Picking the Right Countertop Material for Your Kitchen

woman cooking on a slate grey countertop

So many options are available to people lucky enough to get their kitchen remodeled. Kitchens are where we spend so much of our day talking to loved ones while we prepare food. They’re the staging areas of homes where so much gets done. Kitchens are a major value driver in houses too, so they’re often the first choice for a remodel because they drive up equity. The kitchen design industry is huge, and there are so many choices for homeowners to look at when it comes to appliances, floors, cabinets and countertops. Selecting the right countertop can be a difficult decision because there is such variety in color and material. From granite and quartz, to marble or aluminum, each has its own aesthetic benefits. Difference in price is also a major factor. Let’s take a look at a few countertop materials and what sets them apart. 

Natural Stone for an Elegant Look 
Natural stone countertops have been in style for decades and aren’t going anywhere. They’re still the stuff of dreams that fill designer magazines and are found in showcase homes. Natural stone includes materials like granite, slate and soapstone. Granite is the most popular currently. It’s pricey, but it’s extremely sought after in higher-end homes. The countertops come in a spectrum of colors and patterns, making each unique to the owner. Granite countertops can come in light white shades, midnight black, and anywhere in between. It’s a very stain-resistant countertop and is easy to clean and maintain. Initial sealing treatment applied to granite usually lasts over ten years. Slate and soapstone are also popular but aren’t as common as granite. They’re usually more limited in the selection of colors and appear in darker colors. Green is a very common shade of soapstone. Slate comes in black, purple, red and green. They have characteristic veins across slabs that can be quite striking inside of a kitchen. Soapstone is more porous than granite, so require more frequent treatment. However, slate has virtually no pores and is relatively maintenance-free. 

Fabricated Solid Materials Are Very Durable 
Countertops made from materials like Avonite and Corian are made from polyester, acrylic or some mix of the two. Because they’re made from synthetic materials, they’re designed to be extremely durable and strain resistant. They’re very good at hiding or preventing scratches, so maintain a new look longer than many other types of countertops. The manmade countertops can also be customized into a wide array of colors and patterns. Good designers can make them closely resemble natural stone like granite, so homeowners can get a luxury look on a budget. Perhaps the best feature of solid manmade materials is that they can be custom built and installed into practically any kitchen design. Natural stones frequently some limits placed on them by crafters because they could crack or break. Mistakes like slab breaks can drive up costs. Solid materials are very flexible. Quartz, a newer type of solid material countertop, is increasingly popular among interior designers and homebuilders. It’s harder than natural stone, looks great and can be designed to the kitchen’s specifications. 

Ceramic Tiles are a Classic Throwback 
Most kitchen remodels incorporate a more modern design with sleek lines and low maintenance countertops without seams. Afterall, seamless countertops are easier to clean. However, ceramic tile still has its place in the hearts of many period-piece lovers. The great news is that homeowners can have the best of both worlds by incorporating both looks into the same kitchen design. Many people are opting for sleek, seamless countertops, but go for ceramic tile for a small section whether it be an island or small computer nook. Ceramic tile typically involves the laying of plywood with half-inch ceramic tiles laid on top. It’s much more affordable than many natural materials, so could be a good option for less-trafficked areas of a kitchen. 

Plastic Laminate for the Cost-Conscious 
Formica, the most popular plastic laminate material is often found in smaller apartments or homes. They’re for people with smaller budgets that don’t mind something simpler. Plastic laminate is just that, it’s a hard-plastic material that is overlaid on top of wooden countertops. A bonus of working with plastic is that it can be made into any color or pattern. It’s usually 1/16-inch-thick, so it can withstand regular use and doesn’t need a whole lot of looking after other than regular house cleaning. It’s nice that it’s so affordable too, so it can be switched out pretty easily on a regular basis. It’s a good option for homeowners renting out their place to tenants. 

Don’t Forget that Wood is an Option 
A lot of people hesitate at the thought of installing wood countertops, but it could work for some people. Wood countertops are usually made from rock maple, oak, or cherry. They’re dense, hard woods that can take a beating. Nature lovers enjoy the calming look of wood countertops stretched across their kitchens. The main drawback of wood countertops is that frequent maintenance is required. They typically need oil finishing every four to six weeks. Some people think that wood will carry more germs than seamless materials or be harder to clean. While they’re not as stain-resistant as harder surfaces, studies have shown that they aren’t any dirtier than other countertop materials. 

The Final Word 
For homeowners looking for the most stylish and quality kitchen countertop materials, it’s tough to beat natural stone. They last such a long time, are easy to keep looking fantastic and will make a kitchen shine. The importance of kitchens to a home’s value has triggered a plethora of choices for natural stone countertops. For the best selection of wholesale natural stone slabs, take a look at Slab Market. It offers free estimates to buyers and sellers looking for premium slabs at quality prices. The bottom lines are that finding and choosing the best countertop material will make the biggest difference of any kitchen remodel choices. Countertops take up the largest amount of space and affect the lighting and function of every kitchen.

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