HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. – Granite remains the favorite in countertops with North American designers, but there’s a bit of slip in the lead.

KBMarketReportOctober2011 Page 01Solid-surface materials are getting more attention with residential tops, according to the 2012 Design Trends Survey from the National Kitchen and Bath Association, although granite and quartz remain the sector leaders in job specifications.

The review of 350 U.S. and Canadian designers and what they’ve incorporated into projects in the last quarter of 2011 shows granite’s popularity for kitchen countertops at 87%, down slightly from the 91% level in the NKBA’s 2010 survey. Quartz surfaces also took a slight nick in esteem, going from 71% to 69%.

The NKBA surveys, however, show solid surface’s popularity for kitchen going from 11% in 2009 to 26% in 2010 ... and a specification level of 30% last year.

With bathroom vanities, granite’s popularity went from 84% in 2010 to 71% last year. Quartz placed second at 53% (down from 56%), while marble’s third-place showing of 41% represented a 3% gain from 2010.

Solid-surface’s appeal in the bathroom, meanwhile, moved from 26% in 2010 to 34% last year. Glass tops also made popularity inroads with an 11% nod from designers last year.

Glass also ranked high for backsplash, getting used by 52% of the designers. Both glass and natural-stone tile (at 60%) use is below ceramic tile at 74% ... although ceramic ranked as high as 88% in 2009.

Other materials used by designers for kitchen backsplash include granite at 30% and quartz surfaces at 20%, with a high likelihood of matching a project’s countertop. Solid surface, meanwhile, gets a spec level of only 11% for backsplash.

Surface selection is influenced by color; the NKBA survey showed white and off-white as the most-popular themes in both kitchens and bathrooms. Brown also remains strong, but the real trend rocket is gray; spec levels rose from 17% in 2010 to 33% last year in kitchens, and from 21% two years ago to 40% last year for bathrooms.

Green, the ascending star in bathroom color in 2010, leveled out in use by designers last year. Blue received a bump from 23% two years ago to 30% in 2011.


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