One of the biggest components of a home remodel that really ties in every aspect are the countertops. Finding the right style, colour and material can make all the difference when it comes to the overall finished product. Your counters are one of the first things people notice about a room. Second only to custom cabinetry. That’s why you want your kitchen, bathroom, bar or outdoor entertaining space to showcase the very best.
However, with all the options available, trying to determine the best product for your kitchen or bathroom counters can seem overwhelming. Quartz countertops, granite countertops, large format porcelain tile, butcher block countertops and laminate are just some of the material options to choose from.
When picking the right material, homeowners need to consider things like durability, the cost and style. Consider, too, what it will be used for and will it stand the test of time. Will it survive nicks, scratches and burns from cooking? What about moisture and heat?
With so many choices available, consulting with a professional ensures you will get the right product for your home renovation. Fortunately, the team at Revive Renovations has the experience working with custom countertops. We can walk you through each step and help you find the perfect solution that doesn’t break the bank.
Quartz or otherwise known as engineered stone is a durable composite material. It’s mainly manufactured by using an adhesive bonding material in combination with crushed stone. In most cases the crushed stone consists of granite or marble. Quartz or engineered stone normally falls under the engineered quartz, polymer concrete and engineered marble stone categories.
With that said, engineered marble is mostly used for indoor flooring and walls, while the engineered quartz is predominantly used for kitchen countertops. Related products to Quartz are geopolymers and cast stone. In most cases, quartz materials are manufactured in big large blocks.
The blocks are cut into various thicknesses depending on the application. Most standard slab thicknesses range from 1.2 inches to 1.7 inches. The quartz slabs go through a polish and fabrication process once they are cut to the correct size.
Granite is very popular since it’s extremely durable and unique to where it was mined. In fact, each slab or even block is unique and one of a kind. With that said, granite comes in multiple different colors and patterns. Predominant colors are normally white, pink, black, green, blue and mostly gray. Granite is seen as a felsic intrusive igneous rock with granular texture giving the rock its uniqueness. Similar to quartz, granite goes through the same fabrication process.
The fabrication process normally includes cutting granite into large blocks, this allows for easy transpiration from the quarry to the fabrication plant. The granite blocks are then cut into smaller more manageable slabs. The process for cutting granite into slabs are done by either using a gang saw or diamond wire. A gang saw consists of using high pressured water and large thick saw blades. Large quantities of water are used to elevate the friction between the blade and the stone. On average it takes roughly 24 to 48 hours to cut through an entire granite block. The diamond wire is less time consuming however it can be more expensive.
Once the slabs are cut, it goes through the polishing process. There are multiple types of finished on granite to chose from and that effects the polishing process. Granite also comes in different quality variations or levels depending on what type or region of granite it is and how well the polishing process was done. Granite normally gets sub-divided into different level from level one to level five. Five being the most expensive.
Large porcelain tiles or ceramic tiles are great for using in bathrooms, kitchens or any common area. It’s extremely tough and relatively easy to install. Porcelain tiles have been used within residential homes & commercials settings for decades. However, their style, pattern and size has changed significantly in the last recent years.
Porcelain tiles have a tremendously low absorption rate of less than 0.5 percent. In most cases dense clay is used in the fabrication process. Porcelain tiles can come in various patterns and finishes. Most common finishes are glazed or unglazed. With that said, tiles are rated based on a ISO standard surface abrasion test, ranging from zero to five. The result of this test may be used to determine suitability for end use conditions.
A more recent addition to the countertop family is the wood countertops. Most wooden countertops comes in various patterns and or designs ranging from single wide stave, joined blanks and butchers block. Wood countertops are seen as the most eco-friendly option on the market. Important to note that the use of wooden countertops are prohibited in any commercial food setting.
Butcher block or otherwise known as butcher’s block is a specific style of wood that is fabricated from using walnut wood, maple wood, teak wood or birch wood. Butcher blocks was commonly used in butcher shops hence where the name came from. Wood countertops needs a little more TLC than your normal traditional countertops. Regular use of disinfectant or cleaning is required with any wooden surface.
Laminate countertops are a more affordable way to make any given surface stand out. The use of laminate products as countertops in kitchens are on the decline since entry level granite and marble are becoming more affordable. With that said, more alternative products like Caesarstone, Silestone and Quartz are on the rise.
Laminate countertops were extremely popular in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Laminate countertops comes in multiple patterns and varieties. The two primary laminate fabrication methods on the market is Self edge or wood edge laminate and post-formed plastic laminate.