Granite Vs. Corian Vs. Silestone? Tile Vs. Hardwood in Kitchen?

Updated on July 30, 2011
C.D. asks from Durham, NC
15 answers

We're about to begin the process of building a house, and there are a lot of options we'll need to select. For the most part, I think this will be a fun process, but there are a couple of areas where I'd love input from people who have lived with these things in their own homes.

First - countertops. The builder offers granite, Corian, and Silestone. I know each of these has different qualities, and I'm unsure about which to put in a kitchen vs. which to put in a bathroom. What have your experiences been with these materials with regard to cracking, staining, heat resistance, etc? How do you clean these types of countertops?

Next - the flooring in our kitchen. We have large dogs who are messy eaters and drinkers, so I'm leaning towards putting tile in the kitchen to make it easier to clean (we currently have hardwood, and every little water spot shows). However, I've heard recently that tile can be hard on your back, making it unpleasant to stand and cook for long periods of time. I don't think this is something that would really bother me now, but we're hoping to live in this house for the next 20-30 years, so who knows what infirmities time will bring! I'd appreciate input from people with a tiled kitchen floor - does it hurt your back? Any other drawbacks to having tile in the kitchen? Advantages of having hardwood? Thanks!

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answers from Washington DC on

I have granite counters and hardwood floors. Love them both. Wouldn't change a thing.
I have messy cats and a messy dog.
A little warm water and vinegar cleans the floor. A little glass plus cleans up the counters.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I've had granite countertops in the kitchen, and also quartz (Silestone). I much prefer the quartz because it doesn't stain whatsoever (granite does; stained mine w/ olive oil once) and w/ granite you also have to re-seal it periodically. Both are heat resistant and I've had no issues w/ scratching w/ either. If I were to re-do my kitchen again, I would choose the quartz. I also have quartz countertops in the bathroom. Oh, and w/ the quartz, I just wipe it down w/ a regular old cleaner; I use Simple Green. No issues there. With the granite I used water and then a special cleaner for granite. Kind of a pain.

We currently have tile in our kitchen and I'm not in love with it. First of all, the grout is light. It's been sealed, but still stains. It looks grungy and dirty and I hate it. The grout lines are also larger than I would have chosen. I had slate tile in a previous kitchen and I made sure that the tile guy made the grout lines tiny and I also chose a darker grout that still looked great w/ the tile but wouldn't show dirt and stains. I loved it! But yes, the tile is hard on your back. The next time we re-do our flooring, I'm going to go w/ this really cool looking cork "tiles" that I saw a homeowner use on an HGTV show -- looks like wood slats. Cork is enviro-friendly, very cushy under your feet, resistant to water and the new versions are beautiful. If I don't go w/ that, I'll go for a bamboo probably.

Good luck, how fun!

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answers from Los Angeles on

If you get Corian, don't get white. MIL has white corian in her kitchen. She can't put hot stuff on it, so she lots of trivets in her kitchen. It stains easily, so she pours bleach on it regularly to remove stains. We have granite. We use dish soap to clean it. Never sealed it. I don't understand why people keep saying to seal it. it's been 7 years since we installed it. We still get compliments on how beautiful it looks. We have tile floor, darker tile and grout. Easy to maintain. I stand at the kitchen a couple of hours at a time. I've never had back pain. I wear socks or flip flops or walking shoes.
You didn't ask about this, but undermount sinks. If you get a choice, pick undermount. It makes cleaning SO much easier!

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answers from San Francisco on

Granite is beautiful and practically indestructible. We had enough left over from our kitchen to do our daughter's bathroom and it is gorgeous!
I don't know why people complain about wood floors. It is also beautiful and so easy to clean, the occasional mop with hot water and a little Murphy's Oil Soap. Maybe people are using harsh cleaners that leave residue? I don't get it, my wood floors always looked great, even with three kids, two dogs and a cat. When we remodeled the kitchen I let my husband and contractor talk me into slate. BIG mistake. Yes (like tile) it is very durable, and it does look pretty, but it is so cold in the winter, and anything that drops on it shatters instantly. I miss my wood :(

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answers from Springfield on

We have hardwood floors, and my parents have ceramic tile. I think theirs is beautiful! Of course, they don't have kids living there. Our floors are really showing wear. With 2 kids (2 1/2 and 5), I guess that's to be expected.

