Which Kitchen Countertop is Right for You?

By Luster Custom Homes Posted Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Home remodeling can be a bit overwhelming. With so many countertop materials available on the market (and new materials being developed every year), there’s no denying that selecting a counter for your kitchen can be a headache-inducing task. Rather than diving head first into a sea of engineered quartzes and natural stones and recycled materials (oh my!), use our guide to help you navigate the waters and avoid headaches altogether.

If you’re looking for something durable and low maintenance, consider…

  • Engineered Quartz: Comprised of quartz chips that are bound together with resin and high pressure, engineered stones like those provided by Caesarstone and Silestone are ideal for a high-traffic, low-maintenance work space. They come in a wide variety of colors and can even pass as granite or marble to the untrained eye. The best part about engineered stones, though, is the upkeep. They don’t require sealing or polishing or special cleaners – just a little soap and water will do.
  • Soapstone: Often used in laboratories or chemistry classrooms, soapstone is a dense, natural material that is impervious to heat, stains, and bacteria. Just like engineered quartz, it can be cleaned with a little soap and water, but unlike the manmade stuff, it’s a little softer, and can be more vulnerable to nicks and scratches.

If you have a champagne taste but a beer budget, try…

  • Laminate: Hear me out on this one! I know that plastic laminate countertops have a history of being shunned by stone devotees, but they can be a great solution in terms of price and daily maintenance. Modern laminate countertops come in a huge range of colors and finishes (some can even mimic some of the pricier natural stuff on the market). There’s one caveat, though: laminate isn’t great with heat or knives, and it doesn’t play nice with an undermount sink. But, if you keep your cutting boards and trivets handy and prefer a drop-in sink anyways? No problem!

If you’re a wannabe Top Chef (or an actual Top Chef), install…

  • Stainless Steel: Two words: nearly indestructible. I mean, come on! It’s steel! There’s a reason it’s used in commercial kitchens. If you want a clean, heavy-duty workspace, this is your jam. But, if you’re a neat freak who shivers at the thought of seeing fingerprints on stainless steel appliances, this might not be for you. It’s also vulnerable to scratches. Some consider this “the charm of stainless steel”, others consider it a pain in the butt.

If you have classic taste, go for…

  • Granite: The words “granite” and “countertops” are nearly synonymous. This material is widely used in kitchens because of its durability, natural beauty, and wide range of colors and prices. Just know this: most granite needs to be sealed, and after installation, it’s advised to seal it once a year to ensure its durability over time.
  • Marble: If you consider your style classic or traditional, it’s likely that you’ve already thought about installing marble for your countertop material. It’s uniquely elegant and never seems to go out of style. The only downside is its durability: it’s softer than granite, and has the tendency to scratch, stain, and patina over time. Marble also requires special cleaning products and sealers; cleansers that you might consider delicate could still be too harsh on marble’s porous surface.

If you describe your style as “unique” or “eclectic”, explore…

  • Recycled Glass: Brands like Vetrazzo combine recycled glass shards with either cement or acrylic to create one-of-a-kind, eye-catching surfaces. Recycled glass countertops are eco-friendly (see: “recycled”) and are on-par with engineered quartz for being low maintenance and highly durable. Win-win!
  • Tile: Tile countertops may have had their hay-day in the 70s, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t still look great today. They’re easy to install and can be customized to no end. The maintenance is pretty low-key, too – the only downside is that you should clean the grout lines between the tiles. Tile countertops can also be a pain for rolling out dough with a rolling pin, but if you’re not a baking enthusiast, this shouldn’t be a problem.

If you’ve read all of this and still don’t know what to do…

Consult your general contractor. They might have recommendations based on installations they’ve done in the past, or they can point you in the way of an interior designer or countertop fabricator who can answer all your questions on price, colors, durability, and maintenance.

For more information on home remodeling tips, visit our blog at www.lustercustomhomes.com.


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