Kitchen floor and countertop recommendations

We are planning a completely new kitchen and are looking for recommendations for countertops - East to clean, heat resistant, smooth for rolling out dough (my Husband loves to bake)

 and floor recommendations - beautiful, easy to clean and maintain,  not too cold under the feet, not so hard that everything shatters on contact, non-porous. 
environmentally friendly is a plus, inexpensive also a plus. 
Do’s and dont’s are welcome. thanks so much for any tips you may have

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

We had similar requirements for a countertop and are happy with the soapstone counter we chose. We went to the M Teixeira showroom-warehouse in SF. We had them guide us to the varieties that are "hardest" because Soapstone is quite soft. We have a few small dings in spots where a pot slipped out of our hands at the sink and fell on the counter. Color choices are varying shades of grey, and be aware that the color changes quite a bit depending on if you oil the stone or let it dry out. 

For flooring I was convinced into putting in a wood floor (it was tile before). Much easier to clean than tile with the grout. It did get a few dents from moving the fridge around. So far has not seemed damaged by all the water we drip on it (it has been around 2 years). Glasses do break if they drop to the floor, but I'm not sure that a different floor surface would have made any difference. 

Hi!  We ended up going with quartz.  Meets all the criteria you're looking for (except probably the environmentally friendly aspect but not sure).  We looked at a TON of places and ended up having the best luck with a place in the San Leandro/Hayward area (there are a TON of value options out there).  We ended up using HB Kitchen and Bath.  We paid them extra to install as well since we were out of their "installation" area.  Overall we are very happy with the result

As far as floors, we stuck with our hardwood and it's been fine but I know a lot of people like Vinyl or tile.  Best of luck!

No flooring advice but for counters, Soapstone! I LOVE our soapstone counter - I use it for rolling and baking ALL THE TIME because it is so smooth and easy to clean - heat resistant and bacteria resistant because it is so dense. Sometimes I just like to rub the counter, it feels so beautiful! LOL I don't use mineral oil on mine, I like the non-shiny look - it is not as 'tough' as other countertops so you can't cut on it and need to take care not to drop heavy things on it, but it is perfect for bakers (and chemists! It's often used in labs!). Good luck!

We're in the process of choosing a countertop replacement (our existing counter is ceramic tile, with lots and lots of grody grout lines), so I can't report on experience, but it's looking like we'll go with an "ultra compact" sintered stone surface.  Brands Dekton and Neolith have eco-friendly credentials and offer some recycled-materials options.  These products are similar to porcelain slabs, but are made from a mix of porcelain, glass, and stone, combined with very high heat and pressure.  Most of them are made to look like marble (in much the same way most quartz is made to look like granite) but you can also get some solid colors and other options.

The decision process went like this: Granite (and other natural stone slabs, like quartzite) is heat resistant but requires regular sealing in order to keep it easy to clean.  Quartz and solid surfacing are no-maintenance but not heat-resistant (the resins will scorch or crack at typical oven temperatures).  Soapstone offers both low maintenance and heat resistance, but is invariably gray, which is not a color we want.  So then I discovered porcelain slabs.  Porcelain is easy to clean, no sealing required, and super heat resistant; porcelain slabs -- which are essentially a really giant tile -- have been common in Europe but are becoming more popular in the US.  The cons are that it chips more easily than other countertop materials, and there are fewer fabricators and installers who know how to work with it.  And there aren't as many choices for the edge profile as with granite or quartz, because the material is difficult to shape the same way, and the color/pattern on the surface does not go all the way through the body of the material.  The "ultracompact" products like Dekton have mostly the same pros and cons, but when installed well, are at least theoretically a little less prone to chips and cracks, and there are some options for the edge profile (some of them have "through body" color/pattern) and finish that you don't find with porcelain.

We've decided to go with a plain solid white, so now we half a dozen different samples of veeeeery slightly different whites sitting out on the counter.  Picking one of those may be the hardest part, lol.

For countertops, slate!! We purchased from a vendor in SF that offered large slabs to choose from and different edges.

Pros: indestructible (it's the same material they use in chemistry labs), natural material (in keeping with the spirit of our 1920s Craftsman), easy to clean, only seal once. We roll out dough regularly, no problem. Cons: not as cheap as IKEA quartz (though less pricey than our next choice, soapstone), not as many colors to choose from it's essentially black to grey and veining will vary. 

Marmoleum makes a great kitchen floor. Not really inexpensive, but environmentally friendly. Goes great with clear finish cabinets. If you are doing painted cabinets, a hardwood floor might be more to your liking. But to me, a wood floor with wood grain cabinets is too much wood.