Countertops are now available in an amazing number of choices, both materials and the details of how the countertop is constructed. It's rare that your home today (or after that kitchen remodel) has countertops that look anything like those you grew up with, so this article provides an overview of today's most popular choices.
What's exciting is how countertops now play a big role in the personality of your kitchen, and with so many open concept floor plans, countertops often help integrate the kitchen with adjoining living spaces. That's why picking the right countertop for your kitchen is so important.
Factors to Consider When Picking Countertops
Before you jump to picking one of the 100s of countertops you'll find at your local kitchen and bath store, take time to consider the role you want your countertop to fill, and it's different in every home. One of the most exciting trends in kitchen cabinets and countertops is they don't have to all be the same! It's now common to mix different cabinet styles and countertops.
- What style is your home, and your kitchen … and how will the new countertops compliment this style?
- What is your decorating style, i.e. granite, marble and wood are more traditional while recycled glass and concrete are more artistic and contemporary.
- Does your kitchen already have a focal point? Do you want new countertops to be a focal point, or play a more subdued role and integrate other kitchen features?
- What is your lifestyle, i.e. do you need something that's kid friendly? It's also good to consider the maintenance requirements of countertops so you'll love yours for years.
- How committed are you to green building? Some countertops are made from recycled materials, like glass countertops and some solid countertops which huse recycled paper, particle board and other materials.
- What's your budget as countertops range in price from $5/sq ft (tile) to $150/sq ft (marble).
Top Materials Used in Today's Countertops
When reviewing all the incredible websites that focus on countertops, it seemed like the most help would be a table to help you narrow your focus as you research the best solution for your kitchen. For many of us it's a personal choice or maybe we like sticking with a proven product — with 2 kitchen remodels and an addition that included a new kitchen/family room,my choice remains Corian for it's light colors (only thing that's changed) and love the integrated sink.
If you're a serious cook or baker, check out Consumer Reports for their ratings on cutting, stains, heat, abrasion and impact as these will be far more important to you, and remember you can use several materials like marble for a baking center, butcher block for food prep and a different material for other activities. When you're ready to dig deeper, CounterTopGuides.com offers a lot more information about the strengths and weaknesses of these countertops and more.
|Materials||Color Choices||Kid Friendly||Maintenance||Green||Cost/Sq Ft|
|Quartz (engineered stone)||Less heat resistant than granite||Minimal||$60-185|
|Granite||Some stain||TLC (sealant) required||$75-225|
|Marble||Choice of whte, yellows, greens, pinks, gray & black||Not||TLC (sealant) required||$125-250|
|Recycled glass (embeldded in clear resin)||Minimal||Up to 90%||$50-125|
|Solid surface, i.e. Corian||More than 100 choices in color & texture||Heat sensitive||Minimal||Recycled content||$50-125|
|Tile||Endless colors, style & shapes||Grout sealed occasionally; repairs if cracked||$15-125|
|Laminates||100s of colors & pattersn||Heat sensitive||Minimal||$10-50|
|Butcher block||New colors with exotic woods||Not unless maintained; heat sensitive||TLC required||$35-200|
|Concrete||Easy to embed shells, tile, glass, etc||Not||TLC required||$70-200|
|Metal (stainless , copper, etc)||Some require polishing||$85-250|
Countertops: Don't Forget the Details
You might think you're done when you've picked your countertops (remember, you could use 1, 2 or even 3). You're not! There are lots more details and most of them will affect price — thickness of the countertop, shape of the edges, backsplash and more.