Kitchen countertops are probably the most beat-up areas in the kitchen. Since they’re used in prepping the ingredients, they go through the constant pounding, slicing, and grinding. Hence, it’s important to choose a durable countertop to prevent constant wear and tear and costly repairs.
Aside from the countertop being your area for preparing meals, it is also an area that easily catches the attention of your visitors. Thus, the countertop’s style and design should also be visually pleasing. With these two factors in mind, you may now begin to search for the right countertop for your kitchen.
Factors To Consider
Before deciding whether to get a granite or quartz countertop for your kitchen, you may want to keep in mind some factors. Here’s a detailed list of the factors you should consider before choosing the best material for your countertop:
Like in any other things you may need in your home, you need to set a budget. You have many options to choose from when it comes to your kitchen countertop, and their prices also vary.
If you want to get the best countertop for your kitchen, you should be prepared to spend a little more for it, as they can be quite expensive. It shouldn’t only be about the cost of the material, but it’s also ideal to consider the expenses that come with its maintenance.
If you are clueless about what to get for your kitchen, you can always rely on a professional to give you insights on the materials that can best suit your budget.
When looking for a kitchen countertop, its durability is one of the most important factors to consider. Ideally, your chosen material should withstand heat, scratches, and stains. It is a kitchen countertop, after all, so it’s bound to be exposed to scratches from your knives, and stains from other food products.
A kitchen countertop isn’t like a toothbrush that you have to replace every few months; it has to be durable enough to last you a lifetime. You wouldn’t want to be stuck with a countertop that burns and chips easily now, would you?
The most durable countertops are usually made with human-made or engineered stone. Natural stones are also as durable; however, they do require regular sealing.
Lifestyle And Purpose
Are you going to do all the cooking in your kitchen? Or do you have a dirty kitchen to keep your main kitchen clean?
In some countries, they have a spare kitchen called a “dirty kitchen” that’s usually located outside their home. This kitchen is where all the cooking takes place to keep their main kitchen immaculate.
How you use your kitchen can help you determine what material is best for your kitchen countertop. You want to ensure that your countertop will serve its purpose.
If you can see your kitchen having high traffic, you should go for a more durable countertop. However, if you don’t plan to do much cooking in your kitchen and rather have it as a display for guests, you’ll be fine with more lightweight materials to complement your kitchen.
When you start looking for kitchen countertops, the design will be the first one to catch your attention. Of course, you should choose a style or color that best suits the overall appearance of your kitchen.
Unless you’re going for a rainbow-themed kitchen where all the colors don’t matter, you’d want your kitchen countertop to supplement your kitchen’s theme. It should add to the beauty of your interiors.
Some countertops have a wider variety of colors and patterns than others, and you may be overwhelmed by all the choices available. If you can’t decide or can’t seem to find your ideal style, you can always consult an expert to help you find the best countertop for your kitchen. You can also create your own list of ideas and pegs from Pinterest and other sites to help narrow down your options.
Merely having a good quality countertop is not enough to make it last a lifetime. Countertops also need maintenance to keep it in good condition no matter how much or how little. This maintenance includes sealing, buffing, sanding, or even cleaning the surfaces with water and cloth.
Maintenance for kitchen countertops can take up your time and money, but it helps you prevent acquiring higher costs from regular replacements.
If you want to opt for a low-maintenance countertop, you should go for a quartz countertop. But if you don’t mind the maintenance that comes with your preferred kitchen countertop, you can also choose from the other materials available.
You may not have given much thought about it, but your countertops can also affect your health. Countertops that have ridges or grooves have a high chance of gathering dirt that you can’t clean easily. Hence, it increases the risk of food contamination, which affects your health.
The materials used in maintenance, as well as the qualities of the countertop, can also pose a threat to your health. Non-porous countertops that absorb liquid can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria that can contaminate your food. This is the reason why tiles are usually avoided when it comes to kitchen countertops. The grout joints in between each tile can host dirt and bacteria.
Choosing The Right Sink
When it comes to countertops, there’s also the option of sink mounting, which is installing a sink along with your countertop. There are two choices when it comes to sink mounting: under-mounted sinks and over-mounted or drop-in sinks.
Under-mounted sinks are installed below your countertop, making it easier for you to clean your countertops since the edges of the sink are not visible. They also increase a bit of space in your countertops.
Solid surface countertops or granite, concrete, marble, and quartz are best suited for under-mounted sinks.
Drop-in sinks are installed or simply “dropped in” on top of your kitchen countertop. Unlike the under-mounted sink, this doesn’t make cleaning the countertops easier, but it does make cleaning the sink easier.
Over-mounted sinks work well with almost all types of countertop, except for laminate that could easily peel off because of moisture.
