Countertop Choices in 2018
In my previous blog post about countertop choices and trends, I reviewed the historical progression of countertop choices in Edmonton. For a brief recap:
-Earlier (1970s) choices included plastic laminates (e.g., Formica and Arborite), with natural stone surfaces being available only to the elite.
-Eventually polymer solid surfaces (such as Corian) came onto the market, offering countertops with the same colour all the way through the surface.
-The introduction of engineered stone and growing popularity of natural stone increased the competition and reduced the cost associated with these stone or stone-like surfaces.
-In 2018, engineered quartz counters are very popular. In the custom and luxury home market, it is safe to say that in 2018 quartz will be the most commonly specified countertop material.
Heart has a Neolith countertop and a Neolith-clad fireplace on display- Check it out!
The Edmonton countertop market – 2018:
In 2018, the countertop materials available in the Edmonton marketplace reflect the global marketplace that we now live and work in:
- Laminates are still available, but in exciting colours and amazing finishes; many are imported from Europe.
- Solid surface materials, such as Corian still have an appeal to many clients, because of invisible seams and hygienic nature of the product. It is very common to see this type of material specified in restaurants, airports, retail stores, and hospitals.
- The beauty of natural stone will always allow granite and marble countertops to appeal to consumers. With a global marketplace, natural stones from around the world are available in Edmonton.
- In the custom or luxury home market, engineered quartz sales have rocketed to the #1 position for desired countertops. If you are planning a dream home and are working with an architect or designer good chance they’ll be specifying Cambria, Silestone, Caeserstone, Cimstone, Diresco, Hanstone or Corian Quartz for kitchen and bath countertops. Quartz products are fairly resistant to scratches and staining, and in some cases look pretty close to natural granite or marble. Interior decorators, kitchen designers, and architects have always loved the natural beauty of ‘real marble’… however, the porosity and vulnerability to various common cooking liquids (oils, vinegars, citrus juices, red wine, etc.) have been a deterrent to the specification of real marble.
- In recent years, large sheets of ceramic/porcelain have been the new buzz in our industry. Scratch proof, heat resistant, and stain proof; these sheets can be 6 mm in thickness, ideal for cladding showers or fireplaces. They’re also available in 12 mm and 16 mm thickness by various suppliers (suitable thickness for countertops) Manufacturers include: Fiandre, Laminam, and Neolith. Be aware these products typically ship with a fibreglass mesh backing, and if you are specifying these products as an eating counter, support brackets will be required.
- Ultra-compact surfaces – sometimes called ‘sintered stone’ – represent the next generation of materials to be introduced for countertops. They have similar properties to ceramic sheets with respect to stain, scratch and heat resistance. This next generation technology also boasts ultraviolet light resistance, resilience to extreme temperature variation (making the material suitable for outdoor applications), and complete resistance to the acids and bases that you would come across in a kitchen setting. Currently, there are only 2 companies that have the equipment and technology to produce this advanced product: Lapitec (Italian based) and Dekton (Spanish owner is Cosentino). These products are currently available in various thicknesses including: 8 mm, 20 mm, and 30 mm.
Heart Kitchen and Bath – tracking the latest countertop trends:
One of the latest trends in quartz countertops is the introduction of different finishes on the surface of their stone slabs. While typical quartz slabs have a polished finish, other options are becoming more commonly available (matte, ‘soft-touch,’ textured, leathered, etc.). The words used to describe these finishes are not consistent between manufacturers, so you really need to see a sample to understand what a particular manufacture means when they label a product ‘textured.’ Consumers should be aware more frequent cleaning may be required for surfaces with more texture (i.e., textured or leathered finishes). More highly polished surfaces are also being pursued – see the comment about N-Boost below.
New and exciting releases are impending for many product lines:
-Silestone, Caesarstone, Cambria, and Corian Quartz have all introduced additional colour choices with ‘marble-like veining’
-Dupont has re-branded their Zodiac quartz product as Corian Quartz. All colours are available in 63" x 120” sheets. http://www.corianquartz.com/
-Dekton is one of the manufacturers of ultra-compact surfaces. In the fall of 2018, they will introduce more marble-like colours while discontinuing a few of their more industrial colours. https://dekton.ca
-June 13, 2018: Cindy Crawford endorses the Silestone product. https://youtube.com/watch?v=hOonxhCg5k8&t=2s
-N-Boost New Generation 4.0 – is Silestone’s recent effort to offer water repellent, improved colour intensity, and a higher sheen on their polished quartz surfaces. https://ca.silestone.com/n-boost/
-June 20, 2018: Caesarstone unveiled some great new colours at the Edmonton Art Gallery. Check out their new 2018 Metropolitan Collection. https://caesarstone.ca/collections/metropolitan/
Suffice it to say, there is a broad range of product offerings available the Edmonton consumer. To discuss which choices might be right for you, we welcome the opportunity to have a conversation with you! https://www.heartkitchens.com/contact/
Al Schiewe, CKD