Selecting your countertops is like putting the frosting on a cake. The experts have differing views of today’s popular countertop materials, but whether you crave granite or have fallen in love with the look of quartz, there is no shortage of options available.
Carolyn Campbell of Carolyn Campbell Interiors says, “Countertops are the hardest working element in your kitchen. Strength and resilience are the greatest priority, but countertops must be hygienic and easy to clean. The best ones resist the abrasive effect of cleaning and will not absorb the stains from food, vinegar, and oil. If possible use one length of countertop, keeping seams to a minimum. Select the thickest countertop you can afford.”
“There are several factors to consider when choosing a countertop— style and color, price, durability and maintenance, and the material’s impact on the environment,” according to Shannon Erwin of Hantel Kitchens & Baths. “As a consumer, you should look at the factors that are most important to you and find a material that will meet your needs in each category.”
Chris Brown of Elite Installation reports that granite is the countertop material most requested by his company’s customers. “Because of its timeless beauty, durability, and functionality, it is extremely popular. Natural stone’s variation in pattern, color, and texture allows unlimited design options. We have also been told by local realtors that granite is an also an investment that is sure to increase the value of a home.” Elite Installation uses a laser template for accuracy in cutting and Brown suggests a homeowner visit the shop they’re considering ordering from, and ask for references from other customers.
According to Larry Gunter of Gunter Woodworking LLC, “Solid surface products, plastics, and acrylics don’t compare to stone for heat and scratch resistance or durability because acrylic materials will shatter if a hot pot is placed on them. Heat doesn’t dissipate, it concentrates. Whereas on stone, it will dissipate.” He adds that engineered stone (quartz products) are non-porous, and don’t have to be maintained as natural stone does. “Natural stone should be resealed once a year and it is very simple to do,” Gunter says. “You can purchase the supplies at your local home improvement stores.”
Annah Hill of Brentwood Granite & Cabinet Design Center says, “We follow the Marble Institute of America’s guidelines for fabricating and installing natural stone, therefore, we do not employ the use of ‘butt-seams.’ We make sure the stone will be adequately supported. We also only purchase first quality materials, whereas blanks are typically second quality materials with lots of pits, pores, veining and fissures.”
“I offer a range of countertops to my clients,” says Anna Aycock of Designs by Anna Aycock. “Some prefer fabricated solid surfaces, others enjoy concrete. The most popular, however, are natural granite and stone. Regardless of all the new products on the market, my clients are still choosing natural stone.”
Reporting that her clients are interested in granite and stained concrete countertops is Marcia Leach of Designer Floors, “Granite is seeing the strongest demand because it is a natural stone. It is so beautiful and it takes so little to maintain it.”
Discussing pros and cons of various countertop materials, Vickie Morehead of VM Designs, LLC, says, “Concrete is usually higher in cost due to the labor that it takes to install, but also allows for many design ideas. Granite is still the most popular and usually worth the cost and great for resale of your home. Silestone and Zodiac are popular, but the cost sometimes can be as high as granite. They have a very tight pattern and must truly be what you’re looking for.”
Skip Dean of Dean’s Kitchen Center reports, “Granite has come down in price from 10 years ago due to the huge supply. There is definitely a place in the market for manmade granites and laminates. I like the honed manmade granites because there are no pores in the materials.”
According to Lisa Huff of In Design, “The choices available for countertops range from contemporary materials such as stainless and concrete to traditional ones such as natural stone, copper, and manmade solid surfaces, to country French with the look of tile. Granite prices have come down considerably and laminate granite look-a-likes are very good looking for the client on a tighter budget.”
In response to the green movement, Vetrazzo® countertops are created from recycled glass. Each countertop is an artistic creation. Melinda Dupree with Boyce Cabinet Solutions says, “Clients want the environmentally-friendly, maintenance-free countertop that has a personality of its own. Green products will stand up to the test of time and contribute to help our environment.”
Dupree reports that Vetrazzo uses 85 percent recycled glass mixed with cement. Caesarstone and Silestone (commonly called quartz) are composed of 93 percent natural quartz mixed with 7 percent resin. These materials, Dupree says, are more durable, practical, and diverse countertop materials than granite or marble. Quartz has stain-, scratch-, and heat-resistant properties and is a care-free product. She adds, “Although it is very trendy right now, environmental products are here to stay. Quartz would fall under the same category as granites do as far as pricing. Recycled glass is considered a luxury countertop.
According to Susan Miller of Abbey Carpet & Floor, “There are many granite countertop fabricators these days. Good fabricators sell only quality granite with no fissures, 3 cm thick, with polished edges and proper seams. Cambria is a quartz/resin/ manmade product that is nonporous, harder than granite, and meets government LEED standards. Cambria is the only quartz product manufactured in the USA, and has the best color choices, including granite looks.”
“Choosing to personalize your granite countertop with a Waterjet design allows use of pieces that might otherwise be considered remnants,” reports Helen Hannah of Tennessee Waterjet. “Homeowners can choose to combine materials to create an environment that best expresses their personality. They can incorporate an unlimited number of designs into their countertop—in whatever materials they choose. We grant them the capability of putting their signature on their space.”
There are a number of sources for countertops in the Greater Nashville area including:
Abbey Carpet & Floor
Boyce Cabinet Solutions
Brentwood Granite &
Cabinet Design Center Brentwood
Carolyn Campbell Int.
Dean’s Kitchen Center
Designs By Anna Aycock
Hantel Kitchens & Baths