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Matte black counters

by Adam Burke last modified Mar 03, 2013 06:54 AM
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Matte black counters

Posted by Adam Burke at October 13. 2005

I'm trying to decide on a counter top material. I want the satin finish of honed granite but I've heard many testimonials about the maintenance and staining on honed granite. The obvious alternatives like slate or soapstone, also have maintenace issues or the color is inconsistent. I want bomb proof, consistent black color, without a lot of maintenance. Is quartz stone a good choice? I'm looking for any advice I can get. Thanks!

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Jeff Jasper at October 14. 2005

Quartz is pretty awesome, lots less maintenance than stone and they have a great looking deep black color that we are going to use in our kitchen. Consumer reports rated it best for countertop material.

Other option is solid surface like Corian, easy to maintain but can get damaged much easier than Quartz or stone. One nice thing about solid surface counters is they are seamless and you can get integrated sinks and you can get pure hospital white which is impossible for stone or quartz. We are probably going solid surface for the bathroom where it will not get abused as much and quartz is definitely going in the kitchen. Corian has more of a matte finish than Quartz.

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Jennifer Tipton at October 14. 2005

We also wanted a matte finish and decided on Corian. My architect has a white/off-white in his kitchen which he loves and has had sanded twice.

The Corian guy told me that black does show cuts and so forth more than the white.

We haven't decided on a color yet. Anyone else had experience with this material?

Jen

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at October 14. 2005

sounds like you want black lab countertops

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Brian Boudreau at October 14. 2005

I just did honed absolute black in my kitchen. The trick behind honed black is to treat the stone with a color enhancer. It basically takes the grey out of the stone makes look more black. Thus greatly reducing the suface staining and smudges. I have found that even the worse looking smudges and stains come right out with a good granite spray on cleaner. My counters look excellent I would definetly get them again.

I looked at every available material out from richlite to soapstone to corian. Black graite is indestuctable almost as hard as diamonds. Good luck.

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at October 14. 2005

What exactly is a color enhancer? Is this something the granite fabricator applied, or you did it following the installation?

It makes sense. Fight stains by pre-applying one big stain over the whole surface!

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Jesse Leary at October 14. 2005

We occasionally applied linseed oil to the honed black counters in our old house. (I think it was linseed. Oddly enough, I found it in the laxatives section at the drug store.) This would make it look glossy for a day or too, but then soak in. We didn't have any stain issues in the three years we had the counters.

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Diego Socolinsky at October 14. 2005

I installed phenolic resin laboratory counters in my kitchen over a year ago. They are black and they have a low sheen, a little shinier than honed granite, but a lot more matte than polished stone. They are impervious to everything except scratching. Scratches will more or less disappear when the countertop is oiled. In fact the fabricator told me they wipe the counters down with WD40 after installation in a lab. Can't really do that in a kitchen, though, so I use mineral oil when necessary. That being said, I have very few scratches after more than a year of normal use, and I think the material is excellent for a modern kitchen application. The one piece of advice I would give is to seek estimates from several sources. I had the same counters priced by a kitchen fabricator and a lab fabricator, and the kitchen one was almost three times more expensive. Needless to say, I had my kitchen counters made by a lab fabricator :)

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Brian Boudreau at October 14. 2005

Greg, A color enhancer is basically a chemical that seals and adds a wet look to stone. It is specifically made for honed marble and granite. I bought the MB6 from http://mbstone.com/products.htm . I applied the enhancer after the counters were installed. Its really easy to do just brush it on with a paint brush and whipe it off 15 mins later with towel. Then reapply 24 hours later.

I also looked into Phenolics but do to the demenisions of my kitchen it actually would have been over a $1200 more than granite. Plus the samples I got scratched really easily and I figured when I sell my house having granite would be better for resale value. I will try to post some pics of the counters next week.

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Adam Burke at October 14. 2005

So does engineered stone come in a more satin finish? I've only seen glossier finishes. Silestone has a cool new texture called 'leather' (he he) which resembles brushed granite which is slightly bumpy.

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Brian Boudreau at October 14. 2005

None of the black quartz counters I looked at came in a honed/matte finish all of them were polished. I know ceasar stone has a white and a grey that come honed but no blacks or dark greys. Also the quartz counters were all $15-20 more per square foot than the honed black granite in my area.

I havent seen the leather finish yet (sounds cool). But I have see the brushed finished granites and they are pretty tough to keep clean. For example ketchup and spills are tough to get out of the grooves. I do love the look though. Good luck with what ever you choose.

