Skip to Content

Surfacing Material

5 Popular Wood Species to Know

Being in our industry, we’re surrounded by wood. Different wood species are better for certain architectural projects than others. For example, maple is a great wood type used for kitchen and bathroom cabinets. The type of wood chosen will determine the beauty and strength of the finished piece.

Do you know the most popular wood species? How about the specific characteristics that make up different wood types? This blog post will introduce you to the most popular wood types and their characteristics.

The Beauty of Natural Wood

There’s no denying the beautiful characteristics of wood. It’s actually the variety of color hues, grain patterns, and other natural characteristics that make wood perfect for furniture, countertops, and cabinets. 

Color and grain pattern are the two primary factors that influence the appearance of wood, and both can be easily enhanced when the finish color is applied. 

What naturally influences color variation in wood species? There are a few: soil, minerals, water levels, available sunlight, temperature, and genetic composition. In a forest, natural chemical extractives found in the cell walls create color variation. These variations are traceable to: red, orange, yellow, and violet. 

In a commercial farm, the range of variation can be increased when mixing wood species. For example, it’s common to mix red oak and pine oak together. 

Similar to color variation, grain is influenced by many different factors including tree size, growth rate, climate changes, site conditions, genetics, bird, insect, and fire damage. 

Even the same wood species that grows in another part of the world can look drastically different from one another. 

Hardwood vs. Softwood

The type of wood chosen for a certain project depends on what is being built. For instance, a bookshelf needs to be built with strong wood that can withstand a lot of weight. However, a coffee table could use a wood species that’s more lightweight and good-looking. So what’s the difference between hardwood and softwood?

Hardwood

Hardwood comes from deciduous trees, and typically are more expensive simply because they are hard to find as they take a long time to grow and mature. 

Hardwood is strong, and has beautiful texture, color, and grain patterns. Some common examples of this type of wood include ash, oak, teak, birch, walnut, and mahogany.

Softwood

This type of wood comes from evergreen or coniferous trees. Typically, softwood grows in cool climates, often found in Canada, Scandinavia, and Russia. Since these trees grow faster than hardwood, softwood tends to be cheaper.

Softwood is light, soft, and easy to work with. Some common examples of softwood include pine, spruce, cedar, and redwood. 

Other Wood Species

But, what about maple? It actually comes in hard and soft! Soft maple is easy to work with, while hard maple is a bit tougher. This wood species is actually pretty common as it’s grown on commercial farms. Choosing either soft or hard maple is better and stronger than other softwoods. It’s also less expensive too!

Have you heard of plywood, medium density fiberboard (MDF), or particle board before? These are manufactured wood types. In this process, wood particles are pressed together and bonded under pressure. Hardwoods are typically used on the outer side to give different looks. These wood types are exclusively used for kitchen cabinets and shelves. 

5 Popular Wood Species

While there are over 50 types of wood species (and more than 60,000 trees worldwide!), we’re here to breakdown the 5 most popular ones that are commonly seen in both cabinets and countertops. 

Let’s take a moment to admire (and learn) about the biodiversity of the earth’s wood species:

Cherry

Being a very popular and all-around great wood, cherry is easy to work with, stains and finishes well, and ages beautifully. The color variation can range from a nearly white to light red to dark reddish brown. It also has a fine to medium, uniform grain pattern. Cherry is in high-demand and can be more expensive compared to oak or maple. 

Oak

Most commonly used for furniture, oak is available in either red or white, and is another wood species that’s very easy to work with. The color variation of oak ranges from light tan to pink to red to dark brown. Oak does have a consistent medium fine grain pattern. 

Soft Maple

Being easier to work with than hard maple, soft maple has a color variation that goes from nearly white to light gray. The fine, straight, and uniform grain pattern help to create a very stable and beautiful wood.

Hard Maple

While difficult to work with, hard maple is one of the most beautiful woods. Similar to soft maple, this wood type has a fine consistent grain pattern. Oftentimes, you’ll see the color variation range from nearly white to a slightly reddish brown. Both soft and hard maple are less expensive than other hardwoods, making them one of the most popular wood species on the market. 

Hickory

Similar to hard maple, hickory is a very difficult wood to work with. However, the beautiful color range from nearly white to dark brown make up for it. Featuring a fine, uniform grain, you can use hickory to make a beautiful statement piece. 

Wood Products at the H.J. Oldenkamp Company

Typically, when we think of wood, we usually think about bookshelves, tables, and flooring. However, wood is very versatile, and here at the H.J. Oldenkamp Company, we supply the industry with some great wood products.

