What countertop material to use?

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Old 03-25-08, 10:23 PM
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What countertop material to use?

So i'm still on the fence on what counter top to buy for a kitchen remodel.

The house is a rental property so it doesn't really have to be really nice but i don't want it to look like crap either.

So here are the choices...(from orange store)
Corian
Lexton
Granite/stone
Laminate

I need about 34-35 sqft of counter material.

everything except the laminate needs someone to come, measure and install the counter. takes 4-5 weeks to order the counter

the laminate is cheap but will it hold up? does it look cheap?
it's also available quickly or it might even be instock.

the price of the 3 other materials are within 100-200 of each other. the cost of laminate is about 1/10 of the price of the others.

one orange store rep tells me the laminate is not too bad now and if you don't cut on it and do stupid things to it it'll hold up. another store tells me that it's not good and people really use it in a pinch or if they are on a tight budget. i'm leaning towards the laminate but i don't want it to fall apart within 2 yrs.

so what's the real deal here?
 
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  #2  
Old 03-26-08, 03:11 AM
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Since this is a rental, I would spend the extra money.The laminate will show cuts and burns and stains by the time the lease is up.
 
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Old 03-26-08, 04:54 AM
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High end rental of basic living??? Don't put expensive/quality is a cheap rental. The least expensive is post formed laminate(rolled edge/backsplash). Seams show, DIY friendly, not a major expense if it gets trashed. Custom laminate(square edge), better looks, hundreds of color choices, durable with limitations. Solid durface, expensive but repairable, no seams. Man made granites, very durable and expensive, needs no sealing. Granitestone, needs to be sealed periodically(can stain), can be cracked, not easily repaired because it cannot be matched.
 
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Old 03-27-08, 12:18 AM
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MKTBULLY...

I have been shopping around for countertop as well for a kitchen. The "depot" has some new material called simplicity. From what I can gather it is like laminate in many ways but nearly half the cost.

Just some food for thought for you.

While I am here... What is the standard height to hand cabinets on kicthen walls. From counter top to bottom of wall cabinet?

Thanks.
 
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Old 03-27-08, 05:02 AM
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You get what you pay for, and cheaper than Formica has to be basically junk. Which is what big box stores have a lot of.

The usual space between ct and wall cab is 18", but that can vary depending on personal likes.
 
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Old 03-27-08, 06:09 PM
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Simplicity is a solid surface material made in China by Montelli, a subsidiary of DuPont. It's certainly cheaper than Corian, but I doubt it's cheaper than laminate, if that's what you are calling Formica.
 
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Old 03-28-08, 03:26 PM
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I just did mine in granite but I'd have a real hard time spending the $$$ for a rental. I had laminate before and the pattern wears off, it cuts and scratches, steam from the dishwasher will delaminate it from it's cheap particle board substraight but you can buy 5 of them for the cost of the solid surface! If you ever have a water leak, yoiur countertop will get trashed easily. My thought is buy cheap and replace when necessary.

With granite, you can's scratch it, you can use the countertop for a cutting board. I suggest rounded edges since if you chip it anywhere it will be there, a sharp edge is the weakest point. Constant sealing of granite is a myth, ours is impregnated with resin. We were told that if it ever needs to be sealed, it won't be for 15-17 years if at all. All of that comes with a price though.

We have Corian in our office, it doesn't look as good as granite but it's tough stuff. Quartz just doesn't have the shine or depth of granite.
 
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Old 03-28-08, 03:42 PM
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Constant sealing of granite is a myth, ours is impregnated with resin. We were told that if it ever needs to be sealed, it won't be for 15-17 years if at all.

 
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Old 03-28-08, 06:30 PM
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hey mktbully look out side the big box stores and look for a local granite and marble dealer and ask them to price it using remnants could be a lot cheaper but color selection might be limited
 
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Old 03-28-08, 07:14 PM
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I agree with Bud.
 
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Old 03-28-08, 08:43 PM
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I got to visit Europe last year. The churches, basilicas,and monuments, were still so beautiful after hundreds of years. Why? Because everything was built of stone, marble, granite and tile.

If the landlord is truly concerned with the almighty dollar, he would be better off to use better materials...and not only because he will not have to lose turnaround time while he replaces the cheap product.
 
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Old 03-29-08, 07:59 AM
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I must correct my own post! I said those buildings were standing after hundreds of years, and so that is the case, but many are also standing and in service after THOUSANDS of years....none, of course were built with laminate.
 
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Old 03-29-08, 03:18 PM
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Bud, please explain your reply, are you indicating that the resin impregnation is not what I was told? I see that you're a professional, I would like your opinion.
 
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Old 03-29-08, 03:59 PM
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It's the 15 to 17 year thing that brings a smile to my face. Based on what! How can that be predicted not knowing how you will use the countertop and what cleaning methods you will employ and the frequency of use and cleaning. Is the word "impregnated" your word or theirs? Some granites can't even be sealed as far as I know, some can. But to say a stone has been impregnated seems a little far fetched to me.

If all of that is a part of the sellers sales package be careful you weren't over sold.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the statement but what is so mythical about the need to seal granite with some frequency. Sometimes that what it takes to maintain it.
 
