Selecting the correct countertop material is one of the most important decisions in your kitchen or bath project. With so many materials available today it can be overwhelming when it comes time to make this selection. In today’s post we explore some of the most commonly used materials and the expectations associated with them.
Granite is, by far, the most popular material specified in kitchen and bath remodels. It is a strong, durable and long lasting material. Granite is scratch-resistant, and when sealed, impervious to stain, heat and water. Slabs are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Granite requires sealing at the time of installation and over the life of the material, typically once a year.
Quartz countertops are a man-made product consisting of almost 90% quartz, making it an extremely durable non-porous material perfect for kitchens and bathrooms. It does not require sealing, will not chip or crack and is stain and bacteria resistant. Quartz is available in wide variety of colors and patterns. In general, it is more expensive and not as heat tolerant as granite.
Quartzite is sandstone that has been subjected to heat and pressure due to tectonic compression. This resulting material is hard, dense and extremely resistant to abrasion and chemicals. Quartzite, like granite, does require sealing at the time of install and over the life of the material, typically once a year. This hard working material comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns and is idea for kitchens and bathrooms.
Marble is a relatively hard material composed mostly of calcite. It is highly resistant to heat, cracks and breakage, however, marble is very porous and susceptible to staining and etching. Marble is best used in areas where it will not be exposed to chemicals, citric or acidic substances. Even with the use of a sealer, clean-ups should be handled immediately. If you are in the market for a kitchen countertop and want the look of marble I suggest looking at a quartz or quartzite product that will give you look of marble and the performance of a granite without the maintenance and upkeep.
BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOPS
Appearance is the number one reason people select wood for their countertops. It adds natural beauty and warmth to any kitchen and works well with several design styles. There is considerable maintenance required to keep your wood tops looking like new. Proper sealing is a must to ensure a non-porous surface and protect the tops from water damage. Wood is much softer than other materials typically used in a kitchen so scratches and dents are inevitable. Additionally, your wood top may require sanding and refinishing over it’s lifetime depending on use.
Concrete countertops offer a wide range or colors and finishes and are lightweight and durable. Concrete is naturally very heat resistant but also porous so a sealer is a must. The use of a sealer on your tops may cause discoloration if hot pans or pots are placed directly on the surface. Imperfections in the surface are a common occurrence due to the molding process and after time hairline fractures may occur. Concrete is gaining popularity in modern and rustic designs and works well in kitchens and bathrooms when properly maintained.
Stainless is already the go-to countertop material in most restaurants. And for good reason – they perform amazing! They are non-porous, resistant to water, heat, stains, mold, bacteria and other household germs. Additionally, you can place hot pots and pans directly on top them with no worries. However, stainless countertops will scratch and dent and tend to show smudge marks and fingerprints. If you can live with that they are suitable in any application.