Kitchen Counter-tops 101

Because your kitchen countertop endures a lot of use, it should be practical, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be aesthetically pleasing as well. It’s important to strike that perfect balance between style and function, which is why durability, visual appeal and maintenance ease are among the top three guiding factors for choosing the right counter. As you remodel your kitchen, consider all the materials — everything from high-end marble, granite and stone to budget-friendly laminate and tile — and decide which one is right for your needs. Read on to learn more about your options.

Laminate

Laminate counter-tops are inexpensive, available in a range of options, and easy to maintain. The downside is that they are not heat tolerant, and edges and seams are generally visible. They also scratch and chip easily, which is not easily repaired. The home sellability factor, with laminate counter, could be challenging.

Solid Surface

With no visible seams, lots of patterns and colors available and a renewable quality that allows cuts and scratches to be blended out, solid surfaces (which are basically a plastic) have several advantages. The downsides are that they’re not heat resistant, are pricier and require professional installation. 

Natural Stone

Granite, slate, soapstone, quartz, marble, limestone and gemstone all fall under this category. Long-lasting natural stone has an organic beauty and is more heat tolerant than other surfaces. It’s also expensive, and its porous quality requires sealing maintenance to prevent stains. Although granite is formed deep under the Earth’s surface and exposed to extreme heat and pressure, very hot pots and pans may create cracking.

Engineered Stone

Engineered stone mimics natural stone, yet combines properties of real stone with other ingredients to eradicate its porosity and maintenance requirements. This option, however, can be expensive depending on color choice. 

Wood

I’m beginning to see more wood counter-top. See picture below. Great for a cutting surface, wood and butcher block counter-tops give the kitchen a warmer aesthetic than stone. Wood surfaces are susceptible to water damage if not properly sealed, and can dent and scratch easily. 

Metal

Metal countertops, including stainless steel, copper or pewter, are heat tolerant, non-porous and sanitary. Like wood, though, they also can scratch and dent easily. They give your kitchen a professional & commercial look. That’s fine, in my opinion, if you have high-end appliances and cabinetry.

What do I have in my kitchen, that’s a story for another day!

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