Kitchen & Bathroom Cabinets

The kitchen and bathroom are two very important rooms in any home. You’ll want to ensure that those spaces are both functional and stylish. One of the best ways to accomplish that is to invest in top quality cabinets from some of the top manufacturers in the United States. 

These top cabinet brands will build durable, strong, and beautiful cabinets that last for many years. 

We are pleased to offer 8 cabinet brands:

  • Merillat Masterpiece
  • Mid Continent Cabinetry
  • Vista (frameless)
  • Merillat Classic
  • Fabuwood
  • Quality Cabinets
  • Quality – Woodstar Cabinets
  • Kountry Wood Products

 

ColorMatch™ from the Merillat Masterpiece® Collection

While choosing kitchen or bathroom cabinets can be a tough decision, just remember that there is a cabinet line, door style, and color that will meet your tastes and needs. 

Surfacing Materials

A unique wood application (and one of our favorites) is residential and commercial countertops. A butcher block countertop is both practical and gorgeous. Plus, with a little proper upkeep,  you’ll have countertops that will last for many years with minimum wear and tear. 

Wood Welded Butcher Block - Commercial Dining

Residentially, butcher block tops can serve many different purposes including kitchen countertops, island surfacing material, make/prep station off a kitchen island, and rolling workstations. 

Industrially, this product is great for bench tops in the locker room or in an institution. Commercially, we’ve seen butcher blocks used as dining table tops in a cafe, bakery and food prep areas, and as professional cutting boards.

One of the reasons why we love Michigan Maple Block is the fact that it’s customizable for any type of space, and look and feel. Butcher block tops come in a variety of traditional wood species like maple and cherry. They also come in more exotic finishes such as black walnut and teak. Whether you’re looking for a space with an industrial look or one with chic innovation, the possibilities are truly endless.

Vertical Wall Applications

A way to awaken a space is with wood wall paneling. Plankwise interior wood wall panels are made from only the finest North American natural wood species including walnut, maple, and white oak. Featuring 8 finish options, the perfect look can easily be found for either a residential or commercial space.

plankwise Wood Wall Planks - Kitchen

Ideal for a vertical wall in a kitchen, living room, or bedroom, plankwise can also be installed on a ceiling to help accent skylights. With tongue and groove profile, these wood wall planks are super easy to install and will stand against moisture and humidity allowing for minimal movement and warping. 

This is definitely another wood application to help make a unique space.

Final Thoughts on Wood Species 

There are many wood species that can be used for cabinet, countertop, and furniture projects. While there are pros and cons to each type, there definitely is no “one size fits all.” It all comes down to your tastes, which elements are important to you, and your budget. Knowing the characteristics will allow you to select the best wood species for your space. Interested in learning more about our cabinet lines or Michigan Maple Block? Contact our team today!

READ MORE

5 Unique Applications of Corian Solid Surface

Corian® countertops have been around for many years. DuPont invented this material back in 1967, and since then it has grown in popularity. However, the recent rebranding (2018) of Corian® to Corian® Solid Surface have left many confused about this countertop material. 

Is there a difference? Absolutely, not. Corian® and Corian® Solid Surface are, in fact, the same material that DuPont has always made. The only two things that have changed are the name and different applications and uses.

With the increase in popularity, Corian® Solid Surface has continued to evolve into a new world of possibilities. Not only is this material perfect for kitchens and bathrooms, but Corian® Solid Surface can be used for interior vertical walls, furniture, and outdoor garden enhancements. 

So let’s discover the versatility of Corian® Solid Surface:

The Rainbow Surfacing Material

One of the aspects of why Corian® Solid Surface is viewed as such a versatile material is due to the extensive color palette. While this surfacing material does have those subdued earth-like tones, there are plenty of colors that have flair and patterns that bring life and movement to a space. With over 100 colors, you can pick from a pure black or white such as Glacier White and Deep Nocturne. You can also get playful with solid colors in blue, red, and green.

One of the big differentiators of Corian® Solid Surface compared to other brands is the evolution of new patterns. Veins, pebbles, shading – all can be seen throughout the collection of colors. Plus, there are even designs that look quite similar to marble and granite. 

Custom colors are also possible. Whether you have a piece of fabric or a paint sample, DuPont will match it. 

With limitless colors, it’s easy to see why this surfacing material can be used for way more than just countertops in a kitchen or bath. 

