Part of planning any kitchen or bathroom renovation involves the difficult choice of which countertop material to use. There are many factors to consider in making this choice, which can be daunting and overwhelming. Read on for some helpful information and you too can be on your way to building your perfect kitchen.
Count the Cost
Material cost is on the top of everyone’s list when considering countertops. It varies considerably from one material to another. Let’s take a look at some of the more affordable options. Laminate and Tile countertops are both inexpensive, easy to install options. As you move towards the solid surfaces, the cost increases. Concrete is a cheaper material, but the install is labor-intensive, making the cost competitive with more expensive countertop materials. Granite and marble are generally between $60 and $80 per square foot. Quartz is a bit more at $60-$100 per square foot. Soapstone can run from $70-$120 per square foot. Surprisingly, concrete counters can range from $90 to as much as $130 per square foot.
No matter how beautiful something is when it is brand new, if it can’t hold up to the pressures and messes of daily life then it isn’t worth it. Tile countertops are notorious for being difficult to keep clean due to the many grout lines that easily absorb staines from dirt and food. Sealers are available for surfaces like concrete, soapstone, limestone, or butcher-block counters, but the need to apply a sealer or mineral oil makes these tops more high maintenance, and sealers are not 100% guaranteed to protect against all stains, scratches, or heat. Laminate is surprisingly good at withstanding stains and scratches, and can even handle heat nicely. It is a very durable material for the cost. The all-stars of durable, low-maintenance counters are quartz and granite. They both survive stains, heat, and scratches extremely well. They each have the propensity to chip, but rounded edges can help prevent this. Granite does need periodic sealing, which quartz does not require. Stainless steel resists heat and stains with ease; however, it is very perceptible to scratches, dents, and fingerprint smudges – not the ideal choice for most homeowners.
When it comes to beauty, soapstone and marble are two of the most popular choices. Though they come with a little maintenance, there is no doubt they are show-stopping choices for your kitchen. Other stone surfaces like granite and quartz are very popular choices. Some complain about the uniformity of quartz, a result of the fact that it is a man-made surface, but many manufacturers are learning ways to combat this and make quartz resemble more natural stone. When it comes to granite, most slabs have a good amount of variation in color and tone, but some, like pure black granite, can become a maintenance issue in regards to fingerprint smudges and water drips. If you don’t like wiping your counters constantly, go for a slab with more variety. For a modern look, recycled glass countertops are a great choice. They vary considerably in color and overall look depending on how big or small the shards of glass are. They are a great way to infuse color into your kitchen. The bigger the shards, the more contemporary and colorful the look. For a more rustic, homey look, butcher-block and concrete are ideal choices. Butcher-block provides a warm feel to any kitchen, easy to work on, and very inviting. Concrete is perfectly imperfect. Using stains, you can vary the shade of your counters. They have a matte finish and give an overall no-fuss feel to your kitchen. With regular maintenance, they hold up well over time.
Budget considerations are certainly important; however, the saying, “You get what you pay for” definitely applies to countertops. They are one of the first things people will see when they enter your kitchen, and they are also one of the most used parts of a kitchen. If you are going to skimp somewhere, you might want to pick somewhere else.