Granite has been the number one choice of kitchen countertops for homeowners for several years. While it has more competition than in the past, granite remains one of the best choices among homeowners due to its natural composition, exquisite appearance, and designs that cannot be replicated. There are many countertop options on the market for kitchen countertops, but 10 materials comprise most countertops in residential kitchens. They include granite, marble, quartz and more.
Each material has its positive and negative aspects. For example, some are very strong, while others can be scratched or damaged. And some materials cost a lot more than others. For some time, granite has been the countertop material of choice when there were no cost issues to consider.
Granite defines elegance in a kitchen. Even modest kitchens look like luxurious spaces when scented by the beauty of granite countertops. Knives quickly blunt when cutting granite. Soapstone is another natural stone, usually dark gray in color with a soft and silky feel.
It has seen a recent resurgence as an alternative to granite. Soapstone is often seen in historic homes, but it is also used in modern homes as a countertop and sink material. Over time, soapstone acquires an antique-looking patina that can be very attractive in certain kitchen styles. Contrary to expectations, the architectural soapstone used for countertops is actually quite hard and resistant to stains.
However, it will scratch over time, although this may increase the ancient patina of the stone. Another natural stone commonly used in kitchen countertops is marble. Because no two marble slabs are exactly the same, each marble countertop will be completely unique. Due to its extremely high price, marble is not often seen across the full extent of most kitchen countertops.
More often, its luxurious appearance is limited to use on an island or section of the countertop reserved as a baking center. Although highly prized, marble may not be the best choice for kitchens due to its penchant for stains and scratches. Newer sealants may reduce marble maintenance, but this is a considerably more temperamental stone than granite or soapstone. Sold by companies such as DuPont Zodiaq, LG Viatera, Cambria and Silestone, quartz was created as a more adaptable and better performing alternative to granite and marble.
It is available in a wider range of colors than granite and has a non-porous surface that resists both scratches and stains. Some types are convincing copies of natural marble, with similar veins. Unlike natural stone, engineered quartz requires no annual sealing. Solid surface material, sold under brands such as Avonite, Corian and Swanstone, is an artificial material that consists of a mixture of acrylic particles and resins that are pressed into sheets and other shapes.
Solid-surface countertops and sinks have been around for nearly 50 years, but at the time of their introduction, they were considered alternatives to space-age natural stone, which they sought to imitate. Once considered premium luxury countertops, solid surface material is now considered something mid-level, but it's still an excellent choice for mid-range kitchens. It can also be a good material in high-end kitchens with a lot of countertop space that would be prohibitively expensive to cover with granite or quartz. Ceramic tiles are durable and easy to clean, and are considerably cheaper than countertops made of natural stone, quartz or solid surfaces, especially for DIYers who want to do their own work.
Recent innovations in porcelain stoneware offer many more design options than ever before, including tiles with the look of wood, marble or even leather or cork. Ceramic and porcelain tiles offer more design options than almost any other countertop material. It doesn't have the same prestige as granite or quartz Laminate counters carry trademarks such as Formica, Nevamar and Wilsonart. Laminates are synthetic, plastic-coated with a smooth surface that is easy to clean.
Countertops are manufactured by joining the laminated sheets to a particle board (MDF) core. Laminate countertops can be purchased as preformed segments (called post-formed countertops) or can be custom manufactured to specifications, either on site or in a manufacturing shop. Although for many years considered more common than premium countertop materials, laminates have seen a recent increase in popularity, thanks in part to the thousands of colors, patterns and styles available now. Laminates are especially popular in retro designs, especially in mid-century modern kitchens.
Many designers believe that nothing can replicate the effect that real marble has on a space and, after all, they are right, there is a reason natural stone has had a place in kitchens, restaurants and workspaces for centuries. Modern homeowners may be wary of telltale signs of aging, such as stains, etchings, and chips, but with proper care (which, according to this helpful Remodelista reference sheet, includes regular sealing, daily cleaning, and stain and etch removal), marble countertops can be used wonderfully for the next few decades. Granite countertops are perhaps the most familiar to most homeowners, and have been a popular choice for the past few decades or so. The versatile material has earned a bad reputation, thanks in part to its revealing “speckle” and popularity in quick-change homes.
