Countertops in the kitchen


When we started building our house, we had more-or-less decided that we would use granite for our countertops. However, as we started looking at granite, we were told that as a natural, porous material, granite could be permanently stained if it was not properly maintained with mineral oils. Although the maintenance is relatively easy (just wipe it down every six months or so) - the thought of just a chance of our coutertops being permanently stained was enough for us to do some additional research.

We found a product named Silestone which is made from quartz. However, the quartz is crushed and combined with a small amount of resin which makes it completely non-porous, therefore removing the possibility of staining and the necessity of maintenance. The finished product looks like a solid piece of stone with a permantly polished surface.

The cost of Silestone is about the same as granite, maybe a little more or less depending on the color. Silestone is not the only company who makes countertops from quartz. Cambria and Zodiaq (from Dupont) create similar products. From our experience, the prices for these products from the various manufacturers are similar - the main difference between the products is the colors and styles offered.

The countertop installer needed about an hour to measure, a couple of weeks to fabricate, and a full day to complete the installation. Because of the fiasco with the cabinets, we almost missed our deadline for the countertop measurements. We pushed the counterop measurement back a week from the time the countertop contractor had initially requested - had we missed by even one more day, it would have bumped us off their schedule, and delayed them for nearly a month. Fortunately, everything miraculously came together and the counterops were installed on schedule.

We chose the same countertop style & color in the kitchen, baths & laundry room.

One additional thing that almost messed us up: The countertop contractor needed all of the sinks on site when he arrived to do his measurements (since cutting the holes for the sinks is part of the fabrication process). The day before the counterop contractor arrived, I ran over to the plumbing supply store and picked up our sinks. Sinks are often special order, so they need to get ordered so that there will be plenty of time to get them before the countertop measurements.

Also, the countertop contractor needed the plumbing fixtures to be on site during the countertop installation so that he could cut the appropriate holes. Since natural stone is very hard, it requires specialized bits to cut and it is unlikely that the plumber will be able to do it.

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