This is our second article on the comparison between Gas Stoves and Electric Stoves. In the next few posts, we will share excerpts from an excellent article which appears of the Kitchen Sanity Blog. There is a link to the complete article at the end of this post.
Gas & Electric Pros And Cons
In brief, here are the pros and cons you should keep in mind when choosing between a gas stove and an electric stove.
Electric Stove Comparison
Electric Range Pros
Cleanup is quick and easy.
The surface is flat for even cooking.
Startup is quick and safe with no pilot light to worry about.
Electric ranges typically have more special features included.
An electric oven typically provides more even heat distribution than a gas oven.
Electric Range Cons
An electric range is not a “forever” appliance. Electric appliances are easier to damage than gas appliances and they tend to look banged up and shabby within a few years after purchase.
An electric range is more likely to become obsolete in features more quickly than a gas range. You can expect to need to replace an electric range in fairly short order.
It’s twice as strong as granite. Today’s rocket science: quartz is made of more quartz than granite is. That means it’s more durable. Cambria, for example, is made of 93 percent pure quartz. According to Cambria, granite contains just 40-60% quartz. This kind of durability also lets you get more creative with your countertop’s edge shapes.
There’s less maintenance involved. Quartz isn’t porous like granite is. Granite countertops need to be sealed at least once a year to prevent staining from moisture. While sealing isn’t too difficult, it’s a task you have to stay on top of. Quartz doesn’t have to be sealed, so that’s one thing you can scratch off of your long to-do list. It may be a tradeoff worth considering.
It has more style options than granite. Granite has plenty of different styles, but they all have a lot of variation. Quartz comes in patterns that mimic natural stone and patterns with little to no movement.
It’s more expensive. It isn’t often that you find quartz for less than $65 per square foot (if you do, whip out your credit card). In most instances, you’ll spend $75-$120 per square foot depending on the size of your kitchen, the brand, and the style. For the budget-conscious, granite can be the more affordable option.
You can’t install it outside. You can’t let quartz countertops sit in the sun. According to Cosentino, the surface color gets damaged when it’s exposed to rapid changes in temperature, or under long-term exposure to the sun. Quartz wouldn’t be a good idea for any kind of outdoor surface.
It has less natural beauty than granite. Imitation never beats the real deal. There are beautiful patterns found in quartz that mimics those found in granite; however, the natural beauty of granite just can’t be replicated.
It’s less expensive. Granite countertops cost more than laminate countertops, but that isn’t the case with quartz countertops. On average, granite countertops cost less than quartz. Expect to pay anywhere from $45 per square foot for entry-level granite to $85 per square foot for more exotic slabs (price includes installation and fabrication). According to The Kitchn, the price could be higher – up to $400 per square foot in some instances – depending on stone rarity and origin.
It won’t look like anyone else’s. Instead of keeping up with the Joneses, set yourself apart. No two slabs of granite are alike. Because it’s a natural stone, granite has variation that only God and nature can control. Quartz countertops, on the other hand, are man-made, and while there are small differences between slabs of the same style, there isn’t as much variation. If you want countertops that are unique to your home, go granite.
It comes in bigger slabs. The average length of a quartz slab is about 10 feet (certain manufacturers allow you to order jumbo slabs). Though that may seem long, it isn’t enough to avoid cuts in larger kitchens and islands. In other words, your countertops will definitely have seams. But some granite slabs are longer, in the 11-12 foot range. If you have a large island or spacious kitchen, granite may be the answer to avoid seams.
You can install it both indoors and outdoors. Granite is built to withstand the elements since it’s a natural mineral. It won’t weather or fade because of long-term exposure to the sun. It’s more versatile than quartz in this sense. Granite is perfect for outdoor kitchens and facades.
There aren’t any “clean” styles. For the minimalist, granite just won’t cut it. Granite countertops have a lot of variation and movement. They aren’t like quartz countertops, which offer solid colors and clean, marble-white styles. If you’re planning a modern design, quartz countertops will likely be your best option.
You have to reseal it. Again, and again, and again. Otherwise, moisture can seep into the porous parts of your granite and damage it. You should reseal your granite at least once a year to make sure it’s properly maintained.
If you’re a bettor, it’s generally a safe wager that someone’s granite countertops came from Brazil.
Before the mid-’90s and 2000s, Italy had a leading position in granite processing, but things opened up after that. “In the early 2000s,” Schwartzkopf says, “you started to have a number of different countries enter.” More were both quarrying granite (getting it out of the ground) and processing it into worked granite (refining it to be cut). The United States has granite, but other countries could provide more at a lower price. That led to more countertops, creating a cycle in which supply and demand surged.
