinishing now, but I've never had to do anything special to it. Wood floors are also great for preventing backaches.

                                            1. Having just completed a wood fired brick oven with concrete slab countertops myself out in the patio, polished countertops in the kitchen as my next DIY project is something I've been seriously thinking about.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: roadfix

                                                I wish you'd post some pix of the outdoor countertops and also, when the time comes, please start a thread on the indoor project. I'm VERY interested.

                                                1. re: roadfix

                                                  Now my dream would be an outside kitchen-wok, smoker, infrared grill, wood fired oven, teppanyaki grill...what else can I put in there?

                                                2. I was given a gift of Achitects Digest a few years ago.
                                                  Thumbed through one and found my dream appearing kitchen.
                                                  So I cut that page out [to keep the picture] and 2 years later, we did it.

                                                  It's using smaller sized tiles than we used but same color pattern with cupboards.
                                                  We went into a tile/marble/rock place and saw the tiles we liked, they're 20" each.

                                                  Did average sized grout spacin/ and then decided to do marble slab on the island.
                                                  I do a lot of cookies doughs/pie crusts/pasta and breads so I needed that surface.

                                                  Love our choices in both aspects.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                    I've hated tile for counter tops. Cleaning the grout (gratefully in the past) was a mess.

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      our grout is dark sage green and it's a breeze. probably because we sealed the SAM out of it before using. like 12 coats. all I do is lemon/vinegar water sprayed on, wipe off

                                                  2. Dark granite person here too. You don't want to use Absolute Black, but if you want something practically maintenance free a dark, hard granite is perfect. Be warned that lots of things are called granite, and a softer granite needs to be sealed. I ended up with Cambrian black in an antique finish (kind of matte and velvety), though the other choice would have been Nordic Black, which has a less mottled/more veiny appearance. Both need no sealing; are not so evenly black that dust, crumbs, etc. show too easily; and are practically bullet-proof as granite goes.

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: PegS

                                                      I have Absolute Black counter tops and LOVE them! I also have a pretty good air filtration system in my house, but that doesn't do anything about spilled flour and such. The thing I love about the black is that I can see if I've missed anything AND my black smooth cook top blends nicely. As you say, mine is "bullet proof."

                                                      1. re: PegS

                                                        our son has the black diamond color black countertops in his house.
                                                        he has dark cherry wood cupboards and the look is exquisite.
                                                        but, every time I'm there cooking, they show everything mostly water spots which drive me crazy. I never feel like they're clean because the dust/flour/persian cat hair, etc. it's everywhere on all that gorgeous black granite. it is gorgeous and he paid a pretty price but it would never be my choice.

                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                          I was wondering about water spots on black. I want to redo my kitchen and am drawn to classic white kitchens with dark countertops and wood floors, but those shiny black countertops look like they'd be a nightmare showing everything and I'm not much of a fan of matte ones that scratch. Sounds like there are a lot more blacks to choose from than I thought and I'll have to look at some that you guys are happy with.

                                                          I have silver sea green granite now and I love it. Easy care, looks brand new after 10 years and we've never resealed. Doesn't show water spots like darker colors and no staining or chipping. It's the only thing I still love in my kitchen and would keep it in an instant except we're changing layout. I'm hoping to be able to save some bigger pieces for an office desk top or outdoor barbeque. Took forever to find the exact shade and doubt i'd luck out again, plus change is good.

                                                          So I'd do granite again in a heart beat, although if I was doing super modern I'd probably consider quartz or the composite materials with recycled glass. Don't know much about durability, but they looked great in a couple of homes I saw during a recent ASID kitchen tour.

                                                          1. re: Island

                                                            My granite counter tops are black, black, black black. The blackest black my granite contractor and crew could lay their hands on. And it is shiny! And it requires a little special attention when it comes to cleaning OR it will show every streak and smear of yucky sponges and tepid grimy dishwater that is smeared across it! And once you see what THAT stuff looks like, believe me, you do NOT want it coating surfaces that touch your food. But it isn't all that difficult to clean my black counters. We use 409 Natural Stone Cleaner and paper towels. Someone else has said they simply use vinegar and water. I have a couple of granite trivets my contrfactor gave me as a thank you gift that they made from the cut-outs for the sinks. I think I'll try the vinegar and water on them for a week or so and see how it works. I did try another brand of granite spray cleaner -- Windex???? -- and I did not like that. I thought I saw a subtle change in how black my black is, but if there was, it has gone and the original blackness is back with the 409. I use the same stuff on my smooth-top cook top. They all sparkle! Except when stuff boils over and cooks hard and we have to use CeramiBrite and a razor blade for crud control, but that's not difficult either. The ceramic cleaners work like silver polish: Less works best.

                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                              basically use clean water or a spray type cleaner and dry it well with paper towels after.

                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                Caroline - is your smooth-top cook top laminate - is that one and the same?

                                                                1. re: smilingal

                                                                  I can't remember ever hearing of a laminate cook top. Mine is made by General Electric, and it's black "glass." I don't know whether the manufacturer (GE or a subcontractor) uses any sort of layering process (laminate) in making the glass. Anyway, my cook top is one solid surface with no knobs You can see a corner of it -- the corner with the controls -- here:
                                                                  http://www.chow.com/photos/456444?tag...
                                                                  It's sooooo nice not to have knobs to clean! If I happen to run across a chunk of money any time soon that is jumping up and down and screaming, "Spend me! Spend me!" I plan on switching it out for a knobless induction cook top.

                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                    sorry - I meant induction not laminate!!! - so yours is a "with knob"induction?