Benefits & Features of Corian® Solid Surface

While some benefits (tough, durable, and easy-to-clean) are more well-known, there are other truly unique features that many are unaware of that lead to more design options. 

For example, there are a variety of different edges, backsplash options, sinks, and seams one can do. 

From a simple bullnose to a fancy double classic, there are approximately 19 different edge styles that are offered with this surfacing material. 

Choosing a full backsplash with the same color as your Corian® countertops can help to create a smooth, seamless look. 

While seams seem to be the bane of countertops, with Solid Surface there is no reason to fret as this material has nearly invisible seams. This material does have to be installed in sections, but the way the material is made allows for a seamless look when all of the pieces are fitted together. 

Another huge benefit to Corian® Solid Surface is the ability for it to be molded into essentially any shape or curve. Whether your space has an unusual shape, or you’re looking for a clean, hypo-allergenic piece of furniture, Corian® is king and is the most versatile for unconventional shapes. 

We also love the fact that certain colors are gorgeous when illuminated. When installing a kitchen countertop, table top, or built-in couch, lights will be able to glow through this surfacing material resulting in one incredibly unique space. 

5 Unique Applications of Corian® Solid Surface

Corian®’s adaptability is perfect for showers, bar tops, boats, and exterior wall cladding. Below, we’re listing some of the most unique applications to help inspire you.

Shower Surfaces

Kitchen Choreography, an interior design and remodel company in northern Michigan, has a strong desire to always provide clients with unparalleled service from start to finish, even if that means saying ‘yes’ to a more challenging project. 

For one particular residential project, the homeowners decided they wanted a full remodel of their bathroom that incorporated a crisp, clean, and modern look.

One unique challenge was incorporating a wainscot paneling in the shower. Typically, this type of application uses either wood or veneer for the wall covering. With this particular placement, the right material needed to be chosen in order to keep the shower clean, clear of mold and residue, and durable for many years. This material also needed to have the right texture and look in order to match the homeowner’s vision.

It was recommended to complete the shower renovation with Corian® Solid Surface. The shower walls are comprised of field tile and b-board in Cameo White. Light hues of white, cream, and gray help to accent the shower and give this bathroom the much-desired look. 

Wainscot Corian

Interior Vertical Walls

For another unique application, we’re spotlighting the artist Mario Romano, creator of M.R. Walls. Unlike tile or print, Corian® will allow any vertical space to have a unique, uninterrupted design with a material that’s impervious to mold, virus, and bacteria. And, it’s completely water-proof.

Inspired by nature, you can choose from one of Mario’s creations or create a pattern together. Perfect for shower walls in either a commercial or residential space, kitchen backsplashes, or a statement wall in the lobby of hospitality or retail, M.R. Walls has some incredible applications that will leave you awe-struck.  

Furniture

Corian® can truly help to enhance any type of space. For example, in this residence, the huge living room wasn’t appropriately accommodating the needs of the area. The homeowners wanted to create a dual-use for the space: one area for watching tv and the other to sit in front of the fireplace and talk.

By incorporating the original design of the home (step detail in a piano-shaped curve), Mark Gacesa of Ultraspace transformed the space with Corian® Solid Surface in Witch Hazel by using it for the frame of the couch.  

During the day, this material complements the existing furniture in the room. By night, the entire room glows to create a magical and soothing spot. In this application, the Solid Surface is both backlit and underlit to allow for auto dimming. 

University & Retail Spaces

We mentioned earlier that DuPont will color match any color, and that’s exactly what happened with the University of Michigan.

A top-ranked public university, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has a tradition of excellence in research, learning and teaching, sports and the arts, and more. They were looking to complete one of their newly renovated spaces by building durable, custom trophy cases.

In order to complete the desired look, Corian® Solid Surface in their famed maize and blue were chosen. Providing a seamless, matte, and bold look, these trophy cases are durable and easy-to-clean. They also help to add a distinctive element for the University of Michigan. 

UM Trophy Case

Exterior Spaces

Ellard Custom Countertops, a small business located in Paw Paw, Michigan, specializes in fabricating Corian® Solid Surface for some pretty unique projects.

One residential project they worked on was for an outdoor porch. The homeowners didn’t like the current look of the lattice under their porch. They wanted a material that would blend well into the natural surroundings while still serving a purpose of keeping those woodland critters away. 

One unique challenge that presented itself during this project was finding a material that was durable enough to withstand the harsh outdoor elements, and one that they wouldn’t have to replace time and time again.

