How has it been 2 1/2 years since we finished our kitchen remodel and I have yet to share a single blog post about our countertops?! I dropped the ball on that one.
Lately I’ve received a handful of questions about our countertops so a Q+A is in order!
What kind of countertop did you end up using in your kitchen and do you like it?
When Chris and I remodeled our kitchen we were on a tight budget. Although marble or quartz countertops were our ideal solution, they simply didn’t fit into our budget. After a long road of research trying to find something that was durable, felt timeless, was pretty, and fit within our price point, we landed on Solid Surface countertops. It’s a step or two above laminate but it’s not a stone like granite or marble.
It comes in both solid colors and a variety of patterns to resemble marble and granite. It is professionally installed and molded to fit the layout of your kitchen so there are as few seams as possible and any seams that do exist are nearly impossible to locate. (We learned afterwards that solid surface counters with a vein pattern can be difficult to make seamless because the veins may stop abruptly at the seam…something to keep in mind.) We chose a solid color called “Arctic White” with a beveled edge which made it feel a little more custom.
We really do like it and it’s a great budget friendly alternative!
How are the countertops holding up?
Shockingly well! One of our main concerns with the material was its durability, but after 2 1/2 years we have yet to get a stain or gouge! We were warned that our white counters may show stains more easily than patterned counters (especially from anything red like wine, tomato sauce, juice, etc) but we have accidentally left red liquids on our countertops for days and had no issue getting them out. If at any point there is a spot that can’t be wiped up with soap and water or a cleaner, we use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser which has proven to do the job every time.
One thing we really like about these countertops is that they can be sanded down to retain the original finish. So if we ever do get a stain that won’t come out or if the color starts to fade, we can have them sanded for roughly $200 to get them back to how they looked the day they were installed.
What kind of countertop did you use on your island?
We opted to install a birch butcher block countertop on our island. So glad we did because our black and white kitchen needed a little warmth through wood.
What are your thoughts on your butcher block countertop? What kind of care and upkeep does it require?
This is a great question and in summary we love it! Butcher block counters do require a bit of maintenance (although marble requires a good bit of maintenance too so it’s all relative I suppose.) I wanted the wood to last as long as possible so I applied 3-4 coats of matte Polycrylic. It’s a hard top coat that adds very little color to the wood and it seals the wood from stains and early wear. It also protects the wood from water damage or grease stains which can otherwise happen easily. The top coat has lasted us over 2 years now and it’s just now starting to show scratches and wear. The positive of butcher block countertops is that you can always sand it down and reapply the top coat when it starts to show distressing.
I’ve also heard of people using an oil wipe on top coat instead of Polycrylic. These essentially soak and condition the wood instead of creating a hard top coat and while I don’t have any experience using them myself, I have heard that with the oil, the wood can still show stains from water, oil, and other liquids absorbing into the wood.
I will also say that I don’t have experience with butcher block countertops next to a sink or stove where it’s likely to come into contact with water and grease splatters on a regular basis. So I can’t offer much advice on how it’d wear there, but I think if you keep it sealed properly it should last a long while.
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