                                                        2. probably hard to see but his looks like this

                                                           
                                                          1. I have white tile in my kitchen, and I love it. Don't have to worry about putting pots on it, and It's easy to clean because I sealed the grout. I like it because my kitchen is so small (8 x 9). And the dining nook adjoins it (read you look at the kitchen when you eat there). So the all white look gives it a feeling of space. Everything cleans up off it in a snap.

                                                            I've used granite and I liked it. But one of them did show water and oil stans too easily and that was a pain. My Father now has black granite with green glass tile for the backsplash and it's very pretty and easy care. Especially good because he's not very careful in the kitchen and this granite doesn't stain like his last, making it much easier to maintain.

                                                            In one kitchen i put in sealed butchers block, which was very good looking, but you had to be super careful about water on it. That kitchen was an open floor plan and so i wanted the kitchen cabinets to look more like furniture. It too was tiny.

                                                            If you're ever going to resell stick with granite

                                                            1. I have had corian countertops for three years and like them a lot. I didn't want anything shiny in my kitchen - hence the corian. I picked a fairly dark pattern (Maui) and I like it because it doesn't show dirt. My floors are pre-finished distressed five inch wide maple. I figured the distressed part would make up for any dings from dropping anything on them. They are the most admired part of the ktichen. I'm happyy about both decisions.

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: wernerwl

                                                                I do NOT intend this as a criticism or as a judgment regarding your housekeeping, but I would choose a floor color/pattern because it didn't show dirt, NOT a counter top. One of the things I LOVE about my very black, very shiny granite counter tops is that they DO show dirt! I don't want to eat off of dirty dishes, I don't want to cook on dirty counter tops. I don't for a minute think you embrace dirty counter tops, but thought this was an opportunity to get everyone thinking about the FUNCTION of kitchen counter tops. Function isn't restricted to whether you can set a hot pan on a counter top with impunity. It's also about how easy it is to keep clean, and to my way of thinking, having a pattern that hides the dirt doesn't make "housekeeping" easier. However, I do draw the line eventually. When I was choosing a back-splash for my super black super shiny counters, I initially wanted mirrors. Large plate glass mirrors that ran the length of the counters. Before I made a full commitment, I picked up one of those cheapie stick-it-on-the-back-of-a-closet-door mirrors from Walmart and put it at the back of my existing counter-tops to see if I liked the look as much as I thought I would. I LOVED the look, BUT....! Every dirty cup I set on the counter top became two dirty cups, two became four... Who needs that! Two toasters, two stand mixers (I do not put mine away because it weighs 4,000 pounds!), two of anything I put on a counter. I went with cream tumbled travertine. <sigh> I'm chicken.

                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                  omg - sooo much to take in and consider - so now Caroline broaches the subject of backsplash. I have admired glass tiles in OP bathrooms - wondering how that is in a kitchen. I have great cabinets - unfortunately much too dark - so I would like to lighten up the kitchen in all other ways.

                                                                  1. re: smilingal

                                                                    Good question. I'd also like to know what people are choosing for backsplashes. I carried my granite up the wall full backsplash up to the bottom of the cabinets. I still love it, but my granite is not busy and I only have one wall with cabinets. Any more would be too much for me. We'll be reconfiguring the space and I'dlike something different. In the magazines I love the look of glass tile and small granite or marble pieces, especially rectangle, set vertically. Also love subway tile with white kitchens, but don't know if those options will get dated quickly. Whatever I use will have to stand the test of time, because it will be a long time before I redo a kitchen again!

                                                                    1. re: Island

                                                                      Subway tile goes back to at least the early 20th century, so I don't think you need to worry about it looking dated.

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        Yes I know, but it made a resurgence the past few years and is everywhere. I still like it, but some of the kitchen designers I've met with suggest thinking about something other than that or natural cherry cabinets which I guess have been done to death in this area. Not necessarialy in the same kitchen.

                                                                      2. re: Island

                                                                        My Dad has green glass rectangular tiles as his backsplash. It's beautiful, and easy to clean. Gorgeous with his black granite countertops and whit cabinets.

                                                                        As for white subway tile, it's such a classic look I don't think it'll go out of style anytime soon. It still looks fresh in some of the turn of the century kitchens, ie. circa 1900. So doubt it would look dated. Cabinets are another story though.

                                                                2. how exciting!

                                                                  1. You should investigate Zinc, which is used in bars in France. And then report back what you find...because I'm interested in them too! :-)

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                      haven't heard about Zinc - for backsplashes or counter tops?

                                                                      1. re: smilingal

                                                                        Countertops.

                                                                        1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                          so since you brought them up - what about them can you share?

                                                                          1. re: smilingal

                                                                            Sadly, I haven't done much research on them (ie how much they cost, are there places in the US that install them) but I think they're sleek looking. I like the idea of all metal counters, but not necessarily stainless steel, which is too 'surgical' for me. And if they use them in bars in France, they must be hard-wearing, n'est-ce pas?

                                                                            1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                              I haven't seen any until I just googled and saw some pics ...."Zinc has an old world charm and is really beautiful alongside antique woods.
                                                                              Zinc is a soft metal.
                                                                              The surface of the zinc countertops will naturally oxidize into its patina finish, which is a dark gray." I think I prefer more of a modern look that will have a bit more life in the countertop. Zinc does however, have a nice warm tone to it.

                                                                    2. When we moved into our current home it came with white tile countertops. Yuck. Not easy to clean and the grout was old and stained. The kitchen needed an overhaul anyway so we went with granite and I am SOOO happy with it. Easy to clean, and it's been a few years and I've never sealed it... although I am meaning to. Not that it needs it, just want to be safe. We selected a dark stone with dramatic gray veins and purple flecks. Did a glass tile backsplash and would recommend EPOXY grout. It costs more than regular grout but will not stain. It will last forever.