Still, there are many advantages to choosing a natural stone such as granite for your kitchen countertops (it's affordable, heat and stain resistant, and extremely durable) and, if you're mistaken for simplicity, it can also be a perfectly elegant option. Described by Remodelista as “a countertop stone that looks like marble but dresses more like granite, quartzite is a familiar alternative for homeowners looking to use a natural stone but who care about the wear and tear of daily life. Quartzite is typically seen in shades of gray, tan and white, but it can also be found in more exclusive combinations such as pinks, reds and blues. Perhaps one of the most recognizable (and loved) countertop materials, quartz is praised for its easy care, affordable price, and wide range of styles.
If you appreciate the ability to prepare on any surface without a second thought, butcher countertops are for you. Terrazzo went through some difficult growth problems in the 80s and 90s, but it's back and it's better than ever. Prized for its high heat resistance and durability, terrazzo is a composite countertop material that combines a cement base with fragments of marble, glass, granite and more, creating a unique and often colorful countertop material. Arguably less popular than other countertop materials, but certainly on the rise, copper countertops are truly something special.
As Helen Parker, creative director of DeVol Kitchens, says, they add something that can't be replicated in any other material, the feeling of having something really special and practical, all in one. Made to order, they can be expensive, but not as expensive as natural stone. Or you can go for classic wooden countertops instead. Paul Grothouse of Grothouse Lumber says wood kills bacteria faster than any other surface, which is ideal in a kitchen.
Not only do they look timeless and classic in almost every kitchen, but wood surfaces are also quite easy to maintain when sourced from good manufacturers with high-quality finishes. Sealing them makes them more durable, although they will show some wear and tear over time. There is quite a wide variety in terms of prices, so it really depends on where you get them. Not to be confused with quartz, this highly precious and sought-after natural stone looks similar to marble and onyx.
Along with granite, quartzite is one of the most resistant natural stones to heat and scratches. It is often referred to as engineered quartz or engineered stone in reference to the sealing process applied to natural stone after it has been harvested. Quartzite countertops can be quite porous, so they're not always the best choice in high-use areas. Each surface is unique, and when it comes to stone such as granite or quartz, you may find that the appearance can vary even between different cuts of the slab.
However, the characteristics that make each worktop unique are more than superficial. Feeling each countertop can also introduce a new look; after all, while it may be surprising, each material feels totally different. Different countertop materials will provide other aesthetic options. Synthetic options, such as laminated and solid surfaces, and natural options such as wood and granite, can vary significantly in appearance.
Taking the time to research each option down to the smallest detail and considering how it will look with your cabinets, walls, and even your backsplash will help ensure that you love the end result of your kitchen. Most mid-range to high-end kitchens use granite or quartz. Granite is one of the most popular options for kitchen countertops, with a particular favor towards high-end kitchens. Granite is a natural stone loved for its unique color, tones and grain.
With its natural beauty, it's a great addition to any kitchen. Granite is also one of the most durable materials for countertops. As a result, whether you cook often, have young children, or like to host, you'll find that you're able to withstand most of the daily wear and tear, while maintaining a luxurious finish. A trendy option right now is the butcher block countertop style.
Especially when mixed with granite or quartz countertops, the butcher block offers a rich variety of natural colors to your kitchen. The significantly thicker style of this material lends itself well to a chef-inspired look. Most of the time, you'll find butcher block countertops act as an accent and make up a small area, usually near your sink or on the island. However, it's important to remember that wood can be scratched easily, just think about your cutting board.
You'll also need to clean them frequently by rubbing dirt with a sponge and hot water and disinfecting them with undiluted white vinegar. Most mid-range to high-end kitchens come with granite or quartz countertops. However, if you are considering a dramatic aspect, you may want to explore the true three-dimensional presentation of deep-veined marble. Marble is a softer stone compared to granite.
However, if you are considering a white countertop finish, marble may have an edge over other options. These are all important aspects to consider, as each will affect the durability and support you need from your countertop. For example, if you spend most of your time in the kitchen cooking, you'll want to make sure you have durable countertops that are resistant to scratches and water damage. However, a butcher block countertop near your sink could save you time when cutting and chopping.
If you have young children, you may want to stay away from white marble countertops because spills can damage them. When working with heavy stone countertops, such as granite or quartz, you need to make sure that the stone can stand on its own. Crossing a large space, such as a long kitchen island, working around imperfect base cabinets requires experience. Choosing a reputable stone supplier is the best way to avoid potential mishaps.
