Considering a kitchen remodel? Not all countertops are created equally.
With so many options on the market, it can be hard to decide what countertop material is right for your kitchen. While it may be tempting to choose a countertop based on aesthetic alone, it’s important to consider the pros and cons, durability, cost, and maintenance before making a decision. That’s why we’ve created a list of some popular options as well as some need-to-know details about each.
GraniteOnce only found in high-end kitchens, granite has made its way to the heart of more and more homes. This durable, natural stone comes in a vast array of colors such as beige, black, brown, red, white, and green. Because of its porous nature, granite must be sealed on a yearly basis. Even when properly sealed, it’s important to wipe up oils, wines, acids, and sodas immediately, as well as use a stone cleaner for routine cleaning. Cost varies depending on color and complexity, but has become more affordable with granite’s increase in popularity.
QuartzQuartz, often resembling granite or marble, is an engineered mix of mineral and resin. This extremely durable, low-maintenance material is a great alternative for busy kitchens. Quartz is harder and less porous than granite, thus, it does not require sealing or polishing. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns and looks great in both traditional and contemporary kitchens. Quartz is scratch, stain, heat, and acid-resistant.
Note: Because quartz is manufactured, it doesn’t have natural color variations and vein. When shopping, looking at a small sample rather than a big slab will suffice.
MarbleMarble is a timeless and stunning option for a traditional or contemporary kitchen and is usually the most expensive option. Carrara and Calcatta marble are synonymous with luxury and instantly give your kitchen an elegant look. However, marble is very porous and has a high probability of becoming stained. If you choose marble, it’s important to seal it frequently and properly. Also be wary – chips and scratches may occur.
WoodThose opting for a warm, traditional cottage kitchen may gravitate toward butcher-block-style wood countertops. These countertops do require regular maintenance in order to maintain the wood’s natural beauty, so it’s recommended that you oil the surface with a mineral oil every four to six weeks. If not properly cared for, wood countertops will warp and crack. On the plus side, properly sealed wood countertops are sanitary and you can cut directly on the surface without damaging knives. Wood is also heat-resistant, which means you can place hot pots and pans directly on the surface.
TileTile countertops are a great choice if you want something inexpensive that’s easy to maintain. Tiles come in a variety of different colors and styles and may be mixed and matched. In addition, you can install tile yourself. Make sure to use tile that is rated for floors or countertops, as wall tile is too thin and will crack easily.
LaminateLaminate is perhaps the most cost-effective option available. Not only is it durable, it’s also low-maintenance. Laminate is a great selection for those on a budget or those who want to keep up with trends. Laminate comes in far more options than the familiar wood copycat – both neutral and bright colors are available. Laminate countertops are water resistant but susceptible to scratches and heat damage, so be sure to use cutting boards and trivets when preparing and serving food.
ConcreteConcrete counters are growing in popularity, as they are now available in a variety of stains and colors. Concrete is a suitable choice for those with a tight budget and interested in self-installation. Cast concrete counters are stain resistant when properly sealed, but may develop small cracks. If you’re a perfectionist, concrete counters may not be for you; even when professionally installed, minor inconsistencies in color and texture may occur.
Need even more guidance? Take the quiz below to find out what countertop material is best suited for your taste, budget, and lifestyle.