Whether you are remodeling or building new, the many choices required throughout the project are daunting. The more permanent the installation, the more pressure you feel to get it right. To prevent that feeling of being overwhelmed, concentrate on one item at a time. Then, before you purchase, look at your choices. If something doesn’t work, go back and review your options.
Choosing your kitchen countertop materials is right up at the top of the remodeling tension scale. A plethora of options are available, each with its own pros and cons, style, and price range. The MBS Interiors Guide to Popular Kitchen Countertop Materials will give you the rundown on what’s popular and why. Consider and weigh the following options to find your ideal kitchen countertop material.
Granite has dominated the countertop material market in recent years, transitioning from a rare luxury to now a common requirement in many kitchens.
Pros: Heat resistant and generally resilient; available in endless color options.
Cons: Price; heavy weight; requires occasional maintenance, such as sealing to keep stains and marks at bay.
Laminate countertops have come a long way in recent years, and our sources note that laminate is making a strong comeback. Largely constructed of paper materials, laminate can mimic the look of natural materials such as stone and wood.
Pros: Affordable; versatile; mimics the look of many natural materials.
Cons: Prone to peeling, scratching, and burns.
Marble countertops have garnered a great deal of passion from consumers – both good and bad. Marble’s timeless beauty stands in stark contrast to its high level of maintenance.
Pros: Aesthetic beauty; timeless; patina with age, although this could be considered a con to certain homeowners.
Cons: Price; requires frequent sealing to reduce likelihood of staining and etching.
Quartz runs a close second in popularity to granite. Plus, quartz countertops are extremely resilient and resistant to stains, scratches, heat, and general wear and tear.
Pros: Virtually indestructible; offered in a wide variety of colors and patterns; low maintenance.
Cons: Price; usually heat resistant only up to a certain degree (this may vary between manufacturers. Always refer to your specific manufacturer’s guidelines).
Quartzite is derived from metamorphic rock and is often found in white and gray tones. Quartzite is harder than granite and is known to withstand heat.
Pros: Durability; withstands high levels of heat; appearance.
Cons: Price; requires frequent sealing to avoid stains.
Solid surface countertops are constructed of man-made materials, are generally low maintenance, and are available in almost any color imaginable.
Pros: No sealing is necessary; available in many colors and patterns; seamless; low maintenance; lower cost; heat resistant.
Cons: May not appear as natural as certain stone countertops; prone to scratches.
Wood countertops add warmth and charm to any space. Many different variations of wood countertops, such as a butcher block island and wood slabs have become very popular in recent years.
Pros: Gentle on knives and prep tools – good counter area for prep; develops patina with age; charming appearance.
Cons: Oiling and sealing are necessary to maintain the condition of the wood; not an anti-bacterial surface; swells and contracts with moisture (or lack thereof); sensitive to chemicals and stains.