There are hundreds of options in countertop surfacing, and the decision you make is no easy task. Since this surface area ends up influencing the kitchen’s look and mood, it is immensely important to choose wisely.
With a massive exposure to sharp knives, heat and water, kitchen countertops carry a heavy burden. Discover the advantages and disadvantages of different countertop materials to give you a helping hand in making a right purchase. Along with pros and cons of each material, I give a ‘To Buy or Not to Buy?’ opinion of durability and suitability of the countertop for the everyday kitchen activity of your household. Kitchen countertops are a huge decision, both regarding a price tag, which suits best your budget, and longevity of materials, due to daily kitchen use. I have gathered a thorough guide on most popular kitchen countertops materials to help you make the right purchase that suits best your needs.
It is a high-durability material that can keep up with the daily routine of kitchen activities. Each countertop has its unique colour and texture, mainly due to natural variations. Most popular, but also most expensive are marble and granite, with soapstone and limestone choice being budget-friendly.
- very durable material popular among many homeowners,
- allows many years of trouble-free use,
- trendy but not going out of style,
- high-level of scratch, stain, water and heat-resistance,
- good sealing,
- comes in a dizzying array of colours, patterns and textures,
- smooth surface;
- most expensive among all materials,
- prone to chipping or cracking,
- acids such as alcohol, coffee, citrus juices or some acid-base formula cleaning products may influence its surface,
- naturally porous coat requires a proper sealing after installation,
- needs regular and consistent maintenance care,
- requires resealing for keeping an aesthetic look and maintaining food safety,
Cost: from $100 to $400 per square foot.
To Buy or Not to Buy: Definitely ‘Yes’ if you are a picky customer, who wants quality, style and design in your kitchen.
Also known as cultured-stone countertops, can be natural or manmade combined. They consist of a blend of quartz and pigments, with the look and feel of natural stone. Quartz is widely known as one of the hardest materials on earth, which makes it an ideal material for kitchen countertops.
- high sustainability to kitchen use,
- it is naturally non-porous therefore scratch resistant,
- maintenance free so there is no need for resealing or polishing,
- stain, heat and water resistant,
- easy to clean,
- the built-in antimicrobial protection which prevents the growth of mold, bacteria, and mildew,
- natural beauty enhanced by multi-dimensional gem-like colour,
- massive selection of colours, patterns and textures on the market;
- in comparison with real stone, quartz is not as natural looking,
- almost as costly as a real stone;
Cost: from $80 to $370 per square foot.
To Buy or Not to Buy: Its sleek and elegant surface and unique blend of natural beauty and easy maintenance make quartz an excellent match for any lifestyle.
Made from acrylic polymer-based materials, Corian is the widely known example and brand name of solid kitchen countertop material. Solid-surfacing countertops resemble natural stone, mimicking its look. Due to an acrylic ingredient, they are not costly and need low-maintenance.
- allows many years of trouble-free kitchen activity,
- will not crack or chip with age,
- easy clean and care,
- water resistant,
- smooth and sleek to coat,
- can stylishly integrate with kitchen backsplash or a sink,
- scuffs or scratches are easy to sand away or buffed out by fine sandpaper,
- huge selection of colours and patterns on the market,
- imitate expensive materials;
- not scratch-proof so sharp knives and cutting require a cutting board,
- high temperatures need special handling,
- can be easily scratched or dent,
- not stain-proof;
Cost: from $45 to $150 per square foot.
To Buy or Not to Buy: It is a versatile material, ideal for homes and businesses. Even though Solid-Surfacing Countertops are cheaper than natural stones, the solid surface should never be perceived as an alternative bargain option.
They are constructed with a thin sheet of plastic resin topped with plywood or particleboard. Latest hi-tech printers allow laminate kitchen countertops to resemble metal, stone or wood in outer appearance. Use of such advancements in technology diminishes the cost of purchasing organic materials.
