Q.  What's the best surface for a kitchen counter that is indestructible and beautiful?

A.  There's a reason why white Caesarstone has been showing up in so many kitchen renovations and new developments over the past few years, according to our experts:   It satisfies both of your criteria, though not everyone is crazy about it. Here's what a designer, a contractor, and a real estate broker from our expert panel had to say about their top choices.  

Jeff Streich, general contractor: 

His top 3 ranked in order are Caesarstone, granite and Corian.

"Caesarstone is a man-made substance, mostly made from quartz and combined with other materials," says Streich. "It has the same type of feel as granite and marble.  It is the most stain, scratch and heat resistant of all.  Granite is another great choice. It's a natural stone and very durable, but it's more porous so it does have more of a chance to stain.  Corian is one of my favorites as it's a solid manmade surface that is not porous and very easy to maintain. What makes this one of my favorites ist hat nicks and scratches can be buffed out so it looks brand new."

Kelly Giesen, designer:

"This is a hard question which has no real answer," she says.  Here are her views on a few materials:

  • Granite: "I do not like granite--it’s too dark and ordinary. If you want something light in color with a less predictable pattern, granite will not deliver."
  • Marble:  "For a light and interesting look, I routinely use marble. It's beautiful but care needs to be taken to seal it before use, and at least yearly.  You also need to clean up as you use it to avoid stains.  Keeping it nice is up to you - clean up as you use it to avoid stains, but keep in mind, stains do not happen instantly, and the veining can hide many an imperfection.  Most people are scared off based on what they’ve heard.  I live with it and have for years, so I never second guess this choice.  That said, it’s probably not for the messy cook who waits to clean.  Again there’s no magic answer here, but I can tell you at resale time, there is nothing like beautiful marble to bring in dollars."
  • White glass:  "I like white glass, but you have to be careful of chips. I’m working with a client who has a family and we are doing white glass counters with a Calcutta Gold slab backsplash to bring in the wow factor.  The glass looks like pure white stone, and the veining in the stone will bring in color and pattern.  The glass has a subtle shine which is more sexy than another fine alternative, a white Caesarstone."  
  • French lava stone "This is another option, and pricey, but be aware - larger pieces will have seams.  
  • Caesarstone:  "Caesarstone is plain/boring so you HAVE to have something on the backsplash to amp it up. That really is the key."

Deanna Kory, real estate broker:

Which countertops appeal best at resale time?

"Right now Caesarstone seems to be in style and is really durable," says Kory. "It's considered a more natural product--natural products are 'in'--than Corian-type counters.....Granite is okay - but not really in style right now. It seems that certain granites do feel dated if time goes by, so the suggestion would be to try to keep it as natural looking as possible. Some granites, especially ones with pinks and grays in them are really dated. White carrera marble is always timeless but not durable. Vermont green marble was in style but not now. The 'do not put in' group includes formica and tile countertops."


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Ask an Expert puts your toughest NYC real estate questions to the experts