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How to Choose the Right Countertop Material for Your Kitchen Design

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Are you looking for the right kitchen countertop material?

Depending on the scope of the remodel, a new kitchen could add on average $20,000 to the value of your home. Not to mention the quality of life increase you’ll get from living in and using your new dream kitchen.

If you want to achieve this though, you need to get the design right and countertops are a vital part of it. But with so many surface materials to choose from, it can be difficult to know which is right for your home.

That’s where we come in! Keep reading for our guide on how to choose the right countertop material for your home.

 

 Natural Stone

Most kitchen countertops use natural stones like slate, soapstone, marble, and granite. We’ll look into each one in more detail below.

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Granite

Granite is no longer reserved only for high-end, luxury kitchens. In fact, it’s one of the most popular types of countertops material in US kitchens today.

It comes in a vast array of colors from bright blues to crisp whites, rich reds to sleek black. It’s cut into long, thick slabs that when installed have few seams if any. Or you can get it in tile form, though there will be seams visible.

Most have a glossy finish to them but you can get a honed finish that keeps the smoothness but removes the shine. You can also get leathered finishes for a rustic look though this isn’t a common practice.

To protect them and make them resistant to stains, granite countertops need sealing. With the right stone cleaner, this sealant can last 5-10 years.

The Pros: few to no seams, heat-resistant, very durable
The Cons: Needs sealing, can be expensive

Marble

Of all the natural kitchen countertop materials, marble is one of the most expensive. It’s also quite porous and soft and won’t be a stain-resistant as granite can be.

But due to its steady temperature, it’s the perfect surface for baking or pasta making. You have to be careful though, if you cut down on it too hard you can leave knife score on the surface.

The Pros: Beautiful luxurious look, eye-catching natural patterning
The Cons: Expensive, needs regular sealing, high-maintenance

Soapstone & Slate

There are fewer color options for both these types of countertops material. Soapstone usually has a dark greenish-black color though there are green-gray slabs available.

Slate is a dense stone with 5 main undertone colors: purple, black, gray, red, and green. Purple and mottled purple is the rarest color option. You can have both of these fashioned into a kitchen sink though, to make your countertops.

Soapstone requires sealing due to its porous nature. Slate though is non-porous and is very easy to maintain. Though slate is soft so be careful not to scratch or chip it.

The Pros: stain-resistant, subtle color can go with most decor styles
The Cons: Soft, can show marks, few colors to choose from

 

Solid Surfaces

(Image credit: Formica)

 

Using acrylic, polyester or a mix of both solid surface countertops is easy to maintain. You also get to pick from a large list of colors and pattern options.

These countertops are stain and scratch-resistant. The bonus is you can completely repair and renew them without a whole new set of countertops. You can sand out any burns and fill in deep gouges with ease.

The seams fuse to create a jointless, perfect countertop. It’s great for longer sections of countertops or islands. You can also get solid surface sinks to blend in with your design.

The Pros: Non-porous, repairable, easy to maintain
The Cons: Will scratch easy, not resistant to heat

 

Engineered Stone

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Another best countertop material to consider is Quartz, also known as engineered stone. It’s around 90% quartz and 10% epoxy or acrylic binder.

The main difference quartz brings to the table is it’s much harder. You won’t find its depth, clarity, and shine in any solid surfaces or natural stone either.

To get these extras you don’t sacrifice color or pattern. There are almost endless shade and pattern choices for you to choose from to match any design.

The Pros: Durable, low maintenance, infinite color, and pattern choices
The Cons: Very expensive

 

Plastic Laminate (Formica)

How to Choose the Right Countertop Material for Your Kitchen Design

 

Formica is very durable and will last years in even the toughest kitchens. This can come as a surprise given it consists of kraft paper and resins to bind it.

There are hundreds of patterns and colors to choose too with a variety of textures. But you should only get a matte or fine-matte finish for kitchen countertops. Anything with raised edges will show wear and tear fast.

The Pros: Cheapest countertop material, lots of color and pattern choice, durable
The Cons: Low resale price, not resistant to heat, will scratch or chip with ease

 

Wood

How to Choose the Right Countertop Material for Your Kitchen Design

 

Wooden countertops are a brilliant choice for work surfaces. In fact, studies show that 99.9% of bacteria die within 3 minutes of being on the wood’s surface.

For countertops, maple is often the most popular choice. It’s a very dense hardwood and blond in color. You can also use oak, birch, cherry, walnut, and teak for different color options.

They come in 3 different types of fabrication: Edge grain, wide plank, and end grain. Edge grain use thick, long strips of wood glued together with the grain side upwards.

Wide plank counters edge-glue wide boards of wood together. This gives the most beautiful and traditional-looking wood countertops. It’s also the option most prone to cracking and warping over time.

End-grain (butcher blocks) use short, square sticks of wood joined together. The end grain is the surface facing upwards. They’re the thickest, usually at 2-12 inches thick.

The Pros: Durable, renewable, warm wood tones, anti-bacterial properties, semi heat-resistant
The Cons: Medium effort maintenance, knife marks, and dents will show up

 

Choosing Your Countertop Material Made Easy

So, there you have it! Now you know what’s on offer, choosing your countertop material will be easy.

Think about how much use your countertops will get and what you want to do with them. This should determine how much durability you need.

You should also consider the time and effort you’re willing to put into maintenance. There’s no point spending a lot of money on top-end marble if you can’t keep it at its best.

And most of all, make sure you pick the countertops that get you excited and fit your dream. This is your kitchen, after all, and you’re the one who will use it.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out our other blog posts today!

 

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