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Countertops

Disclaimer: We recommend NEVER cutting or placing hot pots directly on your countertops, no matter which kind of tops you have. Your countertops are a big investment. Take care of them they will last you as long as you want them to. 

Also, never use abrasive cleaners such as comet, scratch pads, steel wool, or any other chemical without checking very carefully the care and maintenance sheet for your specific countertops.

Many countertops requiring sealing we recommend trying to do it every year or every other year. It is a pretty simple process just wipe on then wipe off.

Care and cleaning is easy for countertops but also very important to assure a lifetime of beauty and functionality. Information below is for comparison information only, be sure to follow directions provided by each manufacturer to ensure the proper maintenance of your tops.

Things to consider when choosing the type of countertops

It really just boils down to what you like. Does it come in the color you need and does it fit your budget? Also are there key elements that fit your personal style or need better than others? There is not an all around best countertop but there is better fits for different people. Choose yours.

 Corian – Avonite– Gibraltar - Earthstone

Made of – Made by combining acrylic polymers (plastic) and stone derived materials which are poured into a mold to create the tops.

Information – All are solid surface countertops.

Colors – Has a large amount of color options.

Density - It is a very durable top.

Seams - Completely seamless construction

Pros - Seamless, unaffected by moisture, scratches and stains can be buffed to new, Integral sink options, Seamless coved back and end splash options.

Cons - Maintenance to remove scratches

Aging – Solid surfaces since they are man made will not age. If well taken care of they will look just as good down the road as the day they are installed.

Sealing - Doesn’t need to be sealed

Stains - You can use any type of cleaner since it is completely non porous. It is very difficult to stain the tops

Scratches & dents - they are soft so they scratch easier but are less likely to break dishes. It is very easy to sand out a scratch although dents would have to be repaired by a certified professional

Finishes –

Where to use Solid Surface- Solid surfaces are a good fit on any project.

 

 Granite

Made of – Granite originates from the earth’s core as liquid magma. Extreme heat and pressure forged quartz, mica, feldspar and other minerals into a very dense structure.

Information –

Colors - Has versatilities in colors, and designs. Colors are endless shades of browns, golds, reds, blacks, whites and numerous other options. Granite is known for its unique flecks, pebbles and versatile color. Granite also has a pattern that changes continually without repetitions which gives the look of movement. Unlimited color options,

Density - It is one of the hardest and strongest surface available at this time.

Seams - will have visible seams.

Stains- Granite is not very likely to absorb stains if proper sealant is used. But it is always advisable to never let things purposely dry on your countertops.

Pros - Natural look, timeless

Cons - Seams show, maintenance in sealing

Aging – Granite does not age. If care and cleaning is kept up it will look as beautiful in 20 years as it does the day you have it installed.

Sealing - Although porous if the tops are sealed they are stain resistant and very durable.

Scratches & dents - Heat, scratch and dent resistant. Stains can be removed; scratches can be removed by professional

Finishes – Polished or Honed

Where to use Granite- Granite is good for any project

 

 

  
 

Laminate

Made of – synthetic material with plastic as its main component. Laminate means sandwiching two sheets of material around another material. There is a plastic veneer adhered to medium density fiber core material.

Information –

Colors – An array of different colors from light to dark to wood grain to new high definition granite looks

Density – Neither soft nor hard. They are mainly plastic so they are prone to dents and scratches

Seams – Seams are boded with waterproff adhesive and visible 

Pros – Inexpensive and very easy to clean no harsh abrasives are needed

Cons – Minor damages can be repaired but for larger damage the tops usually need to be replaced. The patterns on laminate repeat every 12” so there is not much depth or movement to the tops.

Sealing – No sealing necessary

Stains – Laminate is non porous but especially in light colors if you leave items on there to dry they may stain your tops.

