Choosing a Countertop
7 Types of Materials for your Kitchen Remodel
When beginning a kitchen remodeling project, it is easy to feel overwhelmed with all of the details and choices. As homeowners ourselves, we understand the myriad of choices that you’ll be faced with, and we’re here to help make your kitchen remodeling decisions a bit easier.
Read on to learn more about the most common countertop materials and their characteristics including durability, longevity, and maintenance:
Granite is a classic material that arguably looks good in every home due to its natural grain and unique look. Not a single granite countertop will look like another, and many homeowners find that appealing. Granite is a hard material and is resistant to scratches and heat.
When it comes to maintenance, granite requires yearly sealing, which is a relatively easy process. Stains should be wiped promptly. Is there a downside to granite? Only when it’s left unsealed or not sealed properly. Without proper sealing, it may stain due to its porosity. It can also be cracked or chipped due to something heavy falling on it, but this is uncommon.
Our verdict: It’s classic and durable. We love it!
Quartz shares much of granite’s awesomeness. Made from one of the hardest materials on the planet, quartz countertops are extremely durable and very eye-catching. Quartz is similar to granite (as a matter of fact, granite is composed of approximately 20% quartz) in its material, but quartz differs in that a resin has been added to the natural material and these countertops are considered to be “engineered”.
What does this mean? It means that Quartz combines natural beauty with technology to preserve the uniqueness of the stone with resins that make the countertops stain and scratch resistant. Quartz countertops are not porous – so you’ll never have to seal them.
Our verdict: The look of natural stone, but a lot less maintenance. If yearly sealing is a bit much, choose quartz -they are both pretty AND indestructible!
Seeking an affordable and durable solution? Laminate countertops may be the right choice for you. These countertops are composed of wood materials that are layered together and topped with a durable resin. They are moderately scratch and heat resistant, but they are not quite as durable as other materials.
If you enjoy changing your look every few years or are seeking a high quality, affordable solution, laminate countertops are an excellent choice. Today’s laminates can roll the images over the edge and your visitors may not ever know that your countertops aren’t granite!
Our verdict: If your budget is tight, choose laminate. You’ll always have the option to easily replace it in a few years – and you’ll have a pretty countertop in the meantime!
Wood countertops have a rustic vibe, and often offer sustainability and uniqueness that is unmatched. Given the endless variety of species, colors, shapes, and stains available, your wood countertop will become your very own individual work of art. Wood countertops can be cut and fabricated easily and can be sanded and refinished at any time. Because of this, you can cut on it without fear. Wood also offers natural anti-bacterial benefits.
Wood has a downside – maintenance. To keep your wood countertops in top shape, you’ll need to oil them two or three times a year (or more). Wood doesn’t enjoy being wet, and spills will need to be wiped up quickly.
Our verdict: Wood countertops can be unique and stunning, and they bring a refined natural elegance that can’t be matched with any other material. However, the maintenance required is high. Choose wood countertops if you’re okay with keeping up on the maintenance and you desire an “earthy” feel in your kitchen.
Solid Surface Countertops
At first glance, solid surface countertops may seem similar to quartz countertops. They are both engineered surfaces and tend to have a uniform coloring and style. Where they differ is in their components: solid surface countertops are approximately a third resin (vs. 5%-10% in quartz), and the remaining material is a ground natural material instead of quartz.
Solid surface countertops are durable, sanitary, seamless, and virtually maintenance free. They can be scratched, but unlike laminate they are easily repaired by the homeowner. If you’d like a durable, custom countertop that has qualities a step above laminate, solid surface is for you.
Our verdict: If your budget has a little bit of wiggle room, choose solid surface over laminate. As a seamless, custom solution with enhanced durability – you’ll be happy with your countertops for years to come!
While granite may be the most popular choice for natural stone countertops, we can’t forget about granite’s sister – marble. Why choose marble? It’s unique, distinct and incredibly heat resistant. No two slabs are alike and marble offers a striking look with a variety of colors. Want to stand out from the crowd? You’ll love marble countertops! Marble offers a love-it-or-hate-it spectrum of opinions, and this is mostly due to their high maintenance needs.
Why is marble high maintenance? It’s extremely porous – even more so than granite. If olive oil or orange juice spills on your countertop, you will have to wipe it up 100% and ASAP to prevent stains. If you miss it, it may be too late and the stains may be impossible to remove. Marble must be sealed to prevent this, and resealed often. Another downside of marble is that it’s soft when compared to granite. A knife can scratch the surface and a pot may chip off a corner.
Our verdict: Only homeowners who LOVE the look of marble and are willing to continually maintain it should choose marble. They are stunning and long-lasting if the requirements are met.
Last, but definitely not least, are eco-friendly countertops. Offered in a variety of materials such as glass, paper, bamboo, and wood, eco-friendly countertops offer a unique look while providing a feel-good and environmentally conscious solution at a variety of price points.
Read more about eco-friendly choices in our blog post: Eco-Friendly Countertops
Choosing a countertop for your remodeling project is never an easy task. Our designers and remodelers have installed (and removed!) hundreds of countertops in homes just like yours. Reach out today if you’d like additional countertop guidance from our kitchen remodeling pros, and fill out our contact form or give us a ring if you’d like to set up a hassle-free estimate for your project!