Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with styles as they change but countertops seem to make a grand announcement. Instead of quietly switching from one preferred material to another, the new countertop material seems to scream that they’ve arrived.
This is exactly what’s happened with our recent transition from granite to quartz. It seemed that in just a short period of time quartz was taking over every kitchen and bathroom in magazines, on tv and more slowly, in our homes.
Now we’ve all embraced the change. It’s rare that I speak to a client who asks for something other than quartz but what happens if you have an older material like granite? Do you replace it or just wait for the trend to change again?
HOW TO KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME TO REPLACE YOUR COUNTERTOP?
SOURCE: This Old House
If you’ve updated the rest of your home within the last 10 years but your kitchen or bathroom has stayed the same you might need to take a look at the space. Is it time to renovate or just upgrade a few of the materials?
Let’s start by looking at your cabinetry. Is it a timeless design? Is it still in good shape? If your cabinets are chipped, stained and discoloured or even just a dated door style you might need to do a complete overhaul on your kitchen.
Otherwise, if everything’s in great shape and still holding up well you could consider just replacing the countertops. This will change the overall look of your kitchen or bathroom and the investment is much less than a full renovation.
NOTE – if you’re looking at your cabinetry and thinking you can get another couple of years from them, don’t switch out the countertops just yet. You don’t want to rip out those newly installed countertops in 2 years. Either wait the extra couple of years or do the full renovation now.
MY TOP PICKS FOR NEW COUNTERTOP MATERIAL
SOURCE: Devon Grace Interiors
Like I mentioned above, quartz is the number one choice for homeowners adding a new countertop in their home right now. Want to learn about the differences between Cambria and Caesarstone? Read this post.
Here’s why we’re loving quartz:
Colour Options – Quartz saw a rise in popularity because we were all looking for ways to incorporate the white and light gray we see in marble without the high maintenance. Granite has very few options that are in the white or even light gray spectrum of colour. This meant there was an opening for this new material to steal the limelight.
Durability – Quartz is stain resistant but not stain proof. If you clean up spills regularly you should never have any issues with staining. If in the event that something horrendous happens, your quartz fabricator can send a specialist to buff out the stains. This isn’t a DIY job so pay for the home visit and make sure it gets done with the right equipment.
Quartz also doesn’t require sealing because the stain resistance comes from the materials used to bind the quartz so it’s built in stain resistance.
The Downside – Just as its seen a rise in popularity there will come a time when another material surpasses quartz. At that point you’ll have a (slightly) dated countertop that you may want to replace. If you don’t care about that then install it at your leisure. If you do have concerns I’d say hop on the bandwagon sooner rather than later. We’re already a couple of years into this trend and 10 years is the typical life cycle for a trend.
SOURCE: MSI Surfaces
Quartzite is a naturally occurring rock that was formed from sandstone. It’s mined and cut into slabs which then goes on to get the polish and buff that brings them to life.
Quartzite looks and feels like quartz. The big difference is in the composition. Since quartzite has a higher percentage of actual quartz (90-99%) bound with silica, that makes it all natural. In contrast, quartz contains 90-94% quartz and is bound together with polymer resins which are a man-made material.
Colour Options & Texture – Quartzite has the appearance of natural stone and also has an interesting granular texture. If you love the idea of a more organic look in your home this is your better option.
The colour range for quartzite is mostly a range between white and gray but you’ll also see a limited range of colours in the blue, green and yellow families.
Durability – Quartzite is even more heat resistant than quartz. You could place pans directly from stove top to counter and it won’t leave heat stains. There are occasions where a pan at high heat left for too long can leave a heat stain so I always recommend protecting your investment. Quartzite is also more resistant to scratching than quartz. It can handle light chopping but you probably won’t enjoy chopping directly on a textured surface so use a cutting board.
The Downside – Quartz is more susceptible to staining because the material is more porous. You need to be sure it has been fully sealed at installation and it will require annual sealing.
Until recently, granite was the go-to gold standard. It’s still being used but just not as often. If you have it in your home and you love it, leave it alone. It will make a comeback but more importantly, if you still enjoy it then there’s no need to change it.
Colour Options – Granite tends towards the darker side. There are very few options in white or light gray. If you love chocolate or black countertops this is an amazing choice. In terms of pattern, granite is natural so its patterns are as dazzling as anything else we find in nature.
Durability – Granite is not porous so it will resist staining and scratching but I always suggest using caution. It’s wise to protect your countertops rather than test its limits.
The Downside – It’s a hearty material but It can however come with tiny cracks called fissures which are caused by the heating process of manufacturing.
HOW MUCH DOES EACH MATERIAL COST?
SOURCE: Simon Design Studio
QUARTZ – the range is between $60-$150 square foot but most patterns and colours land in the $100-$120 square foot range.
QUARTZITE – the cost of materials is similar to quartz but where quartzite can be a bit more expensive is the manufacturing and installation. This is because it’s a natural stone versus man-made quartz. You’ll pay closer to $70-$120 square foot for quartzite.
GRANITE – starts at $50/square foot and can go as high as $200 square foot. On average, you can expect to pay between $80-$120 square foot.
PAM’S FAVOURITE COUNTERTOP MATERIAL
While I do love all of these materials, my favourite is granite with a leathered finish. This gives it a matte finish instead of the gloss we’re accustomed to seeing. It’s sleeker and more modern so if you’re a lover of the colours and patterns of granite go take a look at the weathered samples.
A leathered finish can hide spills and take a beating so not only does it look great but it’s hard working as well.
I hope that gives you some information to help you decide on your countertops. If you need more help, book a consultation with me. In just 2 hours I can help you decide on the finishes for your kitchen and avoid making expensive mistakes.
If you know your design style but you struggle with which paint to use, take a look at my Made-For-You paint palettes. They take the guesswork out and give you the confidence to get started.