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Countertop Material Guide

Quartz Countertops

What are Quartz Countertops?

Quartz is a non-porous surface, composed of approximately 93% raw natural quartz, one of the hardest minerals on earth. (Note, some quartz counters are now transitioning to using less quartz and using other hard minerals instead. This is not having a measurable effect on end user experience. This change of material is due to health concerns that fabrication dust can have when inhaled.)

Quartz countertops deliver elegant beauty and supreme performance. It is an ideal choice for homeowners looking for a maintenance-free surface with stunning aesthetics.

Pure quartz is combined with pigments and resins to create slabs that are non-porous, strong, and rival the beauty of quarry stones. It is one of the hardest minerals in the world.

Please note that they are made of natural quartz and other hard minerals, as a result, variation in the natural stone color, pattern, size, shape, and shade are inherent and unique characteristics to be expected with this surface.

How expensive is it? Quartz counters have a wide range of price points as there is a vast assortment of price levels and brands. You may see advertising from suppliers that its “starting at $70/Square foot” and that is very misleading as all the other required items such as template, travel and hole cutouts are “extra”.  It is rare that a quality quartz will be less than $110 per square foot after a ‘well done’ installation is completed.

Quartz Countertops | FAQ

Why choose Quartz Countertops for my kitchen?

They are stain-resistant and never need chemical sealing or reconditioning. Durable: harder than granite or marble, as a result, it’s more durable and less likely to chip, scratch or stain. Low-Maintenance: it is a non-porous surface that makes cleaning quick and easy. Just wipe with soap and water! Food-Safe: it is a certified food-safe, consequently the surface will not absorb any bacteria. Beautiful: with new designs released each year, they are always on-trend.


Can I put hot things on Quartz?

Generally, it is very heat resistant, but it depends on “how hot” an object is. A tea kettle or a hot dish out of the microwave is typically not a threat but a 450° pot from the oven can cause damage. However, it is always better to be safe rather than sorry, so we recommend the use of a hot pad.


Will my Quartz Countertop chip?

Under normal use, it is unlikely that it will chip. The edges are more susceptible to chipping than the middle of the surface, so if you struck with enough force (e.g., a heavy pot) a chip can occur. Such occurrences are not covered by any manufacturers warranty, but are usually repairable, depending on the size of the chip.


Are all Quartz surfaces the same?

Short answer is “no”, there are many different quality levels in quartz. As with most products there are cheap knock off versions on the market. We at SVC will not offer you quartz brands that we would not feel comfortable using in our own homes. Low quality quartz brands will be more susceptible to staining, chipping as well as discoloration with age. Low quality quartz will also contain resin products that will “off gas” even after installed in your home.


Will my Countertop be seamless?

The size and shape of it will determine if a seam is required. We do our best to avoid the use of seams, but when unavoidable our seams are very well done. We use only experienced and talented stone fabricators and installers.


How do I take care of my Quartz Kitchen Countertop?

There is very little maintenance required after install. It is non-porous and never needs to be chemically treated or sealed. Visit our website for cleaning tips!


Laminate Countertops

What is Laminate?

Laminate is made from layers of paper impregnated with resin and then bonded together under pressure and high temperature to form a thin, rigid sheet that is fairly easy to work with. This sheet is then glued to a wood substrate typically for countertops. It is a low-maintenance, inexpensive choice for a kitchen countertop. Sunvalley Cabinets is a dealer of FLOFORM Laminate counter tops. FLOFORM carries an assortment of colors and textures.

How expensive is it? Laminate counters are very budget friendly. However, there is some size and shape configurations that can very quickly add substantial cost to a laminate countertop.

Laminate Countertops | FAQ

Why should you choose Laminate Countertops?

First created by Formica in 1913, the technology has come a long way and today's modern laminate surfaces offer many advantages. Design Options: hundreds of designs to help match your look and style. Scratch and Impact Protection: they are resistant to scratches and impacts under normal use conditions. Vertical Applications: use both horizontally and vertically to shape your style. Easy to Clean: In most cases, a clean, damp non-abrasive and a mild household cleaner is all you need. Budget-Friendly: Get the look of stone, wood, or just about anything else without breaking the bank.


What are the different types of Laminate?


FLOFORM offers two collections of Laminate Countertops. The Post-Form Collection is a series that can be heated and bent to create integral backsplashes and wrapped front profiles. From this collection, FLOFORM has four varied edge profiles — from the simplicity of the 180° under-wrap to the practicality of a K-nose. The next collection is the Custom Collection, also known as Flat Lay. This process of lamination allows for custom shapes and sizes that cannot be achieved with our post-form process. Only attached backsplashes are possible with this process. With few limitations, we can apply wood-accented edges in oak or maple, beveled to bull-nosed, to the durability of solid surface edging.


Will I have seams in my Laminate Countertops?

