Alternatives to granite countertops?

My wife and I are just starting to think about redoing our kitchen and I’m trying to get some design ideas.

While I like the functionality of granite countertops, I don’t really like their look. What other options are out there that offer durabiltiy and ease of cleaning?

Thanks in advance.

Formica and related melamine resin products are an old standby. I realize they aren’t trendy or cool, but darn if they don’t clean up well, they’re durable, less expensive, and lighter than granite or other stones. You don’t need special cleaning products and they’re heat resistant. You might want to at least take a look.

Yeah, all options are on the table (or the counter). Formica is on my list of materials to consider.

We considered granite and went with quartz instead. My understanding of it is that quartz stone is ground into relatively uniform chunks and formed into counters. The stuff that is used to meld the chunks together is impermeable, so no sealer needs to be applied, it doesn’t absorb anything, is almost as hard as granite, and it doesn’t have any of the natural flaws that granite can have. It is about as pricey as granite, but I like it better.

I have stainless steel bench tops … they’re just fabulous!! Look amazing (they are in a ‘country’ style kitchen and fit in so well) and are so easy to clean. I love being able to stick hot pans down anywhere!

I’ve been wanting to replace our laminate countertops almost since the day we installed them. But I’ve never seen a granite that I like - they all seem too busy. Some of the stone-like composites are appealing. What I need to do is make a rough dimensioned sketch of my counters and get some rough estimates so I know what price neighborhood I’ll be in. Life would be so much easier if the Kitchen Fairy would just show up and make my counters perfect…

Almost every restaurant in the world uses stainless steel. If you don’t mind the looks, it’s definitely the most functional.

I thought of stainless steel, but my wife might not like the look. Paperstone is pretty cool looking, anyone have any experience with it? It sounds like it might be high maintenance.

My parents installed Corian, which looks nice and seems durable. It’s what I’d go with if Formica wasn’t an option (but I want a retro 50s kitchen).

I dream of a kitchen with steel or concrete countertops.

The setting of said dream kitchen will be the deciding factor.

This question comes up a lot so I have a canned reply:

I’m happy with soapstone but it does require some initial breaking-in (oiling to achieve the finish) and it’s soft so you can’t be too hard on it. You should be cutting on cutting boards anyway.

Aside from that it’s beautiful. It was a dusty dull gray when it arrived and turned a rich emerald green once I started oiling it. And no speckles like granite, instead it has nice veins similar to marble. Pictures here. What I really like about soapstone is that it doesn’t have the tacky glassy finish of polished marble, and it’s not busy like granite can be.

The soapstone is gorgeous. Can you tell me if the cost is comparable to quartz and granite?

I recently found out about butcher block countertops and thought they were the coolest thing ever. If I ever redo my kitchen, I’m putting those in.

Also, remember not to take for granite other countertop materials.

Stainless steel sinks and laminate counter tops may not be the luxury rage nowadays, but they are both more forgiving than granite and ceramic materials if you knock over a glass or drop a plate even a few inches. I’ve had all kinds, and the very hard surfaces are not fun when accidents happen.

Consider Basalt?

We have Corian and we like it. It requires no maintenance and appears to be as durable as granite.

We have quartz and butcher block. I love the low maintenance of the quartz, and it’s not as busy as granite.

The thing I hate about SS sinks is that they’re so LOUD! I never realized it until I got my hands on a sweet second hand cast iron Kohler sink and replaced my old stainless one.

My dream kitchen remodel would include soapstone countertops. If they’re good enough for chemistry lab tables, they’re good enough for me. They last forever, they’re nonporous, non-reactive, aren’t damaged by heat, and just plain pretty. I’m not really concerned with the scratching/softness issue; I think that adds to it rather than detracts from it.