This week’s Design Question of the Week was suggested by my sister, Suzie. Selecting countertops can be overwhelming and it’s hard to know what is the best option for you and your lifestyle. So today we’re going to talk about a few of the most popular countertop options and the pros and cons of each option.This can help you decide what is the best kind of countertop for you. Click To Tweet
First, we’ll talk about manufactured countertops. These countertops are completely man-made and therefore there isn’t an issue of supply running out. They also don’t have as much of an environmental impact aside from the manufacturing impact.
Laminate is a very common countertop used throughout the United States for many decades. It’s one of the most affordable options on the market right now. It’s pretty sturdy but doesn’t stand up well to cutting or hot pots and pans. Always use a cutting board and trivets or hot pads. The good news with laminate is that is has continued to evolve and progress with time and there are some great colors and patterns available for use in kitchens and bathrooms.
Manufactured surfaces, like Corian countertops, are designed to look similar to stone surfaces but provide more durability. It isn’t as expensive as natural stone but is more expensive than laminate. It’s highly durable, repairable, non-porous and stain resistant. It is a hard-working countertop that can take a lot of life. Scratches can be sanded out and it’s easy to clean.
I don’t have any personal experience with concrete but I have heard great things about its affordability. It’s also a fun look! There are a lot of staining options and you can also add personal touches with inlays. Concrete is porous but can be stain resistant with proper sealing. Here is a chart that compares concrete to other popular countertop options, but take it with a grain of salt since this is shared by a concrete focused website.
Natural countertop options are very popular right now! They have a beauty that is unique to each piece. There can be issues with limited availability though. Natural surfaces also tend to be more expensive. But there is just no denying their beauty.
Butcher block countertops are generally only used in kitchens. They are available in a variety of types of wood. Butcher block is the least expensive option of the natural surfaces. It needs to be sealed initially and treated regularly. Since they can be cut and burned, be sure to take that into consideration even though some repairs can be made. The patina can change over time and that adds to its beauty.
Marble is the softest stone that we’ll be discussing today, but it’s beauty is timeless. Marble will never go out of style. Due to its softness, it is most commonly used in bathrooms where they will not receive as much wear and tear. Marble can be used in kitchens, but, again, it is a bit of a delicate flower so it doesn’t make for the best work surface. It also needs to be sealed periodically so be sure to discuss that with your installer or manufacturer. I have seen it used on a kitchen island that will not be used as a prep area which can work well. It really comes down to how much kitchen abuse your countertops are going to need to take. If you’re more of a take-out kind of family, then marble would work out fine! As a side note, it’s perfect for dipping chocolates if that’s a hobby of yours. A marble cutting board would also suffice.
It’s easy to see that granite is currently the most popular natural surface. It’s a trend that’s been around for quite some time, but rumor has it that the granite trend may be finally waning. Granite is beautiful though! As a matter of fact, I have it in my kitchen. The biggest problem I see with granite is that people seem to think it’s indestructible. It’s not. Granite is not even the strongest natural material available for countertops. It’s beautiful but if not cared for properly it can stain or crack. Granite needs to be sealed for its initial installation but then needs to be resealed periodically after that. Recommended sealing times varies from 3 months to 5 years to “as needed”, so be sure to get that information from your installer or manufacturer when you have it installed.
I’ve also chatted with people who think that if you have granite countertops you don’t need to use trivets or cutting boards. That is just not a good idea! Cutting directly on granite can damage it as can setting hot pans directly on the granite. I’ve even heard of glass pans (straight from the oven) shattering when placed on granite. The heat of the glass and the cold of the granite did not yield good results. Granite is expensive so take care of your investment. Use trivets and cutting boards, don’t use chemical cleaning products on them and seal as recommended!
True confessions…..quartz may be my personal favorite. I know I’m not supposed to play favorites, but I’ve always loved quartz. I just like sparkly things. Quartz is my spirit animal in countertop form. In all seriousness though, quartz is amazing! It’s the strongest material of the natural surfaces and doesn’t require as much maintenance as granite. As far as cost goes, it’s about the same as granite although pricing varies on natural surfaces. It’s also not as trendy if that’s something an aspect that you consider a priority.
I think we’ve covered the basics on the most common types countertops used today. If I missed one or if you have any more questions, leave me a comment on this post or email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.