Which Countertop Material is the Best Choice For Your KitchenJuly 28, 2017
Have you seen the number of different kitchen countertops available these days? It’s not just colors and thicknesses. There are a dizzying array of materials as well. We’re going to share 13 different types with you in this article and why you may want to choose them. Strap in, there’s a lot to learn!
Let’s begin with the different options for stone countertops:
Granite was the darling material of the 2000s and it is still very popular. Granite countertops are durable and each one is completely unique. It can also be surprisingly cheap for a stone countertop but depending on the type of granite and the configuration of your kitchen it can become very expensive.
Soapstone has been used as a countertop surface for centuries. Soapstone resists stains and bacteria very well, but it is much more expensive per square foot than granite. Also, the color options are much more limited, though you still get a unique counter.
If you want the durability of stone and the color customization of other materials, then engineered quartz is the answer. This material uses a combination of pigment, resin, and ground quartz to create very durable countertops. It’s also much more eco-friendly than other stone options since quartz is so common. But it is about double the cost of a granite countertop.
Marble countertops are also an option that lends a touch of class to the kitchen. It also develops a patina through use to create a unique look. But it does have a downside. It scratches and stains easily compared to other stone countertops. It is also more expensive than granite. Nevertheless, marble is the choice for a luxurious look.
Yes, you can get a concrete countertop! Concrete is the ultimate durable countertop and it can be stained or colored in any shade you desire. However, it is quite expensive to install, even more than engineered quartz. It can reach prices of $150 per square foot. A subtype of this kind of countertop mixes in glass chips with the concrete to create a striking effect. This is usually sold as a “glass and cement” countertop.
Out of all the stone options, tile is the cheapest. Tiles can be made of either ceramics or stone and can be installed by a DIY homeowner. However, with tile comes grout lines. Even with a dark grout to hide dirt, you might not want this option if you do a lot of cooking or breadmaking, or just hate to clean grout lines.
Next, let’s consider the pros and cons of metal countertops:
Copper is a rare countertop material, but they do exist. However, they develop a patina very quickly and it can react with different cooking ingredients. It is also pretty expensive. Google some images to see how much it can change.
Zinc used to be very popular but has fallen out of favor as being too old-fashioned. Like copper, zinc develops its own patina over time and it is naturally anti-microbial. If you really like the old-fashioned (think 1800s) look, zinc is worth your time.
This is the choice for professional chefs and for very good reason. It’s resistant to heat, doesn’t stain, and very easy to clean. It may pick up scratches easily, but professional kitchens are meant to be functional rather than beautiful. Some professional chefs prefer stainless steel at home because they know it will take anything they throw at it. If you like to cook often, you may want to consider the stainless look for yourself.
Sealed wood is another countertop material worth your consideration, but there’s more variety to wood countertops than you might think
If you take recycled paper and put it through the same process as an engineered quartz countertop, you end up with a material that is surprisingly durable. Recycled paper countertops can look quite a lot like soapstone at a significantly cheaper cost.
You might have to seal it regularly, but wood can lend a special warmth to a kitchen that nothing else can match. The prices can be much less than stone or metal, as low as $30 per square foot for materials. If you don’t mind the task of stripping and resealing every few years, a wood countertop can last decades.
Finally, we get to the plastics, of which there are two main varieties:
The choice for budget countertops everywhere, plastic laminates are much cheaper than stone or metal. Since it is plastic, the finish can be in any color or style you like, though it will look like plastic. It’s also not terribly durable compared to stone or metal. Good for a starter home, but it will need replacing at some point.
Halfway between plastic and stone, this is an excellent choice for creating a countertop that looks like just about any of the other options above without their downsides. These nearly-non-porous materials are the same throughout the thickness of the material. A quick sanding and that nick you made can disappear.
Now that you know what’s out there, it’s time to do some searches to look at the pros and cons and to see how these different materials work in kitchens. Have fun with your search and good luck with your kitchen remodel!