With so many different types of kitchen countertops it can be a challenge to find the one that best suits your kitchen. Your kitchen counter is your main work space and can be a focal point of your kitchen. Below are different types of kitchen countertops to help you select the best options and materials for your home design.
Granite can come in white, gold, gray, tan, metallic, black, red, green and blue – and even in combinations of these colors. A honed granite counter has a soft, matte finish with a smooth surface and very if any reflection in the stone. Like granite counters, a honed granite counter is very durable and resists scratching, cracking and chipping. Honed granite is also heat-resistant.
Granite kitchen countertops are scratch-resistant (when sealed and treated), heat-resistant, stain-resistant and offers natural protection against mold and mildew. Granite also offers you an extensive natural color palette to choose from.
On the other hand, while durable, granite does have its fragility in the way of corners. The corners that extend over the edge of your cabinets are vulnerable to chipping. If a corner chips, you will likely need to hire a professional to make repairs.
Granite countertops will also need to be resealed from time to time to retain its stain-resistant properties. This is because granite is naturally porous, meaning that it will absorb spills if it isn’t sealed, poorly sealed, or if the seal has worn off. This should be done annually, but if you spend the extra for treated granite, you may be able to go as long as 10 years without resealing. Unfortunately, granite is already a fairly high-priced choice.
Polished granite – The glossy sheen of a polished granite countertop is a high-end looking addition to your kitchen. It also provides you with an extremely durable prep surface.
The smooth natural gloss and the distinctive veining of marble make it a beautiful material to use in a kitchen counter. As long as you take special care with acidic substances, the creamy surface of marble should last you a long time.
There are several advantages and disadvantages to installing marble kitchen countertops in your home. Lets start off with the benefits. For starters marble looks great in the kitchen. It offers a classic beauty you will definitely enjoy. Additionally marble is naturally cool and not a big heat conductor. So if you do a lot of baking that’s a big plus. Marble is also heat resistant. Finally it is widely available for purchase.
Now on the negative side marble is a softer stone which is prone to stains an scratches. Sealing can help protect your stone surface, hover etching can still be a problem. And that brings us to maintenance which the above mentioned sealing should be done about once a year depending on how busy you are in the kitchen.
Quartz is one of the hardest surfaces on earth and is naturally non-porous and scratch resistant. It’s pretty too, with multi-dimensional gem-like coloring in a variety of shades Quartz has anti-microbial properties inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew.
Some of the benefits of a quartz kitchen countertops over granite are the following. To start with quartz has a very uniform and controlled appearance. Slabs are produced and crafted with a lot of evenness through the stone. They are also very strong naturally, and when combined with a resin binder can be stronger than both granite and marble. This stone is also non-porous unlike granite or marble which makes it very stain resistant and easy to use and maintain.
It’s important to note that while quartz countertops have all the benefits we’ve looked at here, there are some drawbacks to it as well. While quartz is especially strong, they have similar downfalls to granite countertops.
The corners of your counter might chip easier and if they do, it usually requires a professional repair. You can reduce this risk by installing a countertop with rounded edges rather than ones with a 90-degree corner.
Laminate counters are tough, affordable and easy to care for – just wipe them down with soap and water. Laminate comes in a variety of designs, patterns colors making it easy to find a counter that will complement your kitchen design.
Just a few reasons home owners choose laminate is due in large part to the low cost, how long lasting, as well as how low maintenance, and easy to clean it is. Laminate is still used in 80% of European homes and for good reason.
That being said, laminate – like any other material- is not a completely perfect material. For one, you’ll want to make sure you always use a cutting board. Sharp objects like knives can easily create permanent damages in the countertop.
You’ll also want to make sure that you lay barriers down between any hot pots or baking pans that you place on your counter. While laminate countertops have mild heat resistance, they are made of plastic which can melt when exposed to extremely high temperatures. While your morning cup of coffee won’t damage it, you might see damage if you’re laying fresh trays of cookies directly on it.
The warm, natural appeal of wood counters lends a cozy, homey touch to kitchens. Wood is also highly heat-resistant so you don’t have to worry about putting hot pots or pans on a wood counter. One caveat to consider is wood does require a lot of maintenance in the kitchen area. Sealing is mandatory with a product like Aqua spar and will need to be done regularly to keep your wood counters looking attractive for years to come.
Installing wood kitchen countertops can be less expensive than many other types of materials. In addition wood has natural, anti-bacterial benefits when sealed properly. Although one drawback of wood is it will need to be sealed several times a year depending on the finish. Wood also must be kept dry, which will keep you on your toes after a spill or watchful of the sink areas.
