Home renovation blogs love to show off the countertops. Realtors often point out countertops as a feature. And your average HGTV show will have a couple closeups of the smooth counter material.
But what exactly are they talking about?
If you’ve ever tried to follow along as someone compared granite to laminate, here’s a quick guide on different countertop materials’ strengths and weaknesses.
This is one that you’ve likely heard talked about a lot: the versatile, classic granite countertop. In addition to being visually striking, using slabs of this type of stone to top your counters promises durability, heat resistance and very low maintenance.
The natural variegation in granite can be polished or honed to bring out unique textures.
If you want to add value to a home and have a counter that will last a lifetime, this is a good option. However, there’s a reason it adds value to a house: it comes at a high price tag.
Although this is a you-get-what-you-pay-for situation in terms of the extreme quality, it’s a factor to be aware of as you plan a home renovation.
Concrete countertops are increasing in popularity in modern kitchens, in part because they are extremely versatile and relatively cheap. You can either embed designs or use stains to dress up the simple gray base color.
Although durable overall, concrete countertops do require frequent resealing, which is a factor worth considering if your kitchen sees a lot of use.
Marble is another classic move in the kitchen designer’s playbook. This stone comes in a wide variety of colors and veining patterns, ensuring that you can both get what you’re looking for and also have a countertop wholly unique to you.
Like granite, you can also apply a variety of finishes (polished, honed, leather).
Although the appearance of marble countertops is breathtaking, it does tend to scratch easily. Its cousins that mimic a similar look, limestone and soapstone, also have this issue.
Plastic-based laminate is one of the cheapest counter options out there. Just like with laminate flooring, the material can mimic the appearance of many other countertop types.
Even with the cheap price tag, laminate countertops tend to be surprisingly resilient, so long as you make sure to purchase 1/16 inch laminate sheets.
When damage does happen however, it’s nearly impossible to repair. You might also want to consider the lower value if you plan on selling your home any time in the foreseeable future.
Quartz countertops, despite what the name might suggest, are not actually made from the stone.
The type of quartz used for counters is a manufactured stone material that might get you a similar look to granite or marble but with even more durability.
In particular, quartz is not as porous as natural granite, so you won’t need to be resealing it as often. It can also be created in a wide range of colors.
You might think that the fact that it’s an engineered material would make it cheaper than other stone options, but it’s actually more expensive.
It’s also extremely heavy, which comes with design challenges you’ll want a professional to advise you on in advance.
If you’re going the minimalist route, glass could be a great option for you. Glass can easily be cut in every color and shape and size you could possibly need.
Many homeowners who enjoy the clean appearance of quartz but want a lighter and more affordable option might opt for glass.
Just like with windows however, glass easily shows nicks and fingerprints.
If you’re installing glass, be prepared to cook with care and invest more time cleaning to keep it looking pristine.
Wooden countertops are a go-to design for cabin style homes. Especially if you choose to use reclaimed wood and give it a second life, wood can add warmth and character to your kitchen.
Another common type of wooden counter is butcher block style, a style that allows you to prepare food directly on the surface if it’s been correctly cleaned and sealed.
As beautiful and functional as these countertops are, you do need to be aware of the frequent maintenance needs. Wood counters need to be resealed as often as every 6 months to prevent chipping and bacteria growth.
Now you know the options, if one looks perfect for your home, we can help! Check out Walgrove’s building and remodeling services today to make your kitchen countertop goals a reality.