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countertops

 
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what is the best/most sustainable countertop for kitchens?

i thought wood with a thin layer of stainless steel covering the countertops would be really long lasting and create easy cleaning and maintenance

could do a wood with a good oil

what other materials have y'all used or heard about?
 
pollinator
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Concrete, tiles, rock, steel plate
 
master gardener
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I like butcher block.  If you go that direction, build your own or shop around. Some cost a fortune.  I had tile at  one  time, the grout lines were always dirty.
 
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By far, the most popular counters tops are granite. And for resell value too.

Our first house had tile countertops.  I hated them as they were had to clean and dropped things broke easily.

I really like butcher block though when we built this house dear hubby said no!

I like you idea for the stainless steel countertops as it would be easy to keep clean.
 
pollinator
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I have butcher block on my island and it's amazing. I love it. I love how every injury to it is simply character.

I have concrete on the rest of my counters and it's not ideal.

We had stainless steel in Japan and that is what I want to change my cement counters to. It does show water spots really well but it's easy to clean and easy to clean and did I mention easy to clean?
 
pollinator
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we have concrete counters in the kitchen that the previous owners put in. i love that you can put a hot pan straight out of the oven on them if needed, but they're hard to clean (and were [intentionally] stained in a way that they wouldn't look clean even if they were), and it's real easy to break glass or pottery on it if something gets tipped over or knocked. tile counter i've had were like that too, with the added bonus, as several folks have mentioned, of having grout lines that woud trap dirt.

stainless would be pretty sweet.
 
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We have butchers block and we HATE them, it's horribly high maintenance, you cannot get it wet or roll out anything out on it as it gets stuck in the grain, it rots round the sink and burns if anything even mildly warm gets put on it. Stainless is probably the "best" in that it will last longer than you and puts up with all abuse and is easy to clean, it's not going to be the prettiest though. We have a large utility room which I intend to turn into a commercial kitchen with full stainless units. the normal kitchen will in time get stone counters of one type or another.
 
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Interesting Pros/Cons article from Treehugger.com
Counter Intelligence

I love butcher block, I found it easy to maintain and it didn't chip all my dishes.
I hate my concrete counters with a vengeance. They will be ripped out, or at least inlaid with kinder material soon-ish.
Granite... no. mountains are for climbing, not tearing up.
 
michael beyer
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John F Dean wrote:I like butcher block.  If you go that direction, build your own or shop around. Some cost a fortune.  I had tile at  one  time, the grout lines were always dirty.



what do you coat the butcher block with? walnut oil?
 
michael beyer
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Skandi Rogers wrote:We have butchers block and we HATE them, it's horribly high maintenance, you cannot get it wet or roll out anything out on it as it gets stuck in the grain, it rots round the sink and burns if anything even mildly warm gets put on it. Stainless is probably the "best" in that it will last longer than you and puts up with all abuse and is easy to clean, it's not going to be the prettiest though. We have a large utility room which I intend to turn into a commercial kitchen with full stainless units. the normal kitchen will in time get stone counters of one type or another.



thank you for your honest appraisal of butcher block — i would have expected more people to have the same complaints which is why i asked one responder what kind of coating they use to protect the butcher block

in terms of the prettiness of stainless, i thought it could be made to look a bit prettier by building the counter out of wood and then putting the thin layer of stainless over the top — this way it looks a little less like a commercial kitchen and still had a somewhat home-y wood feeling to it
 
John F Dean
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Hi Michael,

I will have to check on the tx for the butcher block.  To be clear, our kitchen sink is set into quartz.  I felt it was tempting the fates to put it in wood.
 
pollinator
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We have granite and I'm clumsy.  Do the math.
 
gardener
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We re-did our kitchen last year and went with quartz.  I've always loved the look of carrara marble, but marble is a maintenance nightmare.  Anything mildly acidic begins to etch it as soon as it makes contact, and with all the tomatoes and citrus that we produce and use, I knew that it would be a non-starter for us.  But quartz comes in an unlimited number of finishes so we picked a light/almost white field with an occasional thin vein of grey.  It looks exactly like marble, at a third of the price and a fraction of the maintenance.  It's stunning.

Nothing stains it, everything just wipes off, and it's pretty tough -- no chips since we installed it 8 months ago.  You can't put a hot pan on it directly from the stove, as the material is made of stone dust bound with synthetic polymer that would burn if you put something too hot on it. But we keep a cork trivet handy, or usually just let things cool on the stove before they get transferred to the sink.

And to answer a question raised above, wood cutting boards or butcher block are best treated with salt and mineral oil.  You can find mineral oil with the laxatives in your local drug store.  I use kosher salt, as it's a bit larger and more abrasive.
The salt acts as an anti-bacterial, and the mineral oil conditions the wood.  Lightly scrub with the grain of the wood, let the oil soak in, and then wipe off the excess after a minute or two.  You can put a second coat of mineral oil on and leave it to soak in.

Shop around for quartz.  We live in greater Los Angeles so there are a billion dealers/distributors.  After looking in 30 showrooms, we found the pattern we wanted in a warehouse and then dickered to get a price.  But because the warehouse didn't sell directly to the public, we needed someone with a commercial license to buy it for us.  In the end, our installer was able to work to get a better price than we did, knocking off almost $500 a slab (the stuff comes in massively heavy 6' x 10' slabs) -- we needed 2 slabs.  Ask your installer to give you the remaining cut-offs if you don't use the whole slab.  We didn't have much left, but enough for a small outdoor cooking island that I built for my BBQ area, about 2' x 5'.  
 
michael beyer
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Chris Sturgeon wrote:
Interesting Pros/Cons article from Treehugger.com
Counter Intelligence



apparently this website has decided formica to be the best overall solution — surprised

an option i hadn't thought of that was recommended on this website is cork — they claimed it is impervious but the cork i know is definitely able to be penetrated so not sure about that one
 
John F Dean
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Hi Michael

To get back, I can't find what I used on the wood. I think it may have been Tung oil.  I remember giving it numerous light coats and plenty of time to cure.  I am saying this because Tung oil is often my first choice.  But I am not certain. I also have an open bottle of Walnut Oil.
 
John F Dean
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There is a little company called AWP out of Horse Cave, Ky that makes a great butcher block product at a low price.  It is not clear to me if they are still operational.
 
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One more advantage to stainless is it makes getting your kitchen cleared as a commercial kitchen much easier (at least in CA and MO).  Steel is also very recyclable.
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