Choices are the spice of life, am I right? What about when you have to choose the type of countertop you are about to purchase? The material choice alone can be daunting if you don't really know the pros and cons of the materials you are choosing from. Here is my take on a few popular countertops. I didn't include such options as travertine, glass, concrete or other alternatives because I just don't see them used as countertops very often if at all, even though concrete is making a run in certain parts of the country. That being said, let's get started!
The king of HGTV and the favorite material in most new construction, granite is one of the most popular upper end materials being used in kitchens today.
Pros: Granite is a natural stone formed in the molten heat of the earth. Each square inch of every slab is unique and natural, giving a it a beauty that isn't easily matched. Because of the way it is formed, granite is very durable and stands up well to knife nicks and scratches, staining, heat and other wear and tear.
Cons: Granite needs to be sealed to avoid stains. Because if its natural slab design, if you somehow manage to chip or crack your countertop, repairs can be costly or even impossible.
Corian is actually a brand name for a synthetic countertop material made from acrylics. The brand name has been adopted as a general term for this type of material.
Pros: Corian is nonporous like stone which makes it virtually maintenance free, but it can be scratched and burned. No worries, if it isn't too bad, those accidents are fairly easy to sand out. Because it is a synthetic material, much like laminate, there are an incredible array of colors and patterns available to get the exact look you want.
Cons: Corian can have a tendency to look and feel like plastic and still cost as much as some natural stone.It also doesn't do too well against hot pans or sharp knives as well as other materials that can stain or melt the material.
Also called engineered quartz, this man made stone is a great combination of easy maintenance and natural looking beauty. Made of resin and quartz chips tinted with color, quartz is quickly becoming a very popular choice for countertops. Don't confuse this with the naturally occurring Quartzite! For more information, check out this informative piece on Quartz vs. Quartzite
Pros: Quartz has the same pros as Corian as far as maintenance. As a man made product, it's available in more colors and patterns than natural stone and can be poured into any shape if you have a challenging project.
Cons: Some lower end quartz can look like they have been engineered and lack the beauty of natural stone. It isn't cheap, but exceptional durability and a natural look can make higher end quartz a worthwhile investment.
Often confused with its engineered cousin quartz, quartzite is a naturally occurring stone that is harder than granite.
Pros: Because it is a natural stone, quartzite will carry its unique traits and beauty into your home. It is a very durable stone that will hold up to scratching, cutting or staining.
Cons: Like all natural stones, quartzite will need to be sealed once or twice a year to keep it easy to clean. Also, still pointing at the fact that this is a natural stone, your color choices will be limited and prices may be higher if you have large countertops.
One of the classics, marble is a favorite of candy makers and pastry chefs.
Pros: While not as popular today as granite and quartz, marble has been an elegant choice for decades. As mentioned above, candy makers and pastry chefs have taken advantage of marbles ability to remain cool.
Cons: Marble stains like crazy, even with proper sealing. Because of this, most folks who choose marble these days only use it on one or two countertops in conjunction with other materials.
Tile can work in any kitchen design because of how versatile and modular it is. With a great designer, you can create a timeless masterpiece.
Pros: It is pretty durable and holds up well against heat and sharp blades, and stains. If one or two tiles break or chip, they are relatively easy to replace.
Cons: Tile is uneven and can make using a cutting board frustrating. Also, grout lines mean you won't be rolling out dough on your tile counter. If those grout lines are not well sealed, they will trap all sorts of grime and stains.
Often considered to be "cheap junk" from the 70's, laminate has come a long way and is looking better and better every year. Because of advances in engineering and design, the product is more durable and stylish than every.
Pros: Laminate is flat out the lowest cost option out there making it a mainstay in budget kitchen deigns. It is also available in an infinite array of colors and patterns.
Cons: Laminate is prone to scratching, burns and, in some cases, staining. With wear and moisture exposure, the layers can peel. If it gets damaged, you are going to replacing the entire sheet of laminate.
Once found mostly in commercial kitchens, stainless steel is sneaking into modern kitchen designs in the home.
Pros: Think of stainless steel as the "Incredible Hulk" of countertops. You are not going burn, scratch, or stain this countertop unless you are trying to. There is a reason you find this stuff in most commercial kitchens.
Cons: Stainless steel can and will dent if you are banging pans around. Chances are you won't be doing that though because of how loud your kitchen will be with stainless. Also, you are going to be wiping fingerprints from your countertops for EVER!
Butcher Block brings a functionality and classic beauty to your kitchen that is tough to match.
Pros: Having the warm look of wood brings a farm or cottage feel to the kitchen and gives you a cutting board every where! Some who go with this material enjoy the look of the wear and cuts that come with use and those who don't can easily sand out any worn spots and make the countertop new again.
Cons: Being wood, the porous material can harbor bacteria if not properly clean and disinfected. it also will absorb moisture causing it to swell and recede.
If you have any questions for me, please feel free to call or email and I will get you to the information you need! Thank you for reading.
Real Estate Broker / REALTOR®
Windermere Port Orchard
WA Lic. #116083