Countertops that Work
In updating my kitchen, big decisions had to be made, so I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I want it to look and function. My old kitchen had natural stone Calacatta Gold marble countertops, which I adored, but I’ve been thinking about using a manufactured solid surface like quartz or manufactured stone for the update.
Each surface has its advantages and disadvantages. Natural quarried stone is gorgeous, but requires regular maintenance with sealers. It is an incredibly hard surface, but not impervious to chips. And most importantly, light colored stone, like my Calacatta Gold, is very susceptible to staining, especially if you are near the end of your most recent cycle of sealing.
Manufactured stone and quartz surfaces use natural stone, but in a granulated state and bound with a small percentage of resin, usually 7% for quartz (because the stone flecks are larger, requiring a bit more resin to bind them together) to about 5% for manufactured stone (because the particles are finer than sand). These counters are much harder than natural marble, travertine, or soapstone, so chips and scratches aren’t a as much of a worry. And unless you are conducting a science experiment with solvents, staining isn’t an issue. So that spilled red wine or tea or crushed blueberry isn’t a worry. Just wipe and go!
One thing I’m certain of is no matter which solid surfacing I choose, I definitely want a waterfall edge, where the surface continues in the same thickness down the side of cabinetry or island. I’m smitten with this trend for two reasons. One, it just looks pretty and feels modern, and two, it’s quite practical. The edges of cabinetry take the most abuse so the veneer or paint is easily scratched and chipped by just the daily chores we perform in a kitchen. A solid slab waterfall edge certainly makes that less of a worry!
Speaking of maintenance, that’s the other reason I’m thinking of going with a manufactured surface. My new kitchen is going to be more modern than my last, so I want the surfaces to stay shiny and new looking. An old world kitchen can look good with a marble counter that shows its age proudly with some stains and a chip or two, but those same defects can spoil the look of a sleeker transitional, contemporary kitchen. Also, I admit I’d like to simplify my life a bit, and not having to deal natural stone sealing twice a year would be two less projects on my to-do list.
For more kitchen inspiration, please visit my “Yes, Chef” Pinterest board. With a pending kitchen renovation, I’ve been visiting it a lot lately myself!