It was recommended to complete this project with Corian® Solid Surface in Deep Nocturne. They closed off the space with 8-1/2″ tall strips and bolted them to the 4×4 wood posts of the deck. A piece was also placed behind the step to ensure the space was completely blocked off from any critters looking to call that space home. The color Deep Nocturne was chosen as it blended well with the mulch and surrounding greenery and helped to create a cohesive look.

Corian Back of Step

Final Thoughts

From the extensive color palette to the different molding abilities, Corian® Solid Surface can really be transformed into just about anything. If you’d like to receive more information about Corian® Solid Surface and its capabilities, please feel free to contact our Customer Service Department today at 800-462-6047. 

READ MORE

The Best Surfacing Material: Quartz vs Solid Surface

So you’re in the market for a countertop material that looks high-quality, has a high return on resale value, is long-lasting, and resists heat. You’ll probably find yourself debating between quartz vs solid surface. While it can be a bit hard to distinguish between the two, they are actually quite different. 

What are the main differences between quartz vs solid surface? We’re here answering some frequently asked questions about these two surfacing materials. 

Quartz

At H.J. Oldenkamp, we are the wholesale distributor of Corian® Quartz (formerly known as Zodiaq). But, what exactly is Corian® Quartz surface material? It combines the natural beauty of quartz with the advanced technology of Corian® Design. This quartz material is made up of 93% quartz, and has a variety of beautiful colors.

What Sheet Sizes and Thickness Does Corian® Quartz Come In?

2CM (¾-inch) slab is available in 63” x 120”, and the 3CM (1-⅛-inch) slab is available in 63” x 120”. Slab sizes do vary by color and some of the new Corian® Quartz colors are available in a jumbo slab size.

What Are The Available Colors of Corian® Quartz?

In the 2019 collection, there are 48 colors that range from Cloud White to Indus Red to Space Black.

Can Quartz be Used in Food Prep Areas?

Yes, Corian® Quartz is nonporous and can be used in a kitchen. In fact, a lot of homeowners choose quartz over granite for food preparation areas. 

Corian® Quartz can also be used in other applications such as walls and vanity countertops. There are a wide range of edge treatments that can be applied to your quartz slab during fabrication. 

Is Corian® Quartz Hard to Care for?

No. Actually, Corian® Quartz is very easy to maintain mainly due to its durability, nonporous, and chemical-resistant characteristics. Unlike granite, quartz doesn’t require any sealants or waxes in order to maintain its luster, color, and smooth surface. 

We do recommend to routinely clean your quartz with a damp cloth or paper towel. If needed, a small amount of non-bleach, non-abrasive cleaning can be used for those tougher stains. 

Quartz is Durable, but How Well Can It Withstand Heat and Scratches?

While this surfacing material is very resistant to heat, scratches, and stains, we do encourage the use of trivets and hot pads. If you do decide to use quartz in a food prep area, make sure to use a cutting board when slicing or chopping, especially if using a serrated knife. All spills should be wiped up asap. 

Solid Surface

Just like with quartz, we also distribute Corian® Solid Surface (also known as Corian®), which is the brand name of a solid surfacing material created by DuPont. This surfacing material lends itself to creative uses and innovative solutions, and pairs with other companies such as M.R. Walls. Corian® Solid Surface can be cut, routed, drilled, sculpted, and bent. 

Now with 116 colors, the ever-evolving color palette allows everyone to create their dream space. 

Is Corian® Solid Surface Heat and Stain Resistant? 

Yes, similar to Corian® Quartz, Corian® Solid Surface is nonporous which means that stains can’t penetrate into the surface. It’s also very easy to clean and maintain, and also doesn’t require a sealant. 

Corian® Solid Surface can remain undamaged with temperatures up to 212°F, however, a high heat and flame will damage it. While most damage can be repaired, we don’t recommend placing a hot pot directly on the surface. A trivet with rubber feet and hot pads are Corian® Solid Surface best friends. 

Is Corian® Solid Surface Easy to Clean?

Yes, extremely so! Soapy water or an ammonia-based cleaner is all that’s needed for daily cleaning. While minor scratches and discoloration can be easy for you to repair, any major damage should be repaired by a Certified Fabricator/Installer of Corian® Solid Surface.

How is Corian® Solid Surface Installed?

The only professional who can install Corian® Solid Surface is a trained and certified fabricator or installer. Corian® Design has redefined the installation process and has a group of exclusive certified professionals who do a wonderful job of installing Corian® Solid Surface. They’ll also be happy to talk you through the entire process so you can ask any questions and will know what to expect. 

