to top it off

engineered countertop materials big on style and innovation

Choosing the right countertop material is one of the biggest nail-biting decisions a homeowner will make.

Available today in a dizzying variety of materials, colors, and textures, countertops are focal points in kitchens, baths, and outdoor areas. Selected in relation to cabinetry, fixtures, and appliances—and with durability and practicality in mind—counters tie the entire design together. If granite, marble, wood, and other natural materials defined countertops in the last decade, the 2010s are about high-quality engineered materials that offer unmatched durability, innovative design, and sometimes, a look that’s even better than the real thing.

Dekton ultracompact surfaces are a high-tech option for those seeking the newest offerings in glass, porcelain, and quartz. Manufactured by Cosentino, the process used to create Dekton is called sinterized particle technology, which accelerates the process that natural stone undergoes when subjected to high temperatures and pressure over thousands of years. The material is touted as having zero porosity and a lack of microdefects; it is also highly UV-resistant. “It’s a surface perfect for grill areas and flooring, too,” says Cristian Gandara, who sells Dekton countertops locally at Granite and Marble by COMAF. “It’s highly scratch-resistant, and they’re testing new colors with veins that look like marble.”

Agate surfaces, manufactured by Caesarstone, are strong statement pieces in kitchens, with the inner jewels of stone crafting distinct lines, rich textures, and shades of vibrant colors. Ubaldo Jacinto of Stonehouse Granite & Marble calls agate’s style “bold and modern.” Jacinto also notes that agate surfaces do offer a full color palette, but whites and grays are the most popular. Even further, this particular material makes the surfaces incredibly easy to clean. “But not so much that it won’t be necessary to not clean again,” he laughs.
A prime choice for those interested in supporting the planet is PaperStone, a surface material made of paper layers that are 50 to 100 percent post-consumer recycled, and fused together with petroleum-free resin. Marble and Granite Design Concept offers the product locally. “If you want to go ecofriendly and stay away from industrial glues, this would be the best,” says the company’s Juan Zaldivar. PaperStone can be customized in thickness depending on the number of sheets that are fused together. It too is nonporous, which means it absorbs almost no water and offers a great defense against stains. Color choices are dependent on what is available in recycled paper when ordering, but given enough time, Zaldivar can coordinate with the supplier to find the right pick for each homeowner.

Whether you’re building new or giving your kitchen or bathroom an updated makeover, going green or looking for that timeless and classic feel, the countertop you choose will be critical to your space’s overall design and function. While “the naturals” are still popular choices, today’s innovative, manmade materials push the boundaries in terms of durability, composition, and standout style.


Ace Granite Innovations

Classic Granite & Marble Inc.

Granite and Marble by COMAF

Marble and Granite Design Concept

Stonehouse Granite & Marble, Inc.

Stone Masters