Kitchen countertop is the most indispensable element of a kitchen renovation project. The functionality and appeal of the kitchen largely depends on the material you select for the kitchen countertop. It should have the right color and design to complement or match the overall décor of the kitchen.
The durability of the material you choose for your countertop depends on the way you intend to use the kitchen. Another factor which determines how long a material will last is the amount of effort you put into maintains your new kitchen counters. Some materials demand extra care and frequent maintenance while others are practically maintenance free.
Kitchen Countertop Types
Some of the best materials for kitchen countertops are discussed below:
No doubt, granite is the natural stone which undergoes a lot of heat and pressure for around thousand years in its making. It is extracted from far below the surface of the earth with no two different pieces ever being the same. This unique feature sets it apart and is most attractive to people who wish to have a more distinctive look for their kitchen. It is one of the hardest natural stones used as countertops for kitchens and bathrooms. Being a volcanic rock it is best known for its striking crystalline textures and patterns, moreover it is also heat and resistant to scratches. From typical colors like beige, pink and red top a more striking blue and green, granite countertops can be found in a wide variety of patterns and colors. Stone countertops add value to your kitchen by giving it a plush look. Additionally consumers prefer natural material to an engineered stone like quartz.
Although granite is a popular choice for kitchen countertops, it also has a few down sides. Being a permeable natural stone it is to be regularly sealed to make it resistant to stains. The routine of chemically sealing your countertop could be quite a load. Another disadvantage of granite countertop is that not everybody can afford it. To cut down the cost, you may use granite tiles instead of slabs but it is still an expensive choice.
2. Solid Surfacing
Indeed, solid external countertops are practically maintenance free. The impermeable engineered surfaces do not require frequent sealing to keep your countertop hygienic. Burns and scratches on the other hand can be easily sanded to maintain the fresh look, but it virtually costs the same as granite. It is available in a variety of shades and finishes. If you get them customized you avail a choice of giving your kitchen a one of a kind look. Nevertheless solid surface countertops demand a lot of extra care and attention for it is not as sturdy to burning pots and sharp tools as natural materials (are).
Quartz is made from the hardest minerals on earth. It is an ideal choice for kitchen countertops considering the perfect blend of durability and easy to maintain features. Also the engineered quartz countertops can be heat and resistant to scratches. The non porous surface doesn’t ever need sealing. It is also stain proof.
Quartz is made from 92% natural stone and pigments and resin. These countertops have the same merits and characteristics of a granite countertop minus the issues of maintenance. Being a synthetic material, quartz countertops are consistent in pattern and color throughout. While some homeowners prefer the unique look of granite, others favor the uniform, all consistent appeal of quartz. Most importantly in case of severe damage, a matching replacement of quartz can be easily obtained from manufacturers.
Quartz countertops may appear to be essentially superior but sadly there are a few disadvantages as well. While quartz is engineered to imitate the look of natural stone, somewhere it lacks the appeal and depth of granite. You may want to compare samples of the two before investing on any. Also it does not add to the worth of the house if you’re renovating your kitchen for a good return on investment. You would want to seriously consider investing the same amount of money that you would on a natural stone like granite, besides home buyers would definitely prefer a natural stone to an engineered one. Also quartz will offer you limited patterns and color options. Certainly there are a variety of color options available in the market but if you are looking for a specific color to go with the kitchen color scheme then natural stone is the best choice.
4. Stainless Steel
Steel is a trendy, sleek and elegant option for kitchen countertops. It is anti bacterial and easy to maintain. It is also heat and stain proof but finger prints can be quite annoying. Stainless steel is susceptible to dents so one needs to be careful. You may get them customized but it could be slightly costly. Learn more about stainless steel countertops here.
The plush appeal of marble countertops attracts a many homeowners. Marble is reputed for its distinctive elegant look which radically increases the worth of the house. Additionally marble countertops are ideal for those who bake a lot. The stone is tolerant of heat. Marble countertops are naturally available from subtle flushes to lively colors.
There are some obvious down sides to marble countertops. Being a porous material it is vulnerable to stains. Additionally marble being a softer material, it has a superior propensity to scratch and blight than granite. Moreover if polished marble is perpetually exposed to acidic liquids then it becomes susceptible to patching and impressions. These marks and spots can ruin the look of your kitchen countertop. They may only be avoided if you choose a honed finish over a polished one, but a polished marble countertop looks more elegant. Some homeowners may fall in love with the finish marble develops over the years but many consider it a disadvantage.
6. Butcher Block
For an inexpensive, natural looking countertop butcher block is an ideal choice. Scratches may be sanded to give a worn out finish. Despite its warm cottage or country kitchen appeal, it requires regular sterilizing and oiling to maintain the surface.
Nowadays soapstone is increasingly used as kitchen countertops due to its high resistance to stains. Erstwhile soapstone was only used as tables in chemistry labs but it is dramatically gaining popularity as kitchen countertops. It is extremely heat resistant and does not etch.
A serious drawback of soapstone countertop is that the options are limited to a few darker colors only. The natural grey color of soapstone may be oiled for a black finish. These counters are also susceptible to scratches. However these nicks and blights on your kitchen counters may be sanded to give it the same finish.
This material is quite adaptable as concrete can also be tinted. Moreover other decorative materials can also be used along with the concrete. It is an expensive option and requires a lot of effort to maintain. Concrete countertops may build up cracks eventually. Also, you must regularly seal the surface of concrete counters to keep it stain resistant.
A distinctive characteristic of limestone, which is quite appealing to homeowners, is that it often contains fossils and shells as it is naturally formed from a mixture of shells from marine life and sand. Limestone exists in a varied variety of neutral colors and whites, and has a smooth texture unlike granite.
Being a sedimentary rock it has some features which are quite similar to marble. And just similar to marble, limestone is also a soft rock. Even limestone has a propensity to staining and scratching. It is also at a risk of being etched. Sealing limestone counters may help but it is better to avoid using limestone in high use areas.
The corian countertops give you the benefit of both granite and quartz and at the same time it also has its own distinctive features. Just like quartz and granite, corian countertops are resilient to heat, scratch and stain. The solid surface of corian is impermeable and does not require sealing. Unlike granite, engineered Corian countertops may also be incorporated as backsplashes and sink for a seamless surface appeal.
Temperatures higher than 212ºF may damage your corian counter. Corian countertops also have limited options for patterns and colors. Many people prefer the unique appeal of granite to a more consistent look of quartz and corian.
Laminate countertops give you maximum choices in terms of design, color and patterns. It is still the most affordable countertop material for your kitchen. On the flip side it is also the minimum robust and one needs to take extra care to maintain laminate countertops. It is highly susceptible to heat, stain and scratches.
12. Recycled Material
With people becoming more aware of the green building practices, recycled materials are becoming a conventional option for kitchen countertops. Reclaimed wood, recycled paper compound and recycled glass are some of the recycled materials which are eco friendly and can be used to make excellent countertops.