Thursday, May 10, 2012

Countertop Choices

I'm kind of jumping the gun on making this decision (considering we're not even remotely ready to build our dream house), but kitchen dreaming is in full swing and I'd like your input.

I've only ever been around Formica countertops, and I actually like 'em. They're cheap, sturdy, virtually indestructible, and I think they've come a long way since the bright yellow of the 60's. They're starting a new line called "Ideal Edge" that hides the dead-giveaway brown mark around the seams, and they've got a pretty convincing stone look, too.

That said... who doesn't dream of real marble, butcher block, granite, soapstone, quartz, and all the other gorgeous counters?

Considering how much time and effort is spent in the kitchen, higher end countertops might make it into our low-budget house, if they're worth it.

So what kind of countertops do you have, and do you like them? How heat/stain/scratch resistant are they? Any tips, advice, or comments?


Jennie C. said...

Our counter tops are awful tile, with awful grout, which is hard to clean and - disgusting.  I covet formica countertops.  :-)  I actually really like formica, too, and for the same reasons.  My sister got a granite counter when she built her house.  The mottled look made it difficult to tell whether it was clean or not.  "I know!" she said. "Isn't that great?!"  Hm. We obviously want different things out of our countertops.  ;-)

Farmer's City Wife said...

LOL!! I wouldn't mind one that hides the permanent stains but shows the real dirt :-).
I always kind of wondered about tile counters. If they're half as temperamental as bathroom tile...

Monica said...

I'm dreaming of new countertops.  In the meantime I have thought of painting our "white" laminate counters so I can paint our oak cabinets white (or rather antique white.   We lived in an apartment with granite countertops.  I was pretty happy with them except that they were brown and black and when you bent down to get something out of the cabinets below, you could see all the dust!  I have considered DIY concrete counters and I saw  that someone had made counterops from old solid oak doors.  That was cool.  Whatever we do now, we will likely upgrade to quartz counters in the future because a nice kitchen greatly improves the value of a home.

Katherine said...

You have something against bright yellow formica countertops?! We'll ours isn't so bright anymore (it was probably installed in the 70's)  and it has a lot of scratches and cuts and just looks all around bad. I wanted to replace it 10 years ago when we moved it, but it was way down on the fixer-up priority list.  We have to replace the whole sink area, attached counters and cabinets underneath (water damage from leaky pipes), so I'm thinking a big wooden table-type counter with thick butcher block top with the sink dropped in (I would so love a farm sink) and well sealed. My sister recently had a new kitchen addition put in with a lot of black/greenish marble. She has to constantly wipe it for it to look shiny because of the dark color and  all the light she has in the kitchen. But is seems pretty durable (although they do baby it). What I do love in her kitchen is her real linoleum floor.

Kelly@inthesheepfold said...

My friend had tile and it was a nightmare to keep clean. Mold and crumbs - yuck! It looked great for a few hours after she bleached the grout.

I would get granite if I could afford it. You can set hot pans right on the counter.

Our laminate counters are nothing special, but they do wipe clean.

(Thank you for linking to my blog!)

Jennifer Morgan said...

I've had tile (couldn't agree more with Jennie C's comment there!) formica, and Corian (real and generic) and have to say that, so far, formica is the winner. It's easy to clean, and difficult to damage. Our Corian scratches easily - not so fun to buff out. Also, after a few years it looks a little dull. My sister-in-law has granite,with rough unfinished edges that looks amazing, and it's always clean and shiny, so perhaps in my next house...

Ayoungblood said...

for my two cents worth,
Granite - pros - lovely to look at - cons - requires every six months maintenance, do not let lemon, vinegar, or any acid substance stay on top, it etches.  do not put a hot pot on top if the vein of granite is just right, you can crack the granite; before buying must see the whole piece to be sure you really like the color configuration; do not cut on it; (black/green/grey/pink  color
marble, ditto maybe even harder to keep that shinny surface (friend had this and it was in blocks so there were seams everywhere)
butcher block, if  you cook a lot really looks worn out quickly even if you can refinish it; had a section just for work area and felt it always looked shabby.
Corian, while if it breaks or is damaged they can cut out the section and if the fellows doing the work are good you can't tell the repair (same with installation no seams); do not use it as a cutting board - sharp knives can cut; do not use abrasive cleaners (dulls finish); recommend no off the burner pots; was wonderful to make bread or baked items; love the "stone" look; loved the no seams; the color I had was a white but not plain white 
This house I have Formica for the last 7 years and was better I think I like it better than all the others.  absolutely no hot pots on it; will etch with knives if you cut on it; In the next two years we may need to replace the counters because the sink and faucet need to be replaced soon. 

I do use a corian cutting board (brought from the time I had Corian) , wood cutting board, hot pads no matter what the counter surfaces are so my counters never were damaged.   
Granite info/experience from my sister in law; corian info from my "cutting board" use and counters.  butcher block had a section near the stove.  hope this info helps

Farmer's City Wife said...

White cabinets! I both want and dread the idea of them... they are so beautiful but I fear keeping them looking white!
Good to know about the dust on dark counters! It probably wouldn't be a big deal on the work spaces I used every day, but the nooks behind cookbooks would probably get pretty grungy looking :).

Farmer's City Wife said...

LOL, nothing against 'em except I've got 'em right now :).
I'm dreaming of a light-filled kitchen, so dark counters probably wouldn't be a good idea. Thanks for the input (and hope you get that butcher block!).

Farmer's City Wife said...

I love your blog, Kelly :-D.
Yep, laminate is pretty unromantic, but it's all I've ever known and I've never really had problems with it :-D. Some of those granites are awfully beautiful though, aren't they??

Farmer's City Wife said...

Good to know about Corian and scratches. I'm famous for thinking "I can just chop a few herbs on this counter and toss 'em in the pot" and then regretting it when I see the scratches. I'm thinkin' I need butcher block (though golly that granite sounds beautiful).

Farmer's City Wife said...

Thanks so much for weighing in... your advice is quite helpful :). I'm thinkin' Formica has never let me down so far, but the others are pretty tempting.

karlab71 said...

We LOVE our St.Cecelia granite countertop on our island! It is easy to clean and we can set hot pans right on it. I dream of doing the rest of our counters in it, but alas, appliances are more of a priority!

Farmer's City Wife said...

Oh gosh. Now I had to go and google it and it's stinkin' gorgeous! May have to reconsider the formica... :)

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