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Starcat at October 15. 2005
If you haven't seen them, check out Richlite and Paperstone. (Both are paper-based products. The Epicurean cutting boards are made out of this stuff. Richlite has better colors and distribution--they've made their way into Expo--but they're pricing it as a premium product.)

Fireslate has a mixed reputation; it apparently develops way more of a 'patina' than promised. (Check out this anti-Fireslate site.)

If my place didn't already have granite when I bought it, I'd be getting Paperstone.

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Karen Pittman at October 17. 2005

I used black Richlite in my kitchen, and I'm pretty pleased. I love the way it feels. It will scuff -- there's a dull spot where a friend of mine furiously scrubbed it with a scotchbrite pad before I realized what was happening. I think all I need to do is refinish it with the sealer.

-KP

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Alex Andel at October 18. 2005

I saw a honed black Silestone this weekend at the Vancouver Home and Interior show, so I can confirm that it exists. We had polished black Silestone in the house we just sold and it was great...my only wish was that it was not so shiny to show streaks. The honed would be perfect and will likely be what we buy next house.

[url href=http://www.silestoneusa.com/eProducts/eLeather.cfm]Silestone Leather[/url]

AA

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by mjfree at October 20. 2005

I installed black richlite in my bathroom, and it looks sweet... when it is clean.....but, it is never clean. Of course, will all black things, they show every spec of dust and water marks.

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Adam Phillips at October 21. 2005

how bout concrete counters with Scofield's dark grey admixture...if you use a good amount of that, you'll get them almost black, and the finish can be honed...

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at October 21. 2005

We did white corian on a vanity in one bathroom, black in the other. The white always looks clean, the black always looks spotty. Black formica at the office kitchenette is the same deal.

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Susie Newman at November 02. 2005
Diego - I found your phenolic resin laboratory counters interesting. I too wanted a smooth honed (not glossy) solid black countertop surface and I cannot afford to spend an arm an a leg! Can you please tell me how you went about finding someone in the laboratory fabrication to come to your home and take the measurements, do quote, installation, etc.? I am very interested in this for my kitchen if cost-effective (less than Honed Granite) or if anyone else has any suggestions for solid black non-glossy countertops. My kitchen is not very big, and I only need 1 countertop surface. I live in Atlanta (Tucker) Georgia. Any response you could give me with info would be much appreciated. Also any cost $ per square foot that yours ended up being, etc. would be helpful for comparison. Thanks!:hm:

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Diego Socolinsky at November 03. 2005

SusieN,

I actually did all the measuring, fitting and installation myself. Measuring was really not a big deal, I think anybody can do it. Just make sure you double an triple check the numbers before having the material cut! I also sent the fabricator the sink cutout template that came with the undermount stainless sink I used, and they just cut the hole to size and routed the edges for me.

You can also get eposy resin counters, which are the more traditional lab counters used in older labs. They are essentially made of a sand-like aggregate bonded together with resin. They don't age quite as well, and end up looking mottled grayish, and scratch rather easily. However, if you are looking for more of a rough stone look, they may be to your liking.

I suggest you look for a laboratory supply house in your area and give them a call. Mine were fabricated in Delaware, and I drove up from Baltimore to pick them up. That would obviously not work for you! For reference, the price per square foot was about $25, including all cutouts and edge routing, so it is a lot cheaper than honed granite.

I am including a picture so you can get an idea what the finished product looks like. Hopefully it will come out.

 
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Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at November 03. 2005

Diego - I think that looks great. Can you share the name and contact info for the fabricator?

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Diego Socolinsky at November 03. 2005

Greg,

The fabricator is LF Systems, in New Castle, DE. They actually have a web site www.lfsystems.com. I dealt with Gerry Holmes, and he was extremely helpful and knowledgeable.

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by mjfree at November 04. 2005

Diego,

Is the 25/sqft a fabrication price? I purchased a 10' x 25.5 x 3/4 slab of black richlite for about 450.00 or so + cost of shipping from WA to CA ($125). Thus, for me, the richlite matl cost was $27.50/sqft. I had somebody come and do the fabrication as a side job, and paid another 15.00/sqft for that for a grand total ~ 43.25/sqft. Still, this was much less than a quoted contract price of 75-100/sqft.

