Cabinetry might be the most visible part of a kitchen, but countertops are the most essential. Without a place to rest a glass, prep a meal, or cool a pan, the kitchen would be incomplete and non-functional. Choosing the right countertop for your kitchen is not just about aesthetics, but also about function and daily use.
Choosing the Right Kitchen Countertops
Because countertops take a lot of abuse from day-to-day use, choosing the right material is critical. Be honest with yourself about how hard you and your family are on your home and how much time you want to commit to maintenance. Think of it as matching the habits of you and your family with desired countertop materials. There is no perfect material but with a little research the right match can be made.
Most Common Types of Kitchen Countertops
There are several countertop options on the market today. Laminate countertops are still the most affordable option and are virtually no-maintenance. The range of colors and patterns continues to grow every year, though it is prone to burns and can discolor at seams. Tile countertops come in second as the most affordable countertop option and custom designs can be made using one-of-a-kind tiles and coordinating colored grout. Tile can crack and chip, but can withstand high heat.
Natural Stone Kitchen Countertops
Natural stone such as granite, marble, and soapstone is extremely durable, but porous so routine sealing is required. Granite is the most durable of the natural stones and comes in a large assortment of patterns and colors. Marble should be reserved for backsplashes and specific areas since it can stain and burn. Soapstone, like granite, is highly durable and gives a cooling look with its deep grey color and matte finish.
Engineered Stone Kitchen Countertops
Solid-surface countertops such as Corian and engineered stone countertops such as Silstone do not need sealing, but can burn and scratch. These can be molded to fit awkward angles. Both natural and solid-surface countertops are an expensive option, but have the longevity that the others do not. Concrete, with its endless color options and shapes, is less expensive than natural stone, but is also porous and requires the same maintenance.
Other Types of Kitchen Countertops
Butcher block and stainless steel are not new to commercial kitchens, but are being used more and more in homes. Butcher block must be regularly cleaned and should be confined to a small work area, whereas stainless can beautifully match industrial-style appliances but can be very noisy if used too much.