When planning a home remodel, whether a kitchen or bathroom project, one of the most exciting aspects is selecting a new countertop material. There are so many options available not, and it can be stressful to know which option will be best for you. Here we’re going to walk you through what to consider while shopping for countertop materials and then go over some of the lesser-known options available. We all know granite and quartz are the two most popular choices in homes today, but here we’ll be discussing some of the more unique options you can choose from.
What to Consider
There are a few factors to consider when shopping for the ideal countertop material. As we go through the options below, keep these features in mind to help you narrow down your choices and make your decisions easier.
Of course, knowing how much of your remodeling budget, you’re willing to spend on a countertop is the top priority. This factor will eliminate some options or open your horizons to more unique materials. Either way, it’s essential to get your budget sorted out before you go looking. It’s not fun to fall in love with a countertop to only then find out it’s not within your budget. So get clear about this before anything shopping is done.
This might seem like a weird one, but taking stock of how you live your life will help you better understand which options might work better for you. For example, if you have young kids who like to perform science projects on the kitchen island, you might not want a countertop material that stains easily. Or, if you’re an avid cook and want to be able to set a hot pan down, you’ll want to stay away from marble and soapstone. So understanding what kind of life the countertop material will need to support will help you narrow down your choices.
We all have busy schedules, and finding time in our lives to oil, seal, clean, and protect a countertop might not seem like something you want to take on. There are options like soapstone and marble, and wood that need almost constant maintenance to protect them from life’s messes. If you don’t want to deal with this, you can move on to a different option. However, if you don’t mind the maintenance and love how those materials look, you can at least make the decision knowing what you’re getting into rather than being surprised by all the work your brand new countertop requires.
Nowadays, a lot of our lives are lived within the kitchen. We make meals there, we entertain guests, we eat breakfast at the kitchen island, and we check the kid’s homework, so it’s crucial that our countertop materials are durable, sturdy, and can stand the test of time. This is especially true for avid cooks, bread-making fanatics, and art project gurus. Understanding what your countertop will and will not handle can help you know which option might be better for you. For example, if you’re worried about heavy backpacks being slammed down on the corner of the counter, we suspect that concrete won’t be the best option for you.
Of course, last but not least is aesthetics. You have to love your new countertop material, or else what was the point. All the considerations mentioned above are important; however, if you love the look of soapstone and don’t mind that your messy kids will stain it up, then go for it! If you understand that a wood countertop will get nicked up by knives and heavy pans, but you think it will add a special uniqueness to it, go for it! It’s essential to look at the facts of the materials, but if you love the way that marble is cool to the touch and don’t care about the regular sealing it needs, go for it!
Granite and quarts are by for the most popular materials put in homes today, but marble is quickly gaining up on them. Homeowners love the elegant and classic look of marble. It goes well in almost any style, and its color pallets are easy to pair with any kitchen or bathroom design. It is on the pricer side of materials options, and it will require a lot of maintenance. And unfortunately, even regularly sealed marble can sometimes stain. So be aware of this when selecting, but marble is a classic option that many homeowners are choosing, even with its higher maintenance requirements.
Butcher block islands have been popular for a while, but now even whole kitchens are fitted with wood countertops. They lend themselves best in farmhouse or cottage-style homes, and homeowners love their “graceful aging” as they stain and dent up over time. They can also be stained to suit any color pallets you need, making them unique to stone. Wood isn’t the cheapest option, but it’s on the more affordable side of things.
This material is known for its depth. Soapstone has an ageless appeal that suits cottage and modern styles alike. Unfortunately, this is a soft material that will tarnish and stain over time. With regular cleaning and sealing, you can reduce the amount of patina it gains. Still, many homeowners embrace this feature and allow the soapstone to take on a character of its own as the family uses it. It is one of the more expensive options, and unfortunately, it can crack over time.
Concrete is a popular choice for modern-style homes, and its natural gray matte appearance looks impressive in these settings. However, concrete is even more porous than soapstone and is even more likely to crack. It’s known to even crack as it’s being installed or transported to the home, and sometimes it needs to be remade. This makes them costly and risky options, but the outcome is undeniably attractive. You can also request a concrete stain to personalize it even more, and if you love the stains and cracks that give this material personality, it might be an excellent option.
There is no one correct answer when it comes to which countertop material is the best. It depends on each person’s aesthetics, lifestyle, and budget needs. So be sure to consider your options carefully before you choose. Now you’re at least equipped with the knowledge you need to make the best decision for yourself and your family.
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.