Remember the days when laminate was the only option you had for your kitchen countertops? Things have changed! With so many surfaces available today, you might wonder how to choose the best countertop for your kitchen.
In this post, we’ll look at what you need to consider when choosing your kitchen countertops, and the pros and cons of the most common countertop options.
5 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Countertops
Choosing the right countertop for your kitchen is about so much more than picking a color or pattern that matches your cabinets.
Maybe it’s because laminate is so easy to maintain, but it surprises most people that some countertop surfaces require ongoing maintenance. Any natural stone requires regular maintenance to ensure it stays properly sealed, for example.
Cost is an obvious factor to consider when choosing your countertops. You can stick to your budget and have the best countertop for your kitchen. Modern countertop surfaces allow you to have the look you love at more affordable prices.
Naturally, you want your countertop to look great. In fact, the countertops are often the focus of a kitchen design. Many homeowners choose the countertops first, then select cabinet style, colours, tile, and other kitchen components to coordinate with the countertop.
Kitchen countertops take a beating. Slicing, chopping, hot pots and pans, spills, and many other messy moments can affect the look and longevity of your countertops if you don’t have a durable surface.
Most countertops are easy to clean, but there are a few materials that require extra care to keep them sanitary. Antibacterial surfaces are usually preferable.
Pros & Cons of the Most Common Countertops
With maintenance, cost, appearance, durability, and health in mind, which countertop surface is best for your kitchen? Let’s look at the most common options to help you decide.
Granite is a natural stone, typically sourced from Italy, South America, and China. The stone is quarried, then cut into blocks, then slabs and sold primarily through local fabricators and custom kitchen suppliers. An advantage of granite is that few – if any – seams are needed to create your kitchen countertops.
Each slab of granite is unique. It comes in a wide array of colors and, because it’s natural, variations in the appearance are part of its allure. You can get granite in a range of finishes from matte to high gloss.
As a porous surface, granite must be sealed, making it stain resistant. This surface must be resealed periodically and cleaned with a non-abrasive cleanser.
The cost of granite varies depending on the origin and finish of your selection. Pricing tends to be high.
Pros of Granite Countertops
- Few – if any – seams
- Potentially improves resale value of home
Cons of Granite Countertops
- Moderate to High Cost
- High maintenance
Quartz is a type of solid surface material, also known as engineered stone. It’s a composite of around 90% mined quartz and 10% acrylic or epoxy binder and pigments. It’s an extremely hard, nonporous material and is available in a wide variety of colours and patterns.
Because of its durability and low maintenance, this material is an excellent choice for high traffic kitchens like commercial kitchens and health care facilities. It demands little attention and doesn’t require special cleaners. Be more careful with lighter colours, though, to avoid staining.
Pros of Quartz Countertops
- High durability
- Low maintenance
- Wide selection of colours and patterns
Cons of Quartz Countertops
- Moderate to High Cost
Marble is a relatively soft and porous natural stone. It’s best for low traffic kitchens because it’s not as durable as some other countertop materials. It’s actually quite susceptible to staining and abrasion, and requires regular maintenance.
Marble is considered a classic luxury look. It’s available in a range of colours and veining variations – from delicate to robust. Finishes range from leathered to high gloss. Each slab is unique.
Pros of Marble Countertops
- Classic luxury look
- Considered the perfect surface for making pasta or pastry
Cons of Marble Countertops
- High cost
- High maintenance
- Low durability
Wood countertops are intended to be used as a work surface. Because it’s porous and not sealed, it’s best to select wood for only a small section of your kitchen, such as the island.
Maple is the most commonly used wood, but other types of wood are sometimes used. Wood adds a sense of warmth to a kitchen.
Depending on how the wood countertop is made, it can be susceptible to cracking and warping. All wood countertops require maintenance and can be damaged by water, steam, and other household items. The good news is that some of these injuries can be fixed with sanding and applying oil.
Are you concerned about how sanitary a wood countertop is? It’s actually surprisingly safe. Microbiologists found that 99.9% of the bacteria they introduced to wooden cutting boards died within 3 minutes. Their study showed that wood cutting boards are safer than plastic ones with regard to bacteria.
Pros of Wood Countertops
- Warm, inviting look
- Excellent work surface
- Renewable resource
Cons of Wood Countertops
- Susceptible to cracking, warping, and damage from water, steam, and more
Laminate is a synthetic material made of compressed paper, melamine resins, and a plastic finish. It’s available in countless colours, patterns, textures, and finishes.
A laminate countertop is extremely easy to maintain, but is prone to chips and scratches.
These countertops used to be the industry standard and were as affordable as kitchen countertops get. Today, other countertops have gained popularity and, as a result, few tradespeople know how to work with it. This has led to an increase in the cost.
Pros of Laminate Countertops
- Easy maintenance
- Broad range of looks
Cons of Laminate Countertops
- Low resale value
- Few tradespeople know how to work with it
- Prone to chips and scratches
What’s the Best Countertop for Your Kitchen?
There are pros and cons for every type of kitchen countertop. Consider your needs and the look you want, and understand the durability and maintenance of each type before choosing your countertop material.
Still undecided? The kitchen countertop pros at Riverstone Kitchens & Renovations can help you choose the best countertop for your kitchen. Contact us today!