Different Countertop Materials To Choose From
You have a lot of countertop designs and materials to choose from. To help you make the best choice, you may also request for consultation from professionals like the Johnson Brothers at https://jbros.com/ for your kitchen and home remodeling needs.
Listed below are the most common countertop types available and why they could be the right countertop for your kitchen:
Granite remains at the top of the list when it comes to kitchen countertops. It’s an automatic choice, especially for people who do not need to think about the expenses. The unique and natural design of granite can make any home appear luxurious. What makes this a constant at the top of the list is its durability and its aesthetic designs.
This material is one of the hardest natural stones, which makes it a candidate for a durable countertop. However, granite is also porous, which means they can absorb liquids that are spilled over them. A simple solution to this would be sealing the granite to prevent the absorption of liquids.
Granite designs are also natural, and the duplication of patterns is impossible. These are often costly, but depending on the quality of the granite or where they originated from, you can get a good deal too! Keep in mind that the more affordable ones tend to reflect the phrase, “you get what you pay for.”
- Unique design
- Scratch- and heat-resistant
- Variety of colors and patterns
- Must be sealed regularly to maintain longevity
- Very heavy
Quartz gives off a high-quality appearance without the fuss of regular maintenance. This engineered stone is made up mostly of quartz mixed with resin and polymers to imitate the appearance of natural stone. They’re best for kitchens that have high-traffic and rated for healthcare facilities and commercial kitchens.
Since quartz is a human-made or engineered stone, it is non-porous. So, it doesn’t absorb liquid, unlike the natural stones. This means they do not require regular sealing, and the surfaces will not provide growth for bacteria. Cleaning is also as simple as using water and a washcloth.
Quartz may be costly, but they’re a little more affordable compared to granite.
- Low-maintenance – wiping can be sufficient
- Variety of colors and patterns imitating marble and granite
- Stain- and scratch-proof
- Can be a little sensitive to heat
Marble gives off a classic look but is also one of the softer natural stones, making it less durable. This countertop has a great work surface suited for bakers, though it is prone to scratches. Since this countertop is not the most durable, it is best for kitchens with minimal traffic.
Marble is a natural stone, and if you ever plan to sell your home in the future, a marble countertop can help increase the value of your home. It may be prone to staining, but if you pair it with the perfect sealant, you wouldn’t have any problems.
- Natural patterns
- Very expensive
- Easily damaged with scratches and acidic liquids
- Prone to staining
A solid surface is an artificial stone and usually has a matte finish. Since this is an artificial stone, it doesn’t age the same way natural stones do. Hence, it still looks durable despite being worn out. It is also a great option if you would like to integrate your sink to this countertop.
Since the artificial stone is one of the mid-range options, homeowners tend to lean towards solid surfaces for their kitchen countertop.
They may not look identical to real stone but they still have better designs compared to plastic laminate.
- Easy to clean
- Variety of colors and patterns
- Scratches are repairable
- Sensitive to and easily damaged by heat
- Possible appearance of scratch marks
Butcher block countertops are ideal for kitchens with heavy meal preparations. This countertop is made of wood, making it the best material for the impact of chopping, slicing, and grinding. Since wood is the material source, it also gives off a warm and natural appearance.
Using butcher blocks as the main surface throughout the entire kitchen is not recommended, so it’s best to designate a spot for it – preferably the area where you prepare food.
Unlike stones, butcher blocks won’t dull your kitchen knives. The wooden surface can also make your kitchen quieter compared to stone. For example, if you accidentally drop your dish, there’s a big possibility that the dish will not shatter upon impact with the butcher block.
This makes a butcher block a “clumsy-friendly” countertop.
- Ideal work surface
- Easy to install
- Scratches can be removed by sanding
- Long-lasting if maintained
- Medium maintenance
- Appearance of scratch marks
- May be damaged by heat
- Requires regular sealing
If you are on a budget and have an interest in DIY, the plastic laminate will suit your kitchen countertops. It also has limitless options of colors and patterns, and modern ones have realistic graphics that can imitate stone.
Plastic laminate is both durable and inexpensive, which is a good choice for people on a budget.
- Low maintenance
- Variety of design patterns
- Not heat-resistant
- Prone to chipping and peeling
- Difficult to repair when damaged
There are several countertop options available for your kitchen. While it may be tempting to choose based solely on its aesthetic appeal, it is also important to weigh in the pros and cons of each material. You also have to consider other factors like your budget, lifestyle, and durability of materials to prevent you from making a decision that you may end up regretting in the future.
When in doubt, you can always seek advice from professional home builders. If you’re on a tight budget, some companies offer free consultations, so you may want to take advantage of that. Getting professional advice during remodeling or construction of your own home is the best way to help you choose the right countertop for your kitchen.