One of the toughest and most important decisions you will have to make for your kitchen renovation is the countertop material. This is the most used and abused piece of the job, but also the most satisfying. It will help you keep clean and actually protect your cabinetry. So, let’s talk about some of the more popular choices in our region:
Granite: One of the best materials to date being used. Cost has come down but this material is still a premium compared to laminate. It gives a very natural look and is extremely durable and scratch resistant. There are some concerns with staining, but I have not experienced this at all over the years. I would always recommend sealing the surface periodically and always remember -the darker the material the denser and more impervious it is.
Quartz: Like granite, not only one of the best materials but has also become one of the most popular materials due to its ability to look like granites, marbles and other natural materials while maintaining excellent durability. This material is man-made using a resin and quartz content virtually impervious and stain proof. It has excellent fabrication abilities, too. If you find a style you like you can’t go wrong here. Indoor use only.
Marble: This natural stone has become very popular again even though it is one of the most fragile and easily damaged countertops. It will stain and scratch very easily depending on the choice. Also certain types, like Calcutta Gold, have become extremely expensive.
Quartzite: Some of the most beautiful countertops that I have seen have been fabricated from this material. While it is not as durable as granite, it is still very durable and often has a lot of character and depth to the stones. If you find one you love, don’t be afraid to use it.
Wood: Adding a wood island or other accent to your kitchen can be exciting with its beautiful texture and ability to stain in any color. Wood is not cold to the touch like a stone top and will not handle hot pots or extreme humidity changes. While it is not the most durable, there are some great looks using wood. If you’re not afraid of being careful you can do your whole kitchen with wood. Walnut and Maple seem to be the most popular types.
Ultra Compact/Porcelain: While this material is most likely where the future seems to be headed, these countertops have definite fabrication restrictions. Some come as thin as 1/4 inch thick which does pose some complications with the design, too. Because of its extreme durability and impervious nature, this is the best material to use for outdoor projects.
Other types – Laminate, Concrete, Recycled Materials, Stainless Steel, Soapstone, Solid Surface: These materials are still being used for projects but are not the top choices today in our territory for residential countertops.
So, when planning your new kitchen countertops, I would first make your choice of what style you love and then factor in its durability in your household. I would always shy away from recommending marble or wood in a house with small children, but I have done it and have seen it stay in really good shape. Quartz and granite seem to be the most selected types due to their ease of care, durability and cost. It all depends on how you take care of your countertops. This is an important decision as it will most likely remain in your home for the entire time you live there; make it something you can live with for a long time. Enjoy!