Scratches & dents – In dark colors it is easier to see scratches in light colors scratches aren’t very noticeable. They are prone to dents if something heavy is dropped on them

Finishes –

Where to use Laminate-

   Limestone

Made of – Limestone is made of Calcite and neutral toned materials.

Information –

Colors – It is very smooth countertop usually with fossils and seashells embedded in the surface adding a unique element. It comes in a variety of colors but not a ton of pattern variations.

Density – Some are dense and some are soft just depends on the piece.

Seams -

Pros -

Cons -

Sealing -

Stains - most are porous and susceptible to staining in high use areas. Softer ones need to be resealed regularly.

Scratches & dents – Softer slabs are more likely to scratch and dent where as harder slabs are less likely.

Finishes –

Where to use Limestone- It is not a good idea to use limestone in the kitchen.

  Marble

Made of – Marble is crystallized limestone.

Information –

Colors – Marble has rich tones and dramatic veining.

Density –Marble is a soft countertop option.

Seams – Generally marble is used on smaller spaces It can be made without seams up to a certain size.

Pros -

Cons - smaller slabs means more seams

Sealing – None necessary

Scratches & dents - Marble is soft and prone to scratching.

Stains– Marble will absorb stains. Marble is made of calcium carbonate which reacts with acid. (Fruit juice, soda, coffee, alcohol, salad dressing etc.)  If it comes in contact with acid there well be a dull light spot etched into the top.

Aging – Marble will patina and change with age. Generally marble becomes more beautiful with age.

Finishes – Comes in honed, matte and polished finishes.

Where to use Marble- It is generally not used in kitchens due to its soft nature. Great for bathrooms and other lightly used spaces in your home.

  Silestone – Zodiaq – Cambria – Caesar Stone  

Made of – Man made top combining Natural Quarts and binding resin and coloring agents.

Information – All are engineered stone countertop also known as a quartz countertop.

Colors – Many colors and patterns to chose from.

Density - Quartz countertops are very hard and very durable surfaces similar to granite in look feel and performance.

Seams - Quartz countertops tend to have very uniform patterns meaning they can be put together at with out a very visible seam.

Pros - No sealing necessary

Cons -

Sealing - Doesn’t need to be sealed

Aging-

Scratches & dents – Quartz tops are non porous surfaces that are extremely resistant to chemicals, heat and scratching.

Stains – Mostly stain resistant but will be stained if certain chemicals or food products are left to dry.

Finishes –

Where to use Quartz- Great in kitchens and any other project.

 

 Soapstone

Made of – Soapstone is primarily composed of talc

Information – Mineral oil is often used to darken its color and keep it looking great, a sealer will work also.

Colors – Limited color range typically untreated is a lighter solid or gray green color. Soapstone does offer some veining and some patterns with movement.

Density - Soapstone has a heavy mineral density so it is very durable.

Seams -

Pros - matching sink can be made and match perfectly to your tops

Cons -– if no sealer is used the top will darken where there is most contact with the hands due to the oil in your skin. No matter what you do a heavy duty sanding will return it to its normal state.

Aging - The stone will darken over time

Sealing -

Stains - It is non porous so it is very stain resistant.

Scratches & dents - It is softer than granite or marble so are more prone to dents and scratches, but the scratches are easily sanded out.

Finishes –

Where to use Soapstone-

   Other countertops  
Butcher Block: made from maple, oak and cherry. It must be oiled regularly, cleans easily, durable and can be touched up by sanding. These wood tops can be made from exotic species as well.

Slate: Natural stone that is nonporous. Most scratches are removed easily with a sponge or steel wool. Slate does not require sealing. Limited color choices and edges should be round to discourage chipping.

Stainless Steel: Is a very clean and commercial look. Non porous and scratches easily but the scratches fade over time into a patina. Stainless tops are available in large seamless lengths.

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Charles Cabinets LLC
3090 Cleveland Ave North, 
Saint Paul, MN 55113

Phone: 651-633-1488
Fax: 651-638-9956

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