As expected in today’s world of extravagance and selection, the number of different options for kitchen countertops is as vast as it is confusing. Especially when you’re under pressure in a kitchen designer’s showroom.
Purchasing a new kitchen countertop can also be an extremely expensive venture. Therefore, it is vital that customers know exactly what is on offer and what will suit the requirements of their kitchen and lifestyle.
Here, we discuss all the different variations of countertop material and how they may suit each individual’s demands.
The least expensive material widely used for countertops, laminate can be seen in many kitchens throughout the world. If you are looking to keep costs down and keep options open for future changes to your countertops, then laminate may be for you. However, its low cost inevitably means that it is easily damaged and does not add monetary value to your kitchen.
Despite being a relatively new material in the countertop industry, quartz is fast becoming a popular choice because of its rich beauty and its hardiness. Because it is not a natural stone, quartz can offer a wider array of colour options than any other countertop compatriot. However, quartz can be a very expensive material and would therefore not be advisable if you are on a budget.
A very popular material for countertops, granite has gained a reputation because of its elegance and beauty combined with an immense resistance to scratches and intense heat. However, you must ensure that your granite countertops are sealed correctly, to avoid serious problems with its porous nature. Granite can also be pretty costly, so take into consideration the size of your project before deciding on this material.
Wood remains a very popular countertop material. With its natural warmth and unrivalled variety, this material works exceedingly well in a wealth of kitchen designs. Wood countertops can also be quite inexpensive compared to other materials, especially if you are using reclaimed wood. However, the key issue with using this material for your countertops is its penchant for damage, be it non-removable stains or unattractive scratches.
While some may associate marble countertops with unachievable decadence, the truth is that in comparison with other natural materials, it is a relatively cheap countertop option. It is also perhaps the most visually stunning material, especially bright white varieties, which are simply unrivalled in their beauty. The most frustrating attribute of marble is its tendency to scratch and stain very easily. If you can be sure that you will handle your kitchen with care, marble could be the choice for you.
Arguably the most versatile material option for countertops, concrete doesn’t sound appealing but can offer a wealth of choice for a somewhat affordable price. Its colour options are unlimited, it can be cast into any shape and is very heat resistant. However, it does need a level of maintenance that other materials do not. This includes being re-sealed one every 12 months or so. Prices for concrete countertops can also increase very quickly if too much customization is required.
While not as popular as some of the aforementioned countertop materials, ceramic tiles can offer a beautiful visual effect in your kitchen. It is very customizable in terms of colour and tile size and is a much cheaper option that granite or quartz for example. The downsides to a tile countertop are its susceptibility to cracking if under a significant weight. Some also report having issues with grout joints, which can get full of hard-to-reach dirt if not maintained properly.
Recycled Glass Countertops
An eco-friendly alternative to granite, recycled glass countertops offer a unique visual element to your kitchen and are incredibly easy to maintain. A simple soap and water combination will ensure your countertops remain in pristine condition. However, the major downside of this material is its risk of cracks and scratches. While your recycled glass countertops may be squeaky clean on first inspection, a couple of heavy-handed manoeuvres will ruin its look, and it is very expensive to repair.
Stainless Steel Countertops
A favourite material for the culinary industry, stainless steel countertops are chosen for professional kitchens because of their indestructible nature. This material is impervious to stains, heat, water, oil and just about everything else you can throw at it. It is also extremely hygienic, as no bacteria or mould can settle on the surface.
Stainless steel countertops also work exceptionally well in modern, industrial style kitchens. The sleek, mechanical aesthetic is truly unique and eye-catching. However, this material will scratch eventually, so always be careful to ensure that you are not mistreating your countertops. Stainless steel can also be an extremely noisy material, which can be off-putting in a small household setting.
We’d like to thank Stonehouse Bespoke Designer Kitchens for this insight.