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Countertops Cheat Sheet

July 7, 2014


I believe my love of kitchens is well documented on this blog, but what may not be as well-known is that my Dad actually builds kitchens for a living! Hopefully one of these days we get to build my dream kitchen together. But today I wanted to talk countertops. Whenever I am paging through magazine and Pinterest I always see different types of counters: granite is an obvious favorite, but there is also soapstone, quartz, and marble.

But when I share pics and my grand plans with my Dad he often shares the downsides to different materials and kitchen trends. (Quick tip: all that lovely open shelving out there on the interwebs?? Very impractical for the average family. Just imagine trying to keep it neat and organized, and it’s often pretty shallow and can’t hold very much.)

So I decided to have a quick chat with him about the pros and cons of some of the countertops on the market. Maybe it will help  if you happen to be in the market for a kitchen upgrade or remodel.

counters 2

Soapstone: Soapstone is definitely on trend these days, because the look is sleek and sophisticated, not glossy and the stone’s finish is more consistent than granite (see below). It’s softer than granite, so it will scratch, but won’t stain which is a good thing. If you go with soapstone you must keep up with oiling it with mineral oil twice a year to keep it looking new.

Granite: Granite is really the gold standard in kitchen counters that looks great and can go the distance in terms of wear and tear. It’s easy to clean and requires no real maintenance, but best practice is to re-seal them twice a year. The biggest challenge for buyers is that the color and pattern can be erratic which is why the sample can look very different from the actual slab for your kitchen. If possible try to look at the slab before it is installed.

countertops 1

Marble: The look is gorgeous but marble is very soft and scratches and stains very easily. It wouldn’t necessarily need to be replaced too often, however you would likely lose the beautiful ascetic more quickly and want to replace it, if that’s in your budget-great, if not, beware. It might be better to use marble in a bathroom where it will not experience as much wear and tear.

Quartz: Quartz has become more popular recently, but there are a few things consumers should be aware of. It is often thought to be less expensive than granite, when it’s not. It is more consistent with its color and pattern, but it does scratch. The biggest downsides are scratching and cracking, and you will likely get a better bang for your buck with granite.

So there you have it, 30 years of kitchen experience in a nutshell!


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