When choosing a countertop for your kitchen you want both spot-on style and killer quality. We’re sure a few materials come to mind, but figuring out which type of kitchen countertop is the best fit for your home and budget can be a bit tricky. Here we’ll evaluate the most popular countertop materials to help you pick the one that’s right for you.
Laminate Kitchen Countertops
If the word laminate alone makes you shudder, it’s time to change your opinion on this inexpensive, durable and versatile countertop material. Yes, laminate is pretty much a piece of plastic glued onto a board, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t look great or last long. That “piece of plastic” is soaked, treated and sealed to make it highly resistant to stains and grease. With proper care and installation, laminate offers a great countertop option at a fraction of the cost.
Granite Kitchen Countertops
Granite offers a level of uniqueness that no other countertop material can provide. Since it is made from natural stone, no two pieces will be the same. For a long time, granite was considered a very high-end material, and was not an affordable option for the majority of homeowners. With more shipping possibilities and advanced technologies, granite has become more accessible, and is now one of the most popular countertop materials. Granite is sold in 9×5 foot slabs, so if your kitchen remodel requires different measurements, you will most likely incur a “waste fee” to cover the unused material. You can avoid these excess charges by keeping these dimensions in mind when planning your kitchen design.
Engineered Stone Kitchen Countertops
A hybrid of crushed down rock and polyester or acrylic resin, engineered stone gives the look of natural stone, but is less fragile. Since it is manufactured, it’s also available in a wider range of colors, making it a likely choice for those trying to match their countertops with a specific kitchen cabinet finish or flooring. The downfall of engineered stone is that it is a bit pricey; you are almost paying as much as you would for natural stone without getting the real thing. It is less likely to scratch than granite, but cracking is still possible.
Stainless Steel Kitchen Countertops
Found in most restaurant kitchens, stainless steel countertops are attractive for their anti-microbial properties and ability to resist heat. They are less common in homes partly because they can be expensive and hard to come by, but also because they are hard to keep as spotless and shiny as you imagine. Stainless steel countertops show water spots more easily, and can be smudged up when touched by greasy hands.
Wood Kitchen Countertops
Wood countertops are beautiful, but can easily be damaged by water, making it difficult to keep their appearance, especially around sinks. On the plus side, wood countertops are considered resistant to bacteria, and won’t dull your knife during food prep. A penetrating oil or finish will need to be applied to protect wood countertops, and will make touching up scratches much easier. Wood is best as an attractive accent countertop, for example, on a kitchen island.
Tile Kitchen Countertops
DIY’ers love tile countertops because they can install them on their own, and tile comes in a wide variety of colors and shapes. The drawback of tile is the grout, which can make keeping that clean appearance a bit more difficult. Some varieties of tile can also be porous (like marble and limestone), meaning they can stain and become discolored over time. Using large tile in a hard, non-porous material (like porcelain) can offer less maintenance while being just as much fun.
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