KBB - September 2014 - (Page 18)
From laminate to marble to quartz, the
choices are endless for today's kitchens
Countertops are the workhorses of the kitchen, but thanks to technological improvements and diverse material access and development over
the last 10 to 15 years, they have become a design statement, as well.
Consumers have more options than ever before for varying shapes,
sizes and materials. Natural stone continues to be a popular choice for
countertops, with quartzite emerging as a new favorite.
"Most quartzites have similar technical characteristics to granite in
that they are very durable, resistant to heat and stains and very dense,"
said Jared Becker, vice president of design and marketing at Walker
Zanger. "But unlike granite, quartzites have a lot of movement, veining
and color variation."
He also notes that many of the granite designs that were popular 10
years ago have fallen out of favor, especially for the luxury market.
Laminate manufacturers are responding to consumers' desire to attain the look of stone on a budget. As a result, the Formica Corporation
has introduced laminate designs featuring a mix of softly patterned stone,
white stone and quartz.
"While there are still plenty of large-scale exotic granite looks out
there, it's the newer, quieter stones that look very modern, including smallscale quartz looks and soapstone, limestone and marﬁls in neutral and
monochromatic colors," noted Gerri Chmiel, senior design manager for
the Formica Corporation.
Cosentino, which manufactures Silestone quartz countertops and
Dekton, a new ultra-compact surface, reports that the many of its current
installations are monotone. "We are seeing a great increase in pure white
countertops, and grays and blacks also are becoming more popular,"
said Lorenzo Marquez, Cosentino's vice president of marketing.
He attributes the trend to two factors: "One, it is a cleaner aesthetic.
Two, people are starting to invest in their homes as real estate is picking
up, and monotone colors appeal to a lot of different audiences."
Interest in gray marble is growing to complement the already high
demand for white marble, Becker noted. As an example, a designer may
select one of the materials for the island and the other for perimeter
"Most of the white marble has some kind of gray veining, so the gray
marble pulls that out," he said. "The materials harmonize very nicely."
Still others prefer engineered quartz because of its streamlined design.
"The ﬂexibility and durability of quartz is becoming more popular with
homeowners looking for more control over the look of their countertops,"
said Jeremy Werthan, owner of Werthan, LLC, a stone fabricator. "It offers a
consistency you cannot get with natural stone with its irregular patterns,
veins and marbling."
Top: Dekton, an ultra-compact surface from Cosentino, is made from
a mixture of inorganic raw materials found in glass, porcelain tile and
natural quartz. The product uses a technique that mimics the metamorphic change undergone naturally by stones when subjected to
heat and pressure over thousands of years. The results include exceptional strength, low water absorption and high resistance to abrasion
and thermal shock. Circle No. 200 or visit kbbonline.com/freeinfo
Bottom left: Formica recently launched seven patterns to address the
trend of homeowners expanding their material preferences to include
new stone variations. The Lava Flow pattern features a ﬁne granular
sandstone design, reﬂecting the subtle veining and movement found
in soft stones. Circle No. 201 or visit kbbonline.com/freeinfo
Bottom right: Grothouse Lumber Company has introduced handplaned surfaces for any wood type, including wenge (pictured). The
undulating countertop is sealed in the company's new Durata ﬁnish, which is completely waterproof and resistant to chemicals. Photo
courtesy of Venegas + Company LLC. Circle No. 202 or visit
For those seeking a softer ﬁnish, wood remains a prevalent option.
"It adds warmth in gathering spots like kitchen islands and seating,
and it is popular in butler's pantries because it is kinder to ﬁne china and
stemware," said Denise Grothouse of Grothouse Lumber Company. "The
thermal diffusion of wood is much lower than that of other materials. For
this reason, it does not feel extremely hot or cold to the touch."
September 2014 / www.kbbonline.com / The Ofﬁcial Sponsor of KBIS www.kbis.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - September 2014
KBB - September 2014
Show Director’s Note
People & Places
KBIS Countdown to Design & Construction Week
2014 Design Award Winners
Miracle Working in a Tight Space
A Tall Order
Start Spreading the News
The Usual Suspects
From Dull to WOW
A Classic Plan
On the Beaten Path
KBB - September 2014