Granite can be the least expensive choice with stones starting as low as $25.00 per s/f. Most “level A” stones running around $35.00 per s/f and the more exotics averaging $60 – $120.00 per s/f.
The natural variations in color and flow of grain in granite make it an attractive choice. Very popular in the Atlanta market especially since 2001 granite has defiantly made its mark in all price range homes.
No longer considered a luxury item, granite is the most common choice today.
Granite is a porous therefore should be kept sealed. With the advancement of sealers today this is no longer a difficult task and can be done as infrequently as 5 years. There are even 15 year sealers on the market however there performance is really dependent on how the surface is used and treated.
Hot pans and knives can be used directly on the surface, however both will have a negative effect on the sealer, and the knives for that matter.
Quartz has gained some popularity recently. Typically more expensive the granite quartz can run between $60 and $120.00 per s/f. The price of quartz runs higher due to the fact that the resins that hold the particles together are petroleum based. As long as the price of oil stays high, so will the price of quartz.
Some designers like the fact that the color is more uniform and consistent. You know what you are getting with quartz as it is manufactured to color specifications.
One of the biggest advantages to quartz is it does not need to be sealed. It is also very scratch resistant, however if it does get scratched it is very difficult and expensive to repair. Hot pans should not be placed directly onto the surface as it will melt.
Engineered tops (corian etc.)
Engineered tops will run between $60 – $120 per s/f
Engineered tops are very similar to the quartz tops with two distinct differences. One is that they have steadily dropped in popularity in the Atlanta market. The second is in the scratch resistance and repair. Although much more susceptible to scratching, they are also very easily and inexpensively repaired.
The advantages are the same as quartz. Color consistency and predictability. Another distinct advantage to an engineered top is that the seams are virtually invisible.
Artistic concrete tops can run between $65 and $165 per s/f. Although not always the most expensive choice, truly the luxury choice when it comes to countertops.
Atlanta seems to be behind other parts of the country when it comes to understanding the design possibilities and functionality of artistic concrete. We are just now seeing the popularity rise.
From simple colors and finish to naturel shades of stone and earth, to deep blues and greens the color, flow, and texture that can be achieved with concrete is unmatched.
A porous material that will need to be treated much like granite. Regular sealing and cleaned with the proper cleaners. Concrete will perform similar to granite in that the heat and cutting on the surface is not likely to harm the concrete but will harm the integrity of the sealer.
Making the choice. Any one of these four options can be a great choice for a countertop. Each has a purpose and place in the design of your space. Each has pros and cons that should be considered.
Concrete will always be the clear winner in versatility of shape and design, but the natural beauty of granite has stood the test of time, and will certainly remain a favorite for years to come.