- first and foremost, inexpensive,
- low cost of clean and care,
- easy to maintenance,
- moisture and stain resistant,
- you can get pre-fabricated laminate counter slabs and efficiently conduct a DIY project,
- if you are Jack-of-all-trades, you can make laminate counters from scratch by laminating plywood or particleboard by yourself and eliminating the waste,
- customizable edge profiles,
- lots of different finishing options;
- prone to scorching,
- fragile top coat so sharp knives are a no-no,
- unique construction allows only drop-in sinks,
- some customers perceive it as ‘cheap meat’ material,
- can chip or peel up easily,
- plywood or particle board are taken as unsubstantial. Therefore, the whole countertop gives off a hollow feeling,
- laminate countertop does not provide a solid vibe as natural stones emanate;
Cost: from $45 to $150 per square foot.
To Buy or Not to Buy: It is a smart option to buy a laminate kitchen countertop. Not only a tough material but also offers sophisticated designs and unique choice of colors.
Recycled Glass, Bamboo, and Paper composites
Such countertops are environmentally friendly kitchen countertops. If you are an eco-conscious person, you should go for one of the materials mentioned above. Eco-friendly countertops consist of a combination of resin, pigments, and recycled paper. They are heavily impregnated with organic ingredients and are hard to find in some areas.
- good for the environment,
- highly durable,
- easy maintenance,
- stain resistant,
- attractive designs,
- some bamboo countertops are harder than hardwood,
- water resistant,
- will not lose colour over the time of use;
- the recycled glass may chip, scratch or break,
- require resealing routine,
- not heat-proof,
- not many colours and patterns available on the market,
- hard to find in many areas as bamboo counters are a rare item;
Cost: from $35 to $350 per square foot.
To Buy or Not to Buy: Environmentally true beauties with a plenitude of character.
New or reclaimed sealed wood countertops
They add instant charm and warmth to your kitchen. The most common type of wood countertop is Butcher Block but those of you searching for unique appearance may choose Crafted Wood Slabs.
- as it is an organic material, nature provides a wide selection of textures, patterns, and colors,
- outstanding preparation area for cooking,
- fragile glassware or china can survive wooden countertops,
- ages gracefully,
- the timeless material,
- long-lasting countertop;
- not heat proof,
- needs protective sealing,
- requires constant maintenance,
- not water or moisture resistant,
- acids or corrosive materials leave stains,
- cannot be installed nearby the sink,
- prone to dents and scratches,
- can shrink when too dry;
Cost: from $40 to $150 per square foot.
To Buy or Not to Buy: Natural healthy looking appearance and the warm appeal are charming to many people.
Stainless steel countertops
They have taken many households by a storm. Not only to be found in restaurants, but also in any kitchen style, from traditional to contemporary. Metal countertops complement kitchen interiors by blending with stainless steel appliances. You can find more concrete countertop materials, such as zinc, pewter or copper.
- long-time trouble free use,
- antibacterial coat,
- stain proof,
- spill proof,
- beautiful appearance,
- visible scratches can be polished out,
- easy maintenance,
- quick sanitizing,
- easy to clean,
- reflects light;
- soft metals are vulnerable to dents and scratches,
- little bit costly for an average person,
- visible fingerprints on the surface,
- fabricating stainless steel is difficult;
Cost: from $100 to $300 per square foot.
To Buy or Not to Buy: Home-grown recreational cooks may now feel as chefs of Michelin restaurants.
Concrete Kitchen Countertops
Concrete countertop is an excellent conversation topic as anyone who visits your home will comment on your choice of the material. Concrete is a versatile material that can be shaped and coloured to any design and structure. There is a wide selection of design possibilities. What is more, concrete complements other elements in the kitchen such as stone or wood.
- heat, scratch and stain-resistant,
- extremely durable,
- sleek and smooth appearance,
- wide selection of colours and textures,
- sink and backsplash can integrate seamlessly,
- extra strong,
- can be sculpted and tinted to any design and style;
- requires regular sealing and maintaining,
- may be hefty,
- prone to cracking,
- needs waxing from time to time,
- can be costly to fabricate,
- vulnerable to acids and alcohol,
- can be quite expensive;
Cost: from $80 to $150 per square foot.
To Buy or Not to Buy: Rather not as it is a pricey material that requires special handling and lots of maintenance.
Whether you have $30 or $3000, there is an affordable option for you to purchase or update your kitchen countertops. Laminate, solid surface or reclaimed wood are all eager options for those willing to renovate their counters. I hope my post has given you the resources, inspiration, and courage to bring into play some significant improvements to your kitchen shortly.