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Diego Socolinsky at November 04. 2005

The 25/sqft price is what I payed for the material plus fabrication: cut, routed, sink and faucet cutouts, etc. I payed about $800 (don't remember exactly) for four pieces, totaling about 15-16 linear feet of counter of standard depth. One piece was edge finished on three sides and has a cutout for a column in the wall it sits against. Another piece has a cutout for an undermount sink and two drilled holes for a faucet and a water filter. The other two pieces are finished on the front edge only. I drove a van to pick them up from the fabricator, so there was no shipping cost. I also did the installation, so that was free as well. Altogether, I spent just about $800 on very nice looking counters!

The thickness of my phenolic counters is 1.25 inches, so they are thicker than yours. I got samples of richlite before going with the labtop counters, but I liked this material better, and the price turned out to be quite a bit lower as well.

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Joe Barthlow at November 09. 2005

I went with matte black Formica on the L of my kitchen with a stainless steel backsplash. Adhered to birch plywood countertops. Inexpensive and easy to maintain. Looks good too!

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Dace Krasts at November 22. 2005

The phenolic counters are very nice. I see them every day in our labs. Some are finished to a high gloss, others are not. I felt they were a little overkill for using at the house though. There had to be something less expensive!!!

At home, we went with blue Richlite in the bathroom/shower and black PaperStone in the kitchen. I would consider them basically equivalent products, minor differences. Richlite comes in a variety of colors and requires a certified installer (=$$$). Whereas PaperStone comes only in black but may be purchased and installed by anyone. Neither can be finished to a high gloss like the phenolic product though. That's cool with me since the high gloss shows more nicks and dings than the slight matte finish.

For the bathroom, we used Richlite as the countertop and also for a shelving nook inside the shower. Turned out being sweet. For the kitchen, we included a stainless trim on the countertop, keeping the mid-century feel of the place. I was concerned about the cleaning but it all has been easy enough.

I have a few photos of the material during the process but only posted a final shot here (I could figure out how to post only one shot).

 
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Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Brandi Adoff at September 06. 2006

Diego,
How are your countertops holding up? I just contacted LF Systems and got quoted a price closer to $37 a sq ft with cutouts, but may still go with them. I am also considering getting an epoxy sink through them. Any thoughts on how it would hold up?
Thanks!

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Creede Fitch at September 07. 2006
My friend just went with a honed absolute-black granite countertop on some cabinetry I built for him. It turned out real nice. Not sure how much he paid for it though. Pics here: http://www.grassrootsmodern.com/2006/08/28/cabinetry-update/

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Diego Socolinsky at September 08. 2006

Brandi,

The counters are holding up well. There is some light scratching on the higher traffic areas, but it seems to hide well with an application of light furniture oil. I wonder why the price has gone up so much in the last couple of years. Perhaps you have more complicated cutting than I did.

An epoxy resin sink would give you an authentic laboratory look, if that's what you're going for. Personally, I like the contrast between the black counter and the shiny undermount stainless steel sink. By the way, when I was shopping for undermount sinks I had a hard time locating a (relatively) inexpensive one. It is amazing how the price of a sink will be so much higher just because of the undermounting. I guess the manufacturer figures it is going on a higher end kitchen, and therefore the buyer can afford to pay more! In any case, I found the undermount sinks by Enex to be quite nice in quality (though simple in design), and a lot cheaper than other brands.

All in all I am satisfied with the choice of phenolic lab counters in my kitchen. Next time, though, I will be experimenting with hot rolled steel counters :)

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Brandi Adoff at September 08. 2006

Diego,
Thanks for the info. I think we are going to go with the resin sink as well. We're both science nerds, so it fits us.
I don't know why the price went up so much either! It'll be $250 just to cut the hole for the sink! Overall it's still pretty affordable though. Our kitchen is very small!

Re: Matte black counters

Posted by Mike Springer at September 17. 2006

I work for a company that has a commercial side that does lab casework and tops. The other side of the business does high end residential Kitchens Baths.
I've allways wanted an epoxy resin top and sink but your going to pay as much as granite or silestone etc. and better options are out there that didn't exist 10 years ago.
By the way epoxy resin will shatter if hit right. Check into a material called trespa similar to epoxy resin and comes in colors.
I am designing a modern hutch display at work and will use either a slate or soapstone top and custom cut tile. The tile is going to be cut into three different thicknesses to create an interesting texture to the backsplash. I like the idea of using materials that were used in kitchens a hundred years ago in modern design.

My choices for honed or flat black tops.

1 absolute black honed granite !!!!!
2 soapstone !!!!
3 concrete
4 cultured stone (silestone etc)
5 solid surface (corian etc.)

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