We are about a year out on our kitchen renovation, but that certainly hasn't stopped me from dreaming and planning our future kitchen. I'm a white kitchen person and one of the looks I am particularly drawn to is the white shaker cabinets with the beautiful white carrera marble countertops. Like this...
|Courtesy of Bryn Alexandra|
Beautiful stuff, right? I love everything about carrera marble and I think that it's aesthetically just perfect. Perfect except for the sad, bitter, horrible and altogether unfair truth that marble is high maintenance. It scratches, it etches and it stains. In my future forever home, I will most definitely have marble and I will embrace the character and charm of every etch, scratch and stain. As I've mentioned before, we are restoring our current home with an eye for resale, so as beautiful as marble is, I don't trust it to stay "resale ready". I am looking for something more durable and something that is not granite (I am so, so, so over granite). The other sad, bitter, horrible and altogether unfair truth of the matter is that nothing else quite matches the look and feel of marble. However, through my quest for a convincing marble alternative, I have rounded up what I feel are the closest alternatives.
a. Viatera "Snow Storm"/ b. Caesarstone "Frosty Carrina"/ c. Zodiaq "Coarse Carrera"/ d. Detkon "Kairos"
e. Viatera "Cirrus"/ f. Caesarstone "London Gray"/ g. Silestone "Bianco River" / h. Silestone "Blanco Orion"
While none of these completely fool you (although the Dekton options certainly come close!) they do give a similar look and feel to marble, but with superior stain resistance and durability. I should also note that these are not necessarily budget alternatives to marble; in fact, many of these options cost as much, if not more, per square foot.
Here is some more info on each of the countertop types:
Caesarstone has been in business since 1987 and was one of the first pioneers in marketing quartz countertops. They have evolved the process and have become a trendsetter in the field. Their countertops are heat and scratch resistant and carry a lifetime warranty for residential use. Styles run from classic up to contemporary and everything in between. The Caesarstone line of countertops can resist stains, scratches and cracks. Most fluids like wine, coffee, soft drinks and even food coloring in liquid form will not stain the surface and can easily be wiped up using a mild detergent and water. Although they are scratch resistant, it is always best to use a cutting board to avoid direct cutting on the surface. Unlike granite countertops, Caesarstone quartz countertops do not require any type of sealing ever. They are made of a non-porous material, which makes for easy maintenance. Since it’s a high density material, its luster will remain and it will never have to be polished or oiled in any way. The countertop will continue to look as good as it first did when it was initially installed.
Cambria is the sole producer of engineered quartz surfaces in the United States. They are located in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, with additional facilities in Le Sueur, Minnesota; Charlotte, North Carolina; Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ontario, Canada. They are a subsidiary of Davisco Foods International, which is privately held and owned by the Davis family. Cambria produces quartz surfaces, primarily for use as kitchen countertops. It is used in a similar manner as granite, except that it is not porous, and thus requires no periodic sealing. The look of any quartz countertop compares to granite in that the colors are deep and consistent. The process of creating the countertops is different than granite, in that it is an engineered product, consisting of about 90% quartz and 10% epoxy binder. An engineered product that requires no sealer has the advantage in that it requires no harsh chemicals to seal, nor does it emit harmful chemicals into the air, making it potentially more environmentally friendly.
Dekton is a subsidiary of Cosetino, the maker of Silestone. Dekton employs exclusive Sinterized Particle Technology, a high tech process which represents an accelerated version of the metamorphic change that natural stone undergoes when subjected to high temperatures and pressure over thousands of years. Sinterized particle technology synthesizes truly innovative procedures from the most advanced technology industries. This evolution represents a technological and industrial leap capable of generating a new process, a revolutionary material and a leading product. Electronic microscopy allows us to fully appreciate the material’s zero porosity, a consequence of the sinterization and ultra-compaction process exclusive to Dekton. This zero porosity and lack of the micro-defects that cause tension or weak spots mark the difference. The material is super resistant to extreme changes of temperature; it resists, ice, thawing, fire and heat and will not crack due to thermal shock. It has zero water absorption and will not stain. Dekton is super strong and extremely impact resistant. even more than quartz and granite, so it is very difficult to scratch and chip. It will not fade due to Ultra Violet UV sunlight, so it can be installed indoors or outdoors. Dekton can be cleaned and scrubbed easily without damage
Silestone is an engineered quartz surface that looks, feels and weighs like natural granite and marble. Yet its strength, hardness and competitive price make it the superior choice over natural stone or plastic solid surfaces. Silestone is composed of 93% quartz aggregates. The finest selection of quartz particles are mixed with binders through a high-tech compression and heating process. The result is a dimensionally consistent material with an attractive appearance that is stronger and more durable than natural stone. Silestone is a non-porous material and does not require the use of sealants and impregnators to maintain its attractive finish. With only a small fraction of the liquid absorption rate of granite or acrylic, it is ideal for use in areas prone to spills and stains. In fact, any detergent will clean Silestone's polished surface. And with hardness and thermal ratings many times that of marble and plastic laminates, Silestone withstands typical wear and tear beautifully. Silestone is a non-porous material; therefore it is virtually stain resistant. Stains that are normally permanent such as wine, juice, markers or ink are easily wiped clean with soap and water or an over-the-counter liquid cleaner. Silestone is highly scratch resistant. Under normal household use, knives, keys, toys or any item that would normally cause damage to regular counter tops will have no effect on Silestone. Without the worry of warping, Silestone tolerates temperature for brief periods of time. The perfect material for anyone who has experienced the occasional mishap of placing a hot pan on a kitchen counter top.
Viatera, categorized as quartz surfacing, is the newest addition to the LG family of countertop surfacing products. Viatera is composed of quartz blended with advanced polymer resins and colorfast pigments. The manufacturing process takes place under intense heat and pressure is availabile in a wide variety of colors. Viatera is 93% natural quartz providing an extremely durable living environment for the most demanding of consumers. Unlike Granite or Marble, Viatera does not need topical sealing, allowing lasting beauty with very little maintenance. Viatera appeals to those who prefer the elegant look of stone, but desire a product that is easy to maintain.
Zodiaq is an engineered stone made by DuPont composed of 93% quartz crystal and 7% acrylic resin, colors and binders. The product is manufactured in DuPont's Granirex plant in Thetford Mines, Canada. It is used most often as kitchen countertops but also as walls. Its primary advantage is that unlike natural stone products (marble, granite, limestone, wood), Zodiaq is non-porous and does not require a sealant that must be periodically reapplied. Porous products, like granite, are prone to growing molds and staining. The color of Zodiaq is consistent throughout.