The kitchen is the most hardworking area in the home. As such, its parts – particularly the countertops – are at the receiving end of the most use (and sometimes abuse) in the kitchen.
In addition to being the main workspace, countertops can also serve as the focal point of the kitchen that adds to the overall design and aesthetic of the area.
Just as choosing the right shade of paint color for the walls can be an arduous task, choosing countertops can likewise be quite challenging. Aside from the usual color, texture, and type – where there are already a multitude to choose from – other considerations include heat-resistance, scratching, staining, and maintenance.
Let us take look at the most popular residential countertops and consider their merits.
When talking about types of countertops, granite is usually the first that comes to mind. This natural stone lends a feel of elegance and sophistication in any kitchen. It can stand kitchen wear and tear with its excellent resistance to heat, stains, and scratches.
Being highly durable and strong, granite has the ability to last you a lifetime if sealed and installed properly. There are also a wide variety of patterns and colors to choose from which makes matching with your kitchen design easier.
Granite’s luxurious look, however, comes with a price tag. Most granite has to be sealed regularly as it is porous which means that it absorbs and holds bacteria.
Quartz countertops are engineered stone made up of 93% quartz particles embedded in a hard drying epoxy where the finished product looks like stone. Because quartz is one if the hardest minerals in nature, countertops made of these are very strong and durable.
Furthermore, this mineral has anti-microbial properties that prevent the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria. Scratch resistant, heat resistant, non-porous and requiring little to no maintenance makes this material an ideal choice for long term use.
Quartz counters might be more expensive compared to granite but it also comes in more colors with multi-dimensional gem coloring.
If you are more after the decorative than the functional purpose of countertops, then marble is a fine choice. Its natural veining and smooth gloss finish radiates sophistication and luxury. But, given that marble is a softer stone, durability and sturdiness are not among its top qualities.
The material is high maintenance as it can easily scratch and stain and is prone to stress fractures. Sealing needs to be done once a year.
If you are not too keen on spending a lot on your countertop, then laminate is the perfect pick for you. This budget-friendly material comes in a variety of colors and patterns, is versatile and easy to install. And, since laminate countertops are made of plastic-coated synthetic material with a smooth surface, cleaning with soap and water is enough maintenance. Bear in mind, though, that scratches and chips are nearly impossible to repair.
This classic design option can be a choice for DIY homeowners who would like to make some savings while putting their own mark on their kitchen design. While ceramic tiles are heat and mar resistant, these will not last for a very long time as it is prone to chipping and cracking. Grout discoloration can also lessen its appeal. As a remedy, select tiles made for heavy duty use and opt for narrow or dark grout.
For a more contemporary kitchen, stainless steel with its sleek seamless finish is the way to go. The preferred choice of chefs and cooks, this counter is the most hygienic as it prevents bacteria build-up and is easy to clean. It is heat tolerant, durable, and does not easily stain. Things to consider aside from the hefty price tag are the noise as well as the dents it will acquire over time.
There are several other types of countertops such as wood, glass, recycled materials, concrete – all having their own pros and cons. If you are looking to renovate your kitchen, give us a call and so we can go over what will work best for you.