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A Guide To Kitchen Countertops: Which Material Is The Right Choice For Your Home?


Your kitchen countertops set the tone and character of your kitchen. It can be a difficult decision to determine which material is the right choice for your home. Replacing or installing new countertops in your kitchen is a significant investment designed to last many years. But, what countertop material is right for your home?


Granite Kitchen Countertops

Granite countertops have been popular in the United States for kitchens and bathrooms for many years. Granite is a natural stone, so every kitchen countertop is unique with its own coloring, patterns, and shading.


Pros


  • Among the most durable materials available for countertops

  • Available in a nearly limitless variety of colors and patterns

  • Each granite slab is one-of-a-kind natural stone

  • Easy to clean

  • Resistant to scratches, stains, and heat

  • Water-resistant when sealed

Cons


  • Can be expensive depending on the rarity of the stone, or the difficulty to fabricate

  • Can break during transportation or installation

  • Its heavy weight will require durable, sturdy cabinets for support

  • May show some seams if granite has to be installed in sections

  • Resistance to wear and maintenance vary greatly based on the stone itself


Quartz Kitchen Countertops

Quartz kitchen countertops can give you the look and durability of granite without the higher maintenance. Though not completely heat resistant, quartz countertops do not need sealing. The price of quartz countertops is close to that of standard granite, though it can be far less than high-end granite.


Pros

  • Available in a wide range of colors

  • Cleans easily

  • Durable

  • Flexibility increases strength

  • Glossy and matte finishes available

  • No sealing needed

  • Stain and crack resistant

Cons

  • Not as resistant to heat as granite

  • Seams are usually visible between pieces and more visible than in granite

  • On average, more expensive than other countertop materials


Solid Surface Kitchen Countertops

Manmade solid surface kitchen countertops offer a seamless counter with a hygienic and nonporous surface.


Pros

  • Completely customizable for soft curving designs for integrating sinks, backsplashes, and drainboards

  • Easy and quick installation process

  • Highly resistant to stains

  • Generally less expensive than quartz

  • Wide variety of colors, patterns, and finishes available

  • Nicks and chips can be repaired easily

  • Nonporous material

  • Very easy to clean

Cons

  • Easily damaged by heat

  • Can be scratched, dented, or chipped

  • Manmade material


Wood Kitchen Countertops

Natural wood countertops have been used in kitchens for centuries, providing a warm, unique space utilizing various kinds of wood and finishes to create a look that fits in with your kitchen’s décor and character.


Pros

  • Warm, natural look

  • Can be used with all kinds of design options

  • Heat resistant

  • Made from recyclable materials

  • Can be less expensive than other options

Cons


  • Highest maintenance top

  • Water and moisture can damage wood

  • Not resistant to scratches and dents

  • Susceptible to stains and warping

Concrete Kitchen Countertops

Concrete kitchen countertops are made from a mixture of mortar, sand, and coloring pigments. Concrete is visually appealing and nearly indestructible, however, it can stain easily and may develop a film or coloring over time.


Pros

  • Extremely resistant to heat

  • Durable

  • Easily customizable to match your kitchen’s style

  • Recyclable materials

  • Filler can make the countertop

  • look seamless

Cons


  • Requires sealant

  • High maintenance

  • Easily stained

  • Absorbs and retains moisture

  • Can be hard on dishware and glasses


Marble Kitchen Countertops

Modern technical advances in extraction techniques and cost-efficient freighting costs, marble kitchen countertops have become more affordable than ever. Cultured marble is not quite the real thing, but it is far less expensive.


Pros

  • Available in a wide range of colors

  • Marble has some of the most unique appearances in materials available naturally

  • Despite its softness, marble is still hard enough to withstand the high traffic a kitchen counter wil endure

  • Resistant to heat

Cons

  • Susceptible to scratches and stains

  • Difficult to repair

  • Heavy weight requires extra support

  • Sealing required at least annually


The material you use for your kitchen countertops will depend on the style of your kitchen, budgetary limitations, and personal preferences, but choosing high-quality, durable materials will increase your property values and the enjoyment of your home simultaneously.



Mandy Lee is a contributor to Innovative Green Building Materials. She is a blogger and a content writer for the building materials industry. Mandy is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that increase property value, maximize energy savings, and turn houses into homes.

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