Countertops are the focal point of any kitchen. Everyone notices a beautiful or horrible countertop. A beautiful countertop can make cheap cabinets look better and expensive cabinets look sensational. But when you get to that stage in your remodeling project, what do you want, natural stone or a man-made product?
I learned the trade of natural stone and man-made fabrication by working in our shop hand and hand with our fabricators. I learned every aspect of fabrication like saw cutting slabs, laminating edges, fabrication custom edges, cutting and polishing under mount sinks, and learning the proper way to dress a seam. I’ve seen a lot of good kitchens and a lot of bad kitchens. For me there is no comparison of walking into a kitchen with natural stone countertops, but on the other hand man-made quartz products have a unique look in the right design style. I am a natural stone person and always will be, but my desk is completely made from man-made stone because I wanted to have a more contemporary look.
The first thing you have to figure out is your counter top budget. Natural stone is an expensive product. You can expect to spend $45 – $95 per square foot installed. I know that’s a broad range, but it really matters what kind of stone you pick and the company you choose. Not every fabricator is the same. Our processes have been developed through industry standard practices and are ability to adapt the old with the new. There is more than one way to accomplish the same task. Some ways are definitely better than others.
There are obviously cheaper alternatives and that’s exactly what they are “cheap”. Natural stone will last a lifetime. If natural stone is in your price range then you have to compare to its competitors. They are: Corian, Quartz surfaces, cultured marble and concrete. Corian and cultured marble are things of the past when it comes to a higher end remodel. Concrete is a decent alternative. One of the problems with concrete is the upkeep. It’s not a maintenance free product by a long shot. Problems with cracking and color changing are the biggest complaints. They are coming up with new products for concrete to make it more durable, but I just don’t think it’s there yet. That leaves Quartz surfaces. These products are the closest to natural stone, mainly because they typically are made mostly of quartz. Quartz products consist of 93% quartz, polymer resins and various other natural stone products. The cost is almost exactly the same.
Your final decision is really up to you. You should take in to account your design style, cabinet door style and color, flooring choice, and the overall look and feel of your room.