Depending on the size and shape of your laminate countertop a seam may be inevitable. Corner seams in post-form countertops are most common because it is easier to hide and in most cases is far from the sink and other plumbed fixtures. If you have a corner sink flat-lay laminate, the best option is to keep seams far from water run-off. Note: Post-form provides you a 1-piece seamless top up to 12’ long including backsplash Flat-lay provides you a seamless surface up to 12’ x 5’, however, the edges are attached to the front and can be prone to water and traffic damage as well.


Can I repair damaged laminate countertops?

It is a thin material and requires proper maintenance. Because of that, chips, burns, cracks, and scratches cannot be repaired and a replacement countertop is recommended.


Is one finish better than another?

There is no standout “best” finish in regards to the durability. A particular finish may wear better depending on the level of usage and we can help you assess the differences from matte, gloss, and specialty textures. All laminates are vulnerable to chips, excessive heat, cracks, and scratches when not properly cared for by the homeowner.


What should I do if my laminate countertop gets damaged?

You can maintain your countertop by cleaning it regularly, just like any other countertop. Keep in mind that even though laminate is stain-resistant and scratch-resistant, it cannot be repaired if they get chips, cracks, burns, water damage, or impact damage, so you may wish to replace them if any of these incidences occur.


Can I have an under-mount sink in Laminate Countertops?

With the use of an attached solid surface ring, select sinks can be under-mounted to laminate countertops with an accent ring around the cutout. This does however add considerable cost to your laminate countertop.

Butcher Block Countertops

What is Butcher Block Countertop?

The only countertop that can actually be used as a cutting surface, butcher-block won't dull your knives like stone or concrete counters. The softer surface also makes for a quieter kitchen. And for those who are a bit clumsier, dishes are less likely to shatter when dropped on wood versus stone.

Sunvalley Cabinets offers two types of Butcher Block.

1st option is made in Alberta by a company called Caribou. These are sourced through FLOFORM as they hold the right to them in Manitoba. This option will typically run at similar price point to a mid range Quartz selection.  Caribou offers 7 kinds of premium crafted wood: Walnut, Hickory, White Oak, Cherry, Antiqued Oak, Maple, and Red Oak. These are 1.75” thick and have a very high-quality long-lasting clear finish.


2nd option is made by Sunvalley Cabinets, we fabricate them in our production facility and offer 7 kinds of premium wood: Walnut, Hickory, White Oak, Red Oak, Cherry, Maple and White Ash. These are 1.25” thick and have an OSMO OIL-WAX WOOD COATING. This surface should be recoated occasionally (frequency based on use).


How expensive is it? Depending on wood species selected Butcher Block counters will often cost similar to Quartz. Depending on wood species and finish selected expect a wide range of price points.

Butcher Block Countertop | FAQ

How is it made?

Hand-selected, acclimatized raw lumber is cut into 1-3” strips. A rough slab is prepared by flipping each strip so that the grains are perpendicular to each other. This creates slab stability by allowing the natural forces to work against each other and help prevent warping during acclimatization. The joints are then glued and the slab is clamped. The slab is planed, sanded, and cut to size. The final step is the finish on the wood. This is where the two options are very different.


How is it Finished?

Caribou; the application of Caribou’s proprietary End+Edge Technology. The result is a rich satin finish that is food-safe, waterproof, and maintenance-free. These are clear finishes only. This finish is very stain resistant. If this finish is damaged it cannot be repaired well enough that the repair would be invisible.

Sunvalley’s Butcher Block is finished using OSMO OIL-WAX WOOD COATING. Chopping Board Oil is a food-safe, clear oil-wax. This product has been designed specifically for use on chopping boards and is tough and hard-wearing. It is water repellent and dirt resistant as well as resistant to wine, beer, cola, coffee, tea, fruit juices, milk and water. These types of liquid spillages will tightly bead on the surface without leaving any marks, simply clean by wiping with a cloth. If this surface is damaged the entire counter could be sanded and refinished to make it new.

Can I cut directly on it?

YES, however don’t cut on it unless you want knife marks on the surface. Butcher Block is essentially a large slab of a cutting board and will take a knife’s edge in the same way. You can protect the surface by using a cutting board.


Will my wood countertop split or warp?

Yes, If you do not control the temperature and humidity of your home these counters may split or warp. This is not covered by warranty. Typically a newer home with air conditioning and HRV will have no issue maintaining a climate suitable for a wooden counter top. Between 35-50% humidity is preferred.


How do I take care of it?

Caribou - We recommend using a mild vinegar solution with water. You can also use soap and water, but we don’t recommend using harsh chemicals. The End+Edge Technology maintains a permanent finish, so no oils or special treatments are needed.

Sunvalley’s Butcher Block is finished using OSMO OIL-WAX WOOD COATING
This can be refinished as needed, this same finishing product is available through many retailers or directly from Sunvalley Cabinets. The process is very straightforward and takes only a few minutes. After the coating is applied it is best not to use the counter for 24 hours.

Can I wash the surface with soap and water or disinfectant?

We recommend using a mild vinegar solution with water. You can also use soap and water, but we do not recommend using harsh chemicals.


How long will my Butcher Block last?

If it is properly taken care of and proper climate is maintained the surfaces will last a lifetime. This will require staying on top oiling the surface regularly.


