Choosing Your Kitchen Countertop

When we’re finally able to do our own renovations for our home, the number one priority on most people’s list is changing the kitchen countertops.

Kitchen Counter - Choosing Your Kitchen Countertop

Old-fashioned linoleum and even outdated tile can’t help showing the marks of time. Whether the worn-out grout and chipped tiles are the things keeping you up at night, or you have burnt, stained, bubbling, and broken linoleum, finally getting to choose your own countertop can feel overwhelming at first.

This is a surface you’ll be working closely with for a long time. And a countertop is a significant investment; you want to make sure that you’re making the right choice. So here’s a brief rundown on the advantages and disadvantages of the most popular countertop choices today:

Stainless Steel


Stainless steel was originally introduced as an impressively sleek and modern, industrial look to suit the hard edges and colors of bauhaus design. However, stainless steel is staying around because it’s impressively functional. Restaurants use them for a reason, you know. They’re easy to wash, resistant to stains and bacteria, and stand up well to heat. Additionally, they’re surprisingly versatile. A brushed texture can soften the effect of steel and pair easily with other materials in your kitchen. Stainless steel can also be more expensive than some other options, though. That’s why many people opt for small functional spaces of stainless steel and pair it with specially-formulated concrete, or wooden countertops.

Butcher Block (Wood)

This option gives a great old-fashioned charm to a kitchen space. The warmth of the wood lends an inviting air to any kitchen space, and as we all know, the natural grain of wood can be endlessly interesting and beautiful. Additionally, it’s less expensive and easier to customize than many other countertop options.

Wood Countertop - Choosing Your Kitchen Countertop

Now, it’s important to note that wooden countertops also require a little more care and maintenance than other options. Regularly oiling and staining the wood will keep it looking and working great. But you’ll always have to be careful about heat on the countertop, and avoid stains as much as possible by cleaning spills in a timely manner.

Laminate

Laminate options of today are not the same as the cheap linoleum of yesteryear. Many people opt of laminate because it’s affordable and easy to install. Just for this fact, many serious designers initially turn up their noses at laminate. However, when they see the many beautiful options available, they change their mind. Laminate is stronger and more durable than it used to be. Additionally, it’s available in virtually every color, texture, and pattern. You can find laminate that imitates the look of wood, stone, and even copper. Laminate doesn’t require any maintenance, unless you tear or burn a section.

Quartz

Quartz imitates the look of marble or granite, but it’s a manmade material. This means it doesn’t have the uniqueness and authenticity of natural stone. However, if you really don’t care that much, it’s a great option. Quartz needs little to no maintenance (as opposed to granite and marble) and it has all the durability and functionality of natural stone. Additionally, because it is manufactured, there are so many options! Quartz comes in virtually every color and pattern; sometimes imitating natural stone, and other times doing things that natural stone can’t!

Concrete (or Granicrete)

If you just started shopping around for options, it’s possible you’ve never heard of this option. Custom-mixed concrete fits wherever you need it to, and comes in a variety of colors and textures. If you’re picturing something much like a high school outdoor bench in your head, adjust your assumption. Granicrete looks beautiful, and can be customized to suit the look of your kitchen. In fact, some options of granicrete look an awful lot like granite, without the cost. Concrete is also a very cheap option, with really great design and edging options due to its flexibility. If properly installed and sealed, it lasts a long time with minimal maintenance on your part.

Natural Stone Countertop - Choosing Your Kitchen Countertop

Natural Stone

I can talk until I’m blue in the face about alternatives, but granite is still the most-desired countertop for the world at large. Granite and marble both offer smoothness that’s cool to the touch. Natural stone resists cuts and tears, and stands up to extreme heat. Additionally, many people love the unique aspects of granite and marble, since this natural stone is much like thumbprints–quarried from different regions, and even the same area, no two slabs are exactly alike.

Granite and marble will both last a lifetime, when properly installed. In fact, they might well outlast everything else in your kitchen. However, there is some maintenance needed for them, especially marble, which is softer and more porous. You can read here to learn more about the maintenance needs of natural stone.

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