Choosing the Best Material for Your Kitchen Counters
Out of all the things you can do to change the look of a kitchen, having new countertops installed is something homeowners don’t typically do unless it’s absolutely necessary. New kitchen counters can be an expensive purchase, so homeowners typically only replace them as part of a complete kitchen renovation or because their existing counters are getting too damaged and worn out.
Since new kitchen countertops definitely aren’t an everyday purchase, you’ll want to make sure you choose the right type of materials for your new counters so you know you’ll be happy with your decision for years to come. If it’s been a long time since you last thought about getting new kitchen countertops, you might be surprised at just how many different options are available nowadays. All of these options have their advantages and disadvantages, so which option is best for you all boils down to what your budget is and how much maintenance you’re willing to deal with. Here are the pros and cons for a few of the most popular types of countertops:
Quartz is currently the most commonly requested type of kitchen countertop. Quartz counters are a combination of crushed stones, resins, and coloring and it’s easy to see why it’s become so popular. These countertops can withstand just about anything you do to it and requires little special maintenance. You can cut directly on it, put hot pots and pans on it, spill things on it, and the countertop will be fine. They’re resistant to bacteria without having to be sealed. Unfortunately, quartz counters aren’t the most affordable option. In terms of cost, quartz counters can cost roughly the same as granite or marble counters.
Granite and marble countertops are two of the more expensive options for countertops, but they’re still extremely popular choices. Many people absolutely love the look of granite and marble counters and with the natural variations in the stone, every countertop is a little bit unique. They’re both pretty durable and can stand up well to being cut on and having hot things set on it. However, they the corners and edges can chip easier than quartz countertops can. Granite countertops also need to be sealed regularly to prevent staining while marble counters can get stained and scratched with use, so they’re not quite as low maintenance as quartz.
On a budget? Laminate or Formica counters are your best bet. If you hear the words “laminate” or “Formica” and immediately start getting flashbacks to the kitchen counters your parents had decades ago, don’t worry! The quality and appearance of laminate has improved greatly over the years and there are lots of very nice-looking options available nowadays. Laminate counters can look great and cost a fraction of the price of quartz or stone options, but they’re not as durable as other options. You won’t be able to cut directly on the countertop and it can burn if you set hot things on it, but as long as you remember to always use a cutting board and are careful not to set that cherry pie directly on the counter right after it comes out of the oven, you can get years of use out of laminate counters.
If your kitchen has more of that classic country look, wood countertops can help give your kitchen the warm, natural look you’re looking for. Wood countertops, also often called butcher block counters, can look fantastic, but they’re a bit more high maintenance than other options since you’ll have to sand it and seal it regularly and they’re not quite as durable as other options.
Another popular, yet low maintenance option is solid surface countertops. This is another man-made countertop material that’s more affordable than many other types of countertop materials. Solid surface countertops are made out of plastic resins and can mimic the look of stone counters, but while they don’t need as much upkeep as natural stone counters, they aren’t nearly as durable, either.