How long is the product Warranty/Guarantee?

We offer a limited lifetime warranty.


Can a Caribou counter be repaired?

Due to the intense industrial process required for End+Edge Technology application, repairing a Caribou counter is very difficult and rarely successful.


Can a Sunvalley Wood counter be repaired?

Yes, depending on the extent of the damage the process changes. In most cases shallow scratches can be spot sanded and refinished. If there is excessive dents or scratches it may be best to remove the counter and sand the entire counter creating an entirely “new” surface. Due to these counters being made 1.25” thick there is plenty of thickness available to do this process several times if needed.


Can I select a stained finish for my Butcher Block Counter?

For the counters made by Sunvalley Cabinets we can use colored OSMO OIL-WAX WOOD COATING, these are available in a variety of colors.

Thinscape Countertops

What is Thinscape?

Wilsonart® THINSCAPE™ Performance Tops are ultra-thin, self-supporting countertops that are highly durable and versatile. Featuring a European-inspired “thin” profile, THINSCAPE slabs are available in stone, woodgrain and metal designs, and are produced with coordinating design, texture and color-core combinations. Wilsonart® THINSCAPE™ Performance Tops are ideal for single-family & multi-family builds, commercial, hospitality, retail and office furniture applications such as kitchen countertops, bath vanities, laundry room worktops, table tops and other horizontal applications. Wilsonart® THINSCAPE™ Performance Tops are a composite material, made up of papers and resins to achieve an overall thickness of ½”. This construction allows the slabs to be cut, routed, sanded and fabricated with dry tooling, which includes standard carbide-tipped blades/bits and woodworking tools.  Small horizontal fissures sometimes observed running along the horizontal plain of the core are inherent of the modified resin composed core material and are acceptable. Climate controlled environments for inventory of panels, fabrication processes and final installation locations are important recommended practices to minimizing these fissures.


How expensive is it? Thinscape counters will be substantially more expensive than a standard laminate counter but in most cases is less expensive than quartz counters.

Thinscape Countertops | FAQ

Why should you choose Thinscape Countertops?

Thinscape is essentially a laminate on the surface but have a ½” thick composite material core, this makes it extremely moisture resistant. The surface wear and tear will be much like a traditional laminate however this material will allow you to achieve a modern thin counter appearance. Scratch and Impact Protection: they are resistant to scratches and impacts under normal use conditions. Easy to Clean: In most cases, a clean, damp non-abrasive and a mild household cleaner is all you need.  We find this material performs really well in commercial spaces such as washrooms, desks and lunchrooms.

Will I have seams in my Thinscape Countertops?


Depending on the size and shape of your countertop a seam may be inevitable, seams are assembled using a two-part epoxy making an incredibly strong bond. Unlike a traditional laminate countertop a seam with Thinscape doesn’t have the risk of water damage as Thinscape is very moisture resistant.

Can I repair damaged Thinscape countertops?


Because the color pattern is only on the surface of the material it is difficult to repair. Chips, burns, cracks, and scratches cannot be repaired and a replacement countertop is recommended. In some cases a colored resin can be put into chips or scratches however the result will not be perfect.


Can I have an under-mount sink in Thinscape Countertops?

Absolutely, we would encourage the use of undermounted sinks with a Thinscape countertop.


Will Thinscape feel cold like a quartz countertop?

No, Thinscape will touch and feel like a laminate countertop on the surface. Because it does not feel cold it makes for a comfortable desk surface.

What are Cultured Marble Countertops?

Cultured marble is made of real natural marble dust. This ground up marble dust accounts for over 75% of the volume of a typical cultured marble product. When mixed with a liquid polyester resin, the marble dust forms an attractive and waterproof product. Cultured Marble countertops can be used for washroom vanities. These countertops have integrated sinks making for a very easy to clean washroom countertop. Because the surface of these counters is a resin product it is susceptible to scratching, depending on color pattern at times the scratching can be hard to notice and doesn’t affect performance of the counter. It is important to note the “new shine” is temporary and even after the counter becomes slightly worn it is a beautiful vanity counter surface.

How expensive is it? Cultured Marble counters with integrated sinks pricing will typically be roughly midway between an average quartz counter and a laminate counter. Given the expected lifespan of this product it is certainly a good return on investment.

Cultured Marble Countertops | FAQ

Why should you choose Cultured Marble Countertops?

If you are looking for an easy to clean and long-lasting counter that will never get water damage this is an excellent option, it is not uncommon that we see these counters remain in service for 30+ years.


Can I repair damaged Cultured Marble countertops?

It is possible to repair scratches, chips, and minor blemishes. A repair person can re-buff the surface or patch with a special mixed gel-coat compound.


How to keep Cultured Marble clean?

Cultured marble is easy to care for and keep clean. You can use most non-abrasive cleaners. If hard water deposits accumulate, they can be dissolved with vinegar applied from a spray bottle. Cultured marble that has lost its shine can be restored by using Gel-Gloss or Counter Top Magic as needed.

Cultured Marble Countertops

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