Countertops make a huge difference your kitchen. It is one of the top choices a homeowner will pick. And of course, they play a big part in the first impression the space makes on guest to your home. It’s worth taking the time to choose the countertop materials that work best for you.
Homeowners have more choices today than ever, but let’s consider the four most popular materials: laminate, solid surfacing, granite and quartz. Each has strengths and weaknesses.
Laminate comes in several quality grades. Although most people may think first of the inexpensive grades common in rental units and entry-level homes, there are high-quality, preformed laminate counters with three times the durability and no edge seams. Homeowners can choose from a variety of colors and patterns, including some that mimic the look of stone. On the downside, even these better products can scratch and burn under some circumstances–damage that’s difficult or impossible to repair. However, small scratches can be repaired or covered. And, at the cost of this material, replacement later as styles or your taste change.
Solid surfacing has lost market share in kitchens but remains a top choice for bathroom vanities. Made from a blend of acrylic and polyester, solid surfacing can cost three times more than basic laminate, but it looks more stylish and doesn’t have any surface or edge seams. Homeowners can choose from a wide range of colors and patterns.
Although solid surfacing isn’t totally resistant to scratches and burns, a good installer can often repair the damage. The material is also nonporous, so it’s less likely to stain than laminate.
Some people like the fact that solid surfacing doesn’t feel as hard or cold as granite, although others find it looks too artificial for their taste. I like it. I like the matte finish. I think it is very attractive.
Granite has been hugely popular in custom homes for years. That’s no surprise, given this natural material’s beautiful flowing patterns and mottling, as well as each slab’s unique look.
Costs for granite are slightly more than for solid surfacing.
Granite stands up well to heat and isn’t easily scratched, but its hardness means that ceramic dishes or cups can easily chip or break when dropped or bumped against the surface. Raw granite can also be stained by hot grease, so it needs to be sealed during fabrication and resealed at intervals recommended by the fabricator. Its heavy weight means it may not be the best choice for cabinets with particleboard frames.
Granite slabs are 9 to 10 feet long and 5 feet wide, so if you want something bigger you will have a seam.
Quartz has recently passed granite in popularity among some custom homeowners, even though it costs 10 to 20 percent more. Made from a blend of crushed stone and resin, this material is harder than granite and impervious to stains, including those from cooking oil, wine and coffee. Quartz has a rich, attractive finish and a regular surface pattern. It comes in 8 x 4 feet sheets, so anything bigger will require seams.
These descriptions are just an introduction to today’s most picked countertop materials. Other options are marble, wood, stainless steel, concrete and even soapstone counters. These are very custom and are not usually the choice of our homebuyers. It is like anything, there needs to be a balance in the differing costs of the materials you pick.