The countertops are the workhorses of your kitchen. What the cook dishes out, the countertop needs to be able to take it, whether it's heat or spills. Your kitchen countertop can also tie an entirekitchen remodeltogether. It's the finishing touch that goes a long way when it comes to the overall aesthetics of your kitchen.
Countertop finishesrange from natural stone options, such as granite and quartz, to wood or metal varieties. The type of countertop you choose affects thetotal cost of your kitchen remodelas well as the functionality of your finished kitchen.
Types of Stone Countertops
Stone countertops have been popular for a while, thanks to their heat resistance and durability. The type of stone you choose and whether that stone is natural or engineered affects the overall price. Some of the more popularcountertop finishesinclude:
You can't think ofmodern countertopswithout thinking of granite. Granite countertops are made from whole slabs of stone and are 100% natural. They are heat-resistant and since every slab has its own natural variations, each piece is unique.
Granite has a smooth feel and is often polished. Since it's a porous material, it needs to be sealed to prevent staining. Resealing granite is part of regular maintenance.
Marble is another heat-resistant countertop finish. It's a high-end material and tends to cost more than other stone types. Marble looks elegant but can be tricky to maintain, as it can stain easily and needs resealing.
Terrazzois a composite material, meaning it is made from a variety of natural stones, including marble and granite. The material is made by blending marble, glass, granite, or quartz chips with a cement binder. The resulting material is unique and durable.
Since it's not made from solid stone, aterrazzocountertop tends to be more cost-effective than other options. It's also easy to clean and maintain.
Quartz is another composite material, usually made from crushed granite or marble mixed with a binding material. It has a shiny finish and a polished, smooth feel. Since quartz is a type of engineered stone, it doesn't have the natural variations of solid granite and marble. Quartz is in a similar price point to marble or granite and has been a popular choice because it's easier to maintain than natural stone and doesn't require sealing.
Quartziteshouldn't be confused with quartz, although the names are similar. While quartz is a type of engineered stone,quartziteis a natural stone. Similar to granite ormarble countertops, it's sold in solid slabs. Also, like marble or granite,quartziteneeds to be sealed to prevent stains, as the material itself is porous.
Cleaningquartziteregularly and wiping up spills immediately is also key to preserving the appearance of the countertop and keeping it looking good for as long as possible.
In terms of price,quartziteis similar to marble or granite counters, as well.
Other Types of Countertops
While engineered andnatural stone countertopsare among the most popular options for new home buyers and thoseremodeling their kitchens, other options are available. Those options include:
Stainless steel:Stainless steel is an easy-to-clean, cost-effective material that looks sleek and attractive.
Wood:Some homeowners are attracted to the natural beauty of butcher block wood counters. Butcher block counters tend to be very affordable and are also relatively easy to maintain.
Concrete:If the modern farmhouse style appeals to you, concrete is a countertop material worth considering. It's incredibly resilient. One drawback of concrete is that it needs an extended curing time, so it will take longer to install than other options.
How to Choose a Countertop for Your Kitchen
When choosing a countertop material, it's important to consider durability, cost, and aesthetics. Engineered and natural stone materials tend to be the most durable. Stone materials tend to produceheat-resistant countertops, meaning you can put hot pots and pans on the surface without damaging them.
The maintenance requirements are also worth considering, as they can affect the durability of the countertop. For example, a material that requires regular resealing will have a shortened lifespan if you don't keep up with sealing it. If you know that you want a material that's relatively hands-off, it can be preferable to choose an engineered stone countertop or one made from stainless steel or wood.