Changing countertops in your kitchen can completely change the look of the room and add value to your home. They can also make it easier to cook and clean up. However, not all countertop surfaces are the same and each offer different pros and cons. Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the many popular options for counters in this area.
Definitely the most popular option in this area, granite is stunning in any kitchen. You can have granite polished to a gleaming shine or it can be honed for a softer appearance. It also comes in a wide variety of colors. Because granite slabs are large, they can be set close together so that grout lines are not noticeable. This provides a smooth line of color which gives your kitchen a glamorous look.
However, granite is very heavy, and you may need to reinforce your cabinets if you had a lighter countertop before. The more unique the color of the granite, the more expensive it will be as well. Although it is resistant to chipping and cracking, it is vulnerable to acidic materials like wine, coffee, and citrus juices, so spills of those substances need to be wiped up quickly.
Marble is available in colors that are usually lighter than granite although black marble is an option. The veining of marble gives your kitchen a rich, luxurious look. Marble has been used as a building material for centuries and the fact that it is still just as beautiful in old, historic buildings as it was when it was installed is a testament to its durability.
Marble is also available in slabs or as tiles. It is more expensive than granite and it is particularly porous. If you choose a lighter shade of marble, you need to be careful with tomato-based sauces, red wine, and coffee as they can easily stain the surface. Marble must also be sealed periodically to protect the surface.
Also known as engineered stone, quartz is often less expensive than natural stone but looks almost identical. Quartz counters come in a wider color range than natural stone as pigments are added during the formation phase of the countertop while natural stone is dependent only on colors that nature can create. It is extremely durable and resistant to chipping or cracking. Quartz is not as heat resistant as natural stone and they also appear “shinier.” This type of counter is not recommended for outdoor use as it can be damaged by direct sunlight, according to Marble Concepts.
One popular type of countertop in this area is ceramic tile as it is durable and available in many styles as well as colors. Ceramic tile allows you some versatility in design as you can mix and match tiles on the surface plus you can change to a different type of tile for the backsplash. The main disadvantage to ceramic tile is that grout can become dirty or erode in areas where the counter is heavily used. This means you may need to replace grout on occasion in areas that become grimy, or the grout erodes.
Soapstone is an affordable option for your kitchen with veining that is particularly unique. It is naturally resistant to bacteria and stains which makes it the perfect option for your home, especially if you have children. Soapstone, while available in various shades of gray, does not offer the wide range of colors available in granite or even marble. It is also less resistant to scratches or cracking as it is a much softer stone. Like marble, soapstone must be sealed periodically in order to protect the surface.
One of the most affordable options in countertops, laminate, is also the most popular. It is easy to clean, and today’s versions actually mimic other more expensive types of countertops, including granite and marble. Laminate is also lightweight so there is no need to reinforce cabinets for their installation. They are not as durable, however, and they can easily be scratched. Laminate is also not heat resistant. The edges of some laminate counters can peel away or chip, giving your countertop edge an unattractive look.
Although many homeowners have made the switch from wood to stone, butcher block is still a very popular option for kitchen counters. This type of counter is sturdy, affordable, and offers a great option as a cutting board. If you are creating a cottage-style kitchen, butcher block is a perfect choice. If a section of the counter becomes damaged, you can easily replace just that section. Butcher block counters are high maintenance, however. They are easily scratched and will eventually develop a worn appearance. You can lengthen their lifespan by sealing the counters and not using knives directly on the surface, but this type of counter is not as durable as stone.
There is a reason industrial and professional kitchens use stainless steel for surfaces. It is easy to clean and because spills are easily seen, they don’t go unnoticed and can be cleaned quickly. Stainless is resistant to staining and is a great option if you want an industrial look in your kitchen. It also pairs well with wood accents. Stainless is expensive, however, and it can be difficult to keep the sheen of stainless over time. It is hard to prevent fingerprint marks and stainless can warp or scratch over time.
Today, you can find concrete counters that mimic the look of other stones at a lower cost. It is more durable, resisting chips and stains. Because they are manufactured similarly to quartz, you can also choose a wide range of colors and styles. Concrete counters need to be sealed regularly and it does not have the durability of natural stone.
If you are considering new counters for your kitchen, contact Marble Concepts today. With over 30 years of experience creating the perfect countertops for people just like you, we are ready to guide you through the entire process. Contact us today at 215-396-7393 or fill out the easy online form today.