I used to think I'd want ceramic tile one day, but after working in my own kitchen and working in my parents I'm not so sure I would. I feel it mostly in my feet. They are often sore after I've been cooking there. It does help if I wear my Crocs when I'm there, but I don't think I'd choose it for myself. Might look into LeeLee's cork idea. Sounds promising!



answers from Boston on

We had hardwood floors in the kitchen of my old house and as much as I love HW, it sucked in the kitchen. The floor just never, ever looked clean. Every crumb and every drop showed, and after a while the finish gets clouded up with spills, scratches etc. and it looks lousy.

We have linoleum in my current house. The house is almost 60 years old and I wouldn't be surprised if this is the original floor. I know that linoleum isn't in style anymore, but this floor wears like iron. We've got 4 kids (three of them are boys) and a dog and they are hard on floors and all we have to do is a quick sweep and mop and this floor is looking clean and shiny again. Because it's a sheet there's no grout to deal with or grooves. I think that if I were to build a house now, I would go with something like this while the kids are young and then do a nicer tile when they're older.

No help on the counters - mine are Formica.



answers from Fort Wayne on

I cannot comment on the countertops because I haven't had to do ours...but we were torn between tile and hardwood floors. The benefit of tile is that it is easy to wipe up spills and durable -- but the grout can get dirty and is a pain to clean! Wood flooring will show some wear, but is really easy to clean...however, the downside to wood flooring is that if you have a spill that goes un-noticed or a dishwasher flood at night it can warp. I am impartial. We did do tile in the kitchen and hardwood throughout every where else in the house. I love it that way! You can always buy one of those "gel" mats to stick in front of your prep area and it helps your back tremendously!



answers from Washington DC on

We just re-did our kitchen after 15 years and replaced tile with hardwood. We also have dogs and kids of various ages and disabilities.That said, I'm not a fussy cleaner, live in an old house and like the look of old materials as they wear- i.e.water spots have to be pretty bad for me to care.

I agree with LeeLee on the grout issue and the tile was indeed hard on back and feet and it always felt cold. However, the thing that I hated the most about the tile (besides the fact that I didn't pick it and thought it was ugly) was that everything you drop on it breaks! Plastic dishes, yogurt containers, plastic and glass cups, cottage cheese containers - you name it, we broke it - and with food containers that always meant a mess!

As for countertops, we replaced Formica with concrete and the new island is wood. I love that the concrete can take anything - heat, cold etc, but love the wood for it's warmth. I get cold really easily and dislike how cold granite can be at an eat-at island.



answers from Greensboro on

I remodeled my kitchen 4 years ago and put granite on the counter tops and since we removed a wall between our kitchen and den, we extended the wood floors into the kitchen. It's just been 4 years and the wood is dinged, scratched, and stays dirty with spots and spills. If I could do it again, I'd figure out a way to make the two rooms one and use tile in my kitchen.

I really like my granite but now I wish I would have used quartz. I just think it is a clean, sharp look. Good luck. I'm sure whatever materials you choose will be nice and you will enjoy. I don't dislike my kitchen; it's definitely an improvement, but I do lament about the floors every now and then.



answers from Nashville on

I only have an opinion on the floor. We chose hardwood over tile mainly because we like the look of the dark wood, it makes everything look richer, the cabinets look nicer, etc I have friends who have tile and they say it is cold, it is hard on your feet, and if you drop something, it is sure to break.
We have a large dog too and as for the spots, you are SO right. But they will be there on tile too, you just might not see them. We have a plastic boot tray under our dog's dish and then we put a towel under it too. as she drinks we wipe her mouth when we can or we follow her water drip trail after. The hardwood scratches easily so if I did it again I would get the already dinged up kind, the rustic kind to hide the scratches..Big dogs are yucky no matter what.....sweet, but yucky. ;o) Happy building!



