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Kitchen remodeling help, please: What is the best kitchen counter top material, gas stove, refrigerator and fridge?

We are renovatig our kitchen in our primary residence, a family cottage in a Seattle suburb. As far as the counter top goes, I'm looking for a hard-wearing, easiy sanitized, attractive material that will look good in a decade (think: resale value). I'm also looking for value for money with the appliances (again: resale value). We're probably going to refinish our wood cabinets with a whitish paint and nickel hardware.

asked by mwb over 4 years ago
11 answers 4010 views
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Diana B

Diana B is a trusted home cook.

added over 4 years ago

I'm not sure what to advise you to get for countertops, but I can tell you what not to get: marble. I thought granite was so boring and got a beautiful figured marble, but every splash of anything acidic (and a whole lot of things in kitchens are acidic) takes the shine off. If I were doing it again, I'd look at Silestone or epoxy resin countertops instead. I would also avoid stainless steel sinks - the stuff looks so pretty in the showroom, but everything scratches it.

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added over 4 years ago


For the ultimate in durability and low maintenance look at the new quartz countertops. They can be relatively plain compared to granite however. Granite requires some maintenance but, properly sealed, it shrugs off most things, at least if you don't leave them sitting on the surface for too long. If you haven't done a kitchen or a bath recently, check into one of the stores that specialize in pre-made tops. The installer has to cut and drill holes for your sink and cooktop but otherwise they're ready to install, saving a ton of labor.

I'm a fan of stainless sinks; I've never found them to scratch unless in a restaurant setting where they take considerable abuse. They will dent if something heavy enough gets dropped on one (but I imagine other sinks would crack under the same conditions.

Refinishing cabinets can save you thousands. Paint the face frames and insides, order new drawers, doors and hardware from either a cabinet shop or a big box home improvement center.

The problem with cooktops is that the more you pay, the better the appliance and you can find some pretty fancy units out there now with corresponding price tags. What impresses me are burners that will run so low they won't light a piece of paper on fire. That's the kind of thing I lust after for reducing and holding sauces. Make sure you take venting into consideration if you plan on high-output burners.

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sexyLAMBCHOPx

Chops is a trusted home cook.

added over 4 years ago

Stay away from high tech appliances. If something goes wrong, a service call and parts will shock you.

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sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 4 years ago

For countertops I have found Corian to be durable but also found Ice Stone to be beautiful, durable and it's a green product. It is made in Brooklyn NY at the Bklyn Navy Yard made of recycled glass. It comes in beautiful colors and the people I know that have it in their kitchens love it. http://www.icestoneusa...

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added over 4 years ago

I know it is boring, but granite will appeal to the most number of potential buyers and i cannot imagine that it will be out of style in 10-20 years if you pick a nice neutral grey. You do have to get it sealed and use a special kind of granite cleaner. Ours are about 3 years old now and look great because we gently buff them with the granite cleaner and a soft cloth about once a week.
However, since you live in Seattle where people are probably a little more open-minded about materials, maybe you can get away with a recycled glass or another kind of stone.

Personally, I am wondering if the craze for stainless appliances is going to start fading and people will eventually think they look datedl. However, I see no signs of this happening, so if you are thinking of selling in 10 years, I'd do stainless. The brand really depends on your budget....

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added over 4 years ago

Granite or the quartz-type countertops like Silestone and its competitors are the best way to go in my opinion. And not all granites/stones need sealing - mine does not. 9 years and counting and it looks as good as the day it was installed. Priceless Granite did the install and we were very happy with it and we got the granite down at Pental south of downtown Seattle.

Cooktops - I have a Wolf 5 burner inset style, and really like it. It has a wonderful low simmer feature and the layout of the cooktop makes it easy to use all the burners when needed. My sister has the DCS with large burner in the middle and she can't reach the back burners if she is using the large center one. I also have the Wolf double wall ovens and I really think they contribute to the success of my cooking for anything that goes in them. I will get them again if we ever move, even if that is all I can afford to replace in the kitchen because of the expense. That said, I don't think they are worth it if you have an eye toward shorter-term resale. I don't think the average cook really cares. Many just want stainless pro-looking appliances with little care to performance.

I too am a huge fan of stainless sinks and would never get anything else having had super-stained porcelain in a previous kitchen that I couldn't get clean no matter what I tried.

I don't know if it against the rules to mention another site here, but www.thathomesite.com is an excellent resource for kitchen remodels and appliance info. It made a huge impact on my choices and as a result I have had no regrets about any of them. It also will help you understand what people are looking for in appliances these days so that you can keep your home's resale value in mind. Best of luck - it's really fun to remodel a kitchen!!

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ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 4 years ago

So much of "best" is a matter of personal taste. I upgraded my kitchen almost 8 years ago now, and I still adore my Franke stainless steel sink. Sure it's gotten scratched, but that creates patina -- the beautiful look of a well-loved kitchen. It's extra deep and big enough to accommodate even my 16-quart stock pot!

If I were redoing today, I'd go with a poured concrete countertop. I love how they look, and they are SO durable. fwiw, I've never been a fan of granite. Quartz is also a great option, imho.

Appliance-wise, right now stainless steel is still "state-of-the-art," BUT it has been so for quite a while. If you're looking down the road to re-sale, you might want to consult some high end designers as to what they're using now. There is something newer than stainless steel. As well, be aware that by now, even the lower end models come in stainless steel. The quality of your appliances does make a difference -- not just the finish.

6f611b78 35b4 4186 89ad c38b035b32f3  08270410avatar messbrasil
added over 4 years ago

Look up for stores where they sell granite from Brazil.You may find some beautiful shades of blue or light pink there,or a sand-like beige that looks as good as marble and don't require all the maintenance,quite the oposite,actualy.Some detergent on a sponge,rinse and you're good to go.It will last you pretty much forever and it will always look good.As for the appliances I totally agree with sexyLAMBCHOPx.I also don't like Frost Free refrigerators.They're all so noisy,and if you don't keep all lids in place everything gets dry as a bone.I rather have to defrost it now and then...but maybe that's just me.

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added over 4 years ago

Soapstone . . . my family's farmhouse growing up had soapstone counters (my grand da was a scientist) and they are still there 60 years later in great condition. I put soapstone in my new kitchen at our farm and I get nothing but compliments. It has such a soft feel, IT DOES NOT ABSORB ANYTHING. Soapstone is used in laboratories all over the world because nothing hurts it, not acid, alkali . . .nothing. It gets more beautiful as it gets older. If you chip or gouge it, just lightly sand it and away goes the mark. In fact, it all adds character. I even had my kitchen sink made from it. Vermont has beautiful soapstone, but the Brazilian has more character. The best source in the US is a company called Bucks County Soapstone, in Bucks County PA. They have special machinery to carve designs into the stone if you so desire. And no one knows more about the product then they do. They travel all over the world and pick out their slabs personally. Ask for Scott.

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mwb
added over 4 years ago

Thanks, everyone, for your great advice and anecdotes!

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creamtea

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added over 4 years ago

If you do get granite countertops, just be sure not to use Glass Plus or any other glass-type cleaners, as they will etch the surface.