For the most part, American imports of finished granite are dominated by Brazil, China, and India, with Brazil providing about half of the worked granite supply. That means your granite probably came from an international market and likely landed somewhere in Brazil or China along the way.
Just what kind of scale are we talking about? It’s massive. Based on estimates from the US International Trade Commission, total United States imports of processed granite were about 206,000 metric tons in 1996. Last year, they exceeded 2 million metric tons.
“In the real heights of 2006,” Schwarzkopf recalls, “importers from Brazil were going around the United States trying to find excess capacity to take granite.” Granite supply isn’t a problem — it’s about which countries can get it out quickest and cheapest, and right now those countries are Brazil, China, and India.
2) Shipping granite got easier
In the past, people typically got their domestic granite from local suppliers, and that kept them roughly in sync with local costs. As global granite became more easily shippable, it became more affordable for builders and consumers.
“Containerized shipping is not the newest thing on the block,” Schwartzkopf notes, but its rise had an influence in lowering granite prices.
Because granite slabs intended for countertops could be precut on site and then safely packed and shipped, which was largely new to the ’90s, it became possible for people to get granite from around the world.
3) Granite became easier to cut
When a granite slab arrives at a shop, it gets cut into the appropriate rough size and is then hand-shaved by someone operating an industrial grinder. But today, computer controlled saws can make major cuts, like the hole for where your sink goes, more easily.
“Everything has been influenced by computerized controls,” Schwarzkopf says. While granite used to be impractical and niche, computer cutting has made it much easier to work with.
4) The housing boom exaggerated every trend
The timing of the granite boom is closely tied to that of the housing bubble of the 2000s. That’s probably not a coincidence. Trends in home construction during that period probably helped change public opinion on what a “good” countertop looked like.
As builders put granite into their homes, it quickly became a standard. In turn, even older houses needing renovation latched onto that granite mania. One trend — a boom in home construction — took granite along for the ride and perpetuated the impression that granite was the prime material of a “new” building.
“Granite went from being a premium option to a sales come-on,” Schwarzkopf says. “You started seeing ads for ‘free granite countertops!'”
Post-bust, granite fell, but it’s picked up again without the housing boom’s artificial highs.
Admittedly, there are some benefits to granite as a material. New varieties have given it more color and range since the ’80s, and it has some advantages over competitive materials like marble, which is likely to etch or stain. But a big part of its appeal is an impression of luxury that, thanks to changing globalization, technology, and housing trends, makes it an affordable indulgence for the middle class.
Can anything stop granite mania?
A lot of people like granite well enough. But for anyone who’s spent too much time watching HGTV, it’s hard not to wonder if our nation’s brightest minds will ever break free from their granite addiction.
For now, it’s granite ho, Schwarzkopf says, but with a few important caveats. Marble is rallying as white becomes a big color again, and there’s a strong trend in recycled surfaces that allow for both flash and environmental consciousness. In a few years, you might see more countertops made from materials like recycled Skyy vodka bottles:
Still, for the most part, there’s little reason to believe that the granite fervor will disappear. The big trends that helped it become a hit continue to make it a realistic luxury option for the middle class. So be prepared — you’ll probably be seeing people screaming, “Oh my god, granite countertops!” for a while.
Here are some neat ideas on how to create storage and functionality into your new kitchen.
Bread Box – Viola Park: I’ve been on a bread-baking kick lately, and in my quest to master some techniques, I’ve ended up with a lot of loaves. Without a bread box, those boules, braids, and bagels are piling up! This under-counter bin is the perfect low-profile solution. Provided you have space under your counters, of course.
Cutting Board & Trash Drop – House Beautiful: This is probably the idea you’ve seen most commonly. A pull-out cutting board that fits directly over your trash can so you don’t have to transport scraps from the counter to the bin.
Compost Bin – Blanco: Of course, if you compost, this solution will probably be more your speed. Because the bin is flush with the countertop, you can scrape scraps directly into the metal canister, and then pop on the lid to keep your compost contained until you can take it to your backyard pile or your local greenmarket.
Fruit Bowl – House Beautiful: This might be a little less storage-focused than some of our other picks, but if you keep fresh fruit (or even potatoes and onions) in your kitchen, this could be a life-saver. We love the idea of this built into a bar counter for keeping plenty of citrus fruits on hand. You’ll never be without a garnish again.
Built-in Knife Block – DeVos Custom Countertops: Knives are some of the most important tools in your kitchen, but they can take up a lot of drawer or counter space. This simple built-in knife block is ideal for any kitchen where you want to maximize your storage.
Outlets – Michael Robert Construction: Pop-up outlets are great. They save you space, and can be installed wherever you need them most. Plus, because they can be hidden away, they encourage you to put away your small appliances as well.
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