Kitchen Countertops 101: Explore Your Options Here
If you’re in the market for new countertops, odds are you’re already aware of the wide variety of countertop materials available today. It can be daunting to know exactly which style of counter you need that also fits the aesthetic you want. We understand that challenge, which is why we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular countertop materials and have notated the pros and cons of each.
At Nustone Quartz, we’re experts in matching you to the exact countertop material you need and want. If, after reading through our brief guide below, you still find yourself questioning which counter is right for your kitchen, bathroom, bar, or any other area where you’d need quality counter materials, please let us help. Our professional staff is ready to assist you, whether by phone or in-person at one of our several locations throughout the midwest.
Laminate countertops have a history of being viewed as less attractive than most other materials. There’s a good reason for this, as laminate has always been the cheaper alternative and, as such, has been used by homeowners or builders on tight budgets. However, it is worth noting that laminate has made something of a resurgence in recent years, mostly due to manufacturers producing a wider variety of patterns, colors, and styles.
In the right setting, laminate countertops can be installed fairly cheaply and fit the aesthetic well. However, they have yet to truly mimic other counter materials, such as quartz and granite. The reason is that, no matter what, the seams in laminate countertops are always visible – a dead giveaway that it’s the budget material. They also can’t imitate the feel of other counter materials, so only go with laminate if you’re okay with giving up those factors.
It’s no secret that we love quartz. After all, it is our flagship product, and we picked it precisely because we believe in its superior quality. Quartz, when talking about counters, is an engineered stone consisting of quartz particles and other minerals. Some people might think the engineering process makes the product inferior to another naturally-produced material, such as granite. However, quartz is actually vastly superior to most other surfaces because of its non-porous nature and exceptional stain and scratch resistance.
What’s more, quartz doesn’t actually have to look like quartz. If you like the look of another stone, such as marble, quartz is often engineered to create convincing copies of other luxury materials. Plus, because of the engineering process, quartz requires little maintenance and no annual sealing like natural materials would.
Granite is perhaps the most popular higher-end countertop material on the market today. Its naturally appealing aesthetic can make a mundane kitchen or bathroom seem like a luxury space. And, though still more expensive than engineered stone, its average cost has declined in recent years.
With any natural stone, granite is susceptible to natural imperfections. In some cases, these imperfections could result in unexpected breakage, so make sure you purchase from a reliable dealer. It is also porous, so regular maintenance and sealing is a must. A good piece of well-maintained granite can survive the life of a home. If you’re set on natural stone, this is almost always a good investment. However, if you’re still on the fence about what material to choose, consider taking a hard look at an engineered product, such as quartz, before you make your purchase.
Concrete countertops are all the rage right now for builders, renovators, and DIYers alike. This is because of the wide range of results you can achieve with coloring and texturizing. And, if you choose the DIY route, they can save you a lot of money. However, the flipside to them is that, if you have them made by a professional, it can end up costing you a lot of money due to the custom work.
If you’re looking at concrete as an option for your countertops, there are a couple of factors to keep in mind. One is that concrete is relatively high-maintenance, requiring waxing and polishing up to four times a year. The other thing to keep in mind is that, because they are a bit of a fad, there’s no guarantee they’ll provide lasting value to your home like quartz, marble, or another luxury counter material. But, if you feel you’re up to the challenge of making your own countertops, this can be a very lucrative choice.
There’s no denying the beauty of marble. The natural veins and color variations in this stone ensure that no two pieces are alike, making every marble countertop completely unique. However, that beauty comes at the expense of one of the highest price tags on the market. Some see this as an investment, but it’s important to note the drawbacks to marble that people often overlook.
Counter professionals often describe marble as a “temperamental” stone. This is due to its porous nature, making it susceptible to staining if it’s not sealed. It is also somewhat fragile, prone to scratching easily. These factors make marble a risky investment, but, if well-maintained, there is no denying the lasting value they can add to your home.
Soapstone is another stone material we love for countertops. This material is often seen in older, historic homes but has made a resurgence in recent years. One thing we adore about soapstone is its character. Soapstone seems to almost age with a house, giving it a refined yet antique feel. Plus, while it will scratch and possibly dent over time, soapstone is unique in that it seems to add to the character and appeal as the counter shows more use.
Soapstone often has a deep, rich color and is naturally stain-resistant. When damaged, owners have easy repair options, including sanding. The one drawback is that it requires an occasional mineral oil treatment. However, this is much easier to introduce into a regular cleaning routine than waxing or other care for common luxury stone.
There are undoubtedly other counter material options that we haven’t mentioned here, including steel, butcher block, and tile. But, chances are, if you’re looking into those materials, you have a particular idea in mind for your kitchen or bathroom.
Keep in mind the most important factors when choosing your countertops, including up-front costs, convenience, maintenance requirements, and long-term value. If you have questions about countertop materials or are interested in quartz, please feel free to contact us or visit one of our many midwest locations. Interested in soapstone? We can help with that too! Visit our sister company Dorado Soapstone for more information!