Upgrading your kitchen countertop is a sure way to breathe new life into your kitchen design. There are a variety of countertop materials that range from simple and economical to lavish and expensive.
Laminate countertops remain popular as they are very low-maintenance and affordable. They come in a variety of colors and designs. There are some options that are made specifically to imitate more expensive stone surfaces such as granite and marble. However, they are not heat-resistant and they can scratch over time.
Tile countertops are another inexpensive option when compared to stone options. They come in numerous styles and colors and you can even arrange them in cool mosaic patterns. This gives your kitchen countertop a unique wow-factor that you cannot often achieve with laminate. However, grout is very porous, so tiled countertops do require more cleaning than laminate.
Engineered Stone Countertops
If you love the look of stone but dislike the price and fragility then engineered stone countertops are for you. They are much more resilient than true stone but mimic the natural look. These types of countertops often come with a warranty since they are man-made.
This kitchen countertop is often made of acrylic and are extremely durable. Like engineered stone, companies frequently warranty their solid-surface countertops. These countertops are nonporous and seamless and can be made to imitate granite and other stone countertops. They are easy to repair and are scratch and stain-resistant. However, they are not heat-resistant.
Stone is the cream of the crop when it comes to countertops. They are available in granite, quartz, marble, and soapstone. However, they are the most high-maintenance of the countertops. Granite and marble require annual sealing as they can stain easily otherwise. Soapstone has very specific weekly instructions for keeping it clean for the first year. Of the stone countertops, quartz is the most low-maintenance.
If you are looking for a more distinctive look for your kitchen there are a number of alternative countertop materials. Glass countertops are one way to make a big statement. They are heat, stain, and scratch-resistant and cost about as much as granite countertops. Recycled glass countertops also have the added benefit of being eco-friendly.
Stainless steel countertops provide a modern, industrial look. It is very durable and stain-resistant; however, it scratches easily. Another industrial option is concrete countertops. Once sealed, they are heat and stain-resistant. If you desire pristine surfaces, stainless steel and concrete countertops are not for you as these surfaces develop character over time.
Your budget and lifestyle are the two largest determining factors behind your countertop choice. If you have a large budget but prefer low maintenance surfaces, then quartz countertops would be your best choice. Engineered and solid-surface countertops are best for mid-level budgets. The most cost-effective of the options are laminate and tile countertops.