Which Countertop is Right for You?

When planning your kitchen update or remodel, selecting your countertops is one of the biggest decisions you have to make. There are so many options available today and with all the choices, you may feel a bit overwhelmed.  That’s where this blog will come in handy.  We will look at each material and provide you with the pros and cons of each taking into consideration the four main areas you should keep in mind: look and style, maintenance, durability, and budget.

Granite

img_0063 One of the most popular choices for kitchens is granite.  This natural stone comes in many colors and patterns, making every piece unique.  Even honed granite is available today, which offers the distinct look and variations with a matte finish as opposed to the shine of regular granite.

Look and Style

  • Can be used for both traditional and contemporary spaces.
  • Patterns are unique and one of a kind.

Maintenance

Newer granite countertops that require resealing only once a decade are now available, but many will still require annual resealing.

Durability

  • Excellent for heavy use.
  • Heat and cut resistant.
  • Heavy impact will cause chips and cracks.

Budget

Although the prices can range widely, granite tends to be one of the most expensive options in countertops.

Solid Surface

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA One of the most commonly known solid surfaces is Corian.  Solid surface countertops are made of acrylic and polyester and offer extensive color and pattern options.  You can find solid surfaces that mimic the look of granite, but you can also find fun solid colors or patterns.  This is a good choice for families with children.

Look and Style

  • With so many options, it can suite any style space.
  • Can look artificial.

Maintenance

No sealing or special cleaning is required, making it virtually maintenance free.

Durability

Susceptible to scratches and burns, but both are easy to sand out.

Budget

Pricing ranges widely with solid surfaces and can be just as expensive as granite.

Quartz

Also known as “engineered stone”, quartz is made of resin and quartz chips that are tinted with color. Quartz is available in a great variety of colors and patterns.  This is another good choice for families with children.

Look and Style

  • With so many options, it can suite any style space.
  • Can look artificial

Maintenance

No sealing or special cleaning is required, making it virtually maintenance free.

Durability

  • One of the most durable options you can choose.
  • Scratch and heat resistant.

Budget

Moderately priced, but driven by your selection.

Marble

Nothing matches the luminescence and distinctive veining of marble.  Marble does not lend itself to heavy use and would not be a good choice for busy families.

Look and style

  • Extremely elegant and decorative.
  • Great for traditional spaces.
  • Popular for pastry or baking stations.

Maintenance

  • Clean only with a cleaner designated for stone.
  • Seal countertops regularly.

Durability

  • The least durable option you can choose.
  • Stains, scratches, and chips easily.
  • Stress fractures are likely.
  • Acidic substances cause deterioration.

Budget

Typically very pricey, but will depend on your selection.

Tile

Tile as a countertop option seems to be making a comeback.  The possibilities can be nearly limitless in both color and design in either ceramic or porcelain.

Look and Style

  • Tile can be used in any style space.
  • Uneven surface.

Maintenance

Grout will need additional attention for cleaning and upkeep.

Durability

  • Heat, scratch and stain resistant.
  • May chip or crack, but fairly easy to repair and replace.
  • Grout is prone to staining.

Budget

Budget Friendly. Tile can be an economical choice for the budget conscious.  Price can be driven up depending on your selection and design.

Laminate

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Laminate doesn’t have a reputation for being stylish, but manufacturers are quickly changing that perception.  Today, options can mimic stone, butcher block, and other more expensive materials.  Laminate is made of paper and resin fused to particle board.

Look and Style

  • Laminate can be used in any style space.

Maintenance

No special cleaning or care necessary.

Durability

  • Prone to scratches, burns, and stains.
  • Can peel with wear and moisture exposure.
  • Hard to repair if damaged.

Budget

Budget Friendly. Laminate is one of the most affordable countertop options.

Stainless Steel

Stainless is not just for commercial kitchens anymore! Stainless countertops are custom made for your kitchen and provide a tailored and distinct look.

Look and Feel

  • Very contemporary and modern.
  • Shows fingerprints.
  • Can be loud.

Maintenance

  • Easy to clean.
  • Frequent wiping necessary to erase fingerprints.

Durability

  • Extremely durable.
  • Heat, stain and bacteria resistant.
  • Prone to dents.

Budget

Very pricy due to custom fabrication.

Concrete

One of the more edgy options for countertops is concrete.  It’s a very versatile material that can be cast in any shape and tinted any color you like.  Inlays and textures can also be added to give you a truly unique look.

Look and Feel

  • Industrial and modern.

Maintenance

Periodic sealing is necessary.

Durability

  • Less heat resistant than other countertop options.
  • Will stain without frequent sealing.
  • Cracks can develop over time.

Budget

Very pricey due to custom fabrication.

Butcher Block

Butcher block can be used throughout or in just a small area of the kitchen and provides a warm and unique look.

Look and Feel

  • Works well in traditional, country or cottage style spaces.

Maintenance

  • Requires frequent disinfecting
  • Oiling is required every 2 to 3 months to fill in scratches and protect the surface.

Durability

  • Scratching can’t be avoided, although sometimes that is part of the appeal, and they can be sanded down if you like.
  • Swells and contracts with moisture exposure.
  • Harbors bacteria.

Budget

Moderately priced.

We hope that this blog has helped you get a better understanding of the many countertop options available.  At Thompson, we understand that making selections might be overwhelming, and we are here to help you make the best choice for the style of your project, needs of your family, and within your budget parameters.