While all kitchen countertops require maintenance, such as regular cleaning, some, such as natural stones, require more, especially porous materials such as granite countertops. In addition, you need to act quickly to remove stains from your countertops before the marks become permanent. When you invest in granite countertops, you will experience high-quality durability and damage resistance. However, since granite is porous, it won't be able to do it on its own.
In fact, if you don't apply a proper sealer regularly, you'll notice that you'll have to replace your granite countertops in no time. You may already be familiar with the sealing process. It is when a chemical seal is applied that acts as a coating for the material of your choice, helping to prevent damage from reaching the raw material. Because granite countertops are porous, the seal will seep into the pores and fill them, preventing liquids or stains from damaging the rough stone.
Unlike granite countertops, quartz countertops don't need to be sealed. Quartz is naturally durable, and because it's not porous, you'll find that it doesn't even fit the sealant. In fact, most of the time, you'll notice that if you try to seal your quartz countertop, the sealant stays like a film of liquid on the surface. Butcher block countertops are becoming popular in chef-inspired kitchens.
Note that the wood is treated with food grade mineral oil, allowed to stand for 8 to 10 hours and then polished. This is done once a month to maintain the butcher block and prevent the wood fibers from drying out. If you prepare most of your own meals and exercise your countertops, then you'll want a material that's durable and easy to clean. Choose a non-porous material such as stainless steel, porcelain, quartz, glass, solid surface, resin, or laminate.
If you choose a solid surface or laminate, keep hot pads or trivets handy for hot pots and pans, as those materials don't withstand heat well. It's easy to see why polished granite is the most popular countertop choice among homeowners. Incredibly durable, granite is a durable countertop pick. Thanks to technological advances with the manufacturing process and the increase in the supply of natural stone, prices can be cheaper than you think.
A misconception about quartz is that it is an all-natural stone. In reality, this “engineering stone” is made of crushed quartz and a resin filler. However, quartz countertops are often seen as alternatives to granite (which is available in fewer colors) or marble (which is less durable). Do Laminate Kitchen Countertops Deserve Another Look? Although this option peaked in popularity before the turn of the last century, there are still great benefits to these countertops, which are also known by brands such as Formica.
The first and most compelling reason to consider laminate countertops is the almost unbeatable price. Other benefits include easy maintenance, a variety of styling options, and bacteria resistance. Although the non-porous material is not stained by wine or oil spills, it can definitely chip or burn. And, of course, laminate will be out of place in a high-end kitchen.
However, it's a good choice for buyers who care about their budget, rental properties, house changes, or second kitchens. Quartz or granite tiles are available at a lower cost than full-size slabs. Just keep in mind that the range in style and quality is tied to a range in the total cost of tile countertops. With some basic knowledge, DIY installation is possible.
But unlike granite, which looks better without defects, scratches on soapstone can lead to patina. The durability winner is quartz, the man-nature combined countertop. Crushed quartz stone is mixed with resin to produce countertops that range from solid colors to the look of real granite, but will outperform natural stone in hardness. A unique choice for kitchens ranging from farmhouse style to more industry-inspired poured concrete countertops, they have gained popularity in recent years.
Falling in love with your kitchen countertops starts at first sight, which is why visiting a showroom is so important. After a thorough examination, we are ready to explain to you why you should or should not install one of these durable kitchen countertops. Being the best choice of most homeowners, traditional granite countertops offer a high-end look that increases the value of your kitchen while providing a prep surface. You have a variety of options when choosing the right type of material for your kitchen countertops.
Deciding what types of kitchen countertops are best for your needs involves considering price, durability, maintenance, and more. Best of all, if you're skilled, a tiled kitchen countertop is a project you can do yourself on a long weekend. Virtually maintenance free, engineered quartz countertops are stain, acid, scratch, heat and impact resistant and, thanks to their non-porous surface, do not need to be sealed like natural stone countertops. You want your kitchen countertop to be smooth and seamless, especially when it comes to stone.
Fortunately, by the time you start planning your kitchen countertops, you'll already have industry experience after learning about cabinets, which will help you get one step closer to creating more memories in a kitchen you love. Tile countertops can look handcrafted or contemporary, making them a beautiful and versatile countertop material. When deciding which countertop material is right for you, it's important to think about how you plan to use your kitchen. .