Why Does One Choose Solid Surface Over Another Surfacing Material? 

Easy to clean and kosher are two of the main reasons why Corian® Solid Surface is chosen as a surfacing material. This material is also nonporous and resits the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria. Lastly, Corian® Solid Surface is a material that is both heat and scratch resistant. 

Even with Key Differences Between Quartz vs Solid Surface, Can They Be Used Together?

Absolutely! For example, a Corian® Solid Surface sink can be easily installed in a Corian® Quartz countertop. You can even mix and match quartz and solid surface in a kitchen and kitchen island to create a dramatic statement. 

What’s The Best Way to Measure a Countertop for Quartz vs Solid Surface Material?

Both Corian® Solid Surface and Corian® Quartz come in large rectangular slabs, which is why the best way to measure your countertop is to “cut” it into rectangle pieces. 

You’ll see below that both kitchen countertop layouts are sectioned off into measurable rectangular pieces. 

Simply take the length of each section and multiply it by the width of each section and then add it together. For example, here is the math for the U-Shape kitchen pictured above:

Section A: 62.6 x 25 = 1562.5 inches

Section B is the same size, 1562.5 inches

Section C: 125 x 25 = 3125 inches

So 1562.5 + 1562.5 + 3125 = 6250 square inches

However, this surfacing material isn’t bought by the square inch but rather by square feet. You’ll need to convert the above number.

A square foot is equal to 144 inches (12 inches x 12 inches). You’ll need to divide 6250 by 144 to get 43.403 square feet. Rounding up is a standard practice in this industry so the above kitchen is 44 square feet. 

Why Choose® Corian Design and DuPont?

Since its inception, Corian® Design has provided the world of design and architecture the perfect medium in which to innovate. Renowned for its adaptability, its variety of patterns and color schemes, its sensorial qualities, and its durability and cleanliness, Corian® Design has ably met the challenges of modern living and ends the “debate” between quartz vs solid surface by offering both. 

Being under the DuPont umbrella with expertise spanning two centuries, Corian® Design is a major source of inspiration and is used to meet the requirements of even the most demanding clients and homeowners.

Wrap up: How To Choose Quartz vs Solid Surface

There are both different pros of quartz vs solid surface, and ultimately the decision will come down to cost, sanitation, and maintenance. If you would like more information on quartz vs solid surface, or to order samples and literature, please call our Customer Service Department today.

READ MORE

Trending Now: The Importance Of Kitchen Islands

Kitchen islands are convenient for many reasons: they serve as an extra food prep area and they’re a perfect gathering spot for family members and friends. In fact, according to a recent Fixr survey, 92% of homeowners would like to have a kitchen island, and it’s no surprise why the industry is seeing more and more kitchen islands in remodel plans.

Another appeal to kitchen islands is the design portion. Nowadays, it’s common to see fun shapes and vibrant colors incorporated into kitchen islands. Plus, they’re a great way to add interest into a home.

Should you add a kitchen island into your remodel plans? Let’s learn more about the importance of kitchen islands and how you can design one to fit your needs.

The Increase in Popularity of Kitchen Islands

Long gone are the days where kitchen islands served as only being a prep area for cooking. In today’s world, these islands act as a replacement for breakfast nooks and kitchen tables. Not only that but these islands serve as an extra entertaining area as they are the perfect gathering spot for the cook and taste testers.

The increase in popularity also comes down to the endless style options. Homeowners view kitchen islands as a way to be bold and express their personality. Whether they get inspiration from a home renovation show or flipping through a design magazine, more people are willing to add their own flair with a kitchen island, mainly because it’s a way to separate themselves from everyone else.

Merillat Kitchen Island

But, why exactly are kitchen islands so important? They allow homeowners to take advantage of the kitchen work triangle. What’s that? Having a kitchen island in the right spot will maximize your cooking work center, sink/cleanup work center, and refrigeration. Basically, an island is the center of a kitchen’s room dynamics. Not only do kitchen islands serve as a way to personalize a kitchen but they also serve as a way to keep everything moving in a logical flow.

4 Benefits to a Kitchen Island

When designing a kitchen island, it’s important to think about functionality. Why are you investing in a kitchen island? What’s the main purpose?

Benefit #1: Adds More Storage Space

If you have inherited a smaller kitchen, you know the trouble associated with the lack of storage space. While storing those bigger pots and pans in your hall closet might work for now, a kitchen island can solve your problem.

