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Countertop Counterpart
Which material is your ideal match?

By SARAH C. LANGE

July 2016

If you’re looking for the perfect counter for your kitchen, check out the profiles of these popular options.

Granite

Likes

Versatility. "Granite comes in almost any color of the rainbow, and every piece is different," says Robin Swernoff of Lakeside Stoneworks in Brown Deer.

Dislikes

Abuse. While granite is durable and stain-resistant, be sure to use trivets when taking hot dishes out of the oven, as you would with any countertop.

Love match

"You can use granite in contemporary, traditional and transitional kitchens," says Cheryl Ryan of Kitchens By Design in Elm Grove. "Lighter grays with white and gray taupe are popular," she says, adding that for a modern look, "solid black could be used in polished or leathered finish," depending on your preference for high gloss or little shine.

Estimated cost

$70-$100 installed price per square foot (ppsf)

Matchmaker tip 

"Just make sure that you protect it," Swernoff says. Ryan adds that it should be sealed with a nontoxic sealer.


MARBLE

Likes

Sophistication. "Marble exudes elegance as well as being classic and timeless," Ryan says.

Dislikes

Lemons. "Marble can be more prone to etching by acids and oils," Swernoff says.

Love match

"A popular trend in kitchens at the moment is white or gray cabinets and marble with gray veining in contemporary homes as well as more traditional homes," Ryan says.

She adds that statuary marble can work in either case, pairing it with cabinetry featuring clean lines and no ornamentation for a modern take or in a Shaker style for a traditional one.

Estimated cost

$115-$135 installed ppsf

Matchmaker tip "Install it honed — which takes the polish off the surface — to make it less prone to etching," Swernoff says. "Because it’s more porous, sealer is important," she adds.


Quartz

Likes

Variety. Much like granite, quartz, which does not need a sealer, comes with many options. "(You have a) wide range of choices, from speckled mirror chips mixed into the top to a solid gray top, as well as a top with veining similar to real stone," Ryan says, noting that quartz’s popularity is on the uptick.

Dislikes

Heat. "Quartz is more heat-sensitive because of a poly-resin bonding agent," Swernoff says.

Love match

"The splatter-patterned look has appeal for contemporary designs," Swernoff says, while Ryan adds that solid colors also lend themselves to a modern look.

Estimated cost

$70-$95 installed ppsf

Matchmaker tip You can find engineered quartz, which combines ground natural quartz and its bonding material, under other names, including Silestone and Caesarstone.


Quartzite

Likes

Strength. Another elegant option, this metamorphic rock is hard, dense and resistant to scratches and heat.

Dislikes

A small budget.

Quartzite tends to be more expensive than your other options.

Love match

If you value subtlety, this is your stone. "Quartzite creates a softer, almost translucent look," Swernoff says. "A transitional or traditional kitchen would look stunning in Iceberg quartzite with an eased edge detail and under-mount sink and tiled backsplash," Ryan says. She adds that quartzite’s linear lines work well in contemporary homes.

Estimated cost

$125+ installed ppsf

Matchmaker tip

As with other natural stones, use a nontoxic sealer for an extra layer of protection.


Wood

Likes

TLC. If you treat it well, wood can add the right kind of relationship drama to your space, livening up a contemporary kitchen’s white walls and cabinetry, for example. "Wood adds warmth," Ryan says.

Dislikes

Neglect; being treated like a cutting board. "It requires more maintenance and care," Ryan says, so she suggests using it for an island. The bonus: Wood countertops pair well with other countertops for more visual interest.

Love match

"Reclaimed wood could be used for a more rustic or industrial look," Ryan says. For the eco-conscious, bamboo is another solid choice.

Estimated cost

$40-$50 installed ppsf

Matchmaker tip

Natural oils are nontoxic and make spot repairing your countertop easy, according to the U.S. Green Building Council, which also recommends a combination of natural oil and beeswax if you’re looking for a water-resistant finish. M

 













 


This story ran in the July 2016 issue of: