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How to Choose a Right Kitchen Countertop

Finding the right kitchen countertop depends on various factors such as your basic needs, tastes, space availability in the kitchen, your budget, lifestyle and personality.

Cost Factors of Kitchen Countertop

The factors that will affect the final cost of the countertop are:

  • Actual cost of Material
  • Cost of fabrication
  • Any special features

You can save a little cost by forgoing special features such as profiled edges and also by using premium surfaces in the island area of the kitchen and less expensive surfaces on other sides of the platform if the kitchen area is larger.

Natural stone countertops are the most expensive as it is difficult to process – from quarry to fabrication and transport of the material requires a strenuous activity. However, the look and feel of the stone surface is considered as epitome of luxury.

Design Considerations for Kitchen Countertop

There are various kitchen countertops depending on usage, materials, finish types, etc. You have to choose among different colors, patterns and textures.

Colors –

You will find a huge palette of colors and shades from light to dark, subtle to bold, dusky to vibrant; offering a wider selection and you can choose depending on your interest and style of the interior.

Patterns and textures –

The distinctive vein patterns such as in marble and granite offers a natural charm to the surface. There are endless patterns available today – the swirls of marble, repetitive patterns of veins, flecks of granite, seamless patterns, each of them offering unique appearance.

Smooth, glossy, matte are some of the varied textures where you can choose smooth surfaces that are easy to maintain.

Function –

If you are an avid cook and spending most of the time in kitchen, then choose a material that is durable and long-lasting. Choosing heat resistant countertops such as granite helps preventing wear and tear and resist scratches.

Kitchen Countertop Materials

1.Quartz

Quartz surfaces contain a higher percentage of mineral matter and resemble solid surface countertops.

Quartz countertop; Image source – homedit.com

Pros:

  • Offers a maintenance-free work surface
  • Extremely hard and durable
  • Nonporous
  • Less likely to crack or chip
  • Resistant to stain or acid
  • Heat resistant

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Discolour over time when exposed to direct sunlight
  • Quite heavy

Finish Types : Smooth to flecked appearance

2.Natural Stone

Natural stone offers expensive luxurious surfaces which transform our kitchen into a showcase. They can never go out of style and are long-lasting till the life of the home. The display of various patterns on the surface of the stone depends on the quarry and fabrication process. However, each and every stone has its own distinctive appearance.

Marble and Granite are the mostly popular and widely used natural stone kitchen countertop with its appearance (enriching patterns of veins),durability and strength.

a) Marble

Marble countertop ; Image source – forbes.com

Pros:

  • Elegant with a variety of hues
  • Heat resistant
  • Less expensive
  • Widely available

Cons:

  • Prone to scratches and stains due to its porous nature

Finish Types: polished, brushed, sandblasted, flamed

b) Granite

Image source – graniteproremodeling.com

Pros:

  • Visually appealing and add value
  • Most heat resistant
  • Stain and scratch-resistant
  • Very hard and durable
  • Recyclable

Cons:

  • Not uniform in colour or appearance
  • Must be sealed properly otherwise can be porous
  • Prone to crack or chip
  • Labor-intensive installation or appearance

Finish Types : polished, brushed, sandblasted, flamed

c) Slate

Slate countertop ; Image source – decor24online.com

Pros:

  • Uniform appearance
  • Nonporous
  • Stain and scratch-resistant
  • More affordable, least expensive

Cons:

  • Corners are brittle and sharp
  • More subdued than other options

3.Laminate

Laminate countertops are manufactured by bonding together layers of resin soaked paper with plastic under extreme heat and pressure to form water proof material. They are available in various colors, patterns, and textures.

Laminate countertop ; Image source – unhappyhipsters.com

Pros:

  • Least expensive
  • Easy to install
  • Variety of colours, designs and styles
  • Can achieve the look of stone or granite

Cons:

  • Prone to scratches, stains
  • Not good for resale

4. Solid Surface Countertops

Solid surface countertops are fabricated in various ways depending upon the manufacturer. They are manufactured from a mixture of various organic and inorganic additives using acrylic or polyester resins.

Solid surface countertop; Image source – homedit.com

Pros:

  • Resistant to bacteria
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Easy to repair and restorable
  • Seamless appearance

Cons:

  • Not resistant to heat
  • Susceptible to scratches
  • Vulnerable to chemicals
  • Not practical for high end use

5.Wood

Wooden countertops are made from thin slats of wood glued face to face. Different types of hardwood and softwood countertops are available today. Wood offers warm and pleasant feel for the kitchen interiors. However, extra care is to be taken to seal the surfaces for resistance against water and damage.

wooden cabinets ; Image source – uscabinetsolutions.com

Pros :

  • Beauty in appearance
  • Works well with all design styles
  • Provides warm look and feel
  • Strong and durable
  • Recyclable and biodegradable

Cons:

  • Prone to water damage
  • Wear and tear
  • Prone to scratches and stains
  • Expand and contract to temperature changes

Finish Types : oil or lacquer finish

6.Stainless Steel

Pros:

  • Very durable and resilient
  • Perfect for contemporary kitchen
  • Shiny, non-porous -stain-free
  • Heat resistant, rust corrosion and stain resistant
  • Recyclable

Cons:

  • Prone to scratches
  • Easily dented if not maintained properly
  • Cold and noisy

Finish Types: smooth, antique matte or specialty

7.Concrete

kitchen countertops

Pros:

  • Can achieve the look of stone or granite
  • Tile /stone/glass/other material can be embedded
  • Extremely hard and tough, durable
  • Resistant to heat
  • Scratch-resistant

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Need to be sealed properly to protect from stains, water and heat damage
  • Requires maintenance

Finish Types: Concrete gives industrial looking surface

8.Travertine

kitchen countertops

Pros:

  • Elegant and aesthetic
  • Reflects light which brightens the kitchen
  • Eco-friendly
  • Can be made to fit any shape or size

Cons:

  • Reacts easily to acids
  • Easy to get the stain
  • To be resealed every 2-3 years
  • Easy to scratch due to its soft nature

9.Limestone

kitchen countertops

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Merge with any design and colour
  • Affordable
  • Environment-friendly

Cons:

  • Reacts easily to acids
  • Easy to get the stain
  • Easy to scratch due to its soft nature

11.Glass

kitchen countertops

Pros:

  • Extremely durable
  • Can be achieved any shape and style
  • Easily pairs with any other material
  • Heat resistant
  • Resistant to stain
  • Recyclable

Cons:

  • Prone to damage easily
  • Heavy or sharp objects tend to crack, chip or dent
  • Costly to repair

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