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Choosing the right kind of material for kitchen countertops is a major decision. The material can have a significant impact on the look and utility of the kitchen as countertops play a major role in each and the cost can greatly affect the homeowner’s budget.
If you are in the position of decision maker in this case, you should know your options. Aside from cost, you should know a bit about each type of material that may come your way. Here is a brief description of the top options for kitchen countertops today.
Laminate countertops are mainly engineered wood materials to resemble anything you want, from granite to actual wood. The wood elements are sandwiched between a plastic material to keep them cohesive. The most popular brands for laminate countertops are Wilsonart and Formica.
Laminate is the least expensive of countertop options, and unfortunately, they look it. Most homeowners know that they are flimsy and cheap, and can detract from a home’s value rather than enhance it. If you want a hardworking and beautiful countertop, laminate is not the way to go.
Many older kitchens used ceramic tiles for kitchen countertops because they are cheap and relatively sturdy if you don’t drop anything heavy on them. If you do, you will most likely crack it. The biggest drawback to ceramic tiles, however, is the grout. They stain easily, and can harbor bacteria
Granite slabs became quite popular decades back, and continue to be popular today for a number of reasons. They are beautiful, durable, heat-proof, and virtually scratch-proof. Each slab is unique, so no other kitchen will look the same. Most homeowners love it, and home value can appreciate considerably if you have them in your kitchen.
The one drawback to granite is the cost. It is more expensive than laminate and ceramic tiles, although the same or less expensive than any other material. You also need professional fabrication and installation. However, once you have it in your kitchen, you are unlikely to need a replacement for many years.
Marble is also popular as kitchen countertop material, and cost about the same as granite. Anyone that sees this beautiful natural stone in the kitchen will be suitably impressed. However, it is not as popular as granite for kitchen use because it is particularly vulnerable to acid. That said, it is quite durable with the proper seal and reasonable care. It is worth the extra cost and TLC for homeowners with an eye for elegance and style.
Quartz is countertop material that has become popular in recent years. Unlike granite and marble, it is not a natural stone, but it often looks a lot like them. Made of crushed quartz or other minerals, resin, and pigments, engineered stone is extremely durable and non-porous. Some manufacturers add anti-bacterial components to make them suitable for kitchen use.
Because it is manmade, manufacturers can make engineered quartz slabs look like anything. You will have a wide range of readily available colors and styles that you can pick from a catalogue. If you want the look of natural stone without the porosity, quartz is definitely a good alternative. However, quartz slabs are not heat proof, and some are more expensive than natural stones.
Quartz slabs of the same model will look exactly alike, which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your priorities. If you want something easy to match, it is a good thing. If you want unique, you will not get it from quartz stone.
Somewhat popular with some designers, soapstone is like the poor cousin of marble. Soapstone is available in various shades of white and has warm, hazy look. It is less durable than granite and less porous than marble. It is a good countertop material if you are going for an antique look, and it is stain-resistant.
However, soapstone needs regular oiling to keep it from drying out, which is a problem in the kitchen. It is even more vulnerable to acids than marble. It is also more expensive than granite, with a very limited range of colors.
Another natural stone you might want to consider is slate if you want something on the darker side of the color spectrum. Usually associated for external use, slate is actually stain-resistant, almost non-porous, and quite durable. This makes them a contender for kitchen use, and they cost less than granite or marble.
One thing against using slate for the kitchen is the inherently gritty, rough texture, which can make it hard to keep clean as a countertop. It might be a better material for kitchen floors, as it is not slippery.
Similar to quartz stone, solid surface countertops are also manmade available in a wide range of colors and designs. However, it uses a different process from engineered quartz stone, and is mostly a mix of synthetic materials rather crushed natural stone. You can get a solid surface countertop that already has sinks built into it, so it is possible to DIY its installation.
Solid surface counters are usually less expensive than granite, marble, or quartz countertops. However, it is not heat proof or scratch resistant, and has fallen a bit out of favor because it is considered a low-end material.
These are the top options for kitchen countertops available today. If you are having a hard time deciding on one or the other, consult with a professional. Granite ASAP offers free design consultation and cost estimates for any of your kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling needs. We service the state of Virginia, including the cities of Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax, Chantilly, Herndon, Centreville, Tysons, and Washington DC.
We carry a wide range of the best engineered stone brands in the country as well as natural stones. Over 100 colors of granite and marble slabs are available for inspection at our Chantilly, Virginia showroom. If you prefer engineered stone, we can offer you products from the top three brands described above as well as quartz countertops from MSI brands. You can choose what you want and we will deliver it ASAP!
Feel free to ask any questions over the phone, or get in touch using our contact form.