What is the best countertop for your kitchen?
Countertops are a vital part of kitchen design. It’s important to consider how the countertop material, style, and color coordinates with cabinets, flooring, paint colors and other features in the kitchen. Equally important is choosing the material that best suits your usage and budget. When deciding on which material best suits your aesthetic and practical needs, ask yourself these questions:
• What aesthetic qualities (traditional, modern, colorful, etc.) you are looking for?
• How well does the material hold up to heavy use? Does it resist staining and burning?
• What is your renovation budget? Is the value vs cost a good return?
There are many countertop materials available like copper, zinc, stainless steel, recycled glass, paper composite, bamboo, among others, but the three most popular materials are granite, quartz and solid surface which we are going to focus on here.
Solid granite slabs have been the go to choice for countertops for quite some time. Granite has withstood the test of time and still holds considerable value as a long term investment. Granite is natural so each slab has unique patterns and textures, something you won’t find with man-made materials. It can also be cut in large slabs which require fewer seams. As a natural stone, granite is porous so it can stain and does require more maintenance than engineered materials like quartz and solid surface. While granite can be expensive, there are grades which range from high-end exotic to commercial entry level, which can be less costly.
Quartz countertops are engineered from natural stone and man-made materials. Quartz has a higher percentage of natural minerals (about 93%) than solid surface material and is more dense but both have a similar manufacturing process. It is not cheap but is a good value when taking into consideration it’s advantages. Quartz is low maintenance, durable, stain, scratch and heat resistant, is nonporous (so doesn’t require sealing) and has excellent resale value. It is considered one of the best countertop materials due to its durability, consistency, beauty and range of patterns and colors.
Like quartz, solid surface countertops are manufactured from a combination of natural minerals and polyester or acrylic resins but have a lower percentage (about 66%) of natural stone than quartz. Solid surface is nonporous, durable, easy to clean and can appear seamless when installed correctly which is advantageous when installing large sections of countertop. Solid surface material can be susceptible to burns with high heat as well as scratches but can be buffed out fairly easily making it look new again. It can be made to mimic natural stone and can be molded into unusual, continuous shapes. Solid surface countertops are a great, less expensive alternative to granite.