Choosing Kitchen Countertop Material
Looking for a countertop material that will take center stage and dramatically transform your space? Choosing kitchen countertop material for your home is an important decision that will impact the look and function of your home for many years to come. Key factors to consider include maintenance, price and durability, as well as food prep need and style. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular options to help you navigate through the selection process.
Quartz (Engineered Stone)
Rated a top choice for a countertop by Consumer Reports, engineered stone is made of natural quartz and is fabricated- not cut from solid stone. The surface received excellent scores from Consumer Reports for its resistance to heat, abrasion and cuts. These countertops are incredibly durable, resistant to stains, and easier to maintain than natural stone. Engineered stone is not porous and does not need to be sealed, which is seen as a big plus to many consumers. Other benefits include availability in a large range of colors, resistance to chipping and being waterproof.
Another top pick by Consumer Reports! Granite is a natural stone that remains on top of the list for many consumers. Its natural beauty makes a very popular choice because each slab is unique and features different variations of shading. This is a great selection for areas that are frequently used because its resistance to heat and scratches. However, this stone is porous and will need heat to be periodically sealed. One very important point to remember is that color and grain will vary from sample to sample. Therefore, it is critical to hand-select each slab for your home improvement project.
Available in a variety of styles, colors and shapes, tile is a more affordable option than engineered stone or granite. It has been used on countertops for decades because it is durable and offers good heat resistance. One of the drawbacks of this material is that it can chip or crack, however, localized damage can be repaired. Sealing the grout is necessary to prevent stains. In addition, a dark-colored grout is also helpful to camouflage stains.
There has definitely been a surge in the popularity of concrete countertops! Concrete Countertops are framed and poured onsite. These countertops can be pigmented to achieve any color. Adding texture with shells, tile or glass stones is a way for homeowners to create a one-of-a-kind surface for their space. The material is durable, hard and not easily chipped. However, its is susceptible to stains and needs to be sealed. You will need to be sure to add a topical sealer to protect this material from staining.
This is very popular not only because it is affordable, but also because it can be purchased in a wide range of patterns, colors and detailed edging choices. Many finishes are made to mimic the look of marble or granite- making it a very appealing option to consumers. Laminate consists of layers of paper or fabric impregnated with resin over composition wood. Consumer reports gave this material excellent ratings for stain and heat resistance. This countertop choice can be easy to clean, but can easily be scratched. Keep in mind that burns or chips are difficult to repair.
Avonite and Corian Countertops
Solid surface countertops such as Avonite and Corian are made from polyester or acrylic resins combined with mineral fillers. Available in a wide range of colors and patterns, this surface presents a seamless look when installed and is incredibly durable. Resistance to heat and impact are pluses, and small scratches can be sanded or repaired because the countertop is the same color throughout.
Stainless Steel Countertops
This material adds a sleek and contemporary look to a kitchen. Stainless Steel Countertops are seamless, heat resistant and easy to clean. On the other hand, the surface is susceptible to scratches, dents and can be noisy. Another drawback is that fingerprints can also be an issue.
Recycled Glass Countertops
A popular and eco-friendly choice with consumers, recycled glass countertops feature pieces of glass held together with a cement binder. You can create a contemporary look by using large shards, while finely ground glass can resemble a solid surface. Each countertop is unique and non-porous, making it easy o clean and maintain. Consumer Reports gives the countertop excellent ratings for its resistance to heat, cuts and abrasion. However, chips and stains can be a problem.
If you are looking for the best alternative to granite, this would be your best option. Soapstone has been used in traditional and country kitchens for years. It is a natural stone product that is quarried like marble or granite. The stone develops a characteristic patina with age and needs to be rubbed down regularly with mineral oil. Although it scratches easily, it’s still a great choice because it is impervious to staining, does not harbor bacteria and is also resistant to heat.
Which Countertop Materials Are Best For You? We’ll Help You Decide
When you start a home improvement project like a kitchen remodel, your contractor should connect you with material suppliers so you can explore possible countertops and other materials. Being able to touch and look at materials in person can help you decide which ones are best, so it’s important to visit material suppliers before making a final decision.