Buying a kitchen countertop should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision. There are many different factors to consider. Will the countertop hold up well to constant use? Will it get nicked or scratched? Will it require a lot of maintenance? What colors and patterns are available? Will it hide imperfections? And perhaps most importantly: how much will it cost? To help you research the various materials, we’ve compiled some of the most popular kitchen countertop options available today. We hope this will help you narrow down your choices and decide which countertop option is best for your family, your home, and your budget.
Kitchen Countertop Options
Granite is, without a doubt, the most popular choice for countertops today. It’s durable, timeless, easy to clean, and adds value to the home. However, this much-loved material is also expensive, very heavy, and must be sealed periodically (to protect the natural stone).
Marble is also very beautiful, but as you might expect, it’s expensive too. Softer and more porous than granite, it may end up with some stains or scratches. As time goes by, a patina often forms and if you aren’t a fan of that warm, aged look, don’t choose marble.
Quartz is extremely durable and low-maintenance. Plus, although it looks similar to granite, it’s much less expensive. It’s also stronger than granite and comes in more color variations. If you’re curious about the differences between quartz and granite, check out this previous post that pitted the two countertops against one another.
Wood countertops are having a moment. Although the style is usually what’s most appealing to consumers, wood is also quite durable and can even be used as a permanent cutting board (you can sand off any scratches). However, wood is obviously not as durable as stone. It won’t last as long and it will need to be oiled frequently to prevent water damage.
Smooth and matte, soapstone is durable, heat-resistant, and it can’t be stained. It doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, but you can use mineral oils to enhance this beautiful, natural stone if you like.
Concrete may sound like a drab option for a countertop, but new techniques are making concrete more attractive and versatile. It’s available in a variety of different colors and can be embedded with stones, tiles, or silicone chips. It is also scratch-resistant and heat-resistant. However, as you might expect, concrete is very heavy and can be stained if it’s not sealed regularly.
Glass can endure heat and stains, but it will limit your choice of sinks (under-mount sinks don’t work well with glass because it’s transparent). Plus, glass doesn’t easily hide fingerprints or smudges.
If you love stainless steel appliances, why not choose a stainless steel countertop to match? It’s stain- and heat-resistant and very stylish. Because it is nonporous and naturally antibacterial, cleaning will be a breeze. However, stainless steel may be dented or become scratched over time.
Solid-surface countertops look like stone, but they’re less expensive, require little maintenance, are available in a variety of colors, and can be made virtually seamless. While they are heat- and moisture-resistant, they may become scorched or scratched if you’re not careful. A common example of a solid-surface countertop is Corian.
All of these kitchen countertop options are beautiful, but you’ll need to choose the one that best fits your home. Are you willing to take care of any required upkeep? Do you have the budget for something more luxurious, like granite or marble? Will the styles and colors match the interior design of your kitchen and the rest of your home? Ask yourself these questions before you choose a countertop and you’re sure to make a sound decision.
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