Homeowners have a dizzying array of materials to choose from when it comes to kitchen countertops. What’s the best way to choose the countertop that’s right for you? We’ve pulled together some helpful information on kitchen countertop materials and how to pick the best one for your dream kitchen.
There are a few tried and true countertop options to choose from for your kitchen, or you can try something different to give your kitchen a unique twist. Here are a few material options that you can choose from:
Granite – the top choice in countertops, and always available in a variety of shades to get just the right color. We are aware that no two pieces are exactly the same so it’s a good idea to lay your eyes on the piece you’ll be using to get what you want. Granite is available in two finishes: polished (shiny) or honed (soft and matte). They’re both equally durable so finish is a matter of taste. Costs depend on many variables, including color, finish, and origin of the stone.
Other natural stone materials – other stone options like marble, limestone, and soapstone, are softer than granite and require delicate use and greater care. All stone countertops must be sealed periodically. These can give your kitchen a unique, elegant look, but know you’ll likely pay more and have more upkeep, so consider that when choosing any of these.
Engineered stone countertops – these come in a wider variety of colors than natural stone countertops and are easy maintain. Engineered stone costs about the same as granite. Homeowners opt for this countertop material for its durability and ease of maintenance.
Concrete countertops – these are a fun, new trend and can be customized with pigments to get the exact color you want. Concrete countertops are available in several different finishes: trowel (smooth), ground (sanded to expose the sand aggregate) and pressed (a tool is used to reveal marblelike veining). These take more maintenance and extreme or abrupt changes in temperature may cause concrete to warp or curl. They’re also not very forgiving if damp sponges or towels are left on the counter; discoloration is common if not careful and acidic spills may etch the surface.
Wood countertops – like butcher block, wood countertops add warmth to a kitchen and makes virtually your whole kitchen counter a cutting board. They are easy to clean and any scratches can be sanded out. Water damages butcher block, so wood countertops must be oiled frequently to seal the surface. Other than that, they don’t require much maintenance if handled with care.
Laminate – this material has been around for years and is the most affordable countertop material on the market. It comes in a wide variety of colors and designs. Easy to maintain, laminate can scorch if a hot pan touches the surface and can scratch fairly easily, so some care needs to be given to these countertops.
How to choose your ideal countertop
There are a few factors to consider when choosing a countertop:
Almost all the above material choices have pros and cons in each area, so it really is a personal preference. If maintenance is a big concern, stay away from high maintenance materials like natural stone and concrete. If price point is a concern, you can’t go wrong with laminate. Here are five questions to ask yourself to determine what kitchen countertop will work for you:
- How will you use your countertops? Are they workhorses or display areas?
- How much maintenance are you willing to do? Don’t get something you won’t keep up.
- What are your kitchen requirements? How much countertop material will you need?
- What is your budget? Determine a range and stick to it.
- What materials do you love? You don’t want to settle for something that’s “meh”.
The best way to determine what’s right for your décor and lifestyle is to work with a professional kitchen remodeling company that can guide you through the pros and cons, and help align your countertop choice with the overall vision of your kitchen.