Countertops set the tone for the kitchen, so choose materials and a look that not only reflect your style, but also are in line with how you use the kitchen, its durability, maintenance and, of course, fits into your budget. There are more than a dozen countertop materials you can choose from. Thus, here are our top five choices of the most popular countertop materials.
This is an engineered stone that is composed of 93% quartz particles. Because of its non-porous qualities, Quartz countertops are practically maintenance free – stain, acid, scratch, heat and impact resistant and don’t need to be sealed like natural stone countertops. Quartz offers consistent, minimalistic and monochromatic colouring. Because of their colours and lack of natural movement, these slabs are perfect for modern and ultra-modern looks. Each slab colour and design always looks the same from slab to slab. However, with the growing popularity of natural stones, some Quartz slabs are now mimic natural stone patterns. Some brands on the market include Caesarstone, ProQuartz, and Silestone.
Still the top choice of most homeowners, traditional Granite countertops offer a high-end look that adds to your kitchen’s value while providing a durable prep surface. There is a limitless selection of colours to choose from and each countertops has a one-of-a-kind patterns and textures that you won’t see anywhere else – from the hue to the veins, swirls spots, and speckles. Granite isn’t necessarily a high-maintenance material, it just requires more care than Quartz does. Like other natural stones, Granite isn’t naturally resistant to moisture. To ensure the longevity of these countertops, it’s best to reseal your Granite every two to five years. It’s also best not to let spills and water rings sit too long since they can cause stains.
By far the most budget-friendly option, Laminate countertops are increasing in popularity thanks to new patterns that resemble natural stone, wood or even quartz at a fraction of the cost. These counter tops are made of plastic-coated synthetics or paper with a smooth surface that’s easy to clean. Laminate countertops, such as Formica, are available in a wide variety of colours; easy to maintain; durable; inexpensive. However, scratches and chips are almost impossible to repair; seams or joints are visible; cutting directly on it easily and permanently damages laminate, so use a cutting board. Unlike difficult-to-install materials like slab granite or solid surface, the laminate can either be DIY-installed or professionally installed.
Wood Countertops offer a beautiful warm look and are available in a wide range of colours and finishes. However, there are three things that contributed to its success or failure: the kind of sealer used; the type of wood; and the quality of construction. Both decorative and functional, this hardworking surface is ideal for food prep — properly sealed, Wood countertops are sanitary even for chopping meat. Unlike other budget-friendly options, Wood is highly heat-resistant; easy to clean; smooth; can be sanded and resealed as needed. But keep in mind that these countertops can be damaged by water and stains over time; and scratches must be oiled or sealed according to manufacturer’s instructions. Varnish improved stain resistance, but penetrating oils diminished it. Hardwoods such as maple and oak are most often used as countertop woods.
Infinitely customizable and with an amazingly long life span, Concrete countertops are an excellent option for any kitchen. Pigments, stains and dyes as well as a mixture of other materials, such as glass, tile and marble can create a one-of-a-kind Concrete countertop with colour and visual texture. If you have countertops in unusual shapes, Concrete may be a good choice, as they’re often cast right in your kitchen. These countertops are heat and scratch resistant; looks exotic and unusual; and new treatments eliminate cracking. On the other hand, they can be on the expensive side due to custom work; cracking is possible; and can look somewhat industrial.
Choosing the right material for your kitchen countertop is actually a very important decision. Keep in mind that the countertop material is going to be there for many years, and will have an effect on the value of your home going forward.