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Old 03-30-08, 09:52 AM
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Bud, when we looked at the raw slabs they showed us the side, you could see that something was soaked into the stone down in about 3/4". they also told us what to look for to be sure that the seal was intact. They also had to reseal the places where the edges were finished and where the sink was cut out. The place is a reputable stone supplier recommended by all of the local cabinet shops. Based on what I saw, I believe that is has a seal as explained, yet I'm not so nieve to believe that maintenance may be required at some point.
 
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Old 03-30-08, 12:06 PM
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I'm not challenging their reputation. I'm just saying that sealers are applications that can be worn with use. Cleaning and daily use of the counter top is friction related and friction will remove some of the sealer. It wouldn't be unusual to have to renew the sealer in less than the time they are stating. Even penetrating sealers will wear.

Unfortunately 90% of the sales people in this industry are only puppets saying what they are told to say and have little to no understanding of the products they are dealing with.
 
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Old 03-31-08, 06:56 AM
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Advice well taken Bill, thanks for you professional input!
 
  #18  
Old 03-31-08, 02:16 PM
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Novice Question on Countertop

Is it a safe practice to glue new laminate over old? (Assume the existing is sealed well with no lifted seams and has been verified to be level).

Thank you for your time in advance!
R
 
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Old 03-31-08, 02:51 PM
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Hi Ryan and welcome to the DIY Forums.

I personally would remove the laminate first, but it may not be necessary, so let's see what some other opinions may be.

Also, It's better to create a new post for your question, than to
"Tag along" on someone else's post. You will be more likely to get a better response.
 
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Old 03-31-08, 06:24 PM
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I would think that gluing new laminate to old laminate would be like putting new paint over old failing paint, it's only as good as what's under it. That substraight that is under there is only pressed sawdust, once it gets wet or absorbs moisture it doesn't matter what's on top of it, it's gonna get ugly. I do not believe that old substraight should be trusted.
 
  #21  
Old 04-06-08, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by mktbully View Post
So i'm still on the fence on what counter top to buy for a kitchen remodel.

The house is a rental property so it doesn't really have to be really nice but i don't want it to look like crap either.

So here are the choices...(from orange store)
Corian
Lexton
Granite/stone
Laminate

I need about 34-35 sqft of counter material.

everything except the laminate needs someone to come, measure and install the counter. takes 4-5 weeks to order the counter

the laminate is cheap but will it hold up? does it look cheap?
it's also available quickly or it might even be instock.

the price of the 3 other materials are within 100-200 of each other. the cost of laminate is about 1/10 of the price of the others.

one orange store rep tells me the laminate is not too bad now and if you don't cut on it and do stupid things to it it'll hold up. another store tells me that it's not good and people really use it in a pinch or if they are on a tight budget. i'm leaning towards the laminate but i don't want it to fall apart within 2 yrs.

so what's the real deal here?

I'm a kitchen designer, and I would put laminate in my rentals. As a matter of fact, unless it's a super nice place, with good renters, laminate is the only thing I'd put in. Corian scratches way easier than laminate, and it's not real cheap. Quartz and granite are priced comparatively and are both good products. Really, laminate is a very decent product. I've seen laminate countertops that are 50 years old and still look rather good. The most important thing to realize is the value of the home. Good luck!
 
  #22  
Old 04-06-08, 12:04 PM
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Laminate is the standard in rental properties. There are many selections today that replicate granite, marble, concrete, and other high-end countertop products. Laminate still remains the least expensive countertop material available.

I live in a rental with a very old countertop with metal edging. The unit is 50-60 years old. While the countertop is dated, the green color is very similar to Behr's kiwi paint. As they say, whatever is old is new again! Except for a few nicks and scratches, the laminate is still in good condition.

Unless this is a high-end rental, such as a vacation home that demands top dollar, laminate would tend to offer the greater return on the investment. Keep in mind too the age, condition, and quality of the cabinets. Placing an expensive countertop on older, serviceable cabinets is another factor to consider.

For pictures and selections of laminate, visit:

www.formica.com
www.wilsonart.com
 
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Old 04-06-08, 03:06 PM
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Those 50 year old laminate tops are not the same as laminate tops today. That was a much tougher product bonded with contact cement to 3/4" plywood, with a wear surface you could actually see in profile. Most tops now use post form grade laminate (very thin) laminated to high density particleboard with a thin hot melt adhesive. Granted, particleboard is more dimensionally stable than plywood, but if it gets wet, it swells up like a sponge. Also the wear surface is about 1/1000" thick, so it can wear through very quickly. Having said all that, I would agree with using laminate in a rental unit and plan on changing it out when the renter leaves.
 
  #24  
Old 04-06-08, 04:57 PM
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countertop

A note to toss into the mix here -- you said that everyone but the laminate requires an inperson measure. I strongly disagree and would not hire a contractor who will not come out and measure. The countertop needs to be cut to the exact specifications, which noone can know until they look at it. Don't let them cut corners.
 
  #25  
Old 04-06-08, 05:51 PM
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Good point. Countertop needs to be measured by the fabricator or his representative. The onus will be on the fabricator for correct measurements, installation, and proper fit. If you or your handyman plan to DIY the installation, the representative still needs to measure.
 
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