Stainless Steel Countertops
Stainless Steel counters are a favorite of serious chefs and cooks. Stainless steel inhibits bacteria build-up making these countertops the most hygienic available. This ultra-heat resistant material doesn’t stain and is easy to clean and sanitize. Something to consider is stainless does scratch easily and is quite expensive. However, installing a brushed stainless steel countertops can help cut down on any scratches.
Concrete counters come precast into flat, smooth workspaces surfaces. Concrete countertops are an energy efficient option as they can help control kitchen temperatures– concrete captures heat and releases it when things cool down. Concrete mostly resembles natural stone but a variety of colors can be achieved by adding pigments to the concrete mix.
Pros and Cons for Concrete – In addition to being heat resistant, concrete is scratch resistant as well. Its natural strength lends it to be a good investment for a long-lasting countertop.
Speaking of investment, concrete countertops can be a hefty one. Estimates on price range from $75 to $150 or even more if you choose specialized designs. They also require maintenance on top of that. Your concrete countertops will need to be resealed every 1 to 3 years. Much like granite, without a good seal, you’ll probably see your counter stain easier- a particular concern for a kitchen, where spills can be frequent.
A glass counter is a sleek and streamlined addition to any kitchen. Glass can be cut into almost any shape and texture and also comes in a variety of colors. Glass is easy to keep clean and its non-porous surface is stain-resistant and hygienic.
Pros and Cons for Glass Countertops – glass also offers benefits such as being highly heat resistant. It’s also incredibly lasting. It doesn’t typically show any natural wear over the years and they don’t warp or shrink. Glass counters are also eco-friendly since they are typically made out of recycled materials.
It isn’t all perfect, though. While durable, particularly sharp or heavy objects dropped on the counters can damage them and if that damage can be repaired, it needs to be done by a professional hand. Installation costs of glass countertops are also generally high.
Recycled countertops are mainly composed of a mix of sustainable materials such as glass, wood, paper, plastic and cement. An eco-friendly choice, a recycled counter is also durable and easy to clean. Coming in a wide range of colors and textures, a recycled counter can easily fit almost any kitchen design.
The negatives of recycled materials vary depending on what the counter you are buying is made up of specifically. A big problem that many run into with countertops of recycled materials is that they don’t handle high heat well. This means that a hot pan can cause damage.
Many of the pros and cons of recycled materials run similarly to the material that is being recycled. For instance, recycled glass can be expensive to repair and susceptible to scratches.
What Is the Best Countertop for a Kitchen?
Finding the right kitchen countertop takes a lot of consideration. The perfect option will depend on factors such as budget and design preferences. There are, however, suggestions from designers and ranges in popularity.
When it comes to sheer popularity, quartz takes the cake as the most often used material according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association. This recently passed another popular option: granite.
These countertops, as we’ve covered, are affordable and functional. The least popular options are some of the more expensive options such as glass and concrete. However, these materials are great for an aesthetically impressive countertop.
What Is the Most Durable Countertop?
When you are choosing a countertop for your kitchen, you want to make sure that it can handle what you throw at it. You probably also want to make sure you aren’t investing in a countertop that you will have to invest in further later to hire a professional for repairs.
Generally, quartz is considered the strongest when it comes to handling the danger of chips and cracks. Yet, it isn’t the most heat-resistant option and if your kitchen has plenty of windows, you might see discoloration from sunlight.
Close behind quartz, once again, is granite. This option is more heat-resistant but its more likely to chip and it must be sealed regularly.
What Countertop Is the Easiest to Maintain?
Another consideration for your kitchen countertop is the easiest to maintain. You may not want to invest in a countertop that you have to invest a lot of time into keeping in top order. There are a lot of considerations aside from just cleaning too – you also need to think about maintenance such as resealing.
The easiest option you have is laminate countertops. These don’t need to be resealed and they are non-porous. This makes them easy to wipe down after a night of cooking.
What Is the Most Affordable Kitchen Countertop?
Finally, we will look at what countertop will cost you the least. Once again, laminate countertops win out. One of the best ways to save when choosing an affordable laminate countertop is to go to a home improvement store or online and look for “pre-lammed” slabs. You can also look to home design stores such as IKEA.
As a bonus, these countertops are fairly simple to install, saving you on installation costs as well. To be fair, there are more expensive laminate countertops when you choose premium or high-definition designs.
Best Kitchen Countertops Infographic: