A Design Guide
Counter Top Materials
No other part of your kitchen has to look so good or work so hard. It will be one of the most important decisions to make concerning colour, material, texture/pattern, durability and cost. From a design perspective the counter top style & colour will be highly impactful in establishing the look & feel of your kitchen. From a performance perspective the material and texture/pattern will determine long term durability and any on-going maintenance requirements.
This material has become the preferred choice for many of our clients. Engineered Quartz is a material manufactured by combining ground natural stone, pigment and resin to form a solid slab material that is cut, sized and finished in the same manner as natural stone. They are impervious to water, maintenance free (do not require sealing), available in solid colours and a wide range of texture/patterns of which many simulate natural stone such as granite & marble. As these products are manufactured the display samples are accurate representations and as such there is no requirement to visit slab suppliers to make your final selection.
These materials, most specifically granite & marble, have been a very popular choice for many years. Natural stone is quarried throughout the world including Canada. Slabs are cut, sized and polished. They are not impervious to water absorption and require sealing on an annual or semi-annual basis. Being natural materials colour and grain may vary greatly from one slab to the other. Display samples are approximate representations, you should visit the slab supplier to make your final choice.
These materials were the most common type of counter top during the 60's, 70's and 80's, especially for new home builders. They are comprised of a hard laminate material bonded to a particle board substrate. The laminate is imprinted with colour and/or a texture/pattern to produce a wide range of choice including simulated natural stones and woods. Although the surface laminate is impervious to water absorption they are not recommended for undermount sink installations. However they are only about 25% of the cost of natural stone or engineered quartz and may last 20 years or more when properly maintained.
Over the past decade or two concrete has found a niche for those looking for a highly unique material that is only limited by ones creativity. Though not quite as hard as engineered quartz or granite it offers a look and style that would be difficult or impossible to attain with any other material. The process involves blending aggregates, pigments and cement which is placed in a mold to cure, which is then polished and sealed.
For most the name Corian best describes this material grouping. They are manufactured from a polyester type resin material which is pigmented to create a wide range of texture/patterns. They are impervious to water and if damaged can be fully repaired. For a unique look Corian is available in translucent colours which provide a soft glow effect when backlit.
Graham T. Korbey
The Kitchen Abode