Nowadays, kitchen islands can be designed with organizational drawers, pull out shelves, and cabinets. Think of it this way: your kitchen island is an extension of your current cabinet and storage situation, and you can be as creative with the storage space as possible.

Benefit #2: Gathering Spot for Kids

From the perfect spot to do homework to an area to help make dinner, kitchen islands will help to make your kids feel special while allowing you to keep a close eye on them. With kitchen islands, you can even include a cabinet filled with snacks so your kids can feel a sense of independence when reaching for that after school or weekend snack.

Benefit #3: Extra Seating for Parties

A kitchen island is a great place to act as an informal dining area. It will even give you more seating space when you host family gatherings and parties. Plus, creating a space for people to gather while you’re finishing some last minute meal prep will allow you to be productive and socialize at the same time. Keep this in mind: even if you have a smaller kitchen, the addition of 2 seats will greatly help when entertaining.

CorianSolidSurface_PebbleTerrazzo_Kitchen (1)

Benefit #4: Place for Additional Kitchen Accessories

Is your top-of-the-line espresso maker sitting in a cupboard collecting dust due to lack of counter space? Do you wish you had a larger stove? You dreams can come true with a kitchen island. Try adding a preparation sink or grill and your island quickly becomes the center hub of cooking. Even adding in open shelves to one side of the island will allow you to display trinkets and other smaller kitchen accessories. Let your kitchen island be a creative expression of you.

Kitchen Island Ideas and Trends

With more counter space and storage options, the sky is truly the limit. Designers have seen everything from tiny islands to big islands to movable islands. There are even different shaped islands you could incorporate into your space, such as t-shaped or round.

But regardless of size and shape, it’s safe to say that the biggest kitchen island trend is to be bold. For example, if your kitchen is filled with beautiful cherry wood cabinets, you can make a splash with your kitchen island by incorporating custom-painted cabinets. Adding in an orange, teal, or even red can make your space a bit more modern without being too flashy.

Island surfaces are another way to customize a kitchen island. Designers believe that there will be an increase in two-surface countertops. For example, in one kitchen, a homeowner could have beautiful Corian® Quartz countertops on the perimeter and have with their island surfacing material made of Michigan Maple Butcher Block. The contrast between the sparkling, smooth quartz and the natural wood of butcher block will create a unique space. These two different surfacing materials also distinguish the food prep area from the seating area. You could even incorporate these two surfacing materials on the same island.

One trend that’s definitely out is using kitchen islands for large appliances such as a dishwasher or oven, as there’s a bigger advantage to having those appliances on the perimeter (aka better access to electricity and water lines). Incorporating kitchen sinks into islands is still on-trend, and designers think it will be for years to come. Another appliance often seen in islands is the microwave, especially one that pulls out from a cabinet drawer.

Material Options for Kitchen Islands

What are some of the best material options for a kitchen island?

For starters, we recommend to choose materials that will not only complement the rest of your kitchen but are best suited to your island’s purpose.

For example, if your island will mainly be used as food prep either Corian® Quartz or Michigan Maple Butcher Block would make a good choice as both are stain-resistant and durable. If your island will be used as an informal eating or gather area, Corian® Solid Surface with its seamless appearance and bold color palette might be the material that’s best suited.

For another example, let’s say that you’re using your kitchen island for additional storage. There are plenty of cabinet lines that offer creative storage and organizational solutions, such as Merillat Cabinetry and Kountry Wood Products. From lazy Susan’s to a spice pull out to wine racks, the possibilities for storage solutions are truly endless.

Merillat Cabinet Organization

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember the kitchen island’s purpose and use that as the framework to finding the perfect materials and organizational accessories.

Other Items to Know About Kitchen Islands

According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, it’s important to make sure you have enough space before you start buying material. How much space do you actually need? It’s recommended to have at least 36 inches of clearance on each side. If your island will be used as a prep area for cooking, that minimum should be increased to at least 42 inches per side.

If you do have a big enough kitchen for an island, let’s briefly talk about the cost. While the cost will vary based on materials, features, plumbing, and electrical, Fixr indicates that a 24 sq. ft. kitchen island with a sink and quartz countertop would cost around $4,500. That price is just an estimate. For exact pricing, you would need to work with a contractor to determine material costs and installation costs. Even if the price is steeper than you originally thought, the benefits of kitchen islands is well worth the investment, and can greatly add more value to your home.

