The kitchen is one of your home’s most important rooms – if not the most important room – and a place where both functionality and aesthetics are vital. Countertops are a centerpiece of any kitchen, but selecting the best one for your own residence can be tough, as there is a wide range of material choices on the market, from natural stone to ceramic tile to concrete and more. Check out the information below to help make a decision.
GRANITE · Granite is the most popular countertop choice for homebuyers and remodelers. The stone is tough, and stunning, and it’s a great long-term investment. As with all natural stone, each granite slab is unique. It’s a good idea (and a fun excursion) to visit a stone supplier to choose your own slab of granite for your kitchen.
Pros: very hard; holds up to heat, cuts and scratches, and, when properly sealed, resists stains as well; one-of-a-kind slabs are available in a wide range of colors; will last a lifetime; adds value to a home
Cons: pricey, although cost is decreasing; porous, and requires periodic sealing; edges and corners could chip
MARBLE · Marble is beautiful — but expensive. This luxurious material can make for a truly standout kitchen; however, marble countertops can stain and nick easily, so families and individuals who spend a lot of time preparing meals and entertaining may want to consider a different countertop material.
Pros: attractive and classic, ages beautifully, waterproof, scorch resistant
Cons: very expensive; porous, and needs recurrent resealing; can stain and scratch
QUARTZITE · Quartzite is a metamorphic rock created from sandstone subjected to extreme heat and pressure. The stone is mined and sawn into slabs, and the tops are polished and sealed. Regardless of color, quartzite will have streaking caused by varying degrees of pressure in its formation as well as the random presence of minerals.
Pros: extremely hard and durable, withstands heat, boasts incredible colors and patterns
Cons: typically more expensive than granite, can be hard to find, requires sealing
SOLID SURFACE · Solid surface material is manmade, by combining minerals and acrylics, and are custom designed for a homeowner’s specifications by companies such as Corian and Avonite. The material can be used for sinks and backsplashes as well as countertops, with nearly invisible joints, and comes in many colors and patterns.
Pros: simple, seamless, stain resistant, scratches can be buffed out, comes in virtually limitless colors and patterns
Cons: not as hard as stone, vulnerable to heat, can be somewhat expensive
SOAPSTONE · Soapstone is smooth and generally gray or greenish-black, and resists heat damage quite well. The material is often used for both a kitchen’s sink and countertops.
Pros: rich, deep color; somewhat stain resistant; nicks and scratches can be repaired by sanding and applying mineral oil
Cons: porous; requires regular applications of mineral oil, and some cuts may be too deep to be repaired; may crack and darken over time
CERAMIC TILE · As kitchen design trends have shifted toward seamless, low-maintenance counters, ceramic tile has decreased a bit in popularity. However, ceramic is durable, easy to clean and less pricey than many other options on the market.
Pros: affordable; takes hot pots and pans; easy to clean; available in a wide range of colors, textures and designs
Cons: counter surface isn’t smooth, tiles can chip or crack, grout lines can become stained, custom-designed tiles are expensive