Countertops for Kitchens and Bathrooms

Any real estate sales person will tell you that it is kitchens and bathrooms that sell a house, so this was no time to be cutting back on budget – however, I still believe that one can get a high quality product for a good price with a little time invested. There is a vast range of products available and it comes down to getting value, rather than cost reduction. Since the countertops are the ‘work zone’ in both bathrooms and kitchens I decided to start validating my design theme by looking at options in this area – as i felt there would be more constraints here than in cabinetry and hardware.

To get a sleek, contemporary look in either white or brushed aluminum look I sought out:

  • Laminates
  • Acrylic
  • Engineered stone
  • Granite

Laminates

The high gloss laminates look much better today than a few years ago as they now have complimentary backing colors and finer edge joins so that one gets a near seamless look – not too different from the edge of stone.
The drawbacks were that over a large surface, gloss laminates still appear to have ‘bubbling’ in the surface and according to many sources scratch a lot easier than the manufacturers claim. Even though my look was to have a ‘brushed’ look to it anyway, the bubbling was a problem on all the horizontal surfaces I saw. To date I have not seen this problem with the vertical laminates – I don’t know why this is so as I imagine the process is similar, but they seem to be less apparent.

Acrylic

I was not keen to return to acrylic worktops – I have previously had Corian benchtops and they were not successful.
The final choice was down to engineered stone and granite. To get a ‘speckled-free’ look is quite difficult but not impossible. There is a big range in quality in these products so it pays to check them out carefully and ascertain the differences.

Engineered Stone

The sample I found I preferred was from Quantum Quartz – it contains 93% natural quartz, with bonding agent, pigment and additives making up the other 7%. The color range is extensive [50 colors].

  • Non-porous
  • High resistance to scratching & chipping
  • High abrasion resistance
  • High resistance to acids & oils
  • Strong resistance to staining
  • High flexural strength
  • Heat resistant

Design considerations:

  • 10 year limited warranty
  • Fabricate your design to suit sheets of 1400 x 3000mm x 20mm thick

Standard range
For a small flake – Luna white or new Diamond white
For a large flake – polar

Deluxe range
Alpine white
Dawn [grey] – for bathroom vanities

The Designer and Boutique ranges have large flakes and steel which are outside the design scope of this project.

Check out the product Gallery for Quantum Quartz

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