Which Bathroom or Kitchen Countertop Is Right For You?
In the first installment about bathroom (and kitchen) countertops, we shared pros and cons about laminate, tile, and solid-surface materials. This segment will talk about quartz (aka engineered stone), wood, composite materials (glass, metal, and paper), and glass, with links to all of the manufacturers’ websites. Whatever countertop material you choose for your home depends on its durability for the intended use, and your investment. We’ve covered the range of investments for all countertops in a previous blog, ” Bathroom and Kitchen Countertops — An Overview”.
Materials: Quartz, Wood, Composite, Glass
Quartz, aka “Engineered Stone”:
Some people confuse quartz with quartzite; the two are not the same. Quartzite is a natural stone; quartz is manmade. Pros: Quartz is a long-lasting material, resistant to scratching, scorching, staining, and resistant to bacteria. It’s available in hundreds of alternative colors and patterns to fit virtually every style. Porcelain, cast iron, and metal sinks can be undermounted, which helps maintenance. Cons: Some people don’t like its “too perfect” appearance, and prefer the look of real stone for the same investment. Although quartz is advertised as a green product, most of the products (except Cambria) have to be shipped to the US by freighter, and then shipped to fabricators all over the US using fossil fuels.
Custom manufactured by carpenters, cabinet manufacturers, and furniture manufacturers.
Check local resources before committing to a wood countertop that has to be shipped more than 100 miles. Pros: Wood has an undeniably beautiful, warm appearance and feel, an excellent choice for many historical renovations. It can be sanded and refinished. If the wood is repurposed, obtained locally, or has the Forest Service Certification, it is one of the most “green” alternatives for bathroom countertops. Bamboo is a perfect material for Oriental-themed bathrooms! Cons: Wood can be high maintenance, requiring regular resealing or refinishing. It is more easily scratched, dented, and stained than other bathroom countertops, and it’s a breeding ground for bacteria. (Photo Courtesy of Sonoma Cast Stone)
Composite Glass, Metal, and Paper:
Pros: Composite products are manufactured from pre- and post-consumer recycled products, qualifying them as “green”. They are durable and price-competitive. Recycled glass countertops have a good selection of colors. Undermount bathroom sinks may be possible, depending upon the fabricator and the type of sink. Cons: Because these products are “leading-edge technology,” you are relying on the manufacturers’ claims. Finding a qualified fabricator in your area can be a challenge, and getting comparative estimates will be almost impossible. (Photo Courtesy of Vetrazzo)
Glass countertops should be manufactured locally by a specialist. NOT a good D-I-Y project.
Pros: Glass can have a beautiful “airy” appearance for unique applications. It’s available in a wide range of colors and textures, to exemplify the best of custom expression. Cons: Glass is a high-maintenance material. Even with a texture, it can show fingerprints, water spots, and scratches — it scratches easily. If you drop anything heavy on it, or place anything hot (like a curling iron) on it, glass may crack or shatter. In the next and final segment of this series, we will discuss the pros and cons of concrete, stone, stainless steel, and lavastone countertops.
“See the Possibilities. Create a Positive Difference.”
Helping you select the right countertop for your bathroom or kitchen is one of my favorite responsibilities! D. P. Design can (and will) help you with everything, so you make the right decisions for your home, your lifestyle, and your budget. To get more information, please send an e-mail to Diane or call D. P. Design (503-632-8801).
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