Countertop Choices for Your Kitchen and Adding Value and Looks

Countertop Choices for Your Kitchen and Adding Value and Looks

Kitchen is the best gathering place for family parties and holidays. The kitchen countertop is the first eye catcher for the kitchen.

Granite is the solid choice, it is durable and attractive and it has become increasingly affordable. Durable. Stunning. Versatile…. Granite is a very dense igneous stone and is highly resistant to staining and scratching. The coloration does not fade over time, leaving your granite as bright and radiant as when it was first installed. It is most commonly used in many residential and commercial applications. Resealing granite every one to three years depending on the amount of use and traffic helps looking new and bright.

Engineered Quartz
Engineered quartz offers the beauty of stone without the maintenance. It’s tougher than granite, and it is highly resistant to scratching, cracking, staining and heat. Unlike granite, which offers the unique qualities of natural stone, engineered quartz is largely uniform; because it is engineered, there is no choice of one-of-a-kind slab. There are, however, a number of colors and designs available – from stark modern whites to options closely resembling marble. And, because engineered quartz is non-porous, it never has to be sealed like natural stone.

Homeowners also seek and appreciate natural wood countertops – particularly easy butcher blocks and those that are custom-created. While wood countertops can add warmth, balance, and beauty to any modern home, they also require a fair amount of maintenance. Because wood is susceptible to damage from heat and moisture, it must be sealed about once a month. The best part about wood, though, is that it can be refinished in the event of any damages.

Soapstone is an attractive natural quarried stone that ranges from light gray to green-black in color. While the material is soft and pliable, it is also nonporous and it does not require regular sealing like granite. Soapstone is also resistant to stains and acidic materials. The downside to soapstone is that it is susceptible to scratches and deep indentations. Light gray soapstone will also weather and darken over time, occasionally developing a patina finish. The material comes in smaller slabs, so seams will be visible in soapstone countertops longer than seven feet.

Concrete countertops became popular in the 1980s — and they have evolved a lot since that time. Precast concrete countertops are available in a number of different colors. Generally, they are flat and smooth, and they can run from 1.5 inches to 10 feet long. While concrete countertops have historically cracked and chipped easily, recent innovations have made them less prone to damage. Concrete is naturally strong and heat-resistant, and slabs can be sealed to prevent staining.

Stainless Steel
Stainless steel countertops are used widely in commercial places and restaurant kitchens. It is heat, rust, and stain resistant; it is easy to clean; and it will not absorb or harbor even the toughest bacteria. The downside to stainless steel countertops is that they scratch easily – and they show it too. For this reason, it is best to use a cutting board any time you’re preparing food on a stainless steel countertop. Also, it is a good idea to choose a brushed stainless finish that will help conceal the scratches and the marks. Most people think that stainless steel feels
ultramodern or cold, but a balance of stainless steel and wood can create a warm, timeless and uber-functional kitchen.

Thinner, natural stone tiles offer durability, but for a fraction of the cost, when compared to a solid granite or marble slab. And, in the case of granite tile countertops, grout lines may be practically invisible thanks to the material’s straight edges. In general, using larger tiles equates to fewer grout lines and larger squares to work on. Ceramic tile countertops offer similar benefits, though the man-made material makes it easy and fun to get creative with color and pattern. Think mosaics, mismatched, recycled or hand-painted tiles that are versatile enough to go from the counter to the backsplash—or even an entire wall.

An easy-to-care-for surface with a wide variety of styles, patterns and colors to choose from, Formica kitchen countertops offer the look, style and durability of from-the-earth stone, but at a fraction of the cost.
Also referred to as laminate kitchen countertops, Formica kitchen counters are easy to install and are an easy-to-replace solution for budget-conscious consumers. Prefabricated Formica countertops are typically available at home improvement stores, too, and installation is a relatively simple process for do-it-yourselfers. Popularized in the 1950s, Formica countertops have been updated with contemporary patterns and colors, but part of the fun comes with getting creative with the edging (think waterfall, nodrip, or beveled edge), a great way to personalize the project. The man-made material also offers a cohesive look—elements like sinks and backsplashes may be integrated into the countertop for a seamless style, and a good fabricator should have the ability to make any visible seams from the installation process nearly disappear.