The 3 most popular counter materials for 2016

 

 

Don’t you just love a gorgeous marble countertop? In my experience everyone loves marble. They just don’t always want to deal with the temperamental nature of marble. Marble will etch.  You just have to accept it. I always encourage my clients to get honed marble and not polished because etching shows up much more on polished. Honed marble is basically already etched and a new etched spot will blend in. And, it will chip – you have to baby it and be careful not to bang a pot on the edge. Staining has become less of an issue in the last few years as the sealer technology has gotten better. I always recommend a 15 year sealer for marble. You have to pay extra, but it’s worth it.

 

 

It’s so pretty, and I really think it’s the one countertop material that won’t go out of style. It truly is a classic. In ten years, are you going to be tired of white cabinets, white backsplash and marble counters? I don’t think so. You may tire of your pulls or your faucet or your pendants, but those are easily changed.

 

 

I’m finding that very few people are doing granite counters. If they do, it’s a leathered black like here.  But notice in that kitchen, she still used some marble in the island – it’s a really pretty Danby marble. Some people say Danby is harder than other marbles, but no fabricator or slab yard will tell you that.

 

 

Generally, if people don’t select marble, they go with quartz. Quartz is a manmade material – it is made from real quartz that is ground up and mixed with a resin. It is very durable and won’t etch or stain like marble. It is also non-porous, so it won’t absorb liquids and germs.

I like quartz – but I like to stick with the simpler ones. I’m not a huge fan of the ones with big chunks of quartz in them. They look kind of 90s to me. We use Caesarstone a lot and I really like their simple colors like Pure White and Concrete. I recently used Organic White in a kitchen and it is gorgeous.

 

 

I think quartz looks best when it’s only trying to be quartz and not trying to be another stone. Cambria recently hosted me for a lunch and learn at their new Atlanta show room. It was really interesting – they showed us how quartz is made, and, of course, why Cambria is better than all of the other manufacturers. They do have a nice product. One thing they said that I didn’t know about is that apparently there are a bunch of cheap knock off quartzes coming in from China that are not manufactured like all of the big brand names and they do not perform well. Good to know!

 

I’ve tried to like the faux marble quartzes. They had some that were stunning in the Cambria showroom. But, they still always look a little fake to me. I wouldn’t be surprised with the technology they have if they get a realistic quartz “marble” in a few years, but I just don’t think they are there yet. I think quartz should just be itself – it can look so pretty like in this kitchen:

 

Another stone trend is quartzite. If people don’t go with marble or quartz and they don’t mind spending the big bucks, they go with quartzite.

 

 

Quartzite is a beautiful stone – many quartzites have an even color without much movement (veining). I think people are attracted to it because they are over the busyness of granite. Quartzite also is harder than granite, but still can etch.

 

 

I recently used quartzite in a bar. It is so pretty. I like how is has soft veining and a pretty even allover color.

 

 

For people who can afford it, I think quartzite is going to continue to be a top choice in counter materials. It’s got a lot going for it – nice even color, not a lot of movement and it’s hard. And it’s so pretty.

 

 

In my ideal world, I’d still pick marble. It’s so pretty, and I don’t mind a bit of patina. I’ll take the temperamental stone and live with it’s quirks for the sake of beauty! What’s your favorite counter material?

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