granite,solid surface or laminate

I am 2 months away from my complete kitchen remodel. I just can't decide on countertops. I really don't want anything that has a lot of maintenance. Any suggestions on granite, Corian or laminate. I am leaning toward the solid surface. Please help!!
  14 answers
  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Feb 19, 2013
    I have never been a high maintaince type of girl so anything like granite was not for me. I like to wipe the surface with whatever I have nearby, sponge, dish cloth, some kind of antibacterial spray etc. you get the idea. I vote for a solid surface like Corian or LG HI-MACS solid surface which is just like Corian. Pretty much maintainance free and so many choices. I had my counters and island done with LG Hi Macs and have never regretted it.

  • Granite is the lowest maintenance surface. It needs to be sealed once and a while but that is easy to do as its not much more then cleaning and wiping the sealant on. However this depends upon the quality of the granite you purchase. Lower quality tends to be more porous then the higher quality stones are. Corian or solid surface types do not need to be sealed, but can scratch fairly easy and can burn if a hot surface is placed upon them so coasters are a must for hot pots. They tend to loose some of their shiny luster but can be polished back up using compound or corn starch and a rubbing pad. Laminate much like solid surface tops are easy to maintain, but the edges are not all that pretty and once damaged the entire top will require replacement. Other options to consider is concrete tops, or those tops that are man made such as Silestone Quartz tops or Quartz tops alone.

  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Feb 19, 2013
    I have pretty edges on my Hi Macs :) I had about 8 different profiles to choose from when they made my counters. My counters are light and I've never had a problem with slightly hot pots. I don't put burning hot straight from the stove hot though.

  • Shari Shari on Feb 19, 2013
    I have the LG Hi-Macs solid surface (in Graphite) in my kitchen and one bathroom. (The bathroom vanity can be seen in my HT profile photos.) It is pretty but as mentioned above by Woodbridge Environmental , it quickly (within weeks of installation) started to lose its shiny luster due to teeny-tiny scratches from normal day-to-day use. Initially, I would have told you I didn't love it for this reason. However, now that the counter tops are 2 years old, I don't really even notice it much anymore. @Woodbridge Environmental : My kitchen installer said he could polish my counter top but I guess it hasn't bothered me enough to follow through setting up a time with him to do it, or incurring the expense. I did not know the LG Hi-Mac surface could be polished with cornstarch! Is this something I could do myself? If so, would you be kind enough to give specific details on how this is done? (Cornstarch paste or dry? What kind of rubbing pad? Circular motion or back and forth? How often can it be done? etc.)

  • Diane Diane on Feb 19, 2013
    Thanks so much for all of the comments. I am so grateful for each one. This has been several years in the planning and it is finally coming to be so I really want to make the best choice for our home. I have had butcher block looking laminate since 1981 so it is way over due for new cabinets and the works. Just have to wait my turn with the contractor. I am 4th in line for the remodel. Still have a little time for decisions and just found this site and love all of the ideas.

  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Feb 19, 2013
    I lived with the faux butcher block laminate too! Do you just go about your business in the kitchen and ignoer them like I did? lol

  • Cornstarch is an abrasive material. It is applied much like polishing compound you would use on a car finish. You can purchase white polishing compound at most auto stores, this is a bit more abrasive then the corn starch and works well if the top is a bit more scratched up. We used to use the corn starch on our lacquer finished autos to remove the swirls left behind with the polishing bonnet. For counters you would use a polishing pad like the one you get with a wax for the car. Or if you have an orbit type polishing machine, not a grinder type machine that simply goes round, you can use it to take the elbow grease out of the task. You mix the cornstarch with some water to make a paste of sorts and rub in circles from small to large back to small. It this action will begin to bring up the luster of the top again. Going back and fourth is like sanding, it will produce lines in the surface.

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Feb 20, 2013
    I prefer non porous surface and once you pay a bunch for granite and find that you did not get the good stuff, what do you do? I do not have complete control over what goes on in the kitchen so I fear a grocery bag dripping chicken might have been set there or something like that and that scares the dickens out of me.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Feb 20, 2013
    I am putting concrete countertops in my new kitchen. In addition to their durability, I like that they are being made by a local artisan, and will be completely custom.

  • Mary Insana Mary Insana on Feb 20, 2013
    I love the look of concete too

  • Debby Debby on Feb 20, 2013
    I have granite in my kitchen. There are many great things about it, but you might consider just doing an inset of granite (saves money). Granite can chip, and if it's inappropriately handled (don't use a wet sander to get a spot out), there are times when it can't be repaired.

  • Jeanette S, what you need to be sure about is that you seal the tops once a year if you can. Pretty simple process. If your worried about the chicken drippings, a good quality disinfectant should do the trick to kill any bacteria that may have soaked up. You should see these areas as stains that do not come out once the top is dry. If your not seeing any discolorations then you really do not have any issue. This brings me to one other point. That is aging in place. As we get older our eyes begin to loose some of their ability to see. This often results in us not cleaning up quite as well as we once did when we were younger. When doing counters for someone who is having a hard time seeing, counter tops should be ideally chosen that show up dirt better then those tops with all the tiny specks and designs in them that make them so appealing. While it may look a bit bland, leaving crumbs and drippings that cannot be easily seen by aging eyes can result in picking up all sorts of infections and health concerns as the designs often hide all of the stuff that a top sees during the course of the day. A solid surface color will show up almost anything left on the top that was not cleaned properly.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Feb 20, 2013
    True granite is at the top of my list...many "granites" are not as dense as real "geologicaly defined granite". so they are not as durable and can stain if not sealed. Good dense granite does not need to be sealed, but may folks do. Slabs are much more expensive than tile. I'm doing my kitchen in large bull nosed tiles. Real stone is better for hot items over the synthetics (corian, silestone etc).

  • Designs by BSB Designs by BSB on Feb 20, 2013
    love granite for durability ... but I have also owned Corian and appreciate the versatility of how easy they clean too! cannot go without saying that I LOVE having a large section or island in butcher block. dislike small cutting boards :)