Today’s kitchens aren’t just for cooking. These spaces serve multiple purposes. Families gather in the kitchen, the kids do their homework at the kitchen table, and guests fill the space when you’re entertaining. When you’re thinking about what kind of kitchen countertops would work best for your family, it’s important to think about all the ways this space is used. Countertop materials vary in durability, stain and scratch resistance, maintenance needs, and appearance.
Kitchen countertops are essential to a functioning kitchen and an important visual feature. A countertop must be durable as well as beautiful to truly add value to a kitchen. Whether you’re considering a total kitchen remodel or a simple renovation that replaces a few key features like countertops, cabinets, and appliances, it’s important to choose the right countertop material.
Kitchen design trends are moving away from all-white color schemes. Colorful cabinets, countertops, and backsplashes are gaining popularity. Therefore, countertops are key features for striking designs, like waterfall islands or backsplashes that extend seamlessly from the countertop up the wall.
Popular kitchen countertop materials include granite, quartz, marble, soapstone, and laminate. Each material has its own distinguishing features, which we’ll discuss in further detail below.
Granite has become the preferred material for upscale kitchen countertops. With this stone’s beautiful natural patterns, durability, color variety, and low maintenance needs, granite is the clear choice for many homeowners. In recent years, granite finishes have expanded beyond the standard polished granite to include the matte finish of honed granite.
On the downside, granite is porous, so it must be sealed regularly, or it may stain. It can also take a significant chunk of your budget.
Quartz has emerged as an engineered alternative to granite. It can be more affordable while still offering a lovely stone appearance. Quartz is a manufactured material created with minerals and binding agents, and because of this, it can include a wide range of colors and patterns. The material doesn’t need to be sealed since it’s non-porous, and it isn’t prone to scratches or stains. Heat isn’t an issue for it either, so you can safely set hot dishes down on the counter.
One downside with quartz countertops is that they may have more obvious seams than granite, although these can be minimized with correct installation.
Marble is often considered a luxury material, but one look at a gorgeous marble countertop will probably convince you it’s worth the cost. This natural material contains patterns and swirls that add to your kitchen’s overall look. Marble comes in a few colors, including white, black, and gray—although the distinctive look of marble includes veins of contrasting color.
While marble offers an undeniably high-end look and feel, it comes with a price tag to match its appearance. It’s also a high-maintenance surface that must be sealed regularly, and it’s prone to stains and scratches.
Soapstone is a natural rock material, but unlike granite or marble, it doesn’t require sealing as it’s non-porous. It’s both stain and bacteria resistant. Generally appearing in white or gray, soapstone provides a more vintage ambiance in the kitchen. Instead of sealing soapstone, you should apply mineral oil frequently to maintain it.
This durable surface is softer than it appears, however. It’s important not to drop anything heavy on soapstone counters, nor should you cut anything directly on the surface, as it is prone to scratches.
Laminate is an inexpensive choice that’s easy to maintain and available in almost any color or pattern. This plastic-coated surface is easy to take care of and install.
Due to its composition, however, laminate won’t last long. It’s difficult to repair, and you must be careful to avoid excessive heat or water on laminate surfaces.
How to Decide on the Best Kitchen Countertops for Your Home
When you’re replacing your kitchen countertops, there are many things to think about. After you’ve had a chance to research the various materials and see samples of them in person, you’ll want to weigh the following factors:
- What kind of statement do you want your kitchen to make? Are you looking for an upscale feel or something homey and traditional? Countertops will play an important role in the overall appearance of your kitchen.
- How much maintenance do you want to do? Is it problematic to have a countertop that requires regular sealing?
- Are you worried about stains, scratches, and durability? Some materials are naturally resistant to wear and tear.
- Do you want stone or something manufactured? Manufactured materials can provide bursts of color in your kitchen, but natural stone may carry more resale value.
At Abatiello Design Center, our team of friendly, knowledgeable professionals will guide you through the process of choosing a new kitchen countertop. We offer free design consultations, and our showroom is full of samples of the products we use. We carry Caesarstone and Cambria Quartz and a host of other notable name brands.
When you’re ready for new kitchen countertops, stop in to see us at our showroom in Rutland, or call us at (802) 773-6300 to schedule an in-home design consultation.