Final Thoughts

With the variety of storage and design options, it’s really no surprise why an island is still one of the most popular items homeowners add to their list when remodeling their kitchen. If you’re in the beginning stages of a kitchen remodel, please feel free to stop by our showroom to tour over 16 different displays featuring cabinets and surfacing materials. You can also meet with one of our designers who can give you plenty of kitchen island advice. The H.J. Oldenkamp Company is located at 4850 Coolidge Hwy., Royal Oak, MI 48073.

READ MORE

What’s The Best Kitchen Countertop Material?

Your countertop material has been narrowed down to two premium choices: Corian® and granite. These countertop materials are vastly different, and there are plenty of factors to consider before making a final selection.
For starters, Corian® is the brand name for DuPont’s surfacing material, and granite is a natural stone. The rainbow of colors of Corian® countertops might also appeal more than the earthy-tones of granite. Other differentiating factors between the two include durability, aesthetic appeal, and functionality.

What exactly are the differences between Corian® vs. granite? How do you make the best selection possible? Continue reading on to learn all about the best kitchen countertop material.

Composition

One of the biggest differences between Corian® and granite comes down to the composition and property characteristics of each material.

What is Corian® Made of?

We mentioned above that Corian® is the surfacing material of DuPont. In that sector, there are two surfacing materials one can choose from: Corian® Quartz and Corian® Solid Surface.

Corian® Quartz (formerly known as Zodiaq®) is engineered with pure quartz crystals. Quartz, which is found in the earth, is naturally hard which allows this surface to keep up with daily wear and tear while still maintaining its good looks. In fact, Corian® Quartz was one of the first quartz surfaces in the marketplace back in 2000.

Corian Quartz Slate Geo

Corian® Solid Surface (formerly known as Corian®) is a man-made material comprised of binding resins, various minerals, dyes, and other fillers that help to give it both color and texture. Similar to Corian® Quartz, Corian® Solid Surface was the only solid countertop surface on the market before Formica, Staron, and Wilsonart.

Corian Solid Surface Silver Linear

What Makes Up Granite Countertops?

Being an igneous rock that’s formed deep within the earth, granite is made up of felspar, quartz, and other naturally-occurring minerals. To mine granite, companies must retrieve it in large blocks. From there, the granite is cut into slabs, shaped, and polished. In this process, no materials are added or removed which makes granite as pure a stone as it can come.

Granite countertops

Heat-Resistance

Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty details. Since you’re looking at Corian® vs. granite for a kitchen countertop, there are certain characteristics that are needed for it to be functional. The first of that being resistance to heat.

Can You Put Heat on Corian® Quartz or Corian® Solid Surface?

We recommend that you don’t. While these two surfacing materials can withstand a couple hundred degrees, a pot or pan that’s any hotter will cause damage.

To keep your surface in pristine condition, we advise that you always use a trivet with rubber feet to keep the heat directly off the surface.

Should You Use a Hot Pad with Granite?

While granite can withstand a hot dish taken directly from the oven, there have been cases of ‘thermal shock’ which can cause granite countertops to crack. Unfortunately, when it cracks the only way to fix it is to replace the entire slab which can be very expensive. It’s also very hard to find a slab that looks like the original, so oftentimes the whole countertop needs to be replaced instead of just a piece.

How Scratch Resistant is Corian® vs. Granite?

Another important question we get asked a lot.

Since Corian® Quartz is made from extremely hard quartz crystals, this surface can easily survive nicks and cuts that often occur from daily wear and tear. This definitely helps to minimize both short and long-term maintenance.

Corian® Solid Surface is more prone to scratches and minor nicks; however, for the most part, is can withstand normal wear and tear. Luckily with this surface, minor scratches can be removed with either a scouring pad or buffed out using a small machine.

Granite countertops are scratch-resistant. In fact, it is possible to cut on the surface with a knife, but we do recommend to be cautious. One quick, deep cut could end up harming your granite.

The perfect solution for all surfacing material is to use a cutting board.

Stain-Resistant: Which Surfacing Material Stains More?

One of the best benefits of Corian® Quartz is its nonporous characteristic. Due to this, quartz resists stains quite easily. Furthermore, when properly cleaned, it won’t grow mold, mildew, or bacteria.

Corian® Solid Surface is nonporous, stain resistant, and hygienic. All the colors of Corian® countertops have a silky smooth surface that doesn’t allow any liquids to penetrate. Additionally this surface can easily be wiped clean and doesn’t allow bacteria or mold to grow as there is no place for it to take hold.

Now let’s focus on granite. When not properly cared for, granite can stain. In fact, as soon as you spill something, it’s recommended to wipe it up as soon as possible (within a few minutes) or else you’ll be left scrubbing away for a long time or a stain.

