As with any big project, there are a lot of choices to be made. Countertops are for us, a huge decision.
Not only do we want something that looks good, but the price needs to be within our budget and the material needs to be durable.
I mentioned a long time back that our two main choices have been solid surface and granite. We both like the look of granite over solid surface. It has more "depth" and character, plus it's a natural material that just plain looks fantastic.
It also has some downsides. If I'm going to do the job myself I need to do it with granite tiles. I don't mind the small grout lines, but some people don't like 'em. It's also a porous surface and needs to be protected regularly. It's also easier to damage and harder to fix than solid surface.
With the other material, solid surface is something I normally wouldn't try myself, but since the company my wife and I work for manufactures and fabricates it, we're a step ahead and I can have the pieces easily made to my specs at a discount.
The colors aren't quite as pleasing to us as granite, but they still look great compared to laminate tops and help give the kitchen a quality appearance.
What I really like about solid surface, and what has really pushed me in that direction is the durability. Scratches can be sanded out, it's non-porous, and more stain resistant.
With all that said, I'm about 80% certain we are going with solid surface. It'll hold up well to a house with kids and pets, and I won't have the regular maintenance in keeping it sealed.
I brought home the color charts yesterday so we can start narrowing down our options. The kitchen needs to be solid surface, while for the bathroom we can do either solid surface or cultured marble. A lot of the colors are the same, but the finish is different, so we'll have to kick that around a bit.
3-1/2 of these color cards are for solid surface.
These are the cultured marble options.
I expect about 10-15 days for fabrication and I can then pick up the finished pieces. Once we pick out a color, that is....and install the cabinets so we can have counter tops made to match the actual layout.
Until then, I'm finalizing the kitchen cabinet layout. I did find a 12" cabinet that will work for us that will allow us to put the dishwasher to the left of the sink. I need to break out the graph paper and draw the plans up in detail just to be sure though.