Tips For Choosing The Right Kitchen Countertops

Outside of your cabinets, your countertops are the biggest design element of your kitchen. While the way they look might be the most immediate attraction, countertops have to be able to stand up to the rigors of daily life, too. Durability, maintenance, and cost are important factors to consider when choosing a surface material. 

Here are some Regal tips for assessing the most popular countertop materials: 

  1. Know how you “live” in your kitchen. Kitchen experts warn against more delicate or high-maintenance materials (such as marble or soapstone) if you are a culinary wizard or have an active family. Granite, engineered stone, wood, and concrete are durable and forgiving. Solid surface countertops resist stains and scratches but can be damaged by hot pans. Laminate can scorch if a hot pan touches the surface and has a reputation for scratching easily. 
  1. What’s your style? Farmhouse? Transitional? Modern? Certain materials work better with certain styles, due to color and finish. Granite, the top choice, comes in a variety of shades (blacks, whites, greens and beiges), and two finishes (polished or matte), so it can adapt to almost any style. On the other hand, wood may suggest a more informal/rustic look. Concrete may skew modern/industrial. 
  1. Keep track of your budget. Like cabinetry, countertops are a good chunk of your budget. Depending on how much you need, and what material you choose, countertops can be pricey. Costs for granite depend on the color, finish, and origin of the stone. Engineered stone costs about the same as granite. Marble and concrete are more expensive, while laminate is more affordable. Wood is somewhere in between. 
  1. What’s your maintenance tolerance? Natural stone materials, like marble, limestone, and soapstone, are softer than granite and require greater care. All stone countertops must be sealed periodically. Concrete countertops should be sealed up to four times per year and waxed every two to three months. Wood countertops can be damaged by water, so they must be oiled frequently to seal the surface.

The Pros and Cons Of The Top Kitchen Countertop Materials

Granite | The most popular countertop material. Available in several grades, patterns, colors and thicknesses. Depending on what you choose, a slab can cost anywhere from $25 per square foot to upwards of $1,000 per square foot. Thickness can really drive up the cost. It’s heat- and scratch-resistant, low maintenance, timeless, with a good ROI. 

Engineered Stone | Quartz surfaces are a popular choice for countertops. More durable than granite, quartz is one of the hardest materials in the world, making it a great choice for a kitchen countertop. Colors and patterns are limitless. Stain- and heat-resistant, easy to maintain. Highly resistant to mold and bacteria contamination.

Soapstone | Soapstone is a non-porous, natural stone available in a range of gray tones with subtle veining. Unlike other natural stones, it doesn’t require annual sealing but regular applications of mineral oil will help to disguise scratches, add sheen and deepen the stone’s color. Highly stain and bacteria-resistant. Durable but do not cut directly on it or drop heavy objects on it.

Solid Surfaces | Usually known by brand names like Corian, solid surfaces offer the same look as engineered stone. Come in plenty of color and pattern options. Durable but can be damaged by heat and easily stained and scratched.

Wood | Wood countertops can fit into a wide range of kitchens. Rustic kitchens = unfinished, natural wood. Classic kitchens = finished wood, like teak. Functional countertops, like butcher block, are ideal for food preparation. Once sealed, wood countertops are sanitary, and hot pots and pans can be placed on the surface. Treat wood countertops with mineral oil every month. Sand out stains.

Concrete | Concrete countertops create a unique look. They work with a range of styles, making them a versatile option. Each countertop is handmade, giving it a natural feel. Almost any color, texture, and pattern can be added. Eco-friendly; can incorporate recycled glass and other repurposed materials. Relatively easy to maintain and durable. Can stain if not properly sealed. 

Laminate | If your budget is tight, laminate is a possible solution. The surface is plastic-coated and available in a range of styles and colors. Easy to maintain, but susceptible to burns and delamination, especially from water damage. 

Build the Home of Your Dreams With Regal Homes

Why stop at the kitchen? From bedrooms to living rooms, Regal Homes has beautiful communities and homes for sale in the Wasatch Front and the Wasatch Back. We’d like to show you our unique approach to new homes. Get in touch with us to build the home of your dreams!

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