Cleaning 101: The Difference Between Corian® vs. Granite

Cleaning and maintenance is one of the biggest differences you’ll see in Corian® vs. granite. Corian® Quartz is carefree by nature which means you can clean it with just soap and water.

Corian® Solid Surface is just as easy to clean. The only requirement is soapy water. You can also use a household cleaner with either ammonia, bleach, or alcohol and Scotchbrite® pad to disinfect it. Of course, there are some colors of Corian® countertops that can “hide” spills due to the color or pattern. A quick daily wipe can give you peace of mind that your countertops are 100% clean.

Granite is a bit more complicated and requires more maintenance. To clean granite, use warm soapy water daily. Weekly, you should also disinfect the surface with a ratio of 50% water and 50% isopropyl alcohol. Let this solution sit for approximately 3 minutes then wipe it up with a microfiber cloth. It’s never a good idea to use a cleaner with bleach, vinegar, or ammonia as overtime that will cause granite to look dull.

Which Material do You Need to Seal?

Since granite countertops stain easily, it’s very important to keep it sealed. In fact, sealing granite every 6 to 12 months is a step that should never be missed.

With Corian® Quartz and Corian® Solid Surface, a sealant, polish, or wax is never required to maintain it’s natural luster no matter what Corian® countertop color you choose.

Which Countertop Material Goes Best with Wood Cabinets?

Honestly, choosing a countertop material is entirely up to the look and feel desired. When it comes to Corian® vs. granite, the aesthetic appeal is very different.

Corian® Quartz has a natural stone and raw, earthly look to it. Unlike Corian® Solid Surface, quartz has a polished, shiny finish.

Corian® Solid Surface provides a seamless, uniform, and homogeneous look making it an ideal (and popular) choice for both residential and commercial kitchens. Additionally, Corian® Solid Surface has a matte look.

Granite, similar to Corian® Quartz, has a natural, earthly look. The variety of mineral speckles can make granite more distinctive than quartz.

While any of the above countertop materials can look fantastic in a kitchen, Corian® Solid Surface can be seamlessly integrated with wood, glass, and stone.

The Colors of Corian® Countertops vs. Granite

The variety of Corian® Quartz countertop colors range from light to dark granular and light to dark veined. From a pure white to a speckled red to a dark blue swirl, a natural and unique look can be achieved with Corian® Quartz.

Corian Quartz VenetiaCream_Leather (1)

The colors of Corian® Solid Surface countertops are available in a wide variety of textures and patterns. In fact, you can find all the colors of the rainbow: off white, beige, brown, gray/black, blue, green, yellow/red. Corian® Solid Surface can even be made to replicate a marble pattern.

Corian Solid Surface Laguna_LR

Granite countertops come in a range of shades from creams, grays, greens, browns, and reds. All of these shades (for the most part) are available in light and dark. Since granite is a natural stone, every slab will have unique coloring and different speckles. Granite is also a bit more limited than Corian® Solid Surface countertop colors.

Final Thoughts: What Are the Advantages of Corian® vs. Granite?

To recap, Corian® Quartz has the following benefits:

  • Extremely durable as it’s made from hard quartz crystals
  • Comes with a 10-year transferable residential limited warranty. It never has to be sealed, polished, or reconditioned and is very easy to clean
  • Nonporous and hygienic surface doesn’t allow liquids to penetrate
  • Heat-resistant (the use of hot pads is recommended)
  • Stain resistant and resists bacteria and mold growth

 

Corian® Solid Surface:

  • Survives daily wear and tear
  • Versatile surfacing material where liquids can’t penetrate
  • Nonporous material that prevents dirt and stains
  • Hygienic and doesn’t support the growth of mold or bacteria
  • Any major scratches can be easily removed or buffed out restoring it to mint condition
  • Seamless, smooth surface that allows the integration of countertops, backsplashes, sinks. It can also be used in showers and on vertical wall space.
  • The colors of Corian® countertops come in a rainbow of options

 

Granite:

  • Elegant and timeless aesthetic appeal
  • Natural stone
  • Durable and scratch-resistant
  • Heat-resistant up to high temperatures. Just like with Corian® Quartz, we do recommend the use of a hot pad or trivet

As you can see there are a variety of differences and advantages between Corian® vs. granite. If you have any questions about the two surfacing materials or would like to request a sample of the colors of Corian® countertops, please contact our team today.

READ MORE