Solid surface, granite, or granite tile... I'm still far from needing to have a decision on this, but I figure if I write down my options it might help me make a choice.
Granite slab has been a very popular choice recently for counter tops, and I really like the look. I've installed granite tile tops and like how they look too. For me, tile would substantially cheaper than slab (since I can do all the work myself and don't need to hire a fabricator) but I don't like the finished appearance quite as much as a slab installation. It's still darn good looking - don't get me wrong - but I'm a little worried about the long-term life of the grout lines and the potential for staining. Then there's the whole issue with cleanability, regular sealing of the surface, chipping, etc. With two kids in the house, there are good odds that juice or other staining liquids will be left on the top. The dark granite we are looking at would help hide that, and as long as I seal the surface regularly I should be reasonably safe.
The other option which is really starting to look good is going with a solid surface. The main brand everybody seems to know is Corian, by DuPont. Typically this is also expensive, as you need to work with a fabricator for measurements, fabrication, and installation. The company I work for recently acquired a company which makes solid surface (basically the same stuff as Corian, but with our own color palette), so I can buy at a pretty decent discount. 70 colors to work with, and I'm confident in my abilities when it comes to measuring for and installing the pre-fabricated pieces. I just don't know if I'm sold on the looks of solid surface compared to granite yet. The stuff would be great for durability and cleanability, but I'm still torn. I'll probably bring a box of color samples home next week to see if I can convince myself one way or the other. Considering I sell the solid surface now as part of my job, I probably shouldn't be having this mental conflict.
As long as my boss doesn't read this, I'll still be employed on Monday.