How do you choose the perfect kitchen countertop? This is the question that plagues many homeowners pondering a reno/remodel.
The thing that makes this such a difficult decision is that it’s not just about you, the current homeowner. This choice will likely play into the marketability of your home when you eventually put it on the market. The decision-making matrix can be complex and highly variable. And like every other choice you make in life, it comes with its own set of pros and cons.
What’s The Best Countertop for You?
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to the question, “Which one should we choose?” That depends on you. To make the process easier, here are a few questions you should take some time to consider before jumping in.
- How much are you willing to spend?
- What shape and dimensions do you want?
- Are there any materials that you love/hate?
- Do you prioritize fashion or function?
- Do you want something chic and trendy or classically stylish?
- How much time, money, and effort are you willing to put towards maintenance?
These questions will help you—and your designer—find the perfect countertop for your kitchen. But to give you an idea about your possible options, let’s take a look at some of the most popular countertop choices for this year. For easy reading, we’ve sorted them into a few broad categories.
Natural Stone Countertops
With its soft hues and gorgeous, unique veins, marble is the pinnacle of luxury and elegance. But for all its beauty, it’s not exactly the most durable, low maintenance, or affordable countertop out there. Marble is actually quite soft and porous and requires careful and consistent sealing to prevent staining, scratching, and water damage. But even with regular maintenance, you still have to be careful: it’s essential to wipe up spills right away, and always use a cutting board. And ultimately, marble will become faded over time, even with the very best care – although many homeowners think this aged look adds a touch of character.
Granite has quickly become a favorite of homeowners everywhere. It has the beauty of marble but is much more durable, low maintenance, and even a bit less expensive than marble – though not by much. Still, it’s beloved for its unique patterning available in a vast array of colors and extreme hardness. While it has to be sealed periodically, proper maintenance will make granite slab countertops last for many years. Plus, it can give your home excellent resale value.
Manufactured Natural Stone Countertops
Yes, quartz is technically a natural stone, but after the quartz mineral is mined, it undergoes processing and refinement. This makes it a bit different from ‘true’ slab stones like marble and granite, but it’s an excellent choice nonetheless. Quartz countertops are still quite expensive, on par with the cost of slab granite, but it’s also highly durable and attractive. Because it is engineered, you can find quartz in almost any shade or pattern under the sun. And much like granite, quartz countertops can help increase the resale value of your home.
Ceramic and porcelain tiles are great for floors, but what about countertops? Ceramic and its cousin porcelain are made from blocks of compacted and superheated clay. These tiles are extremely strong, durable, and practically impervious to liquid, making them a prime choice for bathrooms and other damp places. They’re a good option for countertops, but one downside is that they need grouting to secure them in place, and grout can become a magnet for grime and dirt. Even if they’re cleaned regularly, they can still become discolored, which isn’t always pleasant to look at.
Solid surface is a more affordable alternative to natural slab stones like granite. It’s a human-made material designed to imitate the look of stone, but at a fraction of the cost. Solid surface countertops are typically composed of blended acrylic and polyester and can be easily molded into any size or shape you want. Although they are durable, they can be somewhat susceptible to scorches and scratches. Fortunately, though, most minor scratches can be buffed out with fine sandpaper. Otherwise, they’re quite affordable, attractive, and low maintenance.
We hope this answers some of your questions and helps set your mind at ease about choosing a new kitchen countertop. Or, at the very least, we hope it gets you inspired. If you still have questions, comments, or concerns, reach out to us at J.T. McDermott today. Together, we can build something amazing!
Brittany received her interior design degree in 2010 and recently earned her kitchen and bathroom certifications. She sees her job as much more than just picking out pretty colors and materials – it also involves exact measurements, plenty of planning, and determining how to have a space accurately reflect the lifestyle of its occupants.