Counter. Productive. Selecting the Perfect Countertop.


When you hear the words "kitchen countertops" you probably think granite because it's been the go-to material for countertops for the last 20+ years. Interior design trends are constantly evolving and countertops are right there in the mix. Forget everything you know about granite surfaces - we'll help you make the right selection with today's newest and greatest materials!

The first thing we think about when selecting a material for countertops is natural stone versus man-made materials. Each has it's drawbacks and we're here to make this a simple process for your next project.

Natural stone materials such as granite, marble, and quartzite are drilled, chiseled and blasted out of quarries in large blocks. These blocks are then put through special milling machines and are cut into workable slabs - the product we see in the warehouses after they're imported.

Quartz countertops are man-made engineered stone countertops which are formed by combining 90% ground quartz (a natural hard mineral) with 8-10% resins, polymers, and pigments. This process is what forms the very hard 'granite-like' surface.

The properties of each material can vary so it's best to look to the supplier for it's durability, heat resistance, and maintenance. Some natural stones require conditioning and sealing in the same way we apply moisturizer to our skin. Without this, foods and liquids will stain the material.

Quartz has taken the kitchen market by storm and is today's hottest countertop option. I'm sure we've all been told quartz is impossible to scratch and heat-resistant, but you should still take care of your countertops in the same way you would a natural stone. Quartz is less porous than marble, so it will retain less bacteria, and will be tougher to stain or crack. Dark colour quartz, however, will show any scuffs or chips so it's in high traffic kitchens, a lighter colour can take the abuse of a busy household.

Due to the properties of natural stone, not all slabs are the same size. It's important to check the size of the island and countertops before material is selected. If the material is too short for one full slab, the fabricator will need to make seams and when you're using a material with veining, this artistic pattern will be lost. Man-made stones also vary in size between supplier but a typical size is 56" x 120". Ask your supplier about jumbo slabs!

Once you've decided on the material, make sure you see the full size slab from the current stock available. Small samples don't always show the full properties of the stone so veins and discolouration won't be apparent. Suppliers will typically tag a slab for your fabricator with a deposit so what you see is what you get.

It's important to meet with the fabricator before the material is cut. Stones with veining or multiple colours should be templated and presented to show the final layout before fabrication.

So you've picked your material, the fabricator has templated, and they're ready for installation. Don't forget to look at your cabinetry colour samples and plumbing fixtures to make sure they all work together. After installation, you're ready to host a dinner party in your new kitchen and make sure CMID is on the guest list!

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