answers from New York on

We are currently remodeling a kitchen in our new house, so I have been spending lots of time researching the various choices out there! We have decided to go with Cambria quartz countertops and wood floors to replace the existing tile floors. Quartz and granite price out about the same, but there is less upkeep with quartz and it is easier to maintain. The one we chose looks exactly like granite anyway. As for the flooring, we have a large sloppy dog, too, and I was somewhat concerned about how the hardwood would stand up to heavy use, but I just like the look of it better than tile (which IS hard on your feet/back) so decided to take my chances. Hopefully, I won't regret either choice! Good luck!


answers from Detroit on

We built out home. We have granite counters and LOVE them. One tip is to make sure you do not get bottom of the line granite or it will always look cloudy. Our kitchen counters are awesome. We went with a lower quality when we finished our basement because I was going for color and nothing else. It's still nice down there, but I sure can tell the difference in quality and shine. I use 409 Granite cleaner. It's just a spray. I usually only do that once a week went I have everything perfect in its place. Normal day to day living, a dish rag with mild soap and they still look awesome.

We have hardwood in the majority of our home. Love the looks, by the 10 year old stuff in the kitchen is starting to fade a bit and has a scratch or two. We have 2 girls and no pets. 98% of the time we do not wear shoes in the house. We are not rough on our stuff, but time does wear them. Having said that, we had all carpet pulled out of our bedrooms, stair case and landing 3 weeks ago and replaced with hardwood. LOVE the looks, but I feel like every piece of dust and every piece of fallen hair shows. That ought to make me CRAZY over the next 10 years!! Again, LOVE the looks, but hardwood is maintenance.

We only have tile in our bathroom.

Good luck! Building is FUN!



answers from Augusta on

we have hard wood and I love it. Tile is more durable but wood looks better.



answers from Washington DC on

Kitchen: I have corian in my kitchen. It looks nice, but you have to be careful not to place hot dishes on it.

If I were to design a kitchen I would choose silestone (quartz).

I love that its a hard, can take most anything, natural stone. I also just found this article. Maybe it will help you.

Floor: Hardwoods. It never goes out of style and always adds value.



answers from Chicago on

I had my house built 3yrs ago. I had mine built with the idea of my 3 kids AND wanting to keep this house for a LONG time!
Here's what we have & why

We have granite counters. They look great. They are durable. They are easy to clean. We but a granite cleaner from target & lowes. It works great. We buy the polish as well and polish them every couple of months.
We have ceramic flooring in the kitchen. Honestly, we did that because it looks great. It's pretty easy to clean. We sweep daily, heck, we sweep twice daily!! I mop my kitchen floor twice a week. Not straining at all. Depending on what's on the floor, you may have to scrub a few things. But we have a mop that has a scrubber on the side of it, so we don't even have to bend over for it. They really are easy to keep clean, and we have 3 kids (8, 4, 1) and a larger, very messy, dog!! In my last house, we had vinyl tile and we HATED it. It was much harder to keep clean. Seemed like everything stuck to it. That's why we made the choice this time for ceramic.

Living Areas--
We have laminate hardwood floors. They are beautiful!! The upkeep is kind of annoying. We mop them once or twice a week. You have to find the right cleaner that works for your floors. It took a bit of trial and error for us. Unfortunately, some of the "error" led to residue being left behind on the floors. But, once we found the right cleaner for our specific flooring, it cleaned the floors and removed the residue left from the other products. My biggest complaint is the dog hair!! I swear I sweep & mop, and by the time my cleaning stuff is put away the hair is everywhere again!! But, they look great & make my living areas look so much larger.

Sorry I gave so much info!! Hopefully some of it helps!

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