Cabinet & Countertop Inspirations

This is the third and final installment of options for your home remodeling project.  Read on for more information on wood, ceramic and laminate countertops.

Wood tops are both elegant and warm.  There are many different wood species available, as well as various stains, thicknesses, edging, and texture options.  This variety makes wood tops a beautiful and timeless option.  $30-$85 per square foot for materials.
Pros:  Contrary to belief, wood countertops are very durable.  With a permanent finish, they are waterproof.  Wood is also food-safe and is made from 100% renewable materials, making them a “green” option.
Cons:  With constant use as a cutting board, a wood top may require re-sanding and re-finishing to maintain a smooth look.
Maintenance:  The care required by a wood top varies depending on the finish used to seal the top.  With a permanent varnish, a wood top requires no special care.  A tung oil finish will need re-applied twice a year.  A mineral oil finish needs re-applied 6-8 times per year.  It is recommended that bleach not be used on an oil-finished top.
Ceramic/Stone Tile countertops are an affordable and frequently used countertop option.  Especially, if you like the look, but not the cost of granite – buy granite tiles!  $10-$70 per square foot for materials.
Pros:  Tile countertops can be very durable:  heat, scratch and stain resistant.  There are a multitude of color and pattern choices available – with the option of even mixing and matching tiles to create a top as simple or complex as your taste desires.  If tiles are damaged, as long as replacement tiles are available, swapping out the bad tile(s) is easily done.  
Cons:  The largest downside to tile countertops is dealing with the grout.  Grout can stain, or crack, which eventually results in re-grouting your countertop.  Another consideration:  while tile is durable, it is also possible to chip the tile.
Maintenance:  Soap and water clean-up is the standard everyday procedure for tile tops.  To protect against grout problems, it is recommended that the grout be re-sealed frequently.
Laminate countertops are one of the most affordable options available to homeowners.  There are an endless number of color, pattern, and finish choices, as well as unique edge profiles.  $20-$30 per square foot, materials only.
Pros:  In recent years, laminate companies have worked to modernize colors and options available with laminate tops.  Advancements have been made especially in the area of creating tops that mimic the look of natural stone slabs.  Backsplashes can be integrated into the countertop and undermount sinks are an option as well.
Cons:  Laminate tops cannot be used as a cutting board surface, as laminate is susceptible to scratches and cuts.  Pot holders are a must as laminate is only heat resistant to 150 degrees.  Once a laminate top is damaged, it is almost impossible to repair.
Maintenance:  Daily clean-up is best done with soap and water.  Bleach is not recommended.


Replacing kitchen or bathroom countertops is a big decision.  Homeowners have a large variety of options with different qualities and price levels for each.  This is the second installment with information on different options available to homeowners.

Marble is an elegant natural stone.  Colors range from soft white and gray to creamy beige, creating a timeless countertop.  Cost is $70-$100 per square foot, installed.

Pros:  Marble adds instant luxury to a kitchen, and is recognized worldwide as a beautiful, expensive material.

Cons:  For being such a delicate material, it is surprising how popular marble is as a countertop.  It is a very soft stone, and is easily scratched or nicked.  Acidic food can etch the surface and certain foods/beverages leave permanent stains on contact.  The inevitable patina that develops from even light use is often seen as part of marble’s charm.

Maintenance:  The surface of a marble top should be re-sealed every year with marble sealer.  For daily clean-up, use only water or marble-specific cleaner.

Solid Surface countertops are a man-made surface created by fusing together a mixture of acrylic or polyester resins, powdered fillers, and pigments.  Cost is $50-$100 per square foot, installed.

Pros:  Solid surface tops come in a myriad of colors – from lime green to beige, to multi-colored.  After installation, solid surface tops will appear seamless.  They are durable and non-porous, and because of the nature of the material, unusual shapes are possible.  

Cons:  Solid surface is sensitive to heat, and pot-holders should be used for hot items.  The top is susceptible to scratches, but fortunately, scratches can be professionally buffed out.

Maintenance:  Soap and water clean-up.

Stainless Steel countertops often come to mind in conjunction with modern or industrial designs, but their seamless functionality and durability is hard to resist for any kitchen style.  $80-$90 per square foot, installed.

Pros:  Stainless steel is available in several finishes:  matte, brushed, satin, and even patterned.  The material is very durable, non-porous and non-staining.  It is heat resistant, easy to clean and can be molded to include seamless sinks and drain boards.  Most stainless steel tops are made using 60% recycled material.

Cons:  Some people complain that fingerprints and watermarks require constant wiping away.  Stainless steel also develops scratches from average use.

Maintenance:  Use soap and water for clean-up or try using baking soda or a diluted vinegar instead.

If you decide to replace countertops in your home, do you know what material to choose or where to begin? There is a large variety of countertop options with different qualities and price levels.  In the next few blogs, we will share pros, cons and maintenance requirements for mainstream countertop choices.


Soapstone Countertops (Spiceland Wood Products)Soapstone is a gorgeous natural stone that varies in color from black to greenish gray.  The stone may also have distinct light-colored veining and costs $80 - $110 per square foot, installed.

Pros: Impervious to chemicals, bacteria and stains.  For this reason, soapstone is often used for countertops in science labs.  It is unaffected by heat and develops a soft, worn patina.

Cons: This is a naturally soft stone.  It can easily be scratched or even chipped.  This inevitable wear is often seen as part of the beauty of soapstone.

Maintenance: Soapstone can be cleaned with any number of cleaners.  An occasional application of mineral oil will deepen color and even out surface scratches.  The entire top can be professionally sanded to buff out imperfections.


Quartz is often referred to as “man made granite.”  It is composed of 90–95% quartz and 5-10% pigments and resins.  Quartz is available in a myriad of colors and patterns ranging from solid to uniform to a pattern with unique movement.  Cost is $75-$105 per square foot, installed.

Pros: Non-porous, non-toxic, and non-allergenic.  It resists bacteria, stains and scratches.  Very durable and requires no sealing or waxing.  More “green” than naturally mined stone.

Cons: One of the higher priced stone countertops.

Maintenance: Soap and water clean-up.

Granite Countertops (Spiceland Wood Products)Granite:

Granite is a natural stone cut from quarries and transported by slabs to fabricators all over the world.  The colors, veining, and pattern is unique to each slab.  We recommend hand-picking slabs from a stone yard to ensure the desired look.  Cost is $50-$100 per square foot, installed.

Pros: Granite is heat, scratch, stain, and water resistant.  It is available in a wide range of colors and a number of finishes from polished to honed.

Cons: Granite must be sealed regularly.  Depending on who you talk to, this sealing should be done annually or every few years.  Fortunately, sealing granite is a quick, easy process that can be completed by the homeowner.

Maintenance: Clean granite tops with warm water or cleaner made specifically for granite.  Re-seal granite annually/every few years.


"Sonja and I want to thank you for the great experience that you and your company provided to us throughout the design, manufacture, and installation of our library cabinetry you made for our condo. Our friends and family rave about its quality and appearance. You are all craftsmen and it was a real pleasure watching the project come together during the whole process."
Al & Sonja
"Thanks again for successfully completing our project today. Special kudos to Mike and the other craftsmen at the shop for a job well done. We could not be more pleased with the results. Mike’s attention to small, finer details was very much appreciated. He was patient, pleasant and understanding. It’s all about the “fit & finish” with us and Spiceland Wood Products did not disappoint. We WILL be doing more business together soon – we look forward to it. Given the opportunity, we will highly recommend SWP to everyone. It was a true pleasure working together."
Wayne & Tonia